Pinnacle has been one of the best budget mountain bike brands around, and has been exclusive to UK bike chain store Evans Cycles for years. Now Pinnacle are also doing shoes and other kit under the name. The Pinnacle Maple shoe is slightly stiff and awkward to walk in to be an all rounder, but it could work well as a cross-country mountain bike or cyclocross racing shoe, if you're on a budget.
I’ve not had confirmation when it was sold at full cost, so I’m testing it based on its current ‘half price’ deal and at this price is a good option when looking for the best mountain bike shoes.
The Maple is based on a very deep (particularly around the cleat and instep) nylon sole. This even includes faux carbon fibre effect decoration around the cleat plate and inside the rear tread which is a bit cheeky, but given it’s actually a stiff shoe we’ll let it slide. The tread blocks follow the usual small toe lugs, paired pontoons either side of the cleat and then four very deep tread blocks at the heel. The actual tread material is super hard, sharp edged plastic and you get two screw threads for toe studs at the toe for full extra cyclocross grip if required.
The upper is mostly a one piece synthetic microfibre stitched into a separate heel cup. There are perforations in the mid section and a reflective print on the rear section while the tongue is a contrast gloss black. The toe also has internal reinforcement.
The heel is well padded with a grippy ‘sharkskin’ material at the back and a big heel loop for pulling the shoes on. Closure comes from three wrap over ‘hook and loop’ straps pulling across the S-curve slot for the tongue.
While sizing starts at 41 for the mens version the women’s version runs from 37 to 41 and is currently priced at £50.
The good thing about the strap system is that it’s totally intuitive and very easy to rip open and the S-bend tongue slot is wide enough for easy entry. The toe box is generous too so even with the shoe tight across the tongue there’s plenty of wiggle room for circulation.
It takes some time to refold the plastic straps to the right point for your foot though, and it's very hard to tension them as accurately as a dial, ratchet or laces. The straps are a lot longer than the anchor tabs on the shoe as well, so unless you cut them down the two upper straps are prone to peel upwards when they get caught by undergrowth. The hook and loop sections can also become filled with mud if conditions are really bad which undermines the cyclocross gains of the stud mounts. They won’t fall off or break like dials and ratchets can though.
The tread is slippery on anything that isn’t soft enough to dig into and the tall heel tread and stiff, deep sole makes walking more wobbly than a lower, broader stance shoe. They clack and clatter rather than flexing comfortably too so they’re not suitable for bikepacking/touring/commuting or any other times you might have to walk more than a few meters. The whole shoe feels stiff and prescriptive rather than molding to your foot. Particularly across the forefoot where tightening the bottom strap caused an obvious kink and pressure point.
On the plus side if they fit OK then that stiff, deep sole is very good at transferring foot pressure through the pedals. The raised ‘shark skin’ heel cup holds the back of the shoe in place really well if you’re riding up or down a really steep slope.
Pinnacle’s Maple MTB is described as bringing “every day MTB performance and comfort”. It’s stiffness and difficulty walking means I’d definitely question that and suggest you look at the lace up Pinnacle Cedar for regular riding as an alternative.
The Pinnacle Maple as a budget shoe with its extra propulsion and performance in soft conditions means it’s maybe a good choice for XC or cyclocross racers that are looking for decent performance on a budget, but even at it’s current discount price, the value is only average rather than outstanding.
Tech specs: Pinnacle Maple XC shoe
- Price: £60.00 men's, £50.00 women’s
- Sizes: 41 - 48.5 men's, 37 - 41
- Weight: 900g (pair of Size 44 with cleats)