The BTWIN 900 is a carbon soled road shoe from French sports mega store, Decathlon. They have a synthetic upper and carbon composite sole, with two ATOP dials and a Velcro strap for fastening. I’ve opted for the fluoro lime yellow, but they’re also available in plain black or white. I think most riders will be pleased with the more traditional colour options over last year’s more interesting line-up, half black and white or one pink and one blue shoe!
Jean-Christophe Peraud, who rides for AG2R La Mondiale, helped develop this shoe and you may have seen him wearing last year’s blue and one pink option. The shoes look good and have a quality feel despite the very reasonable price of £79.99.
I’m a big fan of Decathlon, the value for money is hard to argue with and I’m looking forward to seeing if the performance matches the looks and price. The sole isn’t ‘full’ carbon but a carbon composite with 15% carbon mixed with 80% Polyamide and 5% TPU. The pretty carbon weave pattern on the sole is in fact, just a transfer! This should still mean the soles are stiffer and lighter than plastic soles though and is still good for the price.
The double ATOP A-A17 dials are not seen much because the big brands favour BOA, although Spiuk also use ATOP. Bont have used them previously, but seem to have switched to BOA now. The main disadvantage to the ATOP is that they only micro-adjust when tightening. If you go too tight you have to slacken right off and start again. I guess you either get used to it or you don’t. I have lace-ups and Velcro fastening shoes and for me each type has it’s pros and cons.
There’s vents at the front and sides as well as on the tongue to help keep cool. The uppers are synthetic so in the warmer weather they need good venting. There’s no vents in the sole which I like because I tend to get cold feet easily in shoes with too much venting. On a positive note, because of the material, the shoes have been constructed with the minimum amount of seams. Seams can cause chafing and blisters.
On the sole there’s a bumper at the toe and one at the heel, but these aren’t replaceable so I’ll be checking to see how well they cope with the coffee stop waltz. I mentioned that the carbon fibre effect on the sole is basically a sticker so I don’t know how well this will stand up to any scratches.
The last feature I’d like to point out in this preview is the heel box. There’s a rubberised snake skin pattern in the heel area that’s obviously there to help with grip. As these shoes are slightly too big for me this could be quite a useful feature. The sizing is said to come up a little small but I’d disagree with that unless you have quite wide feet.
One of the ways that Decathlon save money on their products is to use minimal packaging. If you do order products from them online for delivery expect products like these shoes to arrive in a plastic bag, not a box. I’ve noticed on the Decathlon customer reviews that some people don’t like this but It’s good for the environment too and I only throw the box away anyway.
|Chain Reaction||Wiggle||Evans Cycles||Hargroves Cycles|
|Merlin Cycles||Rutland Cycling||Cyclestore||Ribble Cycles|
|ProBikeKit||Biketart||Cycle Surgery||Leisure Lakes Bikes|