Outside magazine, August 1995
Shelling out $190 for a pair of fine Italian shoes is justifiable if you're dressing to meet Isabella Rossellini for chianti on the piazzo. But if you're going to spend that kind of cash on footwear for single-track slop, they'd better be high-performance mountain-bike shoes made to Armani standards. Sidi's new Tecno Fire promises to justify the load of lira.
Sidi's road cycling shoes already have a great reputation. In three years of hard riding, mine have proven to be comfortable, efficient, durable--and worth every penny of the $130 I paid for them. The Tecno Fire follows that precedent, especially in the fit department.
A ratcheting lever called the Micro Lock snugs the upper foot securely, allowing you to tighten or loosen the instep while you're in the saddle. A rotating-dial device called the Micro Lock Evolution allows similar adjustment of the toebox. The advantage of all of this complex hardware is that you get a more secure and variable fit than is possible with laces or hook-and-loop straps. The disadvantage is that this hardware will need to be replaced at some point--it could be in three years, but it could also be after your first especially bad spill in the zoot-suit Tecno Fire--and it's more expensive than laces or straps. The Micro Lock costs $13; the Micro Lock Evolution, $20. On the trail, the Tecno Fire's great fit, combined with Sidi's famously rigid soles, transfers power efficiently to your pedals. The shoes worked extremely well with my Look Moab pedals; clicking in and out was quick and positive. Off the bike, deep treads grip mud and wet leaves, and the soles will even accept three screw-in cleats for those days when you know you'll have to portage through real sludge.
The handsome, black Tecno Fire has a full synthetic-leather upper--and a bright red sole that you can show your competitors when you're rocketing uphill. Armani should be so smooth.
From Veltec Sports, 1793 Catalina St., Sand City, CA 93955; 800-991-0070.