We’ve been riding in Shimano’s new and good-looking Road Performance SH-RP900 Road Shoe.
Designed for the Gran Fondo rider and promising both high comfort and performance, this custom moldable, well constructing offering from Shimano is well worth a look if you plan on spending long days on the bike.
Words - Mike Boudrie Images - Jeff Curtes
Shimano’s Road Performance or ‘RP’ series is the latest range of shoes from Shimano targeting riders that get involved in Gran Fondo or Sportive events.
The range promises to deliver most of the benefits of Shimano’s Road Competition range (the ‘SH’ series), being speed and performance while also being comfortable enough to keep your feet feeling good on all-day rides.
There are four new models in the RP range, the RP2, RP3, RP5 and the top end RP9 that we are reviewing today.
The overall finish of the RP9 is excellent. The shoe is constructed using synthetic leather combined with a carbon fiber sole that forms a stiff and relatively light package at 538 grams for a size 40.
The RP9 is fastened using two Velcro hook and loop straps and a reverse buckle. There are vents for air flow and an anti-bacterial, mint (yes, mint) insole, all designed to keep your feet fresh.
The toe cap provides protection at the front of shoe, that should increase longevity while helping the shoe retain its structure in the toe box area.
The RP9’s have the same heat-moldable technology as the SH-R321 that we tested earlier this year. The molding process is completed in store and shapes the insole and upper of the shoe to match the contours of your foot, with the aim of increasing both comfort and pedaling efficiency. There’s also a selection of arch inserts for insole to further improve fit.
Overall the RP9 is a clean looking shoe. It is understated, with no clutter or flashes of colour, a look that we really liked.
We’ve put down around 400km in the new RP9 shoes, the first 200km being pre custom fit process. We’d recommend you do the same to work out the correct inserts for the insole.
The RP9 is a really nice shoe. Straight out of the box they just felt ‘right’. No pressure points or comfort issues… a good start.
We found the carbon soles on the RP9 reasonably stiff, they are not rock solid, but are stiff enough for the riding they are designed for. If you’re looking for a super stiff racing shoe, or are a big sprinter etc, you’ll want to have a look at the Shimano Competition range… However that’s not what these shoes are all about. They are about making sure you can get through long and tough events without foot pain and in comfort while maintaining high performance characteristics.
If you’ve ever experienced pain in your feet from pressure points during a long ride you’ll know it’s something to avoid at all costs. It can quickly turn a great ride into one of your worst. We had no trouble with pressure points or excess heat build up with the RP9, and were really impressed with the overall level of comfort provided by the shoes.
The custom molding process does not take long. The shoe is basically heated to 100 degrees before you put the on the shoe and place your feet into individual plastic vacuum bags that are compressed tightly around your foot, shaping the insole and upper to your foot shape.
Does this make a difference? Yes. It’s well worth it, the performance and comfort of the RP9 was good pre custom fit, but after the fit we really noticed a difference when increasing the effort levels.
We also liked the reverse ratchet buckle. It’s easy to adjust on the fly if you want to loosen the shoe off, and then firm up for climbs. It also looks great with no buckle sticking out to the side. The mechanism also has two fixing points on the side of the shoe to help you find the best fit.
There’s a less firm hold in the heal than the more race orientated shoes, but as in other areas of the shoe the comfort is great. With the custom fit and the RP9’s firmly strapped we had no issues with our heals lifting.
The RP9’s come in 36, 37-47 in half sizes, 48, 49 and 50
The RP9 has a RRP of $329 and will be available from September 2015.
The other shoes in the range are priced as follows:
- RP5 - RRP$199
- RP3 - RRP $159
- RP2 - RRP $139
Find out more
Head to Shimano Australia’s website for more information here
At $329 this shoe has a lot going for it. It’s well constructed and the ability to custom mold the shoe really is worth going for if you are going to be spending long days on the bike. Shimano has done a great job of creating a comfortable shoe that still offers respectable performance. Add in clean looks and a black or white option that will look good with almost any bike or kit and you’ve got a shoe that’s well worth a look.