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Max Flat Pedal Grip vs Some Slip – What Are Riders After? - Feb. 23, 2021, 9:04 a.m.

I've been riding 5.10 Impacts for many years.  Never had any issues with the actual performance of the shoe, but the durability on the last pair was disappointing.  Shoes started to fall apart after only 2 seasons (of light riding).

I've had great success with my Northwave winter commuting shoes, so I decided to try their flat pedal DH shoe - the Northwave Clan (which uses a Michelin rubber sole).  Price is same as Impact so why not.

After a month of riding, I'm pretty impressed.  The 2 major criteria I'm looking for are stiffness and grip.  In terms of stiffness, its roughly on-par with the Impact.  No noticeable difference.

In terms of grip, it's actually quite interesting.  It's a different sensation than the insta-grip of the Impact (which as other's have mentioned, can be annoying when trying to adjust your foot to the right spot).  Let me try to explain it - with the Northwave's when you initially put your foot on the pedal, it feels like it's sliding around all over the place. The initial grip is much less than the Impact. But once you get your foot in place, after a few seconds of pressure the shoe seems to "absorb" the pins, and you feel quite locked-in.  Not quite to the same absolute extent as the Impact, but I'd say roughly 80-90% as locked-in.  I've been riding in the rain/mud a fair bit, and once I get going down the trail I haven't had any issues with my feet coming off.  It took me a couple rides to get used to, but now I quite like it.  If I drag a foot in a corner or something, it's way easier to get my foot back in the sweet spot of the pedal, vs Impacts.

If your a rider who needs 100% maximum grip, I'd say stick with the Impact.  But if you're someone who struggles with the 5.10's inability to allow for micro-adjustments to foot position, and you don't mind sacrificing a tiny bit of outright grip, I'd say the Northwave Clan's might be a good option.  

One note - Northwave's fit is notoriously tight.  Go up to a larger size from what your normally run.  Seriously.

Riding Motorbikes in the Alps: Part 2 - Aug. 13, 2019, 4:05 p.m.

Last fall I bought an e-mtb (Spesh Levo - hardtail 29'er). I bought it solely for the purposes of commuting to work through winter (in Alberta, you know, a place with real winters) . Note - For years I did the 32km commute under pure pedal power, but with a new-born baby and associated lack of sleep, it was just too fatiguing to spend 1hr+ each way in -25C + snow/ice, on top of an 8-10 hr workday. I'm a giant pussy, I know.

Anyways the e-bike (with studded tires) was great for that purpose (other than diminished battery life at -30C). Now until yesterday, the bike had never touched dirt (or even been ridden at all since winter ended - when the local landscape doesn't resemble an arctic wasteland I prefer to pedal to work under my own power).

Now yesterday I had taken the day off work to go riding. I had about 3-4 hrs to spare - normally I'll head out to my local trail system and crush a few pedal laps before heading home. Except.... it rained all night prior, and our local trails don't do well in the wet. Since I wasn't too keen to destroy the shit out of our precious loamers in those conditions, it was either ride some gravel roads/paths, or sit around at home. Since sitting at home was not an option, and riding gravel is normally boring as shit, I figured what-the-heck, why not try taking the e-bike out for her virgin taste of mountains? Given how moist things were, I targeted a loop involving 99% gravel roads/quad tracks.

And.... It was awesome! I did 46km (with 900m climbing), deep into the mountains, in 3.5 hrs! (including a 30 min lunch with beer). A loop that normally would have taken me 5-6+ hrs. And the best part is, it was fun as hell, even cruising uphill on a gravel road (something I normally find un-enjoyable) I had a shit-eating grin on my face the whole time!

Maybe e-bikes aren't so bad after all...

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