Following the updates to their warm weather road and mountain bike shoes, the new Northwave Extreme RR2 GTX road and XCM2 GTX mountain bike winter cycling shoes bring lighter weight, improved fit and a sleeker design. Using the X-Frame construction with a simple, single ratchet dial closure, the shoes route the cable to provide a secure fit with no pressure points. The other major improvement is the upper neoprene sleeve, which loses the Velcro flap to become a sock-like barrier against the cold.
Technically, the soft cuff was introduced on last year’s models, but both road and MTB versions see a few updates. The bigger, literally and physically, news is the massive new Himalaya extreme conditions shoe shown further down.
Both the RR2 and XCM2 models use the same upper construction, including the Climaflex collar. This design uses a stretchable Gore-Tex Rattler membrane under a neoprene sleeve with no flaps or panels. The result is an incredibly soft, flexible design that won’t restrict ankle movement or bunch up.
The RR2 GTX (shown above) gets their carbon-and-fiberglass outsole with a stiffness index of 10, near the top of their range. Claimed median weight is 365g, available in sizes 39 to 48. Retail is $329.99. For winter 2018/19, it really only gets minor exterior textural updates.
The XCM2 mountain bike shoe uses their stiffer carbon XC sole, but with built-in medial zone flex to make them somewhat walkable. The tread lugs on the bottom are connected with a multi-panel TPU panel design to provide traction wherever you’re stepping. This additional grip and rubber panels on the bottom is the major update for winter 2018/19.
Both models use a Gore-Tex DuraTherm Kelvin membrane, which has laminated hollow fibers to both insulate and repel water, combine with a 4-layer aluminum sheet footbed to reflect body heat back to your feet.
Northwave Himalaya extreme winter MTB shoe
If a typical winter cycling shoe’s -15°C (5°F) & up to 5°C (41°F) rating won’t cut it, or you know you’re going to be getting into slush and wet, the new Northwave Himalaya might be for you. It has a leather upper with water repellant finish and Thinsulate 400g insulation on the inside. Rubber bumpers all around prevent scuffs.
The Himalaya uses their pull-cord lacing system, which is easy to use with winter gloves on, but does leave you with cable to tuck into under the Velcro flap. That flap provides full wind protection, and there’s a gaiter attachment over the forefoot if you need to add extra protection.
Inside, the Himalaya adds thick insulation under the tongue and around your entire foot.
The Himalaya uses a Michelin tread with large blocks and shaping specifically to offer traction in all conditions. A cleat plate cover comes bolted in place to keep them sealed if you wearing them with flats, but they’re SPD compatible if not. Retail is $279.99, available in sizes 38 to 48, no half sizes. (We’ve inquired about temperature ratings for the Himalaya and will update this post when we hear back)