Shimano S-PHYRE RC901 Shoe Review – feat. Dual IP1 Dials + Seamless Upper + Replaceable Heel Pad

Shimano S-PHYRE RC901 Shoe Review – feat. Dual IP1 Dials + Seamless Upper + Replaceable Heel Pad


Thanks for tuning in, this is The Sweet Cyclists and today we’re gonna be reviewing the Shimano S-PHYRE RC9 shoes. Here we have Shimano’s second-generation S-PHYRE road cycling shoes. These are the RC9s otherwise known as the RC901 shoes. What we have here today is the men’s version in a Euro 44 in the blue color, they have four other colors as well as a women’s specific size. Packaging-wise it is really simple, you get the S-PHYRE in a glossy print on top and the sizing chart on the bottom. Let’s go ahead and take it out of the box and while I do that we can review some of the specs. This is a $400 shoe, this is the top-of-the-line version and you get a stiffness index of 12 which is their maximum stiffness index with the carbon sole. You get a synthetic seamless upper as well as an external heel cup. You also have dual BOA IP1 dials and these are one of the best dials from BOA with dual direction micro adjustments. Looking at what we have in the packaging we have the beautiful blue shoes and these aren’t just blue they’re almost iridescent so the photos don’t quite do it justice. You can see as I rotate it it almost looks like a chameleon paint job, it has subtle cues of purple and lighter blue. They’re really beautiful shoes and here you have the dual IP1 dials. Inside the packaging you get a really nice cover to keep it clean. You also get some tags for the BOA dials as well as additional arch support. So this is really nice of Shimano to include and you can really adjust the fit to match your actual feet without having to buy a custom insole. Additionally you get a user manual, now this is one of the largest user manuals I’ve seen for a shoe. Most shoes actually don’t come with anything but because Shimano is sold in so many countries you can see here it’s quite impressive. There is nearly every language you can imagine just for a couple warnings. Additionally you also get a nice little bag here, if I pop that out. It’s another really nice feature, so you get a branded S-PHYRE bag for either storing or traveling with the shoes and it feels really high-quality. Now let’s take a look at the weight of the RC9 shoes, here we have the right shoe that comes in at 262 grams. Now we’ll take the left shoe which comes in at 266 grams. Now let’s take a closer look at the fit and finish of the RC9s. These are the second generations of the S-PHYRE RC9 shoes and Shimano has added more technology, made them lighter and more comfortable. The color I have here is the blue version but it’s also available in white, black, green as well as Aurora. Now the photos of these shoes don’t do it justice as you can see it has an iredescant quality to it so you’ll see shades of purple and other darker shades of blue so a really gorgeous pair of shoes that really matches that premium price point. Now if we look at the sole this is their stiffest competition version sole. It has a stiffness index at 12 but you do have to be careful not to compare that across brands as every brand will measure it differently. This is three bolt compatible so SPD-SL, Look and other cleats. It also has a really cool premium touches, so you can see these little red spacers in there. These are removable and can be adjusted to either bring the cleat connection point down or up. It also isolates some of the noise you typically get when they slide around. You get a lot of measurement points here as well for easy adjustment and repeatability. These shoes also look really unique because they have an external cup design unlike other shoes which have a flat sole. This one actually has a nice texture to it to accommodate arches and you also have a replaceable heel pad here so this can pop off and be replaced. Unlike normal shoes which get pretty worn down, cycling shoes pretty much wear down at the heel and toe as well as the cleat. So if you do a lot of walking this is one point that gets worn down so having a cheap and easy replaceable part is a really nice touch. The upper of these shoes was described as a synthetic leather, it’s also seamless so as you can see it’s a really clean design there’s no real obvious connection points except for near the front here. they also have a bunch of really nice touches so if we look at the heel here you can see it’s a different fabric and this fabric is designed to be like a cat’s tongue. So when you put your heel down it’s really soft but when you pull up on it and has a texture to it which makes it more difficult. This is designed to keep your heel in place especially when you’re on the road. Additionally around the ankle you have this really soft fabric which is another pain point with cycling shoes. As you’re pedaling this can compress in and be a pressure point but with this nice soft material it’s really comfortable to wear. Also the tongue design on this is really unique. Typically with shoes you have a large separate tongue, but with this it’s a very unique design. You have a essentially one piece so the tongue folds in on the inside here. It is a little bit difficult to see but instead of having an entirely separate piece it’s one piece that wraps around. What this does is when you start tightening down the dial the entire shoe compresses in so it feels more like a lace-up shoe. So really comfortable and distributes the tension. Speaking of tension, you get dual IP1 BOA dials. What’s great about these is that they are dual direction so you can easily do micro adjustments to tighten and loosen them which is another really big advantage of having the dials. So if you’re riding you can easily make adjustments, as you do longer miles or if you warm up you pull up to a release full tension so really simple to use. Ventilation wise you get a bunch of perforations all around the front and around the side as well for summer riding. Again with the tongue design you get a very unique kind of strap here so with the top dial you can adjust the strap down to apply tension and then the secondary dial you can really adjust the fi. Now let’s take the shoes on the road, we were really surprised with how comfortable they were despite the stiffness index of 12 which would make you think they’d be really uncomfortable. The nice anatomical fit and the arch supports meant it was really easy to wear and well-supported. Also with the dual dial setup you can easily adjust the tension mid ride, something you can really can not do with laces. Now let’s compare the RC9 versus some other shoes. Here on the far left I have a SIDI Laser, this is about a 7 year old model and as you can see it’s been well used. It has a more bulky ratchet style with dual velcro’s and as you can see the velcro start to wear out and it get dirty with use. Also the upper is a lot more busy with different interfaces and materials. Next we have a pair of $200 Specialized Expert shoes, now these are mid-level and as you can see you don’t get dual dials. With this you get a single BOE dial with dual directions which is nice to have but you get a single velcro on the bottom which makes it a little more difficult to distribute the tension. Again you get a more traditional tongue design here that is a separate piece but you get a more seamless upper design. Now as you go to more modern shoes, here is a FLR FXX shoe which we recently reviewed. It has a seamless upper design with a similar synthetic leather and a lot of venting as well as dual dials. However at $250 this doesn’t come with BOA dials it comes with ATOP dials that are not dual direction so anytime you want to make adjustments it’s a full release rather than micro adjustments and again and has a separate tongue design which can potentially cause some pressure points. [Music] So now let’s give the S-PHYRE RC9 shoes a score now. We’ll go over the design, closures, comfort and value. In terms of design, I would give it an A because of the color-shifting finish. Especially in the blue is really gorgeous and these shoes are really distinctive in appearance. Closure wise another A, the dual direction IP1 dials are really easy to use and give you micro adjustments in both directions and especially with the one-piece upper design you don’t get any folding or any tension points it’s really evenly distributed. Comfort wise as well I would give these an A. These are really nice and form-fitting, and I really like the premium insoles. They give you that custom feel without the cost of a custom insole and especially as someone with arches those additional arch supports made me have a direct power transfer to the bike without any discomfort. Value is a little more controversial. We would give it an A but in terms of pure value is $400 a lot for any shoe and I would definitely point to the RC5 or RC7 if you want something that’s more affordable. However, subjectively I think this definitely is an A. The shoe feels premium, looks premium and it makes you feel fast so you get what you pay for. As a flagship shoe I think it nails everything a flagship shoe should be. Thanks for watching this review, please like and subscribe to support the channel if you like what you saw. You can also see more content from us on our website at thesweetcyclists.com as well as follow us on Instagram at @thesweetcyclists. This is The Sweet Cyclists reminding you to enjoy the ride! [Music]

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