The Giro may still be on, but if your the Tour de France product launch to be a hit it’s best to strike early - that seems to be the thinking at Shimano who today announced the launch of the R321b road shoe at this years Tour.
So, you ask, what’s the difference between the R321B custom fit road shoe and the R321 custom fit road shoe Shimano launched last year?
Well, the R321B is blue - hence the ‘B’ presumably. And it has double the amount of fore/aft cleat adjustment over the standard model 22m as opposed to 11m.
40 pro riders will be wearing the shoes during this year’s Tour including John Degenkolb, Michael Matthews, and Vasily Kirienka who between them have won Paris-Roubaix, Milan-San Remo, and two stages of this year’s Giro D’Italia. Those victories were achieved in the non-blue enhanced standard version of the shoe.
Why blue? Well that’s Shimano’s corporate colour, the flashes of yellow reference… I’m going to have to hurry you… yes, it’s the Tour de France.
Joking apart it is a very natty looking bit of cycling footwear.
Blueness and extra cleat adjustment options it shares the same ultra-rigid, lightweight, hollow channel, cross-carbon weave outsole with a 12/12 stiffness rating for maximum power transfer - but in the limited edition blue and yellow colour way. The outsole also incorporates Shimano’s unique Dynalast shape, designed, says Shimano, to enhance muscle efficiency and provide smoother riding performance.
The upper material is made from Teijin Avail 100 Ultra-fine fibre, which Shimano says makes the shoes stretch-resistant, extremely durable and lightweight. In keeping with the customized theme, flashes of yellow across the Teijin Avail outer upper section form into the shoe’s name, the R321.
Both the uppers and the insole are head mouldable for a custom fit.
Riders from Orica GreenEDGE, Giant-Alpecin, Team Sky, Team LottoNL-Jumbo, IAM and Cannondale-Garmin will be wearing the R321Bs at this year’s Tour. No word on whether any Astana riders will be in them, but perhaps that might offer too much of a colour coordination performance advantage.
According to a Shimano press statement the R321B will be available to buy from the start of the Tour in early July, Shimano haven’t said what size the limited edition is, but we do know they will share the R321’s RRP of £299.99.
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.