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Ride Concepts Tallac Clip shoe review – trail riding tanks for your feet

Are Ride Concepts Tallac Clips the new heavyweight champions of the hardcore mountain bike trail shoe world?

Ride Concepts Tallac Clip shoe
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

Ride Concepts Tallac Clip are potentially the perfect bombproof back country biking shoe combining surefooted confidence, impact and weather protection and failsafe security in a super heavyweight tank for your toes.

For

  • - Super surefooted pedal/walk balance
  • - Failsafe lace and strap fastening
  • - Excellent pedal and hike a bike grip
  • - Noticeable damping comfort and control
  • Tough, weatherproof upper

Against

  • - Very heavy
  • - Slower fit/removal

Ride Concepts is a relatively new brand but it's building a reputation for making some of the best mountain bike shoes on the back of some innovative ideas and excellent execution. The new Tallac Clip is a bombproof, weather proofed, grippy, noticeably damped, high control, foolproof fastener tank of a trail shoe. That tank comparison extends to their weight though and they’re not light on the wallet either. 

Our testing explained

For information on Bike Perfect's testing procedures and how our scoring system works, see our how we test page.

Ride Concepts Tallac Clip sole

Relatively grippy sole with extra tenacious toe and heel means serious surefooted confidence. Extended slot makes perfect clip placement and exit/entry easy too (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Design and specifications

Ride Concepts shoes (such as the Transition we tested) are typically pretty bulky pieces and the Tallac Clip follows the trend. The broad sole section even has projecting tread lugs at the sides and up round the toes and heel for a mini Manga/Goth vibe.

The small studs at toe and heel are hooked for maximum grip while big, shallow hexagonal blocks cover the rest of the sole. The ‘CLIP GRIP’ rubber compound is slightly harder than the MAX GRIP used on Ride Concepts Hellion flat pedal shoes but it’s still tacky enough to add confidence and connection to platform pedals or hike a bike sections. A PowerDrive nylon shank adds pedaling stiffness but still allows some twist and flex for bike control and walking proprioception. The cleat box is extended and reaches a long way back under the middle of the foot to allow DH style centralized placements but can still accommodate the more powerful ball of foot position. The color speckled EVA layer is deeper than most shoes and Ride Concepts uses an insole with a shock absorbing D30 gel segment built into it. 

The Tallac Clip upper continues the hiker vibe with tough Cordura mesh fabric further reinforced with contrast color TPU coating on the lower edges. There’s a solid external heel cup and deep padding right round the cuff, so the pull on tab is a welcome addition. There’s no grip material inside but the whole shoe gets an anti bacterial lining. Fastening is done the traditional way with 14 reinforced lace eyelets and a broad Velcro wrapover strap. The laces get an elastic tuck to stop them getting eaten by the chainring and the tongue is fully gusseted to stop anything getting down the sides. 

Ride Concepts Tallac Clip upper

Laces and a wrapover strap aren't fancy but they work great EVERY time (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Performance

The first thing you’ll notice about the Tallac Clip is the weight out of the box. At 1360g my size 44s are almost 40 percent weightier than some shoes in this category and 25 percent heavier than the Leatt shoes I described as ‘heavy’ when reviewing the two shoes alongside each other. That obviously has consequences in terms of physical pedaling efficiency over longer days, but it also gives the Tallac Clip some big gains in other areas.

The main one is a sense of utterly unshakeable confidence whether you’re on the bike or hike a biking. The sole tread can slip in muddy conditions but get your toe or heel engaged and they’ve got proper bite for vert sections. Their sheer width and the softer rubber compound add placement presence too and the rotational flexibility means you don’t feel like you’re about to blow an ankle any second when traversing rocky ground. 

They feel equally solid on the bike too. There’s enough softness to sink the sole onto a platform pedal (pinned or not) so cornering hip twists translate easily and naturally through the bike. The long cleat slot means you can set them up as XC or as DH as you want in terms of foot position too. They pedal well enough for sole flex or cleat pressure never to be an issue even when I was hard on the hammer on every climb for a few hours.

Ride Concepts Tallac Clip inboard

The Tallac Clip has a seriously strong EVA, D30, TPU armor acronym game (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

The D30 insole and deep EVA layer noticeably damps vibration and impact spikes too and with the tough, reinforced upper these really do feel like body armor for your feet. While it’s not the fastest way to fasten a shoe, lacing gives you far better cm by cm pressure and fit control than any other ratchet or dial system and even before you wrap the big strap over, the Tallac Clips feel totally locked down. They stay that way all day with no gradual loosening or worries about dials/ratchets getting wiped out by trailside rocks.

Basic shaping worked well for everyone who tried them and we had no problems with hot spots or heel lift. The Cordura upper is impressively weatherproof too and even stood up to a quick paddle when an exploratory route ended up involving a shallow river crossing. They’ve cleaned up easily after filthy rides as well.

Obviously not everyone wants to feel like they’ve got tanks around their toes though. The thick sole and various damping strategies can make them feel distant from the bike and definitely mutes fine surface/suspension feedback. You can get some of that sensitivity back by swapping the D30 insoles for conventional insoles but they still won’t mold and wrap round a platform pedal like the softest clip shoes. 

Verdict

They’re a bit numb and massively heavy, so if you like finessing your way down the trail in ballet pumps you probably should have stopped reading about 900 words ago. However if you prefer to entomb your feet in work boots because you can’t be trusted to look after them, then these are exactly the trail tanks your toes need. They feel massively planted on the bike or off, they suck up impacts like they’ve got tire inserts in (because they effectively have), they pedal and walk with plenty of purpose, the fastening system is blissfully foolproof and they shrug off sniper rocks and bad weather really well too.

What’s really interesting is that the weight was never really an obvious negative on the bike either. So while it’s made me think twice about picking them for ‘every climb is a race’ rides, they’ll still probably be my go-to shoes for any confidence testing ride that involves serious geology or proper wilderness exposure. Judging by how they’re lasting so far, the high price looks like a conscionable investment too.

Tech Specs: Ride Concepts Tallac Clip shoe

  • PRICE: $180 / £170 / €189  
  • SIZES: US 7 to 13, UK 6 to 12, Eu 39.5 to 47 
  • WEIGHT: 1360g (pair of 44 shoes complete with SPD cleats)

Guy Kesteven is Bike Perfect and Cyclingnews’ contributing tech editor. Hatched in Yorkshire he's been hardened by riding round it in all weathers since he was a kid. He spent a few years working in bike shops and warehouses before starting writing and testing for bike mags in 1996. Since then he’s written several million words about several thousand test bikes and a ridiculous amount of riding gear. To make sure he rarely sleeps and to fund his custom tandem habit, he’s also penned a handful of bike-related books and talks to a GoPro for YouTube, too.


Rides: Pace RC295, Cotic FlareMax, Specialized Chisel, Vielo V+1 gravel bike, Nicolai FS Enduro, Landescape custom gravel tandem

Height: 180cm

Weight: 69kg

With contributions from