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High-performance lightweights for dancing on the pedals

A whole bunch of shiny new kit has just arrived at the road.cc nerve centre from Mavic, including these striking high-end Zxellium shoes.

Mavic built their reputation on wheels and we guess that's what they’ll always be best known for, but the French brand has really expanded in other areas over the past few years, including rider wear. The clothing is generally innovative and well put together – there's some great stuff in the range – but we have a particular soft spot for the shoes.

Priced at £235, the Zxelliums are far from cheap, but they’ve got some high-quality features to help justify that chunky price tag. The full-carbon outsole is incredibly light and thin – just 5.5mm – so your feet are that much closer to the pedal axle. Chances are that you’ll have to drop your saddle a touch to take account of the lower stack height. And if our experience of past Mavic shoes is anything to go by, that sole is extremely stiff so, despite the skinniness, there’s no slop at all when you pound the pedals.

The Energy Lock heel counter is full carbon too, designed to hold the back of your foot ultra-stable for the best transfer of energy. Like the outsole, it’s very light and, almost as important, it looks cool too.

The lightweight mesh uppers are bonded rather than stitched so there are very few seams to bother your, and they come with an injected TPU frame – that’s thermoplastic polyurethane, if you want to get technical about it – to hold your feet securely and prevent any stretch. The toecap is bonded in place too and we’re hoping that the three-density insole proves to be as comfy as it looks.

Closure comes courtesy of one broad, ratcheted upper strap and two Velcro-adjusted lower ones – a lot like Adidas Adistar shoes in days of yore. But the fit is pretty different from those Adidas models thanks to a considerably wider last.

As you’ll have noticed, our Zxelliums are very yellow. Like, really yellow. Think bananas. Think lemons. Think fluffy little ducklings. We reckon they'll calm down a bit after a few damp British rides but if you’re not into yellow, you're fighting a losing battle here – go for the white option instead.

We’re bolting some cleats in place even as we type – we’re nimble-fingered like that – so expect a full report within the next couple of weeks, once we've got the big miles in.

Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a youthful 45-year-old Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.

10 comments

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Jon Burrage [998 posts] 5 years ago
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Ive been interested in these for a year or so...be interesting to see what Mat makes of them

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DaSy [687 posts] 5 years ago
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They look very similar to my old Adidas Adistar Road Pro (which were made by Mavic), except it appears they have rectified the issue I had with them where the top strap would cut into the front of my foot when flexing my ankle to pedal.

It was very frustrating, as they looked great, but were just unusable for other than very short rides. They live with my other old road shoes, except that they are in near perfect condition, but now no use even on the turbo.

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demoff [327 posts] 5 years ago
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I know someone who would love them to go with all his Once kit and Contador pedals.

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11speedaddict [75 posts] 5 years ago
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i've tried some of these and found them very narrow. i'd like to hear what the reviewer thinks.

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guidob [56 posts] 5 years ago
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I keep picking these up in my Local Bike Shop, they are so very very light, then again as I would have to get some very good pedals to justify the expense they are a little too expensive - today at least!

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handlebarcam [549 posts] 5 years ago
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Do they explode when you go round left-hand bends, like the R-Sys?

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Old Cranky [257 posts] 5 years ago
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They come up small (like Sidi)

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abudhabiChris [692 posts] 5 years ago
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I have had a pair of these for a year now.

I got them mainly because of the large mesh areas on the upper, as I'm using them in Abu Dhabi.

Good points - they are very light and stiff and as cool (temperature-wise) as shoes can be. I would think that in anything other than the months of European summer you would need to think about covers, if you're prone to cold tootsies.

They are also VERY yellow. The bad side of that is that I found they get very dirty very quickly, especially the mesh bit, which is hard to clean. So now they are yellow and blackish-yellow, which is not such a great look.

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Blackhound [434 posts] 5 years ago
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The 'M' always looks like a Morrison's logo to me.

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simonfrenchuk [50 posts] 5 years ago
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At least the M doesn't look like the 'golden arch' of McD's