WTB Vigilante 29Plus (9).JPG

3 Fresh Products For Fall 2019

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major
Date Aug 29, 2019

Fresh Finds For Fall

Here's some fresh product that I'm riding but that I'm not near ready to write up in full.

Bontrager Rally SPD Shoes

Bontrager Rally SPD NSMB AndrewM (1).JPG

Bontrager takes the excellent manufacturing quality, comfortable feel, and good ride characteristics* of their Flatline flat pedal shoe and adds SPD mounts and a big ass velcro strap for those torquing out of the saddle clipped-in moments.

The 150 USD shoes are surprisingly light compared to shoes with a similar look (445 grams per shoe for my size 43). They have an abrasion resistant coating at the toe and heel but, as with every clip-in shoe I use, the real test of durability will be the cleat pocket. I don't own a pair of clip-in shoes that haven't had the Freesole treatment.

*"As soon as I'm doing long rides on flats, trail or cruising, the Flatline is my first choice."

Bontrager Rally SPD NSMB AndrewM (3).JPG

Generously rearward cleat pocket. I'll have some comparative measurements and photos in the full review.

Bontrager Rally SPD NSMB AndrewM (4).JPG

'GnarGuard' coating on the toe and heal for durability. The extent of the coverage is more visible on other colourways.

Bontrager Rally SPD NSMB AndrewM (5).JPG

I'm surprised how light the Rally shoes feel for this style of footwear. More on stiffness in the full review.

A quick glimpse at the marketing copy had facetious-me joking that Bontrager would be killing the rest of their fair-weather shoe line; "This shoe is perfect for the weekend warrior, the dedicated full-time racer, and anyone in-between" In fact my impression thus far is that this may be close to the mark.

The Rally comes in three colourways, including Black, Green, and a nice looking Navy. Sizing is from 36-48 with half-sizes from 39.5 to 45.5 and they're already available online. A full review will be up once I've single speeded the sh*t out of them.

Aeffect R Cranks

Race Face's great looking price-conscious crankset combines stiffer and stronger 7050 crank arms,* their well supported Cinch chainring mounting system, a slight weight reduction, and a graphic upgrade with their proven 24mm steel spindle. Despite the onslaught of larger aluminum axles, the venerable 24mm spindle crankset is far from dead and the past version of the Aeffect Cinch from Race Face owned a good chunk of the OE market for bikes with pressfit bottom brackets.

*VS the 6066 of the Aeffect

Race Face Aeffect R Cranks NSMB AndrewM (1).JPG

Cinch chainring interface, 24mm steel spindle, 7050 crank arms, and updated graphics. Expect to see the Aeffect R on plenty of bikes.

The way SRAM has managed to keep crank spec. locked down on Eagle-equipped bikes, you'd think they were 90's Shimano, so I'm certain RaceFace is beyond stoked to see Shimano racing back to OE relevance with their 12-spd SLX and XT groupsets. Race Face Cinch rings are already available in a Shimano Chain Only 12-Spd configuration* for Boost or Super-Boost setups.

*For SRAM 12-Spd their standard Cinch or Cinch Oval rings are great.

Race Face Aeffect R Cranks NSMB AndrewM (4).JPG

130 USD for the arms-only in 165mm, 170mm, or 175mm lengths.

Race Face Aeffect R Cranks NSMB AndrewM (2).JPG

A range of Cinch chainring options are available separately.

Race Face Aeffect R Cranks NSMB AndrewM (3).JPG

Within four grams of the claimed weight - with a 32t chainring - and the spindles already greased.

Whether it's larger bearings in a PF92 shell, a fresh direct mount crankset to use with that expensive Chris King BSA BB investment, or just looking for a great option for not a huge investment - 130 USD - and chainrings start under 20 USD with their steel narrow-wide Cinch option with a range of options available from Race Face and other aftermarket companies.

WTB Vigilante 29 x 2.8

WTB Vigilante 29Plus (8).JPG

Wider winters. Wider summers. I'm a big believer in Plus-sized rubber up front on all my bikes and happily pay a weight penalty for more rubber with real sidewalls.

I've been riding WTB's newest 29+ tire for a couple of months now, but not in the greasy North Shore conditions that really challenge rubber, so I'm holding off on writing a review until we get some real Fall-Winter conditions. The big meat has been truly awesome all summer from slab lines, to roots, to loose-over-hard conditions. I'm hopeful, based on my experience with the 27+ version of the same rubber that I used for my Rocky Mountain Growler 40 review, that we'll still be tight once the taps turn on and the signature sheen shows up on rock and wood lines alike.

WTB Vigilante 29Plus (3).JPG

I've run the big Vigilante with Huck Norris, ProCore, and on it's own already.

WTB Vigilante 29Plus (4).JPG

It's Tough Casing all the way for me. The ride quality is damped without being dead.

Wear has been excellent despite numerous miles of pavement riding from somewhere on the so-so-soft to the touch rubber. I wouldn't expect that to change as I transition from more epic summer efforts to shorter fall/winter rides. In the meantime, I think this tire deserves to be in any conversation about fresh rubber. Doubly so if price is at all a factor since the Vigilante 2.8 is 84 USD in this High Grip / TCS Tough Casing version and 73 USD with the same compound in the Light Casing + Slash Guard version.

Many more thoughts and a true wet-weather update coming at some point this Fall.

WTB Vigilante 29Plus (5).JPG

Look familiar? It's not a Hail Mary that this tread pattern works like magic.

WTB Vigilante 29Plus (7).JPG

Looking for the same grip without the grams? There is a Light Casing version as well.

WTB Vigilante 29Plus (6).JPG

So soft side knobs. No durability issues to date but this suckers certainly getting a long term test.

And, I'm off cranking mean tires up steep climbs so I can ride back down again. I'll be back with full reviews of WTB's 84 USD High Trip / TCS Tough Casing 2.8" Vigilante, Bontrager's new 150 USD Rally shoe, and the fresh 130 USD Aeffect R crank from RaceFace.

Trending on NSMB


+3 Andrew Major Angu58 Tjaard Breeuwer
Vik Banerjee  - Aug. 29, 2019, 6:21 a.m.

Could you measure that 2.8" width tire at the casing and at the tread as well as noting the rim width? There seems to be a lot of variability in actual widths of larger tires that makes it hard to gauge what you are buying ahead of time.  Thanks. :)


+4 Vik Banerjee pedalhound nate77 Garrett Thibault
Andrew Major  - Aug. 29, 2019, 6:46 a.m.

I thought I had the numbers written down already, but alas. I’ll take measurements again today.


+3 AlanB Etacata Dan
Andrew Major  - Aug. 29, 2019, 6:52 p.m.

i39 rim and my crappy calipers I get 66.9mm at the casing, 70.42 at the knobs, and the height is ~65mm.

Assuming the 2.8 is the knob width that’s pretty close to claimed.


+1 Andrew Major
JT  - Aug. 29, 2019, 1:18 p.m.

Kinda weird that the company that came up with the GMS system for measuring tire widths doesn't include that info on their website. i know they have it on the sidewalls, but...


+1 Etacata
Andrew Major  - Aug. 29, 2019, 6:39 p.m.

Hahahaha... you might be old if you remember when WTB tried to push GMS on the industry so Maxxis couldn’t call a tire a 2.5” that was everyone else’s <2.3”.

Numbers for the 2.8” Vigilante are 67/71


Tjaard Breeuwer  - Sept. 2, 2019, 6:12 p.m.

44 is not old! I remember, thought it was a good idea...


+1 Andrew Major
[user profile deleted]  - Aug. 29, 2019, 5:55 p.m.

This comment has been removed.

+2 Tjaard Breeuwer Skyler
Andrew Major  - Aug. 29, 2019, 6:41 p.m.

The industry went hard for 2.6”. Something “new” that in 99% of cases requires minimal (or zero) frame modifications or fork modifications and would work on i30 rims they’d already committed too. 

I get why Plus didn’t take off - dainty sidewalls and too narrow rims - but I’m all in on proper big rubber on proper wide rims.


+2 Andrew Major Tremeer023
Albert Steward  - Aug. 29, 2019, 5:59 p.m.

Are RF doing separate forgings for different crankarm lengths or just repositioning the pedal drilling/threads like the non-R Aeffect version?


+1 Etacata
Andrew Major  - Aug. 29, 2019, 6:42 p.m.

Key question. I ride 175mm so I will get that info. Cheers!


Remoh02  - Aug. 29, 2019, 9:05 p.m.

Super disappointed to have realized this the hard way


Remoh02  - Aug. 29, 2019, 9:05 p.m.

Super disappointed to have realized this the hard way


+1 Tjaard Breeuwer
Andrew Major  - Aug. 30, 2019, 12:11 p.m.

So, the short answer is Aeffect R cranks come in three distinct lengths - 175mm, 170mm, and 165mm - with no superfluous material below the pedal threads.

The longer answer is all the cranks use one forging, which keeps the costs down, but they’re machined to the three unique lengths. No ‘extra’ material.

I think it sounds like an ideal way to deliver more value with no performance compromises.

Thank you for the prompt!


+1 Andrew Major
Velocipedestrian  - Aug. 29, 2019, 8:25 p.m.

How deep is the cleat pocket in the Rally? As I've been moaning about in the Forum, I'm looking for my holy grail shoe for use with big platform clips.

I'm sure there's a market for a shoe that's almost as soft as a flat, which requires a big platform - Mallet, v-twin, horizon etc.


+1 Dan
Andrew Major  - Aug. 30, 2019, 8:53 a.m.

My friend Stephen Seagull and I were having this conversation last weekend. While I vastly prefer laces on shoes, I’ve had a great experience with the Shimano ME7 shoe. I mean, I like them enough that I Freesoled them back together instead of binning them when they came apart.

Anyways, his contention was the ME7 (and other Shimano shoes built on that chassis) isn’t stiff enough for single speeding - and with most pedals I absolutely agree with him - but I think for our riding (and hike-a-biking) the answer to the stiffness question is a pedal with big platform not stiffening up the shoe.

I run the Mallet DH with all the pins flush (or removed) and it makes a world of difference cranking up steep climbs out of the saddle.

Anyways, to answer your question - I’ll measure the pocket depth when I get home :-).


Velocipedestrian  - Aug. 30, 2019, 1:01 p.m.

Nice one Andrew.

I'm using the AM9s to clip, and I find I can't get full contact with a big platform pedal. 

Shimano cleats, DMR V-twin and full height pins still leaves a tiny bit of wiggle room. I want to feel the pedal the way I do on flats - just with the certainty of placement and extra security of clips.


+1 Velocipedestrian
Andrew Major  - Aug. 30, 2019, 9:36 p.m.

I’m measuring ~9mm deep for the cleat pocket. ME7 is ~6mm in comparison.


Velocipedestrian  - Aug. 30, 2019, 9:45 p.m.

Sweet. The AM9 is 7mm too.


Andrew Major  - Aug. 31, 2019, 8:33 a.m.

With the Mallet DH (with pins flush and smallest traction pads) I’m running three shims under the cleat to get proper shoe/pedal contact. It’s a deep pocket!

+1 Andrew Major
Dan  - Aug. 30, 2019, 9 a.m.

Great post with bonus content about Freesole and Tenacious Tape. For us below the 49th who are curious, these items are readily available on eBay.


Andrew Major  - Aug. 30, 2019, 9:06 a.m.

Thanks for the reminder! I had meant to link my piece on Freesole and Tenacious Tape from 2016 :-).


Please log in to leave a comment.