Mavic Alpine XL mountain bike shoes review£98.99

Protective trail footwear

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Mavic’s XL is a new protective trail/freeride crossover shoe that’s comfortable enough to walk in but light enough to see you through long days on the bike. It’s based on the basic Alpine trail shoe and shares the same two-tone Trail Grip outsole for decent grip in mud, snow and on rock without the treads or cleats getting clogged.

It works fine with platform-style clipless pedals and the front is flexy enough to make clambering up stuff you can’t ride comfortable too. you’ll be able to feel the cleat under your foot when pedalling hard though, and the cleat slots are further back than on most shoes, so set position carefully.

At 948g per pair – with cleats – they’re much lighter than the classic Shimano MP66 shoes (1,232g apair), which will please trail riders. While the cordlock slips if you’re working hard, the single wrap-over strap and well shaped heel cup keep the shoe feeling secure.

Like its Shimano rival, the Alpine XL gets a protective flap, though mesh panels in the upper mean it doesn’t keep weather or wind out for long. The Neoprene sock and fat tongue keep your ankles cosy though, and a useful toe bumper protects you from any flying rocks.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 44
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster tfhan the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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