Bont RIOT Buckle Cycling Shoe Review
BONT Cycling, renowned for their race-proven anatomic fit, has made it possible for almost anyone to step inside the shoes of a pro with their new $129 road shoe, the BONT Riot Buckle. The BONT RiotBuckle is a composite, heat-moldable, entry-level road shoe that broadens the range of BONT’s line of cycling kicks that includes road, mountain, triathlon, track, and gravel models.
Back in 2017, we were fortunate to attend the now-defunct Interbike and make a lot of cycling industry contacts. Through those contacts (Thanks Suzette Ayotte) we were able to get out hands on some cool BONT Cycling Shoes. At the time we were able to review the Bont Vaypor S.
Fast forward a few years and no Interbike, we again were able to score a brand new pair of the BONT cycling shoes called the BONT Riot Buckles.
BONT RIOT Unboxing
BONT RIOT Buckle CYCLING SHOE REVIEW
Back To The Basics
BONT Cycling’s CEO and designer Steven Nemeth explains, “Until the integration of the BOA system in a cycling shoe, a buckle and Velcro closure system was deemed a high standard. As technology evolves, the definition of premium changes and what was once a high standard naturally is reduced to a second or third-tier on the top, middle, or lower end product offering scale.
The reality is, there is nothing functionally wrong with a buckle and some people actually prefer that technology. Because the perceived value has changed so have small parts specs which to our advantage allows us to offer a super-stiff profit in a truly affordable package that is now the Riot Buckle.”
BONT cycling shoes tend to run about 1/2 to a full 1 1/2 smaller than most of the major manufacturers. I normally wear a 43.5 to 44 in most cycling shoes and for the BONT RIOTs, a 45 feels about right.
I also find that BONTs, in general, are more geared towards those with wider feet and those with less of an arch.
As stated above, BONT uses a combination of a buckle and a Velcro strap for fit. For someone who typically rides with a 2 closure BOA system, the buckle and Velcro strap does a pretty good job of keeping your foot in place.
One of the first things you will notice when trying on a pair of the Bont Vaypor S cycling shoes is the extra-wide toe box that Bont refers to as their Ergoshell. The shoe’s fit sort of reminds me of the running shoe company called Altra, who also utilize a wide toe box similar in design. Heck if you like Birkenstocks, these will have a similar fit as far as toe spacing is concerned.
Bont’s Ergoshell design allows the foot to function in its most efficient and anatomically correct position. It also provides greater pedaling force because the toes are spread out naturally covering more surface area rather than squished. In other words, you have the potential to create more power or watts. I didn’t notice any power change, trying these on verse other cycling shoes I have used, so maybe it’s marketing hype or requires some type of adaptation to occur first.
When I run I like having a larger toe box, for cycling however when riding in BONTs I don’t feel I have as much control or pedal feel. I guess it boils down to preference. I like my foot really snug in my cycling shoes, so there is zero movement. For people whose feet go to sleep, BONT’s roomy toebox might just the ticket.
BONT is known for having very stiff shoes, in fact, they may make stiffest cycling shoes in the industry.
When climbing the shoes simply don’t flex and you can get a lot of power from the platform.
I did feel I had a lot of power when standing up, but I attribute that to the stiff carbon soles more than anything else.
The bottoms of the RIOTs are made using unidirectional carbon fiber. The use of carbon fiber creates a super stiff yet lightweight shoe. The shoes come with a Micro Grid at the front to help align cleat placement.
When wearing the shoes you definitely know you’re wearing carbon as the sole it’s extremely stiff. Based on other shoes I have tested, the RIOT’s are probably the stiffest of the bunch. There essentially is no flex when standing or during a sprint. The shoes are wicked stiff.
Bont added a rubber bumper at the front of the shoe and a heal guard to provide extra protection and improve grip when walking.
You can’t see it, but Bont added some anti-stretch material that is sandwiched between the outer layer and the inner liner. The material is claimed to stop the cycling shoes from stretching over time.
I suppose this could be a good or bad depending on fit. I have noticed with certain cycling shoes they tend to get more comfortable over time as they stretch to adjust to the foot. Bont’s material is designed to prevent the shoes from stretching, which might mean they may never feel as good as they could.
Bont’s answer to shoe fit, however, is to allow the shoes to be custom molded using heat. In essence, you simply put the shoes in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes (Temp 160 degrees), allowing them to heat up, take them out and while still warm you put them on to mold to your feet.
BONT RIOT BUCKLE HEIGHT
The BONT RIOT stack height (3.6 mm) is really low compared to many of the cycling shoes out there. So low in fact, it is one of the only cycling shoes I have tested that is really noticeable and forces me to change my seat height when testing them. It can be sort of a pain if you have multiple brands of cycling shoes of various stack heights and have to move the saddle up or down.
BONT VAYPOR S VENTILATION
The RIOTs have ventilation holes, screen mesh at the front and top allowing air into the shoe, but I didn’t find them to be as well ventilated as the Pearl Izumi PRO Leader 4 or SIDIs. They are more on par with the Crono CR1 or Fi’zi:k R1B cycling shoes.
FINAL OBSERVATIONS | BONT RIOT Buckle CYCLING SHOE REVIEW
If you’re looking for a wicked cool entry-level cycling shoe, the BONT RIOT at only 295 grams and $129 retail is pretty legit.
The RIOT Buckle is available now in two colors options: white with black logos and accents; and black with white logos and accents.
Check out the Bont Cycling shoe line and their accessories http://bontcycling.com/.