West Coast Kicks: Specialized and Giro
When we think bikes our next thought is almost invariably of Italy and their deep cycling history. The names are tied closely to much of cycling’s rich culture – Bianchi, Pinarello, Colnago, Campagnolo, SIDI. Peruse the used bike values at Bicycle Blue Book and you’ll find this heritage also comes at a premium. These products are expensive new, and retain much of their value. Italy is also the home of the beautiful shoe, from Sidi to Ferragamo. All shoes are measured by those handmade in il bel paese. Look west however, and you will find two reasons for the Italians to get nervous, very nervous. Two companies that call California home are producing shoes with, style, fit and function that would make any cobbler in Milan or Veneto proud. After finding the right bike on Bicycle Blue Book nothing completes the ride like a pair of shiny new kicks, and we humbly offer these two options.
Giro Empire: Giro is a brand that takes risks, unafraid of the potential outcome. If they believe in a product, even if a massive cultural shift in the market is required for it to be embraced, they go for it. Their Air Attack helmet and New Road line of clothing are examples of this. While every one of these risks can’t result in a home run, a few do, and none more so than the Giro Empire. With this shoe Giro stripped away all the Velcro, buckles, and cable systems used for enclosures. They ignored heel retention tricks and fancy in-soles. The shoe is the manifestation of simplicity, built around a beautifully crafted last, relying on tried and true laces, delivering power with a sliver of carbon called the EC90. Once laced up one thing is clear, every other system is trying to replicate the even, constant pull laces exert on your foot – sublime. Keep in mind the one limiting factor to laces is an inability to adjust them in the saddle. In black they have the classic look of a road shoe from the 60’s. In silver and green they have the look of a prop from a classic 60’s sci-fi movie. Either way, they are an aesthetic and functional home run.
Specialized 2013 S-Works: Perhaps the only thing consistently receiving better reviews than Specialized’s bikes are their shoes – light and comfortable with epic power transfer. So why in god’s name would they throw them on the trash heap and start over? To push the envelope of innovation they didn’t want any preconceived ideas holding them back. The result is the new S-Works. The upper is laser cut with stretch built into the arch and fore foot, with static materials in the heel for support. It’s called adaptive fit and creates a shoe that feels custom made for almost any foot. The S-Works is a shoe you can wear very tight, very comfortably. The new BOA’s provide the same micro adjustability but a new cartridge system makes them easier to replace, which is a good thing as BOA’s rarely last more than a season. The outsole is the best example of this ground-up redesign. Using pressure mapping they made the sole thick where it needed stiffness and thin where it didn’t. The result is a breakthrough, 15percent stiffer and 15percent lighter than the previous S-Works outsole. To ensure the revolutionary outsole and dynamic fit can really do their job Specialized’s provides SL footbeds in three arch support options.