Posted on July 16 2019
Changing Perception with the Transition clip shoe Photo: Susie Theis
Good things take time
Commitment. It defines a purpose, a meaningful relationship, and a close connection. For Ride Concepts, that commitment is the uncompromising ride; a mission that was born out of a quest for a better fitting and performing youth bike shoe. With the release of five new premium models, that mission has evolved into a comprehensive, progressive line of footwear for men, women, and youth.
We launched in fall 2018 with the Session Series of flat pedal footwear, intended to be immensely durable while maintaining a casual aesthetic. Meanwhile, the development of the next generation of premium series of flats and clips was already underway. Designed to redefine connection with the pedal regardless of riding style, the Powerline, Skyline, and TNT cater to flat pedal riders. The Transition and Traverse serve clipless riders.
Challenging the standard for interaction between foot and pedal set forth by current product in the market, the team determined there was work to be done. “The idea from the beginning was to offer an initial series of durable flat shoes, loaded with features for the rider who is on the trail day after day,” said founder and CEO Brandon Dodd. “The next step was to build upon that. We saw a big opportunity across men, women and youth for many riding styles.” The brand and product were an immediate hit, with global distribution quickly spreading to over 30 countries.
When developing the premium flat shoes and expanding into clipless, we took our time, asking important questions to riders putting the Session Series through the paces across the globe. “With no boardroom or suits to tell us how to do it, we are calculated in our approach to design and real world use,” said Dodd. “We are not going to release a product until thoroughly confident that it improves the ride and it is a product that we want to use.”
The Powerline's welded, breathable upper
The release of the premium line virtually represents a “Ride Concepts 2.0.” “We paused, asking ourselves why we ride and why we are doing this,” said Brand Manager Rick Reed. “It might sound cliché to say it, but we went back to the roots, thought about our connection to the bike and the ride itself. We examined why we pick the gear we put on when we head out for a particular ride.”
Sometimes it’s a solo backcountry ride that beckons, and you have to be prepared. Or a morning when your buddy unexpectedly calls and asks, “I have a shuttle to the highest peak around that you have yet to ride. Are you in?” “You drop your plans, grab your bike and gear, and leave the rest of life’s daily frustrations behind for those few hours,” continued Reed. “You make the time to push yourself and you must be ready for the unexpected. That’s our motivation in doing this.“
Redefining pedal connection through technology
The countless hours spent defining that connection has resulted in the evolution of progressive bike footwear. Utilizing premium materials such as microfiber and anti-peel uppers and construction techniques like welding rather than stitching to eliminate seams, increasing durability and saving weight, the five new models feature numerous technical details typically unseen in bike footwear of this type.
Collaborations with partners Rubber Kinetics and D3O form the foundation of each model. The Powerline, Skyline and TNT introduce the Rubber Kinetics DST 4.0 MAX Grip rubber, Ride Concepts’ softest compound. The proprietary DST 4.0 combined with the hexagonal tread outsole provides ultimate grip, pedal feel and shock-absorbing qualities making it the ideal instrument for the hardest days on the bike. On the TNT, a larger diameter hexagonal pattern is used for even more surface contact with the pedal.
The TNT, the big mountain bomber designed for riding outside of your comfort zone
DST 8.0 MID grip is introduced on the Transition and Traverse, as an uninterrupted interaction with the cleat box is of utmost importance on a clipless shoe, whether an all day ride or a race against the clock is on the agenda. The 40mm wide cleat box is designed for easy entry to any clipless pedal.
Each model features an asymmetrical medial mid height collar, utilizing D3O impact protection. The asymmetrical design is completely unobtrusive to the rider when pedaling, but ready to protect when needed. Custom toecap protection, high-rise medial EVA for additional arch support and D3O insoles are just a few more of the many features packed into the shoes.
Tahoe local and Ride Every Day team ripper Nick Chmell testing the TNT in early spring. Photo: Ian Hylands
Like our entire line, each shoe is developed on a gender-specific last (3D mold of a foot) for proper fit, form and flex.
No shortcuts. Full Commit.
For most young brands, experienced help with product development and testing doesn’t necessarily come walking in the door every day. However, one major objective of the company is creating a home for athletes. Enlisting the services of the legendary and respected Crankworx Champ Paul Basagoitia as Team Manager, Ride Concepts is encompassing the help of pro athletes with years of experience at the highest levels of competition and commitment to test product.
Unexpectedly, even to us, an athlete roster was assembled including a World Cup team who was on a parallel path of going against the grain and launching a brand of their own- Atherton Racing, aboard their new Atherton Bikes brand.
Atherton Racing with the Transition and Traverse Photo: Sven Martin
A few calls and texts from Basagoitia, and a deal was struck. “When I initially contacted Rachel regarding a sponsorship, she laughed, thinking I was joking!” said Basagoitia. “I don’t blame her, as we were still in the development stages. I told her I wouldn’t jeopardize our friendship if I didn’t think RC could deliver a bitchin’ clip shoe!”
Rachel tested several prototypes prior to the season Photo: Sven Martin
The clipless shoes are now World Cup proven by the team, especially Rachel, who tested the women’s Traverse for months prior to the season. “Providing critical feedback that went right to production, Rachel really helped us push the limits of how a performance shoe could be constructed, and how it needs to function with every clipless pedal,” said Dodd. “It challenged us and our factory.”
“I am so fussy about the shoes I ride in,” commented Atherton. “Being one of only two contact points to your bike, it’s an incredibly important area. The whole range is brilliant, flat through clips to sliders. Stepping out in great shoes makes you feel and ride like a boss!” We wish a quick and strong recovery to the boss, Rachel.
You Belong With Us. Rider Designed. Rider Owned.
The launch of the new line was recently celebrated at our Lake Tahoe headquarters, where dealers, athletes, friends and family gathered for brews, shoes, and a hearty meal cooked by the staff. Office neighbors and friends High Fives Foundation and Truckee Brewing lent a hand in making a memorable day. Embracing the spirit of the mountain town lifestyle, all-age mini bike races broke out in the parking lot, and factory rider Greg Watts brought his Crankworx skills to the office staircase.
Photos: Susie Theis
Thriving on the community and camaraderie that mountain biking and its related activities bring, office barbecues and group rides are the norm. If you ever find yourself in the Lake Tahoe area, be sure to drop by the office and meet the crew. You might even get a glimpse of future product in development or find yourself in an impromptu mini bike race with a factory athlete.