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Ride Concepts Men's Transition Review

Ample foot protection for burly descents in a durable, comfortable package
Ride Concepts Men's Transition
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Price:  $160 List | $80.00 at Amazon
Compare prices at 4 resellers
Pros:  Super protective, comfortable fit, solid foot-pedal connection
Cons:  Heavy, not the best hiking traction
Manufacturer:   Ride Concepts
By Zach Wick ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 6, 2020
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80
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 18
  • Power Transfer - 20% 8.0
  • Comfort - 25% 9.0
  • Traction Walkability - 25% 8.0
  • Weight - 15% 4.0
  • Durability - 15% 10.0

Our Verdict

The Ride Concepts Transition is a beefy, yet well-rounded shoe that offers everything gravity-oriented riders need, and it is our Top Pick for Clipless Gravity Riders. With strategically-positioned D3O padding in the insole and the upper as well as rock-solid toe and heel cups, these shoes are designed to keep your feet safe in technical conditions. While wearing the Transition, we noticed a distinct increase in our confidence pedaling through technical terrain full of toe-biting boulders. The impressive protection combined with Transition's comfortable fit, snappy power transfer, and durable construction form a balanced product. While they're a little bit on the heavy side, the complete package and reasonable price tag make these shoes a great candidate for an aggressive trail, enduro, or downhill rider's daily driver.

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Super protective, comfortable fit, solid foot-pedal connectionStealth rubber soles, excellent power transfer, significantly lighter than previous version, great toe and heel protectionLightweight, reasonable price, good power transfer, comfortableLightweight, reasonable price, casual style, great blend of pedaling stiffness and walkabilityInexpensive, comfortable, great off the bike
Cons Heavy, not the best hiking tractionNo medial ankle protection, short break-in periodMinimal foot protection, not great for walking, smaller cleat adjustment rangeRoomy fit in the forefoot, not the best lateral stabilityMinimal protection, limited cleat adjustment, below average power transfer
Bottom Line Ample foot protection for burly descents in a durable, comfortable packageAwesome power transfer, foot protection, and off the bike traction with a mid-pack weight that expands this gravity shoe's appeal to trail ridersA quality shoe that offers high-end cross-country performance at a reasonable priceAn affordable, lightweight, casual-looking trail riding shoe with good power transfer and off the bike walkabilityA well-rounded, budget-friendly option that's just as comfortable off the bike as it is on
Rating Categories Ride Concepts Men's... Five Ten Hellcat Pro Scott MTB Team Boa Specialized 2FO Roo... Giro Gauge
Power Transfer (20%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
Comfort (25%)
9.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
8.0
Traction Walkability (25%)
8.0
8.0
6.0
9.0
10.0
Weight (15%)
4.0
7.0
10.0
10.0
7.0
Durability (15%)
10.0
10.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
Specs Ride Concepts Men's... Five Ten Hellcat Pro Scott MTB Team Boa Specialized 2FO Roo... Giro Gauge
Closure Laces and Powerstrap Laces plus wide velcro strap Boa iP-1 dial, plus velcro strap Laces Laces
Measured Weight (per shoe) 547 grams 452 grams 359 grams 375 grams 452 grams
Size Tested 43.5 10 (44) 44 43.5 45
Width Options Regular Regular Regular Regular Regular
Upper Material Welded Microfiber Upper Synthetic with DWR Synthetic Polyurethane, 3D Airmesh Synthetic Leather and Textile Synchwire on-piece composite
Footbed D30 High Impact Insole Five Ten padded foam ErgoLogic Specialized Body Geometry Die-cut EVA
Sole RC Powerdrive Nylon Shank 3/4 length Dual-density TPU shank/Compression-molded EVA Nylon/Glass Fiber Composite Stiff Lollipop nylon composite plate Injected nylon shank
Outsole Rubber Kinetics DST 8.0 Mid Grip Rubber Stealth Marathon StickiRubber SlipNot FG Rubber outsole

Our Analysis and Test Results

Ride Concepts likely isn't the first brand that pops into your head when considering a new pair of riding shoes. Founded in 2018, they're fresh faces in the mountain bike industry, but they've quickly gained a footing (pun intended). They've partnered with Atherton racing along with countless other high profile mountain bike athletes to help develop their shoes and get the brand out there. When we slipped out feet into our test pair of Transition's, we quickly learned why so many athletes swear by them. They're stiff but walkable, super comfortable, and highly protective in all the right places. Top that off with an easy-access cleat box, and these shoes had us going foot out, flat out in no time.

Performance Comparison


The sleek, no-frills design is built to last and kept our toes safe...
The sleek, no-frills design is built to last and kept our toes safe throughout testing.
Credit: Ian Stowe

Power Transfer


For a shoe with added insole cushion and good walkability, the Transition provides incredible power transfer. We rated this model right up there with some of the snappy XC shoes that we tested. The sole packs the Ride Concepts RC PowerDrive nylon shank and a sturdy Rubber Kinetics outsole. The cleat box is wider than most at 40 millimeters and provides a solid pedal-to-shoe connection as well as a wide front-to-back cleat mounting range to suit riders' preference.

Out on the trail, we were super impressed with the Transition's power input. When you stand up to lay the power down, the sole provides a solid platform with no noticeable flex laterally or fore and aft. On long, grinding climbs, you don't get the soul-crushing feeling that you're losing power to the shoe's flex, and on the way back down the D3O insole inserts absorb trail chatter and keep you from feeling like your feet are on boards. These shoes definitely don't feel quite as snappy as a carbon-soled XC race shoe, but you can feel their racer pedigree when you're laying down the power.

The wide cleat box and nylon sole shank ensure that your power...
The wide cleat box and nylon sole shank ensure that your power translates directly into the pedals.
Credit: Ian Stowe

Comfort


The Transition was one of the most comfortable shoes in our test. Ample padding in the upper around the heel cup and ankle makes it feel like you're slipping your foot into a nice cozy bed when you put them on. The insole features D3O impact-absorbing inserts under the forefoot and heel that help mitigate trail chatter and big impacts and provide a little bit of extra squish for hike-a-bikes. The welded microfiber upper has breathable mesh sections to keep your feet cool. Under the tongue are full-length gussets along the sides of the shoe that add to its snug fit and keep dust and rocks out.

The fit is generally average with just a little bit less width in the forefoot than average, but after a quick adjustment of the laces, even our wide-footed tester was happy. Most foot shapes should be able to adjust these shoes to their liking.

A combination of laces and a D3O power strap make finding the right tension across the top of the foot reasonably easy. This is a standard closure system for gravity-oriented shoes, and we've found that it works well for the application. While they don't provide the quick, on-the-fly adjustability of many of the XC shoes we tested, you can always crank down the power strap over the top of the foot in a pinch. Mid-race shoe adjustments in downhill or enduro races are uncommon, however. We found that on long rides, the Transition didn't take much adjusting to keep our feet happy. We took these out for a few big days and never ran into any issues with hotspots or discomfort.

A little bit of flex in the toe box makes hiking manageable.
A little bit of flex in the toe box makes hiking manageable.
Credit: Ian Stowe

Traction and Walkability


As far as mountain bike shoes go, the Transition is super walkable. In the inevitable instance that you have to hop off your bike and hoof it, the toe box flexes enough to allow for relatively normal, comfortable walking. The rocker at the front of the sole helps roll your foot past the stiff nylon midsole and onto the more flexible toe section. They're not exactly the shoes we would want to take on a backpacking trip, but for quick jaunts over rocks or scrambles up loose hillsides, they perform admirably.

The Rubber Kinetics Mid Grip outsole features low-profile, hexagonal tread knobs that provide traction in a variety of conditions. The tread pattern is very similar to a few other gravity shoes, including the Giro Chamber II. We found that this tread works best in the dry and can handle everything from loose dust to hardpack. The Transition's rubber compound isn't super tacky or pliable, but it gets the job done in most situations and should be very durable. We learned the hard way (by falling on our faces when hiking back up to re-ride trail sections) to avoid steep, muddy slopes with this tread pattern. We had the same issue with the Chamber II.

They're heavy, but they don't feel cumbersome or distracting on the...
They're heavy, but they don't feel cumbersome or distracting on the trail.
Credit: Ian Stowe

Weight


The Transition's weight doesn't stack up particularly well against the competition, and this is the only metric that we had to ding this model in a bit. Ride Concepts' claimed weight for this model is 505 grams for a size 10, and our size 10.5 test pair came in at 547 grams per shoe according to the kitchen scale. That puts these shoes right up with the heaviest models we tested, including the notoriously-beefy FiveTen Hellcat Pro and roughly 100 grams heavier than some of the lighter enduro/trail shoes we tested.

For a gravity-oriented, protective shoe like the Transition, a high weight is expected, and, if we're being honest, it is not the end of the world. For aggressive trail, enduro, and downhill riding, a little bit of extra heft isn't a deal-breaker, especially when it comes with the added protection that the Transition provides. We didn't find these shoes noticeably heavy on our feet, and we enjoyed the peace of mind that comes with a guard from rock strikes and crash impacts. Putting in a couple of pedal strokes through a technical section is a lot less daunting when you're not worried about smashing your toes. That said, riders who are looking to shave weight anywhere they can may want to look elsewhere.

These shoes took a beating in testing and look none the worse for...
These shoes took a beating in testing and look none the worse for wear.
Credit: Ian Stowe

Durability


We think the Transition is an impressively well put together product, and we gave it our highest rating for durability. Ride Concepts' founders started the company seeking to ride every day, and we think they built a product that can stand up to that level of use. We put these shoes through the wringer during testing, with countless hours of riding and a fair bit of hiking. The majority of our testing for this model took place in the winter, so there was no shortage of wet, muddy days. Through all of that, our test shoes came out the other side looking none the worse for wear.

The Transition is made up of long-lasting materials. With a simple lace and strap closure system, you won't have to worry about Boas failing or ratchets wearing out over time. The laces are thick and strong, and they're easily replaceable if they break somewhere down the line. The sole's high-durometer rubber sacrifices slightly in traction but should last ages. The welded microfiber upper is easy to clean and abrasion-resistant, and our test model's seams show no signs of giving up any time soon.

Value


With a mid-pack price tag and long-lasting, protective construction, we think the Transition packs a ton of value. They're far from the lightest shoe on the market, but they provide peace of mind when rumbling through rock gardens. Combine that with their comfort and durable construction, and we can't help but recommend them as a daily driver. Anyone looking for a pair of shoes that they can use every day, in any weather, without fear of failure should take a hard look at the Transition.

Looking to keep your feet safe in the rough stuff? These are the...
Looking to keep your feet safe in the rough stuff? These are the shoes for you.
Credit: Ian Stowe

Conclusion


Ride Concepts delivers on their "ride every day" mantra with the Transition. We found everything we were looking for in this beefy, gravity-oriented shoe. We won't recommend these shoes for riders looking to cut weight and PR climbs, but anyone looking to go fast downhill will feel right at home in these. The combination of impressive power transfer, comfort, foot protection, and durability make these a great option for gravity crowd.

Zach Wick
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