In addition to opening the professional road cycling calendar, the Tour Down Under also serves as a traditional meeting place for Australian cycling industry. We met up with Bont principal Steven Nemeth in Adelaide where we took delivery of the company's brand new road shoe, the Vaypor+.
As before, the Vaypor+ features a fully heat-moldable monocoque-style construction with a bathtub-like carbon sole and microfiber upper that's all essentially created as one piece. Also carrying over is the Vaypor's distinctively more human-like toe box shape and ultra-thin sole. Aside from that, though, there are few similarities other than graphics and colors.
The biggest difference is a move away from traditional ratcheting buckles and Velcro straps to dual cable reels that both lighten up the shoe and provide a slightly more tunable fit. Removing the original Vaypor's big main strap also opens up the densely padded tongue for what we expect to be improved airflow over the top of the foot.
Bont hasn't gone with the usual Boa dials, however, instead using a lesser known buckle and reel company called Atop. Overall operation is intuitive and similar to Boa's latest dials – turn one way to tighten, the other way to loosen – although Atop uses an impressively flexible (but still non-stretch) Kevlar cable instead of the stainless steel one used by Boa. The release function is also substantially stiffer although Nemeth says that's intentional to prevent unwanted loosening.
Reels from Atop handle the fit
The almost paper-thin (sub-4mm) carbon sole uses a unidirectional construction (save for the outermost layer) to reduce weight while the upturned sides have been selectively lowered for a more accommodating initial fit. The front of the sole also features a flatter shape – or less toespring to be precise – which Nemeth contends more closely mimics your foot's natural relaxed position for reduced foot fatigue.
Finally, Bont has outfitted the interior of the shoe with a slightly more upscale footbed and the microfiber uppers now boast a matte instead of glossy finish.
Claimed weight for a pair of size 42 shoes is 450g with a retail price of $399 and March availability. As before, the size range will be very generous – 36-40, 47-50 (full sizes only); 40-47 (whole and half sizes); plus narrow, standard, and wide widths throughout.
The carbon sole wraps partway up around the side of the foot