Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Pearl Izumi Elite RD II Road Shoe Review

Pearl Izumi Elite RD II Road Shoes vs. Louis Garneu Ergo Air Pro Road Shoes:
Compared to the first road shoe I bought, the Pearl Izumi Elite RD II Road Shoes were excellent.  Prior to the PI's, I purchased the Louis Garneu Ergo Air Pro Road Shoe, a "Performance Bike Exclusive" shoe.  The fit and ventilation was excellent, but the major design flaw involved the buckle. The spring housed inside the buckle snapped the release tab.  Although Performance Bike offered to repair the buckle for free, I decided to return this shoe because I knew the material used in the buckle was too weak and it would eventually lead me to replace the buckle again and again.  Out of all the barriers that could get between me and my training, a defected.shoe should not be one of them.

The good:
After approximately 3,000 miles on these shoes with a few scrapes and impacts from criteriums/ fails, these shoes still looked great and have been extremely reliable from the start.  The buckle seemed to be composed of a more durable material and was designed more intelligently compared to the LG Ergo Air's. In order to lock/ unlock the buckle, it only requires only a little bit of force to release the strap.  I like this because it never feels like the buckle wants to break.  With regards to comfort and weight, the leather upper fit better and it also felt noticeably lighter than the LG Ergo Air, although I could not tell a big difference once they were on my feet.  In terms of performance, the carbon fiber was stiffer during high power efforts and hard accelerations, but the difference was small- I only noticed the difference because I consciously tried to feel for it.

The not so good:
In terms of ventilation, I have to admit that the LG Ergo Air's were better.  The LG Ergo Air had noticeably more ventilation than the PI Elite RD II- though I wouldn't sacrifice the PI Elite RD II's better fit just to have a little bit more ventilation.

About sizing for these shoes: 
For an idea of what size to buy, I wear 9.5's for most shoes and occasionally have to get 10's, but the 44's (Pearl Izumi) fit perfectly!

  • Lightweight - carbon fiber
  • Ratchet Attachment
  • Not ugly
  • No replaceable heel or toe pads
  • Could be a little more breathable..

Performance Bike Product Description:
"The Elite RD II Road cycling shoes combine Pearl Izumi's 1:1 Anatomic Buckle Closure System, Elite Carbon 1:1 Anatomic Plate and a lightweight, one-piece upper to create ultra-efficient, ultra-light, performance shoes at an incredible price.

Elite 1:1 Power Plate with Concave Shaping:

  • Minimizes weight, maximizes stiffness and cradles the foot for an unparalleled level of anatomic support, comfort and pedaling efficiency
  • Delivers an ultra low stack height of just 7mm for optimal pedaling performance and power transfer
  • Unidirectional carbon plate for ultra-light stiffness
Additional Features:
  • Longitudinal Arch Support optimally supports the arch for increased pedaling efficiency, support, stability and power transfer Direct-Vent mesh panels for cooling and drainage
  • One-piece upper fits like a second skin, minimizes weight and maximizes comfort
  • Elite Insole with dual-density EVA provides excellent longitudinal and transverse arch support
  • Elite 1:1 Heel Cup with a synthetic leather lining and external Nylon Power Band delivers maximum heel hold and power transfer
  • 1:1 Anatomic Buckle Closure follows the natural anatomic shape of the foot to eliminate hot spots and remove pressure from your instep; adjustable instep strap with adjustable buckle mounting plate delivers ultimate fit and flexibility
Cleat Compatibility: 3-bolt
Weight: 554g/pair (size 43)
Closure/ Straps: 3 Velcro/ 1 Ratchet
Material/ Sole: Carbon; Leather/ Mesh