I may be biased being a flat pedal rider myself, but I feel mountain bikers are rekindling the love affair they once had with the flat pedal. That feeling of sliding through a corner foot out is the pinnacle of what a lot of us want to achieve. However the need to go faster and climb better has left all but a handful of us firmly locked into their pedals. But now with more and more options becoming available to flat pedal riders, the need to clip-in is diminishing further and further. One of those new options is the Hellion by Ride Concepts.
Having ridden Five Tens almost exclusively, I was intrigued to see how far other companies had come in matching that Stealth rubber. First impressions on picking up the Hellion are of its build quality. There are no loose ends that feel like they will rip off; flat pedal riders tend to drag their shoes a lot more so durability is important. Featuring a two-panel synthetic upper with anti-peel coating and a reinforced toe and heel, the Hellions feel extremely well put together. And did I mention extremely light?
As you put these shoes on you are rewarded with a noticeably snug fit. I personally like a slim-fitted shoe, and this ticks all the boxes. A clever feature is the D30 reinforced inner sole, providing comfort and impact absorption to reduce foot fatigue on long descents, which I found to be a welcome addition on bigger rides. Performance on the trail is outstanding. For long days in the saddle, the Hellions come into their own. They’re extremely grippy with a relatively stiff sole, which translates to a very efficient pedalling platform. Your feet don’t move, and you can actually pull up like a clip they are that grippy.
As far as downhill performance, this is where the Hellions showed their only sign of weakness. The stiff rubber and rigid sole corelated to a lot of vibration which tended to make my feet bounce around slightly more than I’m used to. In saying that, it’s only on the rowdiest and roughest of descents that I found this a problem. As an all round shoe for the majority of riders I’d say this would almost be the perfect shoe. Unless you’re racing downhill, the Hellion should definitely be an option next time you need some new kicks.