Mavic’s new-for-2011 Razor falls three steps down from the top-level Fury yet incorporates that shoe’s best qualities – namely, excellent durability and a wonderfully engineered tread that grips the terrain when off the bike and expertly funnels pedals into its cleat pocket when you hop back on.
Furthermore, it manages to better the look and — in some ways — the fit of the yellow Fury, with a more conventionally styled (at least by colorway) and shaped upper and last (not nearly as pointy toed). The Razor is also light at 359g (per shoe), and you get it all for US$129.99, all of which makes it exceptional value overall.
Closure is secure and easily adjustable via a ratchet-equipped ErgoLite main buckle — we didn't miss the absent instep adjustment that some shoes have — and two additional standard Velcro straps, which work better than the cord based Ergo Straps on the Fury.
The Ergo3D EVA foam tongue is well padded, with a loop for the middle strap to prevent migration. The padding is especially thick at the top, to keep the buckle strap from digging into the front of one’s ankle. The Razor’s heel grip is slightly less secure, and bulkier, than the Fury’s Energy Lock heel cup.
Mavic have one of the best mountain bike 'race' soles in the business, it’s rubber and actually grips rocks
The Contagrip rubber tread, which is identical to that of the Fury, offers great grip on a variety of terrain and situations, from sketchy rocky climbs to slick muddy run-ups (thanks to its removable toe spikes). Based on two seasons' use of the Fury, it's also extremely durable. It's made from a proprietary rubber compound developed by Mavic's sister company Salomon for mountaineering, climbing, and trail running.
The Razor falls down in two key areas — sole flex and its insole — but considering the price, this does little to temper our overall opinion of the shoe. You'd expect a glass-fiber-reinforced nylon sole to be softer than a carbon fibre equivalent, but in their efforts to save weight (the Razor weighs just 5g more than the original generation Fury, which for the price is really impressive) Mavic have produced a sole that's noticeably flexy, particularly just behind the ball of the foot. Those coming to the Razor from a third tier Shimano M183 or comparably priced forth tier M161 (US$150) will notice a step down in stiffness, however, the latter also weighs over 100g more, per shoe.
Fit the shoe tight to a CrankBrothers Candy pedal or the new Shimano PD-M980 XTR Race pedal and it’s well supported, so the soft sole is almost a non-issue. Fit it to an Eggbeater or an older Shimano model — pedals that rely mostly on their cleats for contact and support — and the flex becomes much more of a problem. Of course, this all depends on the sensitivity of the rider, and their riding style. This softness could actually be a benefit for cyclo-cross racing and mountain bike rides with lots of hiking.
There's one part of the Razor package that has no redeeming features, though: the insole. It offers virtually zero support and has a cushy feel which makes it feel like it's bunching up under your toes. Take it out and throw it away — maybe even do this in the shop when you buy them; that way you might get the point across and back to Mavic. We rode the Razors with custom insoles and ‘customizable’ eSoles insoles, and both made a dramatically beneficial difference to the shoes’ fit.
The Razor's Ergo3D EVA foam tongue has a loop for the middle strap, which keeps it from migrating