Shimano has updated its extremely popular RC9 S-Phyre road shoe range with a new RC902 version, using new materials, construction and closure system which is said to optimise power transfer while improving comfort.
The release doesn't come as a complete surprise - our own eagle-eyed Josh Croxton had already spotted Wout Van Aert sporting a new unreleased pair of Shimano shoes in our back-to-racing tech gallery. Going by Wout Van Aert's recent successes at Strade Bianche, Milan-San Remo and Stage 1 of the Critérium du Dauphiné, the new shoes are already proving to be a world-beating pair of kicks. Both Team Jumbo-Visma and Team Sunweb are currently using the RC902 in their 2020 Tour De France campaigns.
We reviewed the previous generation of Shimano RC9 S-Phyres where they earned an impressive 4.5/5 and subsequently found a place on our best cycling shoes guide. The old shoes impressed with their fit, stiffness and weight yet the new 2021 S-Phyres look to build further of these strengths.
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Shimano says it has made these improvements using function-specific zones which have been identified by studying pedalling dynamics and foot movement of professional-level riders. This has led Shimano to look at the construction of the shoe with layering-reinforced mesh and leather upper materials that claim to offer a better fit and increased support.
The sole still holds a rating of 12 on the Shimano stiffness chart but a newly shaped heel cup has been designed that should reduce twisting and increase heel stability during high-wattage sprint efforts.
The Boa Fit System Li2 dials with two-way adjustments, Shimano's Dynalast fit and micro-fibre leather are carried over but the way the upper support mechanism has been reworked. The new 360-degree Surround Wrapping Upper should give improved and even closure across the entire foot and provide a comfortable method of retention for all regular sizes, half sizes, wide sizes and women’s sizes.
The RC902 has a claimed weight of 235g (16g lighter than the RC901) and comes in sizes 36 to 48 and four colour variations: blue, black, white and red premium S-Phyre dealer version. The women’s-specific RC902-W only comes in white and features a narrower last and upper, available in sizes 36 to 44.
The Shimano RC902 shoe will be available in stores from mid-October and will retail for £319.99.
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