Sunday, April 16, 2017

Five Ten Spitfire

Skilling up on a mountain bike is most cost-effectively managed in the following order:

Flat pedals
Cycle-specific flat pedal shoes
Dropper post
Dual suspension mountain bike 

In the real world things aren't that simple. Regardless, the cycle-specific shoe stands out on the list for the scrutiny placed upon it when thinking about cost vs benefit. It shouldn’t be. 

For a start these shoes are not much more expensive than the pedals of equivalent quality (not to mention far cheaper than a dropper post or full suspension of any quality). And just because flat pedals appear unsophisticated doesn’t mean a pair of old runners will be up to snuff. Especially when things get a bit technical.

Great running shoe. Just not made for pedalling.

The Five Ten Spitfire (RRP $100 USD). The dark grey model comes loaded with a set of dope orange laces but a pair of black laces come included.

The flip side. The DMR V6 nylon pedal (RRP £14.99) awesome value when starting out on flatties. It might even convert you before losing too many plastic knobs or developing play at the bushings. You can then get a proper pair of flat pedals like the V12s, or another pair of V6s if you are worried about metal studs destroying the back seat of your car (or you could remove your wheels then unscrew the pedals then cram everything into the back the car and do it all over again after the ride making sure not to leave behind anything like your helmet or a through-axle.. or you could buy a bike rack.. or even better an SUV..  *sigh*). 

The clip-in pedal (confusingly called “clipless” in the old lingo when it was compared to a pedal fitted with toe-clips) arguably provides better control and power transfer for the majority of situations. After all most top level riders - from XC to DH - race in some form clip-in pedal. But when you don’t possess any bike handling skills then the flat pedal is well worth a look. Nothing beats the ability to get your foot down when things get out of hand. And if you are roadie like me and riding unclipped is about as alien as some tentacled thing sucking your face then also remember to drop your seatpost or invest in a dropper post. 

Once you commit to flat pedals then there are some good reasons for also investing in a platform-specific (cycle or skate) shoe. The Five Ten Spitfire is a good example of such a shoe. 

Here are the reasons:

The Spitfire has a sticky sole.

Five Ten’s famous “Stealth” sole.

It is narrower around the forefoot.

Removing the supportive flare of a standard running shoe means the shoe can sit further inboard on the pedal and thereby reducing the Q-angle.

But retains length in the sole.

Maintaining fore-aft freedom in pedal placement.

Just check the sizing.

Five Ten Spitfire.

Asics Gel Kayano.

It has a sturdy construction with padded support below the ankle and a reinforced toe box.


And a flatter profile.


It is less flexible longitudinally and torsionally.

Putting the power down.

I don’t normally get too excited about shoes but these Five Ten Spitfires are simply superb. 

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