Ride Concepts is a new mountain bike focused company out of Southern California who recently unveiled a full line of riding shoes. While there’s no shortage of kick ass options for those that prefer to clip-in, the viable choices in the flats market remain limited. Ride Concepts is poised to change that, having recently debuted 5 flat pedal models and 3 different highly engineered sticky rubber compounds. For the record, there is also a clipless compatible model, but just one. And that right there was all I needed to hear to know that these guys are serious about flat pedal performance. So, when a pair of their Hellions showed up at my doorstep last fall, I wasted no time finding out how they perform.
Taking a closer look at the Hellions reveals synthetic uppers, full wrap rubber toe caps, loads of ventilation, lace keepers and gusseted tongue. The grey color way is sharp but understated and should match most any kit. If there’s anything missing it’s that Ride Concepts are offering only full sizes, no half sizes for the time being. My foot is a solid size 10, high volume, and a bit on the wide side. My test set of size 10 Hellions wrap around my feet just slightly to the comfy side of a precision fit, but not at all sloppy or loose, with a little extra room in the toe box.
Digging deeper, there’s some cool tech inside that will appeal to anyone who has ever bruised a heel. Ride Concepts has included D3O insoles in the Hellion to protect against heel bruises on hard landings.
Ride Concepts has worked with Rubber Kinetics to introduce three rubber compounds for their outsoles. Two of the compounds, High Grip and Max Grip, are employed in their flat pedal shoes. The Hellion uses the High Grip formula with the Max Grip being available only on the upcoming TNT model. The Max Grip rubber is organized into a pattern of hexagons ostensibly to achieve excellent grip both on pedal pins or hike-a-biking over loose surfaces.
My ride time on the Hellions started with chilly and muddy PNW fall conditions. Cooler temps means rubber is a bit harder than it is in the heat of July. Add a slick coating of mud and it’s a great time to test the merit of some fresh rubber. Out of the box, the shoes had a bit of float on my Chromag Scarab pedals and the uppers were a bit stiff. Fast forward a couple rides and the rubber started to break-in and really stick. The feel of the Hellions on my pedal pins isn’t quite what I’d describe as “locked in” but they’re not slippery either. I found that I could reposition my feet almost any time but rarely lost my footing. I’d say the grip is just about right for all-around riding and maybe not quite enough for racing or fast bike park riding. For those of you looking for that shoe, Ride Concepts will have the TNT available with their Max Grip rubber in the spring. In terms of power transfer, the Hellions are fairly stiff and there’s little sense of power loss grinding out long climbs. I’ve knocked out several 2 and 3 hour rides in the Hellions and have found few faults along the way.
Overall, I’ve really been impressed with the Hellions. They’re a little boot like out of the box but once broken in, they’re all day comfortable. I generally tend to feel like more grip is better, but the Hellions have more than enough for the riding that I do most. With over 3 months of ride time, they are wearing well with no signs of durability issues. The soles still look new and I feel like these will easily handle a full season of hard riding, maybe more. From a value perspective, the Hellion comes in $20 cheaper than their closest competitor and I have a suspicion that they might last quite a bit longer. If you’re in the market for a new pair of flat pedal shoes, definitely give these a look.
On the web: rideconcepts.com
Sizes: Mens 7-13, Womens 5-10
Colors: Mens Charcoal/lime and Black/black, Womens Dark Purple/Purple and Charcoal/Mid Grey
MSRP: $130 USD