Shimano has a reputation for putting out reliable equipment, be in apparel or bicycle components alike. They may not always be on the cutting edge, but they’ll always be well-considered. This extends to Shimano’s top shoe, the S-Phyre. New for this fall is the Shimano S-Phyre RC902 road shoe, a meditated step ahead in comfort, function, and adjustability that places it firmly on the cutting edge. We have them in the shop now. Here’s why.
A New Upper
The changes between the new S-Phyre and the previous S-Phyre RC901 shoe we reviewed not long ago aren’t huge, but there are a few differences. Arguably the largest update comes in the form of a new upper. This version uses a combination of reinforced mesh and synthetic leather. The structure is added to specific parts of the upper to prevent stretch, specifically at the forefoot, where stability is needed the most.
The material, where reinforced, feels similar to Giro’s new Synchwire. This should offer a bit more durability than the previous generation RC901 and RC900 S-Phyre shoes. But the enforced material also allows for a fair bit more perforations and breathability than the previous generation too. Elsewhere the material is far more supple, and when paired to their new Surround 360 upper design, allows the shoe to mold to the foot without issue.
The new upper is tied to a new Dynalast shape that Shimano says offers a bit more space in the toe box, though the S-Phyre was already well-known for being roomy despite being a race-worthy shoe.
What Can a New Heel Do for You?
Each of the previous-generation S-Phyre road shoes features not only an external heel cup but this silvery cat’s tongue material on the inside. The idea there was that it allowed the heel to slide in easily but prevented the sock from easily slipping back out. All in the shoe offered a fair bit of heel security, particularly in comparison to Shimano’s generous toebox space. There wasn’t anything wrong with how this worked, but Shimano switched it up with the new shoe.
Shimano claims that the redesigned heel cup better deals with “twisting forces” that occurs during the hardest of efforts. Increasing heel stiffness, when paired to Shimano’s stiffest carbon sole, results in what Shimano says is the best power transfer in a shoe they’ve had yet. In addition, the shoe trades the cat’s tongue material for rubber grippers on both sides of the heel. How do they work in comparison to the previous shoes? Stay tuned, we’ll have a ride review up soon; but in short, the fit is different than just about anything Shimano has done before.
Details, Details, Details
Smaller bits and details abound with the new RC902 S-Phyre road shoe. The new BOA Li2 dials draw a bunch of attention here for being a bit slimmer than before, but they offer the same adjustability and function as before.
There were plenty of things that stuck around that we’re happy to see. There’s also a lace guide just above the forefoot that when paired to the supple upper, allows for a dialed-in fit. Seeing the Boa dial on the top strap is a welcome choice, if only because it means it is easier to remove the shoe; just pull the dial until it pops to release the wire then pull more to take the shoe off. For the most part, colors – pearlescent white, black, and blue – stick around too, with only the addition of a red shoe swapping for the neon green of the prior generation.
You also get a replaceable heel, and the stiff carbon sole offers the same highly-detailed markings that make replicating cleat placement very simple.
As mentioned, we have a pair of Shimano S-Phyre RC902 shoes in the shop on test, as well as a size run of the shoe in stock now. Contact us by phone during business hours or by email any time at email@example.com with any questions.