Cyclocross Magazine - Digital Edition

Issue 26 - Cyclocross Magazine

Cyclocross Magazine - The Digital and Print Magazine Dedicated to Cyclo-cross and Veldrijden

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CYCLOCROSS MAGAZINE - ISSUE 26 82 REVIEWS Lake Cycling billed their MX331 Cross as the world's first cyclocross-specific shoe, and it's constructed of a K-lite Kangaroo leather and mesh upper. True to other high-end offerings on the market, the sole is carbon fiber, which keeps the weight at a respectable 740 grams per pair (in size 45). It uses Lake's Custom Fit Carbon technology with their Moldable Carbon Stability Platform, which allows riders to mold both the heel cup as well as the arch with heat in order to perfect the fit as needed. Closure duties are done by a single BOA dial that uses one-direction tightening and pull-to-release operation, while the heel cup and tongue have an Outlast temperature-regulating liner. The MX331 Cross's outsole is the major talking point. Instead of a typical MTB-looking offering, the MX331 Cross has a small number of fully replaceable, independent toe and heel spikes, as well as a "cleat pocket" for the actual pedal cleat, which features very little in terms of tread when compared with MTB shoes, including Lake's non-cross specific MX331 mountain bike model. Each of these outsole components is also softer to the touch when compared with typical off-road shoe soles with a more rubberized and less-plasticized feel. And each of the individual toe and heel spikes can be replaced depending on course conditions. On the bike, the shoe performs its job quite admirably. MX331 Cross shoes have a fairly generous toe box, fantastic for riders who have a nueroma or are otherwise hot-spot prone. Engagement with the pedals is firm and the stiffness of the sole is noticeable when riding only to the extent that pedaling feels highly efficient. It never felt uncomfortable when riding. When set up with the Crank Brothers cleat shim and cleat alone, the sole of the shoe shows no wear or marking from the pedal's engagement "wings" and the shoe's outer tread makes ever-so- slight contact with the pedal body, lending to the efficient, firm sensation when riding. Despite the lack of tread on the bottom, remounts coupled with a missed pedal engagement were never an issue thanks to the rubber cleat pocket. Off the bike, the MX331 Cross is noticeably stiffer when running than my Specialized S-Works EVO MTB shoes. Whether shouldering the bike for a section of stairs or suitcasing it over the barriers, the shoes provided what felt like zero flex in the forefoot area when running. It wasn't bad per se, rather noticeably different than my other cycling shoes to say nothing of day-to-day footwear. I really put the MX331 Cross to the run test, though, with a three-mile jaunt in them—a broken chain and lack of a pit bike led to that at a race in Georgetown back in early November. Even after hoofing it for three miles, the shoes failed to force a complaint in terms of comfort. The MX331 Cross shoes clean up quite well. A quick spray down, brush, and rinse and they dry out quick. The shoes get plenty of looks, partly because of their appearance—primarily a very bright orange—a nod to Dutch cyclocross racing. In a sport dominated by specialization, with more riders making the choice between disciplines and manufacturers looking to offer the perfect product for every rider, Lake Cycling may well be offering perfect cyclocross-specific footwear, if you can afford it. MSRP: $379.99 US Sizing: Men's standard width and Men's wide in full sizes from 39 to 48, as well as 50, and in half-sizes from 39.5 to 46.5. Women's specific in full sizes from 36 to 43, and in half-sizes from 37.5 to 42.5. Construction: Upper: K-lite Kangaroo leather and mesh upper. Internal Thermaform Carbon Fiber heel counter. Sole: Lake Race 100% Carbon Fiber Sole with rubber cleat pocket and replaceable toe and heel spikes. LAKE MX331 CROSS SHOES Liner: Outlast temperature-regulating heel and tongue liner. Closure: Side-mounted BOA Push/Pull lacing system with powerzone in the forefoot. Color: Orange/Black. All black available for 2014. More info: www.lakecycling.com

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