Bontrager Rolls Out New Shoes, Tires and Helmet - Crankworx Whistler 2017

Aug 18, 2017
by Vernon Felton  
Bontrager Crankworx

Bontrager has rolled up to Crankworx toting a hefty bundle of new product including several new tires, their first set of flat pedal shoes and a new helmet. Let's start with the rubber. Bontrager will soon offer their SE4 and XR4 Team Issue tubeless-ready tire in both 27.5 and 29x2.6, 27.5x2.8 and 29x3.0 tires.

The 3.0 tires are obviously aimed at backcountry riders and the 2.8-inch models are geared to the plus-size crowd. What about the 2.6-inch tires? How much demand is there for the plus-curious, 2.6-inch variety?

"We’re seeing a definite increase in demand for 2.6," says Bontrager's hard goods manager, Alex Applegate. "Very much so. It’s one of those things that people can look at and go, ‘Well, I have a 2.4, I can see where you are going with this.' But 2.6 is still an early adopter kind of product, for sure. People who are trying them out on their current bike have to check their fork and chainstay clearances. But at the end of the day, we all want comfort, compliance and more traction. If you like all those things…why not? At least give it a try."

The new Bontrager tires will be available soon.

Bontrager Crankworx

Bontrager's apparel line has been growing by leaps and bounds of late. Still, I have to admit to being surprised by this most recent addition: the Line Pro flat-pedal shoe. R-Dog (Ryan Howard) played a role in developing the shoe, which features reinforced eyelets, a sticky Vibram sole, a lace keeper and a thermowelded "gnar guard" toe cap. Is there a clipless pedal version as well?

"Not yet," says Applegate. "It’s one thing at a time. We wanted to make sure we got this right before we jumped into that."

Bontrager Crankworx
Getting it right, says Applegate, included experimenting with a wide range of EVA foam padding arrangements--to try and nail just the right balance of flexibility and cushioning--and dialing in the texture of the sole, to maximize grip, yet still allow for on-the-fly foot repositioning. Did Bontrager actually succeed? Who the hell knows. We'll get a pair in for testing and find out for ourselves. Flat pedals and flat pedal shoes often get dismissed as low-brow, unsophisticated products; they are anything but. This is not an easy category to jump into. It'll be interesting to see how Trek's in-house brand fares here. The Line Pro is available in three colorways.


Bontrager Crankworx

The new Rally MIPS helmet is essentially the love child of Bontrager's current Lithos and Rally helmets. The Rally MIPS features, no surprise, a MIPS slip plane. It is, however, also a good 40 grams lighter than the current Lithos--largely due to the new Blend'r light and POV camera attachment system.
This new version of Blend'r relies on a magnet embedded in the EPS foam. The light snaps right in place and though you might imagine that a magnet wouldn't be strong enough to keep a GoPro or Bontrager's Ion light in place over rocky terrain, the company claims that it won't shake loose.

Bontrager did, however, spend a lot of time fiddling with different magnets to ensure that the attachment will detach from the helmet should you happen to smack your light or camera into a low-hanging branch. Getting "clotheslined", in other words, shouldn't be an issue here. The new $139 Rally MIPS is also better ventilated than its predecessor and features a Boa fit adjuster.

Bontrager Crankworx



108 Comments

  • 71 6
 No matter how many brands release shoes these days, do they grip as much as FiveTens? If not, I just don't see myself buying any of them, whether they're the latest Specialized, Ion, Bontrager, ...

Sometimes I see the argument "they don't grip as much to allow you to reposition the foot", I'm sorry but that's just a "solution" to a non-existing problem (I'd call that marketing bs but ... Smile ). My FiveTens grip enough that even with half the foot on it, I'll easily finish my run, or long enough to find a safe spot to reposition. On the other hand, I would definitely hate my feet bouncing off the pedals because of a lack of grip...
  • 15 2
 Hey look on the bright side - when (not if) they're in the bargain bin, I don't mind paying £25 for not-quite-the-best grip
  • 50 1
 @IllestT: Vibram has the rubber to compete if they choose to, their climbing shoe rubber is just as good as 5.10.

Really want to see a La Sportiva shoe for flat pedals!
  • 2 0
 @feeblesmith: f*ck yeah how about a co lab
  • 6 0
 @feeblesmith: I am with you on that. I climb in both 5.10's and Sportivas and have wondered before why is it that the Italians have not jumped on the flat-pedal shoe bandwagon. They make plenty of mountaineering and approach shoes, so the know-how must be there. Perhaps flat-pedal shoes are more fringe than we think!
  • 11 3
 most difficult thing for shoe companies to get right for me, is sole thickness. supportive enough that my foot doesnt fold over the back of the pedal too much but, still thin enough to feel the pedal. NO ONE has it perfect so far, not even 5ten
  • 2 2
 @feeblesmith: Climbing rubber is not as soft as the bike shoe rubber... I asked already a shoe maker in Holland to rebuild my 5.10's with climbing rubber... he told me that...
  • 1 1
 On Pumptracks and Dirtlines I really don't like too much grip. If I go into the line and my foot is placed wrong I want to reposition it easily. For me Five Tens and Premium Plastic Pedals with Plastic Pins is nearly perfect. Works only with clean shoes and as long as it's dry, but that's fine for Dirt.
  • 3 0
 Half a run on half a pedal? Not super fun.
I don't know man, i switched to five tens having used all sorts of skate shoes in the past and do get a little annoyed when I can't reposition quickly cos they're gripping too hard. But like everything else, you get used to it and adjust. Funny thing is i feel like I'm trying to unclip when simply putting my foot back in the right place. I'm considering shortening my pins as a result (10 mm terror pins).
  • 3 2
 5.10s are the best but the rubber gets harder in time leveling out with other offerings. It used to be better in the old days but these times, Impact VXII was amazing for a year, really god for snother, now it's not much better than my skate or approach shoe with vibram.
  • 5 1
 @WAKIdesigns: try washing them
  • 1 3
 @savmeister: my 5.10s? Haven't found anything peculiar...
  • 2 1
 @nojzilla: u hit this right on the nail. been riding my 5.10 freerider but last weekend took it on a pretty rocky trail with a 6 miles Dh section (Reddish Knob). Ran it twice and the bottom of my foot was sore till wednesday. This is something I've never felt before. The sole provides awesome feel but is just too thin for fast tech runs. I have the Giro jkt that i've worn on this trail with no problem with soreness but the "feel" just wasn't there. Actually going to try shimano, specialized and these new bontrager and hopefully find something
  • 7 0
 @Vutt73: I've had the exact opposite experience with my Freerides: stiff, solid feeling but not much feel, even on fast tech stuff. And I have delicate lady feet. Shows the value of anecdotal evidence.
  • 1 0
 @BenPea: There are different Freerider models.
Freerider Pro for example has a stiffer sole, some havena softer.
  • 1 0
 @santoman: Hello fellow climber! I do agree too about vibram rubber is really good even on approach and high altitudes boots
  • 2 0
 @Vutt73: The Bontrager's have additional support built in. The PM told me they were working pretty hard with the foam to find something that would give, but not compact over time. I have yet to ride a pair, but it's promising. I'm put them up against my 5:10 Contacts and let ya know.
  • 1 0
 @Vutt73: I got some specialized 2FO's an they Hella thick no pedal feel at all but, just as grippy as 5ten. Also the toe box is super hard. I don't ever want to stub a toe in them! Zero give
  • 1 0
 @nojzilla: Then again, if you're feeling the need for more support, try Catalyst pedals. They look a bit weird being so long, but damn, they sure have worked for me.
  • 3 0
 @WAKIdesigns: My VXIs are about a year old right now, lots of use. I don't detect so much the rubber losing its flex/grip, as it just getting chewed up (which, functionally, also lessens grip) - so I'm about to replace them. That said - looking at hours on the bike and how critical the whole shoe/pedal interface is, and looking at other technical footwear and how quickly it wears out (as runners or tennis players or basketball players how long their stuff lasts - they're constantly cycling through new shoes), I can't get myself to complain too loudly.
  • 2 0
 The only good thing IMO about 5tens are the soles. Really boxy fit, outer material is so stiff it doesn't form to your feet at all, soles start coming loose within months, take ages to dry etc etc. Last year I bought new 5tens and trailrunning shoes (Asics Fuji attack 5) and I was taken aback how crude the tens felt, almost like a work boot.
  • 4 0
 When I saw the picture of the shoes I thought it was the new 2FO flats from Specialized.
  • 4 0
 The best of both world and specific flat pedals shoes: Adidas trail cross SL !

5.10 stealth sole with a wayyyyy more comfort, quality materials and build than 5.10 ! For the same price...

PINKBIKE we want a review now !
  • 1 0
 @Brightside: yeah i should probably have kept that in mind. They're Elements. Thicker soles?
  • 1 0
 @santoman: There is literally tens of dollars to make in mtn biking. Plus how many people would actually put their money where their mouth is and buy a pair of flat pedal shoes "Made in Italy"? How many people do you see riding in OWN shoes? It would be nice to see hit the market but I don't think it's realistic. It's kinda like the ski vs. snowboard boot thing; high end ski boots are made in Italy, high end snowboard boots are made in China.
  • 1 0
 @feeblesmith: Maybe they have different compounds, but the Vibram rubber on my Giro Jackets lasted less than 6 months.
  • 1 0
 "to maximize grip, yet still allow for on-the-fly foot repositioning" is marketing jargon for being worse than stealth rubber. Another phrase commonly used by marketing to say their grip sucks is "greater durability"
  • 1 0
 I'm excited, they look very promising. I haven't been totally satisfied with either 5Ten or my current 2F0's.
  • 4 0
 @WAKIdesigns: "3 year old shoes". If your shoes aren't totally blown in 2 years you should ride more and type less.
  • 1 0
 @10feetover: crimp on!
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: never had a 510 rubber get harder in 15 years..u have weird feet
  • 2 0
 @JustinVP: Oh Jesus, you mind taking a twist to the story where I have 3 pairs of shoes and change between flats and clipless? Also I am 36, I am old enough to not give a flying crap about "if I ride often enough". I leave it to organized parties of obsessive Strava loggers and people who need to posts pics from every ride...

@crag222 - that was indeed the case with older 5.10. I still have first Guide Teenies which are still grippy as hell, Impact Lows that I bought in 2010 served for like 5 years. But Impacts VXii are nowhere near as durable.
  • 1 0
 @gonecoastal: for sure the la Sportiva guys do not go into the flat-pedal shoe business because they do not think it is profitable, that was precisely my point. I do find it interesting, though, that obviously manufacturing climbing shoes in Italy (or in the USA in 5.10's case) is a viable business. I would buy a pair of La Sportiva mtb shoes, BTW.Specially if they were made in Italy!
  • 2 0
 I'm willing to give these shoes a shot to see if they're as good as my Freeriders. I like to give my lbs some business vs the internet, and you can't beat the 30 day satisfaction bontrager guarantee!
  • 1 0
 @Nathan6209: Thanks Nathan. Would very much appreciate that
  • 1 0
 Ma@BenPea: I have the lowest plain jane freerider model. Sole very thin i can feel the pins. Maybe you have a different freerider model like the pro?
  • 1 0
 @Vutt73: Elements they are
  • 19 2
 One of these days a company is going to release a flat-pedal shoe without laces and it's going to break the internet. And on that day I will buy those shoes. Until then I suppose Shimano AM7s will do.
  • 1 0
 I thought so too,but they don't,i have to adjust me feet every 30 seconds and i'm riding with this www.vitalmtb.com/product/guide/Flat-Pedals,20/FUNN/Python,15814#product-specs Wink
  • 7 0
 A BOA lace flat shoe is not unreasonable, plenty of companies are using them for running sneakers as well as road shoes.
  • 3 0
 Couldn't agree more ! ...I have tried gluing five ten soles onto my 'velcro' shimano DX and am7's...
  • 3 0
 Seraph...my comment is for you
  • 1 3
 @serah, 5.10 Kestrel lite has undersole grippier than anything out there, just don't use cleats...and maybe break the bank. But I hear you
  • 1 1
 @Aikata: the pins don't look grippy tbh.
Best gripping pedal in my books: www.superstarcomponents.com/en/nano-x-pedals.htm
  • 3 0
 @nyhc00: I've been looking for flats with BOA ever since I tried my first pair of shoes with BOA (Bontrager for clipless pedals).

Would love to see some.
  • 3 0
 @evildos: I think you'll see a BOA flat and clip-less version from the big B relatively soon. IMHO I think it should have been released with BOA from the get go.
  • 2 0
 @Nathan6209: Well that's a good news. I wish they released them before I had to change my shoes.
However, I'm pretty pleased with them, probably the best 5.10 I tried (freerider pro)
  • 3 0
 If I wear velcro shoes do I need to wear a camel back fanny pack?
  • 1 2
 Spend $5 and get a pair of no tie laces from Amazon, tadaa!
  • 1 0
 @colincolin: They are grippy as f...ck when i'm whit the 5.10s,whit the Shimanos there is non Wink
  • 7 0
 "...a lace keeper..."
ARE YOU BLOODY LISTENING 5:10?!
I love my EPS Highs - OK they're not as waterproof as you'd think, but they're warm (but not too warm in the summer), supportive, give perfect pedal feel, brilliant grip, saved my toes several times, are super comfy, and have stayed intact. But for the love of the baby jeheebus, I'm so tired of having to tuck the laces! It's a small detail, but so simple to solve, even my cheap and cheerful AM5s have a strap to tuck the laces behind.
  • 3 0
 I guess with the death of bashguards this is an issue again... My suggestion? Go back in time.
  • 2 0
 ive got imacpt XVIs and Impacts and theyve both got lace keepers soz bro
  • 1 0
 A 510 ambassador laughed at me when I said something about a lace strap in a comment on here. Said that there is no market for it, funny how there's no market when it doesn't exist anywhere!
  • 3 0
 Adidas terrex trail cross has small elastic straps for lace keepers that work great. So simple, so usefull.
  • 1 0
 @andnyleswillriot: any product Ambassador that laughs at a consumer should be fired. Unless you told him a really good joke. Something maybe like five tens are better than shimano's.
  • 2 0
 @feeblesmith:

Also specy 2fo has this strap
  • 1 0
 @properp: couldn't agree more! Just some tight ass with an instagram account, I didn't take it to heart haha
  • 1 0
 Yes, i love the rubber band for laces on my Ion Raid_Amps. That should be standard on any bike shoe with laces. Also, i'd like to see flat pedal shoes with BOA or large velcro strap.
  • 1 0
 #firstworldproblems
  • 10 0
 Plus curious... I'll add that to my politically correct vocabulary list.
  • 10 0
 If they sell tires with "Prototype" label, they will make a fortune.
  • 2 0
 You can order heat transfer labels for your tires online to say whatever you want.
  • 7 0
 Is there really a demand for 2.6" tyres or is there just a demand for tyres that actually measure up at the width they claim to be. So will a 2.6" tyre finally be as big as a Schwalbe 2.35"
  • 3 0
 YES I want 2.6 so bad, I've been saying they would make them over 2 years ago I got a few sets on Backorder, and a SE4 3.0 for my Stache
  • 1 0
 2.6 is important for people trying out plus, but also for riders who started out on plus and are now ready to ride different terrain or more aggressively than before, and dont want to invest in a different wheelset.
  • 1 0
 @j-t-g: Naaa.. you can ride as aggressive as you want on 3.0's, the industry just has to make concessions to bring the slower adopters on board.
  • 6 0
 Vibram has the knowledge to make better than 5.10 but the question is that business interesting for vibram? Maybe a big oem for bontrager is a beginning...

5.10 at now make better grip soles on the market but the shoes are far from the quality of a italian hiking shoe like la sportiva.. scarpa... and others

Try to walk or pedal many hours and your feet will scream...stop!!!

The gravity shoes market is blocked by a "must have skate look" and a poor design and quality.. and the prices are very high for this...

5.10 don't make a really waterproof shoes... is crazy... you can buy a fantastic goretex la sportiva for same price..
  • 2 2
 Vibram is a extrange company.
Very few brands still do the hard job that is developing your own rubber, and even tho 90% of mid/high end approach shoes use Vibram, 5.10 is still the boss in grip terms. But in rock climbing shoes, where grip REALLY matters, Vibram just killed it and there's no difference, all that people cares about now is the fit.
  • 3 0
 @ismasan: Vibram sticky rubber is right up there with 5.10. It looks like this new tread design is more on par with 5.10's tread design which is smart. IMO, the best tread for flat pedals is 'no tread' so the pedal pins can push deep into the rubber. My favorite shoes are the 5.10 Xvi freeriders which have a totally smooth flat surface where they interface with the pedal. The grip is insane.
  • 6 0
 If they want my top tip for shoes, there should be some sort of inner ankle protection on bike shoes.
  • 1 1
 5.10 high top impacts
  • 7 0
 Adidas Terrex Protect or whatever they're called, same rubber as 5.10 in a stronger, more supportive and lighter package.
  • 1 0
 @Waldon83: high tops make you look like a soldier. No thanks
  • 2 1
 @andnyleswillriot: Oh yeah, I forgot I always see all those soldiers wearing Troy Lee Pajamas.
Function over fashion mate
  • 3 0
 I'd like to see some flats shoes with a bit more tread all along the edges for hiking traction during those times you gotta hike...
  • 1 0
 Bontrager thank you for finally stepping up the width on your team issue 27.5 tires. About time don't know if you're development companies been sleeping or what. I have already pre-ordered some sets at my local shop. They told me they will be in stock by October.
  • 1 0
 High tops! Any suggestions on relatively rigid high top shoes for flats? I've got them titanium ankle bits and the more support the better! Actually I like the ankle protection from flung rocks too.

The Osiris NYC83 (not the vulc version) is my go-to so far, but they're toast in about 20 runs down the mountain.

Any other good ones? I tried the Line King and the soles penetrated my feet too much and led to some serious soreness.
  • 4 0
 Any mention of an SE5 2.6??? That tire would be amazing, I feel.
  • 4 1
 I love all my Bontrager gear !
  • 3 0
 Mis my Vans super Tacky's
  • 2 1
 those bontrager shoes are litterally the exact same as the freerider pro, but with shitty Vibram sole that doesn't last worth shit as experienced with shimano shoes
  • 1 0
 Can I get some shoes that aren't 5.10s and aren't black? Seems like every other bike shoe manufacturers makes the whole line black.
  • 1 0
 Tread pattern on the Prototype looks different. Looks to have the same 3,2,3,2 knob pattern like Magic Mary. The new Bonty Magic Mary
  • 1 0
 Scott giant and Trek all doing flat shoes. That will put a dint in lower end 510 sales.
  • 3 0
 Still no Se5 in 2.5!?
  • 2 0
 Heard some of the racer's feedback was they really like the SE4 in the 2.6 so development was focused on that tire, maybe we'll see an SE5 update soon.
  • 2 0
 SE5 gets love in every review I've seen...even reviews about other tires or bikes, but it seems like it is the redheaded step child to Bontrager.
  • 2 0
 @ReformedRoadie: Naw the engineers love it, but they had to prioritize what they could do, and the SE4 was the more all around tire so its first up.
  • 1 0
 Still no Bonti tyre to challenge conti der baron, and was hoping for a SE5 but 2.4 with increased lug spacing every mk count
  • 1 0
 Don't get why most usa and english cycling apparel looks at home in a boy band closet.
  • 1 1
 I was just checking out the new Maxxis tire, then I come to this article... I think I did a disservice to the poor Bontrager treads.
  • 1 0
 VIBRAM, you might as well have ice skates on! The only thing connecting you is the pins on the pedals!
  • 1 0
 Nice thing about bontrager is their warranties-especially 1 free crash replacement per helmet.
  • 1 3
 bontrager is just trash unfortunately. I have rarely ever used their products and been satisfied (and that's having worked for Trek for 4 years). everything is either just gimmicky or uninspiring, and who want's designs that are just the brand name in the same font?
  • 1 0
 When will they learn? Vibram rubber is terrible for any kind of shoe. It is so slippery.
  • 1 0
 Do they have all of this on dispaly at crankworx?
  • 2 0
 SE5 in 2.5 ?
  • 1 0
 Plus size tire marketing, soft sell edition.
  • 1 0
 Ride clipless And Shimano am5/7 . Cheap and last years.
  • 1 0
 I want a 29 x 2.6 and a 29 .2.8 where's the 2.8 love? #babyfat
  • 1 0
 Is any of this E-Bike specific?
  • 5 0
 No, but childrens light-up shoes are!
  • 1 0
 shoes look real good , hopefully my local trek shop will carry them.
  • 1 0
 Gross looking shoes.... get rid of the brown on the sole.
  • 1 0
 When those shoes are ready for cleats, I'll take a pair. Ver' nice.
  • 3 3
 Looks bang on like a Spesh 2FO...
  • 1 0
 UGLY UGLY UGLY pick two

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