Saturday, November 28, 2009

Product Review: Mavic Fury Mtb Shoes-Great Race Shoes--But Not a Unique Choice


I won a certificate redeemable for these shoes at the MMRacing raffle early in the fall. Matt joked that the winner sends in the cert. and gets the shoes like 6 months later. I thought Matt knew something terrible about Mavic’s supply chain. In fact Mavic turned the certificate around with a week of my mailing it. Impressive. Matt was making a joke about Mavic’s incredible efficiency and customer support and I just didn’t get it. All these years of cycling and this is my first experience with Mavic. So far, so good.

Originally I had planned on ordering these Fury’s for my tiny-footed wife, but Mavic does not make a shoe small enough for her. Juniors and petite women, look elsewhere.

These yellow shoes have become ubiquitous in the New England cyclocross scene. They are everywhere. Mavic appears to be sponsoring everyone who asks and comping everyone else in an effective saturation campaign. Always trying to be different, I was initially put off by these shoes. I was concerned that wearing what everyone else was wearing would somehow hurt my standing as a rebel, an outcast and most importantly, a dedicant to Italian cycling heritage. In fact I did get heckled a bit during my first few races wearing these.

But these shoes perform. F--- appearances. While I may be a rebel and an Ital-o-phile, I am a racer first. Competitive advantage trumps fashion (only slightly). After my first 2 rides in these shoes, I was sold. Maybe all these other riders are onto something and I was just the last to know.

The first thing you notice is that these shoes are stiff, the upper particularly. The upper is a combination of smooth synthetic leather and stiff plastic (maybe it’s some form of carbon fiber) and durable, yet breathable mesh. The hard parts offer stability and clean up easily, while the mesh breathes well (both air and liquid pass in and out of the shoe easily). The hard parts clean up well time and time again, but the mesh went from a eye-popping yellow to a dull yellowish brown after my first race (I hosed them off after the race and scrubbed them in the tub at the motel). But isn’t that what you’d expect after saturating the yellow fabric in mud for two days? I find that the open mesh pattern allows more solid matter to get inside the shoe than a less open design (Sidi, Specialized). On the flip side, water and muck can easily flow out as well, instead of pooling and squishing inside long after went through the puddle.

Unlike many competitors, these uppers are not trying to imitate leather, they are hydrocarbon and carbon, which does not conform or deform. Luckily they are shaped well for my feet, so this isn’t a problem. If these don’t fit like a glove in the store, DO NOT BUY THEM! Your foot might conform, but that seems like too much discomfort just to jump on a cyclocross fashion bandwagon.

The top of the shoe is capped with a hard plastic. When a rock bounces up or you mistakenly jam your toe into an obstruction, the cap protects your toes from harm.




The ratcheting system is well designed, though does not feel as durable as competitors’. The bed that strap rests in is purposely shaped to stabilize the strap.



Maybe this allows Mavic to use a smaller, seemingly less durable strap? Once the shoe is on, I don’t think about it. But the ratchet can prove stubborn to remove when packed with mud, more so than competitors’. The middle spider strap has a length adjustment, which I found useful (my narrow feet required me to shorten the strap).

One of my problems with Sidi’s off-road shoes is that they are basically a Sidi road shoe with lugs glued onto the sole. Mavic has designed a highly function and well thought through off-road shoe.

The sole lugs are grippy yet durable, even in sloppy conditions. They even have rubber on the arch of the foot so that you can grip your pedal well if you are a user of the “step through/ mark McCormack” method of cyclocross dismount.



This middle grip is also useful if you miss a clip in, allowing you to apply some power even when not clipped in.

The ├╝ber-stiff carbon sole transfers pedaling power efficiently, offering the racer assurance that they are not squandering precious Watts in flexing the sole (another problem with Sidi off-road shoes). The shoes come with a thin metal plate that goes underneath the cleat to prevent the pedal from wearing/damaging the sole of the shoe (a problem that has plagued my 5 sets of Sidis).




I have found that this little bit of replaceable metal (shoes came with 4 plates), makes clipping in more positive.

The stiff sole and protective upper offer noticeable advantages on run ups. They behave similar to a rigid hiking boot, allowing you to jam your toes into cracks without fear of harming your feet. Also the stiff sole allows you to leverage your toe hold and use the sole as a lever to raise yourself quickly and efficiently.

Overall I am impressed with the Mavic Fury’s performance, though I feel like a fashion victim when wearing them. While eye popping yellow is a statement, I am not quite sure what it says: “I am a follower;” “I jump on bandwagons;” “I like garish colors;” “I want to be just like [insert cyclocrossworld.com pro of choice here].”

I got my shoes for free, so I took what was offered. But you can get yours in black if you pay for them; I haven’t seen white offered yet. Before trying them, I would not have bought these shoes with my own money. But now that I have sampled them, I am sold.

As for durability, time will tell. But so far so good.




8 comments:

Aki said...

You mention you have a lot of Sidis, and you mention these shoes fit you well.

Although it seems like I may be the only one that may have to go buy these shoes, I'd do it if they really are light and they really fit well. It's one thing to try them on in the store, another to ride and race in them.

I'm a big Sidi shoe (fit) fan. Would you say the Mavics fit essentially the same as Sidis?

Anonymous said...

These motherfucking shoes raised the price by 10% this year. I demand to see their balance sheet. Are the prices of ratchets going up? How big a house does their CEO have? Are his kids in private school? I am going to boycott their shoes and pretend like I am going to make my own shoes only to realize in a few weeks that I cannot possibly do this.

RMM said...

Anon:

While I understand the humor in your comment, I have a feeling that you are one of the sketchy bike handling strangers that I would have had to get insurance to protect myself against.

I think that you fail to grasp the subtext in the other post. Let me spell it out: By excluding strangers and the hassle that they will inevitably bring, I will be able to provide a much better ride for the people who I actually care about, my cycling friends.

Tristan said...

FWIW: I broke the main ratcheting strap (How this happened, I don't know) in the middle of a cross race on the lower end model, the Mavic Razor, which by a visual check are very much the same as the Furys. Vendors are less than enthused about getting a replacement strap, which is worthy of concern, where Sidi has at least the parts there when you break stuff.

So as of right now I have a useless pair of cheap shoes until Mavic can get me the parts.

Anonymous said...

I have read that the Fury is built off the women's Scorpio last.

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Anonymous said...

To my knowledge parts for the strap system are easy to find, in fact the shop I work at carries the parts for them.