The new breed.
For its latest iteration, Fi'zi:k's R1, the R1B Uomo Shoe, returns with some pretty sizeable alterations. The brand attributes these changes to input from professional cyclist. While it doesn't specify exactly who, what we've seen over the past few seasons might suggest that this body of athletes includes everything from TT-minded diesels like BMC Racing's Dennis to properly versatile rouleurs like Team Sky's Thomas. The Welshman's 2015 season is an especially apt demonstration of the R1B's take-all-comers pedigree, as the track gold medalist produced dominant performances in the spring classics, weeklong stage races, and his amazing turn as a super domestique come July.
As we alluded to above, though, the shoes we saw on cyclists like Dennis and Thomas were the 2015 models, and for 2016 the R1B Uomo has only seen improvements. Of these, the one we're most excited about is the asymmetrical closure design, which Fizik is calling Volume Control. Volume Control involves two independently wired Boa IP1 dials, an adjustable heel cup, and a pull-over flap that's shaped to wrap the foot rather than just strap it in.
Hot spots are the bane of many a cyclist, and the lower Boa dial allows for targeted volume at the forefoot to let the metatarsals expand without restriction. This partitioned adjustment construction is fairly standard with most high-level shoes these days, so we'd be surprised not to see it on the R1B Uomo; however, the Volume Control design really departs from other shoes at the upper Boa dial. It not only wraps the mid- and upper-foot for a secure fit from afore, but it also adjusts from astern, dialing the heel cup's fit to ensure the kind of customizable security that keeps your feet in place for more efficient power transfer throughout your pedal stroke and less danger of heel irritation and blisters.
The inclusion of a uni-directional carbon fiber sole comes as no surprise — these are, after all, Fizik's top racing shoes — but the sole's greedy ventilation system is a literally refreshing design. We call it greedy because it involves three air intake vents, internal channeling, and an exhaust vent system. And they're all huge. While you might expect the intake vents' size and the volume of cooling air they shepherd through the shoes to be an aerodynamic disadvantaged if not properly managed, the ventilation channeling and strategically positioned exhaust vents ensure that the cooling effect doesn't come at the cost of increased drag.
Instead of its predecessor's Kangaroo leather, the R1B's upper is Fi'zi:k's all-purpose microtex synthetic. It's the same, well-tested material found across the manufacturer's shoe and saddle lines. Barring a series of tiny, ventilating fenestrations, the uppers are a single, clean piece, adding to the shoes' understated profile and validating the aesthetic praise they received in virtually every publication that wrote them up after the latest round of industry trade shows.
- Carbon-soled, top-of-the-line road cycling shoe
- Highly durable, ventilated synthetic uppers
- Adjustable heel cup improves power transfer
- Streamlined, next-to-skin fit from dual Boa dials
- Stiff, responsive carbon sole with cooling vents
- Fizik designs show artful restraint and uncompromising fit