Ride Concepts 2.0 – Next Generation mountain bike shoes
As a rider owned and bike culture forward company Ride Concepts is all about making the ride better and more fun for everyone. For Ride Concepts, that commitment is the uncompromising ride; a mission that was born out of a quest for a better fitting and performing youth bike shoe. With the release of five new premium models, that mission has evolved into a comprehensive, progressive line of footwear for men, women, and youth. Ride Concepts launched in fall 2018 with the Session series of flat pedal footwear, intended to be immensely durable while maintaining a casual aesthetic. Meanwhile, the development of the next generation of premium series of flats and clips was already underway. Ride Concepts set out to redefine connection with the pedal regardless of riding style, the Powerline, Skyline, and TNT cater to flat pedal riders. The Transition and Traverse serve clipless riders.
Challenging the standard for interaction between foot and pedal set forth by current product in the market, the team determined there was work to be done. “The idea from the beginning was to offer an initial series of durable flat shoes, loaded with features for the rider who is on the trail day after day,” said founder and CEO Brandon Dodd. “The next step was to build upon that. We saw a big opportunity across men, women, and youth for many riding styles.” The brand and product were an immediate hit, with global distribution quickly spreading to over 30 countries. When developing the premium flat shoes and expanding into clipless, the RC team took its time, asking important questions to riders putting the Session series through the paces across the globe. “With no boardroom or suits to tell us how to do it, we are calculated in our approach to design and real-world use,” said Dodd. “We are not going to release a product until thoroughly confident that it improves the ride and it is a product that we want to use.”
The release of the premium line virtually represents a “Ride Concepts 2.0.” “We paused, asking ourselves why we ride and why we are doing this,” said Brand Manager Rick Reed. “It might sound cliché to say it, but we went back to the roots, thought about our connection to the bike and the ride itself. We examined why we pick the gear we put on when we head out for a particular ride.” Sometimes it’s a solo backcountry ride that beckons, and you have to be prepared. Or a morning when your buddy unexpectedly calls and asks, “I have a shuttle to the highest peak around that you have yet to ride. Are you in?” “You drop your plans, grab your bike and gear, and leave the rest of life’s daily frustrations behind for those few hours,” continued Reed. “You take the time to push yourself and you must be ready for the unexpected. That’s our motivation in doing this.“ Redefining connection through technology The countless hours spent defining that connection has resulted in the evolution of progressive bike footwear. Utilizing premium materials such as microfiber and anti peel uppers and construction techniques like welding rather than stitching to eliminate seams, increasing durability and saving weight, the five new models feature numerous technical details typically unseen in bike footwear of this type.
Collaborations with partners Rubber Kinetics and D3O form the foundation of each model. The Powerline, Skyline, and TNT introduce the Rubber Kinetics DST 4.0 MAX Grip rubber, Ride Concepts’ softest compound. The proprietary DST 4.0 combined with the hexagonal tread outsole provides ultimate grip, pedal feel and shock-absorbing qualities making it the ideal instrument for the hardest days on the bike. On the TNT, a larger diameter hexagonal pattern is used for even more surface contact with the pedal.
DST 8.0 MID grip is introduced on the Transition and Traverse, as an uninterrupted interaction with the cleat box is of utmost importance on a clipless shoe, whether an all-day ride or a race against the clock is on the agenda. The 40mm wide cleat box is designed for easy entry to any clipless pedal. Each model features an asymmetrical medial mid-height collar, utilizing D3O impact protection. The asymmetrical design is completely unobtrusive to the rider when pedaling, but ready to protect when needed. Custom toecap protection, high-rise medial EVA for additional arch support and D3O insoles are just a few more of the many features packed into the shoes.
Like the entire Ride Concepts line, each shoe is developed on a gender-specific last (3D mold of a foot) for proper fit, form, and flex. No shortcuts. Full Commit. For most young brands, experienced help with product development and testing doesn’t necessarily come walking in the door every day. However, one major objective of the company is creating a home for athletes. Enlisting the services of the legendary and respected Crankworx Champ Paul Basagoitia as Team Manager, Ride Concepts is encompassing the help of pro athletes with years of experience at the highest levels of competition and commitment to test product.
Unexpectedly, even to the young company, an athlete roster was assembled including a World Cup team who was on a parallel path of going against the grain and launching a brand of their own- Atherton Racing, aboard their new Atherton Bikes brand.
A few calls and texts from Basagoitia and a deal were struck. “When I initially contacted Rachel regarding a sponsorship, she laughed, thinking I was joking!” said Basagoitia. “I don’t blame her, as we were still in the development stages. I told her I wouldn’t jeopardize our friendship if I didn’t think RC could deliver a bitchin’ clip shoe!” The clipless shoes are now World Cup proven by the team, especially Rachel, who tested the women’s Traverse for months prior to the season. “Providing critical feedback that went right to production, Rachel really helped us push the limits of how a performance shoe could be constructed, and how it needs to function with every clipless pedal,” said Dodd. “It challenged us and our factory.”
“I am so fussy about the shoes I ride in,” commented Atherton. “Being one of only two contact points to your bike, it’s an incredibly important area. The whole range is brilliant, flat through clips to sliders. Stepping out in great shoes makes you feel and ride like a boss!” Ride Concepts wishes a quick and strong recovery to the boss, Rachel.
The launch of the new line was recently celebrated at Ride Concepts’ Lake Tahoe headquarters, where dealers, athletes, friends, and family gathered for brews, shoes, and a hearty meal cooked by the staff. Office neighbors and friends High Fives Foundation and Truckee Brewing lent a hand in making a memorable day. Embracing the spirit of the mountain town lifestyle, all-age mini bike races broke out in the parking lot, and factory rider Greg Watts brought his Crankworx skills to the office staircase.
Thriving on the community and camaraderie that mountain biking and its related activities bring, office barbecues and group rides are the norms. If you ever find yourself in the Lake Tahoe area, be sure to drop by the office and meet the crew. You might even get a glimpse of the future product in development or find yourself in an impromptu mini bike race with a factory athlete.
For more information on Ride Concepts check out: Rideconcepts.com