Gaerne Carbon G Chrono Speedplay road shoes are very stiff and light shoes with a dedicated Speedplay carbon sole.
They use the same microfibre upper as the standard G Chrono shoes but swap the regular carbon sole for one drilled specifically for Speedplay cleats. Most cleats and soles use three bolts, but Speedplay use four bolts to secure the cleat to the sole. Normally this means you have to use a plastic adapter, which adds to the stack height, but this dedicated sole solves that.
You do have to use a Speedplay carbon adapter though, a thin sliver of metal to protect the carbon. You have to buy this separately for £12; it isn't supplied with the shoes or Speedplay cleats.
Installation of the cleats is easy, much easier than the regular Speedplay cleat installation as you have four not seven bolts to fit. There are loads of measurement markers to help you line up the cleats on both shoes easily, and there's a wide range of fore and aft adjustment. Because of the reduced stack height, the saddle height does need to be lowered by a few millimetres.
A pair of BOA dials on each shoe makes it really quick and easy to tighten them up. Having two dials spreads the pressure across the top of the foot well, and you can independently adjust the tightness in the middle and top of the foot. To release, you simply pull the BOA dial up and the steel wire instantly loosens.
Unlike the latest BOA dials which allow you to micro-adjust the retention, these are earlier generation dials that only allow you to tighten with a clockwise rotation. That's a pain if you want to back the dial off one click; you have to pop the dial, releasing all the tension, and start over. In reality it's a small bugbear, but on £300 shoes I want perfection.
Italian shoes can often come up narrow, but I found these very comparable to the Shimano shoes, and an old pair of Specialized S-Works shoes. The shoes fit the feet well, with good support in all areas. The rigid heel cup secures the foot in place at the back of the shoe and keeps heel lift to an absolute minimum.
The microfibre upper is punctuated with plenty of vents, something I've been appreciating during this heat wave, but on the hottest days I would have liked larger vents around the toe box. There are no vents in the carbon sole, something which could also help contribute on extremely hot days. In typical British summer weather they're a happy place for your feet even on six hour rides.
As John wrote in his review of the regular G Chrono shoes, it's a real shame there's no custom moulding option. Many manufacturers are now offering various levels of custom fit at this price, and while the fit of the shoes is mostly pretty good, I would really like to see custom fit for £300.
Very stiff shoe perfect for Speedplay users with a dedicated four-bolt sole, but the lack of custom fit at this price could be a deal breaker.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Gaerne Carbon G Chrono Speedplay road shoes
Size tested: Size 45
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
ALL NEW for 2013: Lighter and more vented.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
GLOVE-LIKE FIT - Boa provides custom comfort with smooth, even closure and no pressure points.
LIGHTWEIGHT - A Boa Closure System weighs substantially less than other cycling shoe closures and approximately one-fifth of other high-end ratchet-closure systems.
MICRO-ADJUSTABILITY - The high-precision Boa reel allows the cyclist to achieve the perfect shoe tension.
ON-THE-FLY - Simply reach down and dial in the perfect fit with a few clicks of the Boa dial.
SECURE - The Boa laces translate to superior power transfer through the entire pedal stroke.
BREATHABILITY - Free of cumbersome straps and Velcro, cyclists enjoy greater air circulation across the top of the foot.
Handmade in Italy
Available in sizes 39 to 48
They're both very comfortable and stiff.
They've been bashed about loads and they've held up just fine.
They're at the lighter end of the scale.
Very good, but custom moulding would make them even more comfortable, and more accommodating of different foot shapes.
They stand up well against other £300 shoes, but the lack of custom fit is a shame.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The looks, stiffness, Speedplay sole and comfort.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The Boa dials lack of easy adjustment and no custom moulding option.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe.
About the tester
Age: 31 Height: 180 Weight: 67
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.