California based company Ride Concepts is new to the MTB shoe scene but their Hellion really impressed us in our flat pedal shoe test.
The Transition takes a lot of the same fit and protection tech but builds it into a full-feature clipless pedal shoe for riders and racers (it’s the chosen shoe of the Atherton Racing team) who like to go hard.
That aggressive character stems from several aspects. The full-length nylon PowerDrive shank makes it stand-out-stiff for a downhill/enduro style shoe. The cleat slots are also relatively short and positioned more for pedalling rather than allowing a centralised foot plant. The upper is very stiff too with fat laces in fabric tabs and tight plastic upper eyes locking them down before you even tie the knot or tug the big wrap strap across to complete the anchoring process. That’s not to say they’re too tight though as the toe box is spacious and the reinforced rear cup keeps your heel held firmly without hassling your Achilles tendon.
While Ride Concepts describes the Rubber Kinetics co-developed DST 8.0 as its ‘Mid Grip’ compound, it’s actually the hardest of the three it produces and it’s definitely more skate-about rather than skate-shoe in grip levels. Add the lack of flex in the sole and that means you’ll need an aggressive peg setup to feel gripped when unclipped but the shoes are super easy to slide in and out of cleat engagement.
While it’s not as obvious as on the flexible-soled Hellion, the D30 shock-absorbing sections in the insole definitely damp and isolate pedal feel slightly when you’re going hard. More D30 is built into the higher inboard cuff of the shoe to reduce the pain of crank to ankle impacts. All this stiffness and armouring makes them 20-25% heavier than most of the competition though and presumably contributes to the high price.
While they’re clearly not a shoe for riders who want something light, flexy and tacky for maximum trail/pedal feedback, aggressive all-weather riders are going to love them. That shank and the locked-down upper means they’re not far behind a carbon-soled race shoe in how well they transfer power. That makes them great for gravity riders who like to make every pedal stroke count but also trail riders for whom climb performance is as important as descending chops. While they’re designed for big platform pedals the D30 pressure-spread effect and the stiff sole means they work fine with smaller contact area designs as well. The welded upper, generous toe wiggle room and fully-gusseted tongue make them as weatherproof as some ‘winter’ shoes we’ve tested recently. The fact they don’t absorb much water offsets their weight against other shoes in wet conditions, and so far they’ve proved remarkably tough and easy to clean as our number one aggro shoe choice through a particularly dank and miserable winter.
Tech spec: Ride Concepts Transition
- Price: £154.95
- Sizes: 39.5-46 (UK 7-12)
- Weight: 1222g