The new Northwave MTB Extreme Tech Plus comes in as the lightest full-featured mountain bike shoe we’ve seen.
Claimed weight is just 280g, lighter than many road shoes, but doesn’t skimp on anything. It gets double SLW2 ratchets with a new micro release button to help you make fine fit adjustments while on the bike. Push click it to release a tiny bit of cable, pull it to open completely. The ratchets themselves are thinner and lighter than before.
The real weight savings is underneath…
The full UD carbon outsole is super stiff -it’s a race shoe- and uses Vibram rubber treads. They say it’s an industry exclusive, and it lets them provide enough grip while minimizing tread block weight.
TPU sections protect the toe and inside forefoot. Internally, the heel area has grippy sections on the sides and their “cat tongue”-like heel cup with fibers pointing downward to resist heel lift. We’ve tested this on the Extreme Tech road shoes and it works.
€319 retail, available in team green and matte black.
The Road Extreme Tech Plus uses the same sole as the Extreme Tech we reviewed but upgrades to the new SLW2 ratchets and a revised upper fitment.
The result is a 20g weight savings to come in at a claimed 235g.
Hammer CX is a new cyclocross based on the Hammer mountain bike shoe but adds a neoprene sock and EVA layer under the cleats to prevent water penetration.
The treads are a mix of harder TPU (red) and rubber (green), and production versions will get an additional strip of rubber running up the middle behind the cleat.
The upper is like the Extreme with the mostly seamless material. A water repellant layer is under the mesh and tongue. The closure is a simple and light three-strap system that won’t get bogged down by mud. The center strap’s loop is offset to reduce pressure points. Retail should be around €169.
Helmets are a new venture for Northwave, and their first effort looks good. They wanted to be able to dress a cyclist from head to toe, and this was the last piece of the puzzle. Admittedly, there’s not a lot of brand new tech introduced with these – think of it as a good looking, certified-to-be-safe starting point from which they can grow.
The Speedster is the top road model, with a weight of 250g. It uses in-mold construction with large front vents. The Storm is the MTB equivalent ad adds a visor.
Aircrosser is a mid-level model, and Scout is the MTB equivalent. For 2014, they’ll be limited to the European market.
Not shown, the Zeus and Steel are new sunglasses with three different lenses (clear, orange, and dark) and you can get an optical adapter for prescription lenses. Frames are flexible but tough Grilamid.