Ride Concepts | Summer Launch


The Next Evolution of Flat and Clipless Footwear

Commitment. It defines a purpose- a meaningful relationship, a close connection. For Ride Concepts, that commitment is the uncompromising ride; a mission that was born out of a quest for a better fitting and performing youth bike shoe. With the
release of five new premium models, that mission has evolved into a comprehensive, progressive line of footwear for men, women, and youth.

Ride Concepts launched in fall 2018 with the Session series of flat pedal footwear, intended to be immensely durable while maintaining a casual aesthetic. Meanwhile, the development of the next generation of premium series of flats and clips was
already underway. Designed to redefine connection with the pedal regardless of how a rider chooses to ride, the Powerline, Skyline and TNT flat pedal models and Transition and Traverse clipless are available now.

Ride Concepts | Summer Launch

Challenging the standard for interaction between foot and pedal set forth by current product in the market, the team determined there was work to be done. “The idea from the beginning was to offer an initial series of durable flat shoes, loaded with features for the rider who is on the trail day after day, and then build upon that for the next generation,” said founder and CEO Brandon Dodd. “We saw a big opportunity across men, women and youth for many riding styles.” The brand and product was an immediate hit, with global distribution quickly spreading to over 30 countries.

When developing the premium flat shoes and expanding into clipless, the RC team took its time, asking important questions of riders putting the Session series through the paces across the globe. “With no boardroom or suits to tell us how to do it, we are calculated in our approach to design and real world use,” said Dodd. “We are not going to release a product until thoroughly confident that it improves the ride and it is a product that we want to use.”

Ride Concepts | Summer Launch

The release of the premium line virtually represents a “Ride Concepts 2.0.” “We paused, asking ourselves why we ride and why we are doing this,” said Brand Manager Rick Reed. “It might sound cliché to say it, but we went back to the roots, thought about our connection to the bike and the ride itself. We examined why we pick the gear we put on when we head out for a particular ride.”

Sometimes it’s a solo backcountry ride that beckons, and you have to be prepared. Or a morning when your buddy unexpectedly calls and asks, “I have a shuttle to the highest peak around that you have yet to ride, so are you in?” “You drop your plans, grab your bike and gear, and leave the rest of life’s daily frustrations behind for those few hours,” continued Reed. “You make the time to push yourself and you must be ready for the unexpected. That’s our motivation in doing this.“

Ride Concepts | Summer Launch

The countless hours spent defining that connection has resulted in the evolution of progressive bike footwear. Utilizing premium materials such as microfiber and antipeel uppers and construction techniques like welding rather than stitching to eliminate seams, increasing durability and saving weight, the five new models feature numerous technical details typically unseen in bike footwear of this type.

Collaborations with partners Rubber Kinetics and D3O form the foundation of each model. The Powerline, Skyline and TNT introduce the Rubber Kinetics DST 4.0 MAX Grip rubber, Ride Concepts’ softest compound. The proprietary DST 4.0 combined with the hexagonal tread outsole provides ultimate grip, pedal feel and shockabsorbing qualities making it the ideal instrument for the hardest days on the bike. On the TNT, a larger diameter hexagonal pattern is used for even more surface contact with the pedal.

DST 8.0 MID grip is introduced on the Transition and Traverse, as an uninterrupted interaction with the cleat box is of utmost importance on a clipless shoe, whether an all day ride or a race against the clock is on the agenda. The 40mm wide cleat box is designed for easy entry to any clipless pedal.

Each model features an asymmetrical medial mid height collar, utilizing D3O impact protection. The asymmetrical design is completely unobtrusive to the rider when pedaling, but ready to protect when you need it. Custom toecap protection, high-rise medial EVA for additional arch support, and D3O insoles are just a few more of the many features packed into the shoes.

Like the entire Ride Concepts line, each shoe is developed on a gender-specific last (3D mold of a foot) for proper fit, form, and flex.

Ride Concepts | Summer Launch

For most young brands, experienced help with product development and testing doesn’t necessarily come walking in the door every day. However, one major objective of the company is creating a home for athletes. Enlisting the services of the legendary and respected Crankworx Champ Paul Basagoitia as Team Manager, Ride Concepts is encompassing the help of pro athletes with years of experience at the highest levels of competition and commitment to test product.

Unexpectedly, even to the young company, an athlete roster was assembled including a World Cup team who was on a parallel path of going against the grain and launching a brand of their own- Atherton Racing, aboard their new Atherton Bikes brand.

Ride Concepts | Summer Launch

A few calls and texts from Basagoitia, and a deal was struck. “When I initially contacted Rachel regarding a sponsorship, she laughed, thinking I was joking!” said Basagoitia. “I don’t blame her, as we were still in the development stages. I told her I
wouldn’t jeopardize our friendship if I didn’t think RC could deliver a bitchin’ clip shoe!”

The clipless shoes are now World Cup proven by the team, especially Rachel in the women’s specific Traverse that she tested for months prior to the season. “Providing specific feedback that went right to production, Rachel really helped us push the limits of how a performance shoe could be constructed, and how it needs to function with every clipless pedal,” said Dodd. “It challenged us and our factory.”

“I am so fussy about the shoes I ride in,” commented Atherton. “Being one of only two contact points to your bike, it’s an incredibly important area. The whole range is brilliant, flat through clips to sliders. Stepping out in great shoes makes you feel and ride like a boss!” Ride Concepts wishes a quick and strong recovery to the boss, Rachel.

The launch of the new line was recently celebrated at Ride Concepts’ Lake Tahoe headquarters, where dealers, athletes, friends and family gathered for brews, shoes, and a hearty meal cooked by the staff. Office neighbors and friends High Fives Foundation and Truckee Brewing lent a hand in making a memorable day. Embracing the spirit of the mountain town lifestyle, all-age mini bike races broke out in the parking lot, and factory rider Greg Watts brought his Crankworx skills to the office staircase.

Thriving on the community and camaraderie that mountain biking and its related activities bring, office barbecues and group rides are the norm. If you ever find yourself in the Lake Tahoe area, be sure to drop by the office and meet the crew. You might even get a glimpse of future product in development or find yourself in an impromptu mini bike race with a factory athlete.

Ride Concepts | Summer Launch


Obviously you guys take shoe and product development seriously and spend lots of time creating your products. How far along were you in the process of these shoes when you initially launched the brand?
The goal from the start was to launch with the initial Session series of durable flat pedal shoes, then later drop the premium line. This was for numerous reasons, but while we already had a pretty solid idea of where the premium line was headed, it was extremely valuable to obtain real world feedback from the Session series. We were able to have a greater rapport with so many riders by that time. So once we were certain the Session series was performing to expectation, we knew we could solely focus on the next generation. Secondly, getting the athlete team solidified was very beneficial; having their input in testing and development was really helpful. And right up until the end, you’re always fine tuning fit, testing durability, deciding on what abrasion resistant heel is best, and so forth.

Was there much feedback or input that came to you guys after the brand launched and first reviews starting flowing in that caused you to reexamine or evaluate these new shoes?
Not necessarily reexamine, but it certainly fed into final decisions on aesthetics, fit, and fine details.

Are these shoes just clipless versions of your current offerings or are their notable differences that make them better suited to their users?
The clipless shoes share the same gender-specific lasts as the Powerline and Skyline so the fit is similar, and construction techniques with the welded uppers, custom toecap protection, high rise EVA, etc. But after that, the clipless shoes went through a different route of testing to get to the final product. One specific example is our relationship with the Athertons, especially Rachel, who was crucial in getting the cleat box dialed so there wasn’t any hangups getting in or out, pedal contact was where it needed to be, etc. That was a really important step. Even for the long term durability factor, when you have World Cup athletes who can run a prototype for a long time without significant wear or failure, you know you’re headed in the right direction.

Who were some of they key athletes or riders involved in these shoes?
Probably answered mostly above with the Athertons. We work on different shoes with different athletes, so it depends on their riding styles and personal preferences. We all ride in the office and our backyard of Lake Tahoe is pretty hard to beat for testing. We also have a great team of local riders who are literally out there every day, so we don’t have to look very far.

So you just launched five models, in addition to signing a lot of high profile athletes, securing global distribution and becoming an official Whistler Bike Park partner, all in the past few months. You probably don’t want to hear this question but, what’s next?
Hopefully a lot of feedback from happy customers! We live in the mountains, live that lifestyle and we are in this to improve the ride through the best possible product. We do more than just bomb down hills, believe it or not. So we are working on other shoes at different ends of the riding spectrum, I guess you’d say. We all own more than one bike. But we are 100% focused on bike footwear. It won’t be all that long until you see another new release from us, but I can guarantee it won’t be five shoes next time! Oh, and a trip to Whistler! That’s what’s next!

What does it mean to be rider-owned?
It means a lot. I think we’ve all been there, doing the punching the clock thing for someone else’s success. It’s highly motivating because it’s totally up to us to make the right decisions to succeed. There’s no one else to point blame to when something goes wrong. I think our customers appreciate it too. You get what you see. We try to be approachable and be involved in the bike community. We have so many great ideas and we have the right connections to make them happen so I’m looking forward to that. We are just getting started.

Ride Concepts | Summer Launch


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