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Ride Concepts Hellion - Women's Review

An ultra stiff and durable shoe with a no-slip grip and an impact absorbing midsole
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $130 List | $129.95 at Competitive Cyclist
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Good grip, very good power transfer, stiff, durable
Cons:  A bit heavier than other comparable shoes we tested, breathability is lacking in hot and humid conditions
Manufacturer:   Ride Concepts
By Tara Reddinger-Adams ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jul 16, 2020
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81
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 8
  • Grip - 30% 8
  • Comfort and Protection - 25% 8
  • Rigidity and Power Transfer - 20% 9
  • Breathability - 10% 7
  • Durability - 10% 9
  • Weight - 5% 6

Our Verdict

The Ride Concepts Hellion impressed our testers with its exceptional power transfer, rigidity, and no-slip grip. However, we did find that making micro-adjustments on our pedals was a bit harder due to the stickiness of the DST 6.0 High Grip rubber. We are fans of the lower volume, less bulky fit of the Hellion, which paired with the incredibly rigid sole helps to transfer power to the pedals. The synthetic upper is both durable and protective, making it an excellent choice for a variety of trail. As with many shoes that are protective, the breathability is good, but less than ideal in hot and humid conditions.

Overall, the Hellion performs very well on the bike and competes with the top-performing shoes in our review, making it a Top Pick.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

Ride Concepts is a relative newcomer to the mountain bike shoe market, and the Ride Concepts Hellion is not only the company's lightest weight shoe, but is made to "excel in wet and gnarly" conditions. While not as light as other similar shoes we tested, the Hellion fell into the middle of our pack for weight, but additional features such as a two-panel, anti-peel synthetic upper and gusseted tongue that resist dirt and moisture, make it a good choice for riding in less than ideal conditions. The DST6.0 outsole has some of the grippest rubber in our testing, and while it inspires confidence, it also makes micro-adjustments on the pedals a bit more difficult. Above the DST6.0 outsole is a midsole and footbed, which features D30 impact zones that work well to dissipate vibrations from the trail and reduce foot fatigue.

The fit of the Hellion is a bit less bulky, and lower volume than traditional mountain bike shoes, which we feel helps with power transfer to the pedals. Overall, our testers were very impressed with the Hellion's performance in nearly every metric, earning it our Top Pick Award.

Performance Comparison


There is a lot to like about this shoe  we just wish it was a little lighter weight and more breathable.
There is a lot to like about this shoe, we just wish it was a little lighter weight and more breathable.

Grip


The Ride Concepts Hellion features Rubber Kinetics DST 6.0 High Grip Rubber outsole, which is some of the grippiest rubber we tested and features a hexagon pattern, providing ample space for pedal pins to embed themselves in the rubber.


We found that once you plant your foot on the pedal that your shoe is stuck. This is confidence-inspiring on steep climbs, jumps, and drops. However, it is harder to make micro-adjustments to your foot position on the pedal without lifting your foot up. This is something our testers prefer not to do, and favor a compound that better allows for micro-adjustments.

The outsole is made of DST 6.0 High Grip rubber which grips the pedals exceptionally well.
The outsole is made of DST 6.0 High Grip rubber which grips the pedals exceptionally well.

During our testing we noticed the Hellion did not grip broken or worn pins as well as some other models we tested. Once, we replaced pins, issues with our foot slipping went away.

Comfort and Protection


We discovered the sizing of the Hellions to be different when compared to other brands, with an EU40 translating to a US9, instead of a US8.5 which is more common.


The Hellion was comfortable after the initial break-in period. Early on, we had some issues with the shoe rubbing the widest part of our right foot, but after wearing the shoes four times or so, they stretched out and the rubbing went away.

We found the upper crease right behind our toes on longer hike-a-bikes.
We found the upper crease right behind our toes on longer hike-a-bikes.

The Hellion does not have a lot of volume or width, meaning it wraps your foot more than older and bulkier style mountain bike shoes. This decreased volume and width makes the shoe feel like more of an extension of the foot and aids in power transfer (more on this later). At the ankle, there is additional padding that helps to secure the ankle in place as well as protect it. During hike-a-bikes, we did not experience heel lift while wearing the Hellions.

Here we're giving our shoes a little hike-a-bike test on a limestone outcropping. Overall  the DST 6.0 rubber grips very on rocky hike-a-bikes.
Here we're giving our shoes a little hike-a-bike test on a limestone outcropping. Overall, the DST 6.0 rubber grips very on rocky hike-a-bikes.

The uppers of the Hellion are a two-panel, anti-peel synthetic material and have a gusseted tongue that is stiff and resists impacts from trail debris while helping repel dirt and moisture. Rounding out the Hellion's protection is an insole with D30 impact protection at the heel and forefoot. Our testers find the D30 to mitigate trail impacts reasonably well but must say that other shoes performed slightly better.

Here you can see the orange D30 impact protection embedded into the shoes footbed. These areas help to dissipate impacts before the reach your foot.
Here you can see the orange D30 impact protection embedded into the shoes footbed. These areas help to dissipate impacts before the reach your foot.

Rigidity and Power Transfer


The Hellion is one of the stiffest shoes we tested, and our testers find it to have excellent power transfer. An ultra-stiff midsole and outsole paired with the shoes' low volume fit work to provide good power transfer and pedaling efficiency. However, the Hellion weighs a bit more than other shoes we tested (of similar stiffness), and we notice the extra weight make the Hellion's harder to spin the cranks with, especially on fast cross-country laps.


With such a stiff and rigid sole, it is difficult to feel the pedal underfoot, which depending on your preference, can be a positive or a negative. Our testers prefer a fairly stiff sole that transfers power well. In a side by side comparison, we found Hellion to have the best power transfer of the shoes we tested, earning it high marks.

Frequently  we wore two different shoes to really be able to judge the small differences between them. Here we're testing the shoes power transfer as we prepare for a rooty climb.
Frequently, we wore two different shoes to really be able to judge the small differences between them. Here we're testing the shoes power transfer as we prepare for a rooty climb.

Breathability


On hot  humid days it seemed none of our shoes breathed very well  which is a trade off for protection.
On hot, humid days it seemed none of our shoes breathed very well, which is a trade off for protection.

A common thread we found throughout our testing is that the more protection a shoe has, the less breathable it is in general. This holds true for the Hellion and similar shoes we tested.


The two-panel, anti-peel upper has a lot of perforations and decent airflow but is less than ideal hot or humid conditions. The perforations at the shoes mid-foot help with ventilation, but we would like to see a bit more breathability. Our testers found our feet were sweating while riding, even with lightweight wicking socks, however this was on a 90-degree day.

Here you can really see the differences in the midsole and forefoot  the Five Ten (upper) has no mid-foot ventilation  yet has a reinforced midsole. The Ride Concepts (bottom) in contrast  has a thinner midsole and perforations along the mid-foot for ventilation.
Here you can really see the differences in the midsole and forefoot, the Five Ten (upper) has no mid-foot ventilation, yet has a reinforced midsole. The Ride Concepts (bottom) in contrast, has a thinner midsole and perforations along the mid-foot for ventilation.

Durability


After a few months of testing the Ride Concepts Hellion still look new, the uppers and outsole are free from scratches, knicks, or cuts. As advertised, they are built with durability in mind. However, we will say we are not particularly "hard" on our gear, and tend not to crash, and only wear our shoes while riding, not to and from the trailhead or out for post-ride beverages.


Unlike most round laces, the laces on the Hellion actually stay laced, something we greatly appreciate. However, they are a tad long and extend to the toe box even when secured by the lace retainer and could be shorter.

The laces are a tad long as shown here  even with a double knot they still extended down past the first lace. Thankfully  the tongue has a lace retainer to keep them out of the chainring.
The laces are a tad long as shown here, even with a double knot they still extended down past the first lace. Thankfully, the tongue has a lace retainer to keep them out of the chainring.

The anti-abrasion texture on the toe and heel does a good job at resisting scratches as do the shoes two-panel synthetic upper. One thing we do like about the tongue of the Hellion is that it is gusseted, helping prevent debris from entering the shoe. Overall, our testers feel the Hellion is designed with durability in mind and should last the rider a few seasons.

We were impressed with how well our shoes held up over testing  showing no signs of wear except for dirt.
We were impressed with how well our shoes held up over testing, showing no signs of wear except for dirt.

Weight


The Hellion comes in at 736 grams per pair for a EU40 or US9 women's. While not the heaviest shoe we reviewed, it is 120 grams heavier than a very similar shoe we reviewed and that weight can be felt over time while pedaling.


The Hellion weighs in at 736 grams per pair for a EU40  or US9 womens.
The Hellion weighs in at 736 grams per pair for a EU40, or US9 womens.

Value


The Hellion is an exceptional shoe for the dollar and is on par with pricing with other similar shoes, and outperforms many at its price point, making it a great purchase decision.

Conclusion


The Hellion was easily one of the best performing and most comfortable shoes we reviewed and was a contender for Editors' Choice. However, when taking into account all factors, including breathability, we felt some shoes were a better overall package. The Hellion is a very good shoe and should be considered by anyone looking to purchase a new flat pedal shoe. The power transfer, grip, comfort, and durability all earned high marks in their respective metrics, earning it a Top Pick award.

We were impressed with the shoes overall performance on the bike and it outperformed many shoes at a similar or more expensive price point.
We were impressed with the shoes overall performance on the bike and it outperformed many shoes at a similar or more expensive price point.

Tara Reddinger-Adams