Bont’s previous top of the line heat-to-fit race shoe, the Vaypor +, had a makeover, going from a flyweight ultra-stiff model to a more endurance biased, soft and supple kangaroo leather upper custom-fit shoe.
The company has been working on this racing-focused replacement, with the Helix using its more standard Durolite upper, which is like a typical microtex material but thinner and with more stretch. The upper is lined with a suede-like material, with a layer of memory foam sandwiched in between to ensure a comfortable fit.
The insole is fairly simple compared with the likes of Giro’s multi-option arch and forefoot pads, but like the chassis this is heat mouldable when you do your original fitting.
The chassis’ Epoxy thermoset resin base allows for a great deal of adjustment when fitting, and if you persist the Helix will become like a second skin. Weight-wise, they are what I expect from Bont, being a flyweight 530g (pair, size 45).
The closure system is new. Using a standard Boa IP1 dial, Bont has worked on the path of the Helix’s Boa wires to create bags of adjustability. The wire loop angles back to the midfoot and through twin channels in the sole, which split with one passing the first big toe knuckle and emerging across the toe box, twisting around the shoe in a Helix-like pattern.
The second wire loops over the forefoot, so as you dial in the Boa to tighten, you create an even closure with the offset overstrap.
You do need to take care when tensioning because the top wire exiting the dial has a tendency to slip over the top edge of the shoe and bunch the upper. After the first couple of turns, I learned to stop this.
On the bike the Helix shoes are superb, the feel of unmoving stiffness is better than any other race shoe I’ve tried, which translates to the sense that every bit of your power is getting through to the cranks.
They are best suited to hard efforts on the bike, rather than long, leisurely rides. Also the expense and exposure of the carbon sole mean you’d want to do the minimum of walking or standing in these very performance-focused race shoes, even with the substantial toe bumper and replaceable heel pad.