At Mountain Bike Action, our test riders spend hours thrash-testing equipment, and even after a review is published in the magazine or posted online, the testing continues. New products replace previous models, and the established benchmark is often challenged. The result is a sliding scale of expected performance that continues to evolve. Below, we took two of our favorite midpriced cross-country/trail shoes and put them head-to-head in a longterm test shootout. Keep reading to get the lowdown on how each performed—even after the official test concluded.
Keith Bontrager began crafting bicycle parts out of his Santa Cruz, California, garage in the early 1990s. Today, the brand operates under Trek’s tutelage and offers everything from carbon components to an advanced suite of cycling gear, helmets and apparel. Bontrager offers almost every performance product a rider could ask for, including the Bontrager Cambion shoe. These performance-level shoes are designed for a range of riding styles from gravel to singletrack. Our testers have spent many long days pedaling in these shoes.
Tech features: The unique colorways the Cambion shoes come in are eyecatching. They feature an asymmetrical Boa lace system, a Velcro strap just above the toe box and ample toe protection, thanks to a strong rubber guard that also protects the front of the shoes from wear.
A carbon/fiberglass composite sole aids in power transfer and provides a stiff platform. Furthermore, Bontrager uses its inForm BioDynamic insole to ensure comfort when pressing against the stiff soles. They feature Tachyon rubber outsoles and removable cleats to aid off-the-bike traction.
Field test results: We’ve been pleased with the fit of the Cambion shoes, which have held up well to months of riding. It took a few rides for the Cambions to break in, but even during our first ride, we experienced a comfortable fit with no pressure points. The Boa system has consistently held our feet securely without feeling too constricting, and the heel cup offers a gentle grab that secures the back of the shoe to the foot. The soles are quite stiff, offering more of a cross-country feel; however, on a trail bike, the shoes are sturdy enough to hang tough, even after being ridden hard and put away wet, literally.
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