While edging towards the spendy side for an all-mountain clipless shoe, Bontrager’s Rally fills that price with an impressively sturdy build, respectable weight, and solid security. It also has the looks to boot, making it a shoe well worth considering if you're of the clipless and gravity-fed/trail persuasion.
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The Rally is Bontrager’s shoe that’s designed for gravity-fed riding, coming built packed with protective features. These include an abrasion-resistant coating around the heel and toe caps, the latter of which is also reinforced to keep your toes from getting mangled under flung rocks. There’s even an EVA midsole to absorb shock from harsh landings and to quieten down any nasty chatter.
The shoe’s closure is a tried and tested affair that we’ve seen on loads of shoes before. Simply, it’s a lace paired with a fat hook and loop strap. It’s an uncomplicated system that just works. That thick strap results in a huge feeling of security though, and where there’s no lace tidy, it comes in handy for keeping any stray laces from becoming a nuisance.
Even though the Rally is a little snugger than most shoes it was still very comfortable especially when walking in. It looks like a skate shoe and off of the bike, that’s exactly how it behaves, though I won’t be introducing it to grip tape any time soon. The soles aren't built with a terribly aggressive tread and because of that, it can get a little slippery when it's loose underfoot. Even when there's just a layer of dust gracing the trail, it's worth taking a cautious step.
On the bike clipping in is as easy as it gets thanks to the shoe's lengthy cleat channels. If I were being picky though, it would be nice to have slightly longer or rearward-biased channels as found on competing shoes, just so I can achieve my perfect cleat positing. The EVA midsole clearly absorbs a good bit of the harsh stuff which ups the comfort level considerably. It’s just during extended descents where I found my feet to fatigue a little but in this case, it’s because of the snug fit. Size the shoe properly and this won’t be an issue.
There’s something of a lack of perforations and cooling around the shoe but regardless, the Rally has kept my feet reasonably warm when they need to be, only getting temperate on properly hot days. However, where the shoe is missing airflow encouraging tech, the lack thereof makes it rather good at keeping the wet stuff out. I’ve been testing these since winter through all weathers aside from snow and my feet have remained mostly dry throughout.
I’ve touched on this before but the big takeaway that I found with the Rally is how secure it feels on the foot. While pedalling, it doesn’t shift and when combined with its reasonably lightweight (414g per shoe) it’s a pretty efficient bit of footwear.
It’s absolutely durable, after my extended test period, other than a good film of dust, the Rally is looking rather good considering the abuse. There are some clear wrinkles where the upper has conformed while walking but all it needs is a quick wipe and it’ll look as good as new.
As for value, I’ve mentioned at the beginning of this review that it is edging towards pricy. I say that because there are shoes such as Leatt’s DBX 4.0 Clip which offers loads of cleat adjustment and a similar build for £45 less. Specialized’s 2FO DH Clip is priced at £145 with an extended cleat slot and lighter claimed weight.
However, there are shoes such as the 2FO ClipLite from Specialized that are priced at £175. They’re heavier at 470g per shoe and our tester found them to be poorly ventilated, while the cuff had a tendency to be uncomfortable. The Rally is firmly sat in the mid-high section of the price spectrum.
The Rally holds up to its asking price though, thanks to a solid level of protection, good comfort, and weather resistance. It’s secure on the pedal and it’s comfortable to walk in during those hike-a-bike sessions. Just make sure that you try before you buy to get the perfect fit and avoid foot fatigue during descents.