- Incredible stiffness
- Mouldable sole
- Wide fit available
- Boa is a bit basic
- Very flat insoles
The Bont Riot MTB+ is a very stiff, competition orientated shoe that's light and comes with custom moulding options, although the Boa is a bit basic for the price.
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Bont is well known for its carbon soles that can be custom moulded to your feet – the resin gets soft at relatively low temperatures – at home. It isn't mandatory, however, so for those unsure about putting their new shoes in the oven, rest assured you can use them out of the box.
Sizing is accurate and the fit is reasonably wide, especially in the front, and for riders with very wide feet there is a wide fit option too. The insole is very flat, however, so if you want arch support you'll be needing separate inserts.
At 694g actual weight (size 41), they're very light for mountain bike shoes – the Shimano RX8, for instance, is a minimalistic gravel shoe with a sleek tread, and even that's 618g. For mountain biking, I would consider anything under 800g lightweight – sub 700g is very impressive.
Bont is known for its bathtub-style soles, where the base extends upwards around the entire footbed, and it's incredibly comfortable. I used the shoes initially without customising the fit, and after a few rides I realised one toe was touching the edge of the sole. So into the oven they went...
The reshaping process is easy to follow and the fit was improved; I pushed the edge of the sole out slightly with the handle of a screwdriver, and hey presto, it worked (my efforts to create a higher arch were less succesful, unfortunately – the sole is only malleable to small degrees. There's no limit to the number of times it can be reshaped, however).
The closure comprises one velcro strap and the main Boa dial. The dial is a basic one with micro-adjust tightening and a tension quick release, but you can't slacken tension in small steps. This means if you go a little too tight the only option is to release them and start again, which isn't ideal if you're riding.
The cleat positioning feels very good, and has good room for rearward adjustment.
Those carbon soles are very stiff, and it's a double-edged sword. When pushing on or racing the stiffness is brilliant – this feels like a high-end road shoe, which it basically is (the road version is basically the same bar the tread). The lack of flex and direct power transfer to the pedals is fantastic.
On the flipside, that stiffness means they are not comfortable to walk in for any length of time, so even though the base is replaceable (a rare detail) and there are fittings for toe studs, I wouldn't recommend the Riots to anyone who finds themselves hiking or pushing a lot.
The Riot MTB+ might carry the mountain bike tag, but they're great for gravel bikes. The stiff platform really suits fast riding, and anyone coming over from road will find the feel comfortingly familiar.
With a retail price of £170 they are not cheap, but the performance, customisation and low weight earns it. Against similarly light competition, the price looks like good value: the Shimano RX8 is £220, while Specialized's Recon 3.0 is £210.
The Fizik Terra X5 Terra is a good match with similar performance, and is a bit cheaper at £150 too. They're narrow, though.
The Bont Riot MTB+ shoes are not great when walking, but for actual riding they're incredibly comfortable – especially after moulding. The insole is basic and flat, but beyond than that these shoes offer incredible performance and all-day comfort.