I have to admit, I’m frugal when it comes to my own cycling gear, and I use things far beyond their reasonable lifespan. My old shoes were some ancient Velcro creations that were comfy, but neither light nor efficient. So the Bont Riot+ were an awesome shoe for me to test; this despite the fact that they are ‘entry level’ in Bont’s lineup. They’ve been my workhorse through a summer of riding.
Bont Riot+ Features:
- Carbon composite sole with microfiber upper
- 3-hole cleat mounting configuration
- BOA IP1 dial and Z-form Velcro strap
- Ventilation holes through upper and mesh inserts
- Weight: 380g
- MSRP: $179
They’re light, they’re stiff – what could go wrong?
Typically, you’d expect to spend at least $200 for a solid pair of road cycling shoes. I’m happy to say that, at $179, the Riot+ slide just under that bracket. The key thing here is the carbon sole, which is heat-moldable for a custom fit. This is top-shelf technology that you generally see at higher price points. It’s possible to heat mold the soles several different times to get just the right fit. I molded mine twice before they felt just right on my rather wide feet.
The ‘carbon’ sole is actually a mix of carbon fiber and fiberglass, which means that it’s actually slightly more comfortable than a more ‘pure’ carbon sole; this comfort translates into a little less power transfer theoretically, but actually just makes them much comfier for a variety of feet.
The closure design of the shoe is excellent for the price point. The shoes include a Boa lacing system and a Velcro strap across the toes. The Boa system works very well indeed; it’s the incremental ‘micro-adjustment’ that everyone talks about and wants. The only issue is that you need to take care to lay the tongue down neatly, otherwise it will bunch up as you tighten the lacing. To release, simply pull up on the Boa knob.
I did have some difficulty with circulation with this setup, as it seemed that getting a good snug fit equated to cutting off my circulation. It’s hard to say what exactly is responsible for this, and it could be as simple as the fact that more structure is needed to dissipate the force of the thin Boa wire. But, these days, I can usually find a good balance.
I only wore these shoes in hot weather, and be advised that there are more breathable shoes out there. The micropore design across the toe helps to fend off the occasional shower or splash of water, but offers nowhere near the breathability of a big mesh patch.
Overall, the fit is good with one massive exception. There’s plenty of room in the toe box to let the toes wiggle, and I felt that the shoe had a good lock on my heel without causing unnecessary pressure. There was some excess pressure across the top of the foot as noted. The one substantial issue is that, very oddly, there is an irregularity in the left shoe under the inner side of the arch that digs into my foot. It feels like an issue in how the shoe’s construction differs as it moves from the heel to the arch.
- Great feature set for the price
- Carbon sole offers a good mixture of stiffness and comfort
- Boa system is effective
- Abnormality in sole construction digs into the left inner arch
- More structure across the top of the foot beneath Boa laces might improve comfort
The Bottom Line: Bont Riot+
If you’re interested in a shoe with top-quality features at an intermediate price, it’s hard to beat these shoes from down under. Bont has done a good job constructing a quality shoe at a reasonable price, and I was pleased with the performance that I got. The issue with the midsole abnormality is concerning — hopefully you can find a pair locally to try on for yourself.
Buy Now: Available from Bont
What was your size. Was it smaller or bigger than normal?