Local shredder Faroz Marzuki takes on the TransNZ with his pair of Specialized 2FO Clip Lite Shoes.
You either have seen the shoes being reviewed online, your friends wearing them or only seen it on display at your local bike shop. Question is, does it really fit into the hype? Is it “The Shoe” or is it just another marketing effort from the big S? As we already know the shoes are no ordinary cycling shoes. It entices the words “trail” and the ever cliché “Enduro”. So in this not so short, sharp and direct to the point review will tell you how it fairs in the recent 5 days race I took part in- Trans NZ Enduro.
Let’s first talk about the looks. (see our initial impressions here) The one being reviewed here is the striking green and you can’t miss it even its 100 metres away. It does not look busy as there are no traditional shoe laces which are replaced by the clean looking BOA S2 Snap System and trapezium strap-on Velcro for securing. The slick curves of the shoes are complemented by the bold cuts of the sole. It certainly does not look like a pair of soccer boots but it has a tinge of skater shoes. The thickness is sufficient enough to give protection yet does not give much weight penalty.
Fitting? Tested shoes were size 42 and it fits perfectly. The norm is, if you get cycling shoes from other brands, especially the Shims, it could be tricky and you have to go one size bigger. The 2FO Clip Lite fitting however, was a breeze. Socks choices determine the overall comfort of the shoes. Thinner socks will compromise the inner comfort. The inner linings are not rich in sponge and if you have sand slipped into the shoes while you’re trying to smash your Strava PRs, guess what? You will feel every grain of that sand inside the shoe and it will be just like toes in the sand or worse, feet rubbing on sand paper. This will not only cost you your Strava KOMs and PRs but also your overall performance on your bike.
It is highly recommended that you opt for slightly thicker socks so as to prevent those nasty grains taking comfort away from you. Comfort is key to better riding experience. With an average of 8 to 9 hours on and off the saddle per day, the shoes does not heat your feet as if you’re going for reflexology with medicated oil. The tongue mesh provides ventilation and makes the shoes breathable.
The shoes are stiff but flexible enough for walking on uneven grounds. However, if you’re planning to push your bikes up a mountain for half an hour or so without stopping, you will have that Achilles moment. So, you should pedal your bike whenever you can. Prolong walking is strongly not encouraged. It is not as if you going to go for a walk in the park in those shoes are you?
If you’re unfamiliar with the format of “Enduro” racing, what you need to know is, there’s a lot of waiting involved. Usually the wait per stage could be 15 minutes or so before you can have your timed descend. You might get uncomfortable and you might want to cut some slack on that tightness off your shoes to let your feet relax. The BOA 2 Snaps allow you to do so and it can be achieved in just a matter of seconds. When you’re next in line to go, just turn the dials like how you turn on/off the volume knobs of a radio. The click sound you hear while turning the knobs gives you the satisfaction as if you are cracking a locker safe.
The wait is real. In New Zealand, the view was to die for. I did not mind waiting every stage in Trans NZ just to enjoy the scenery, walking around taking pictures, selfies and what not.
Let’s touch on protection. How safe is safe? Is 99.9% considered safe?
I almost cut my toe on Day 4, Stage 1 at Alexandra. The rocks were so tricky and the race track was narrow AF. It was dry, rocky and loose gravel everywhere. I was lucky enough that the toe area is reinforced with thicker rubber and I got away with it. The 2FO Clip Lite is so close to being “The Shoe”. It would be perfect if it comes with inner ankle protection. At times, I tend to rub my inner ankles on the crank arms and I can feel the crank arms rubbing vice versa. I can foresee that this may be added in near future.
The “Slip-Not” sole is flat and does have the arch that you often find in XC/Trail shoes. It does not have studs to assist you in walking on steep terrain. You are solely relying on the rubber. Sounds familiar eh? In rocky, loamy, grassy, sandy and frosty, you name it, you can just walk it. On a separate note, if conditions get so muddy and peanut butter grease, you will still slip. Clearing the mud in between the cleats is not a chore. Just perform stomp the yard moves and you will be riding away clipped on.
“There is not a day that I will miss my feet being soaked in the water from the creek.”
Getting wet may not be something that we want but sometimes, it is unavoidable. But on the bright side, this shoes dry up fast! There is not a day that I will miss my feet being soaked in the creek.
“Some people feel the rain, but others get wet.”
5 consecutive days of racing in the mountains of Christchurch and Queenstown, never once it rained. Some stages however, have deliberate crossings of streams and creeks. No matter what we get our shoes wet anyway. There is a saying “Some people feel the rain, but others get wet.” I was having tonnes of fun and getting wet was just part of the joy of riding. It was ice cold at Coronet Park and I was expecting my toes to be numb. Picture above shows me walking on the grass covered with frost. To my surprise, it was just like any other day of riding!
This shoes is designed for trail riding and “Enduro” racing. You can also use it to ride park, which I did on the last day at Queenstown Skyline “Huck Yeah” line. It is RAD. With the roots bucking, rocks smashing, soil roosting underneath my legs, not once that I felt the shoes were failing me. It gave me the support where I needed and where I need to hold on to my lines while descending at about 35-40km/h.
In conclusion, my take for this shoes is a must get. I know some of you may not be a fan of the big S and are not riding their bikes. Branding aside, this stuff works. It is retailing at SGD270 and it is not cheap. Some of it’s features are the best in the business and its shape and silhouette gives you the modern, updated mountain biker, or should I say “Enduro”, racer image. The pedal contact efficiency is spot on and it is definitely a great improvement over the previous version of 2FO. So Foot Out, Flat Out.
Words & Photos by Faroz Marzoki.