Several years ago, a good friend of mine scolded me for not pointing him towards carbon-soled bike shoes earlier. He got a pair and couldn’t believe the improvements in fit and power transfer. But, carbon soles are only one part of the performance gains provided by top-shelf road shoes.
Mavic, as a company, is well-known for taking a different approach to product design. That unique approach is certainly on display with the Ksyrium Ultimate road shoes and put these on par with some of the better shoes on the market.
Mavic Ksyrium Ultimate Road Shoes Features:
- Energy Carbon Outsole features a 5.5mm sole thickness
- 6mm fore/aft cleat adjustment
- Ergo Fit 3D+Ortholite is a dual density insole designed with OrthoLite foam
- Endofit Tongue with Salomon fit technology closely hugs the foot
- Reflective touches for added visibility
- Ergo Strap SL closure system is lighter and more precise than straps
- Lightweight Ergo Dial retention system provides fast and accurate adjustment
- Includes recommended length screws (8mm) for outsole
- MSRP: $299.99
Ksyrium Ultimate’s deliver power to the pedals
A new pair of road shoes is quite the investment. To get a good pair of shoes with all the desired features, you’re at least looking at $200. Beyond that price, you will get higher-priced materials, improved fit and sometimes a snazzier look. At a minimum, you should prepare to spend enough to get stiff carbon soles. Anything else will certainly do the trick, but carbon soles make a significant difference in power transfer and overall bike control.
Mavic doesn’t take the common approach to product development, instead they oftentimes forge new paths to meet their exacting standards. As such, you’ll see some unique features on Mavic wheelsets and, in this case, on their road shoes that aren’t found elsewhere. Yes, many other road shoes utilize ratchet closures, but these are slightly different in their function. And, the Ergo Strap velcro pull closures are unique and actually so much better than standard straps (better cinching, better pull pattern, etc.)
Slipping these on, your feet are immediately-cradled. The Endofit Tongue is again a unique feature of these shoes as it cradles your entire foot, thus eliminating any slop from foot to pedal. This locked-in feeling was excellent for me at first, but did end up causing midfoot pain on longer rides as my foot expanded. I had to open up the Ergo Dial completely to avoid unnecessary pressure to the outside of my left foot in particular. Elsewhere, the fit and performance has been fantastic and power transfer is as solid as I’d expect. Sizing up from 10.5’s to 11’s would likely alleviate this problem and give me a little more wiggle room in the process (not a bad thing).
I was only able to ride these shoes in warmer weather, and I can attest to their breathability. I’d venture to guess that the large mesh forefoot will be rather cold outside of warm temperatures.
I will add that the ratcheting dial works slightly different here than the typical Boa ratchets. While inward micro-adjustments are precise affair, outward adjustments are a little less-so. Tightening happens one click at-a-time, but once you loosen the dial, it releases in batch increments. So, take things easy when loosening them up and be prepared to turn the knob a few more times than just a single click to get back to where you were.
Note: While these are available at many shops still, the 2017 Cosmic Elite is going to be similar to the Ultimate’s.
- Excellent power transfer from a stiff sole
- Ergo Strap velcro closures are much better to use than standard straps
- Excellent breathability
- Fit is distributed quite well with Endofit system (taken from Salomon trail runners)
- Endofit Tongue caused midfoot pain
- Ratcheting dial should be 1:1 on both tightening and loosening
The Bottom Line: Mavic Ksyrium Ultimate Road Shoes
These shiny numbers offer excellent stiffness and cradle your feet extremely-well. There is no wasted energy on a sloppy fit due to the Endofit Tongue, but it did squeeze my left foot uncomfortably. Honestly, I think I should be in a size 11 instead of a 10.5, which would have given me more wiggle room. And, of course, shoes are a highly-personal affair so your results may vary.
Buy Now: Available at Backcountry.com
The Ksyrium Ultimate road shoe is unique in many ways and offers a foot-cradling fit. Just keep in mind you may want to size up slightly for a more comfortable fit on long rides.