In every major tour, more and more pros are using the Bont a-one shoe. Made in Australia, this handmade road shoe features a bathtub-style, 100% unidirectional carbon fiber sole that wraps around your foot.
Strengths: Stiffest shoes I've ever worn, lightweight, surprisingly breathable, heat moldable = like wearing carbon socks. Phenomenal power transer
Weaknesses: Velcro not super strong
This is for the a3. First of all: I see no reason to buy a higher end shoe than this ever. This is by far the stiffest sole I have ever seen on a shoe. I've worn shimano, sidi, adidas/mavic, and Giro top of the line shoes and these blow them all out of the water. You would expect a weight penalty for this but the a3's tip my scale at 220grams for a size 40, every other pair of shoes I've owned has been heavier. The heat molding process can be done multiple times, I've done it twice, and they fit phenomenally. My only complaint is that the velcro attachment doesn't stay as tight after unclipping. But the newer a3 is available with a ratchet for no extra cost, and when they still fit and hold my feet better than anything else.
Strengths: * Stiff
* Heat Molding is cool if you learn how to do it
Weaknesses: * Unbelievably BAD customer service
* Poor Quality
- sole drilled wrong in 3 out of 3 samples,
- buckles slipping in 2 of 3 samples;
- shoe was EXTREMELY worn in ~200 miles
I had to return 2 of these before I finally got one that I could use!
These are a horrible buy for $400 retail, but at $200 on bonktown.com, I made them work. The soles were drilled wrong on all 3, the first two had buckles that stripped very quickly (first 2-3 rides), and the one pair I kept now have a great deal of wear on them after just ~3 months.
In addition, I contacted their customer service 4 times from different channels (direct email, web form, US national sales rep, headquarters via voicemail) and heard back from them only once via email, and the reply made it clear they didn't read my email, and referred me to the web form that they didn't answer either!
I will keep them because I received them as a gift, but can't recommend these to anybody.
If you're tempted to buy them, try to get them on bonktown.com for $165-$200 rather than retail at $400!
The heat molding makes these work, as they are so stiff that if they're not molded to your feet, they are a torture device. Once they're molded, they can be stiffer than other non-molded shoes, but only slightly more so. In order to get them molded right, you have to tape any protrusions on your feet or punch out sections with a blunt object, and finding something to press on the heel cup/achilles area from the outside is also essential if the heel is going to hold firm.
By comparison my Specialized S-works feel like a slipper, and are almost as stiff, with none of the crappy customer service or poor quality concerns.
Poor quality finish
No customer support
Poor service standard
Fantastic concept and no doubt an awesome performing shoe....
Had to place an order as my LBS didn't have my size. My 2 week wait turned into 2.5 months!!
I specified that I wanted the NEW, as advertised on Bont's website 2011 A2 model, and I received the old 2010 model.
When they arrived, they were delivered loose in a plastic bag! Small issue I know, but for a $400 pair of shoes, not even a box!! Come on Bont, lift your game.
Pulled them out of the plastic bag to notice that the glued on microfibre around the heel was coming unbonded - and they are brand spanking new (would like to say out of the box, but can't for lack of a box!).
To make matters worse, the size was different to the A1 model I tried on in store (3 times to be sure!) and was reassured that the mould for the A1 was the same as the A2's I was buying (note: Bont had a drastic sizing change a year or so ago).
Moral of the story is, don't buy Bonts unless you can personally try on the shoes you are going to buy and walk out the door with to make sure you are happy and expect to wait, and wait and wait some more.....
I love the fact that they state on their website "...through providing exceptional support and service..". They are living in fantasy land. Service, a quality finish and customer support are completely lacking at this company.
Bike Setup: Litespeed Blade + Record
Kestrel Talon SL (road) + Record
a Road Racer
Date Reviewed: August 27, 2010
Strengths: Stiff, mouldable, power transfer, good climbing shoe. performance, light
Weaknesses: ugly compared to other shoes in this price range, quality is terrible, comfort for long distance can be uncomfortable
To sum up.... Performance is second to none...super stiff, light as a feather and you feel like you are locked to the bike.
However, for this amount of spend would expect better quality.
Though shoes are mouldable, take note on how they fit when you are trying them on for size as moulding will only enhance foot feel and position, though will not add better padding for comfort. I have found that for short stint track rides...fantastic....though for distance rides is questionable for comfort due to lack of padding.
Climbing.... I find these shoes are great and no slip or flex, transfer of power is apparent
In other words.... if you are only looking for performance rather than durability and quality buy these... if not and you want both, go back to Sidi Ergo 2 carbons (my other shoes, though sadly everyone has them...hence why they are the shoes of choice for contador, basso etc...)
-Relatively cheap (The A3s)
Weaknesses: -Terrible quality
-Terrible warranty service
This review is for the Bont A3, the fiberglass version of their cycling shoes without a buckle closure.
I picked these up after reading about them online, getting sold on the semi-custom aspect, and feeling how light/stiff they were for the cost in person. They were great, until they started having issues. The walking pads came off in a matter of days. I rectified this with a cut up MTB dirtjumping tire epoxied to the shoe, much to Bont's (eventual, after a warranty) chagrin. Second, the cleat bolt t-nuts (you know, the things in the shoe your cleats bolt to) popped out after a cleat change. Unlike most shoes which use sliding nuts mounted in an enclosed layer in the sole, the Bont t-nuts simply use short-toothed grippers in the soft rubber sole to hold the nuts in place. This makes for a very fragile setup, and it seems like they can only take a couple cleat mountings before they come loose, never to be able to hold a cleat bolt tight again.
In any case, my awesome shop warrantied them once. Bont took a month and a half to send them back, "repaired". No such luck. Immediately upon mounting my cleats the nuts popped out again. Brought them back to the shop, got a new pair of A3s they had (which were the same size as my old ones, yet fit smaller). I rode them twice, realized my cleat bolts were too long (you'll notice that because of the low sole stack height, you need to run shortened cleat bolts to keep from feeling them). Tried to switch out for shorter bolts, and the nuts popped out again. I said to hell with it, bought some cheap Northwaves, and the shop took the shoes back.
Sorry Bont - your shoes are rad, when they work. I can't in my right mind give a good value or overall rating to a shoe that will have you SOL for most of the time.