Replacing my old favourite RP7 shoes, Shimano’s new RC7 bears a resemblance to the range-topping S-Phyre RC9. But is the RC7 an RC9 on a budget?
Coming in at a whopping £150 cheaper, the RC7 makes a sound start. My size 45 pair, at 541g, only weighs one gram more than the equivalent S-Phyre RC9, and its size range favours larger feet, coming in sizes 38 to 50 or 42 to 50 in a wide fit, rather than the S-Phyre’s 36 to 48.
Shimano’s Dynalast is the basis for a superbly ergonomic shoe and is founded on a light carbon fibre composite sole with generous rubber bumpers integrated in the toe and heel.
The RC7’s upper is of more traditional construction than the stretch-free, microfibre uppers of the RC9. The RC7 has supple, synthetic leather uppers, which conform perfectly to your foot, and a padded tongue.
Hundreds of small perforations cover the uppers above the toes and the sides. The tongue has larger perforations, plus a small mesh panel, and there’s a mesh-covered vent in the sole. The ventilation is effective enough, although the uppers are slightly thicker, with less obvious air throughflow.
The heel cup is supportive and well-padded without the ultimate rigidity of the S-Phyre or its ‘cat’s tongue’ grippy heel lining. I found the RC7 gave great heel security with plush comfort, thanks to its excellent fit.
A pair of Boa L6 dials mimics the layout of those on the S-Phyre, with one controlling the forefoot volume and the other the tightness of the broad ankle strap. An additional Powerzone wire guide at the forefoot allows for additional tension here if needed.
When pushed down, they fasten with microadjustments, but to loosen the fit, you need to pop the dial up, releasing all tension, then start again – unlike on more expensive BOAs. It makes backing off the tension rather more hit and miss, so it pays to tighten the shoes incrementally.
The sculpted footbeds match the sole but are just a standard thickness without the usual replaceable arch supports. Thanks to the shoe’s roomy toe box and last shape that works well for the wider foot, the RC7s are very stable.
The RC7s can perform as well as more expensive shoes. Whether climbing, sprinting or riding along, they felt easily stiff enough to compete in, without being too highly strung for daily use.