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Review – DZR Link Clipless Cycling Shoes

There was a time when If you wanted to ride with SPDs and trainers, your options were pretty limited, either make your own (more on that later!) or choose from a couple of distinctly dodgy looking choices. It seemed to me the only SPD compatible trainers were enormous and let’s be frank, very uncool looking.

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But that was then, and things have moved on considerably – savvy manufacturers such as Chrome and DZR have realized that many city folk like to ride clipped in, but aren’t up for wearing clumpy mountain bike SPD trainers or ‘normal’ cycling shoes to the pub. Personally, I’ve never had a problem with wearing my SIDI’s around town, possibly because they’re shiny and patent and cost a bomb, or maybe as I just got used to it as a courier. But anyway, I have always been interested in trying a pair of trainer style SPDs to see what they’re like.

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Californian company, DZR manufacture a pretty diverse range of trainer style clipless shoes, including a pair of knee high ladies boots (!). I opted to put the Links through their paces – a pair of charcoal grey high tops with white soles.

To mount your cleats, you need to cut a clearly marked panel from the sole and pop it off. Once you’ve done that, the cleats simply screw in like they do in any other shoes and as they’re deeply recessed you’re able to walk as normal on the high traction sole.  When it came to riding, the sole felt good and stiff, meaning little loss of power on the bike but I would have preferred a more supportive foot bed under the arch. Also, I ride with Time ATAC pedals and cleats and I found the cut out area was quite small which can make it hard to swivel your foot to unclip.

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When it comes to looks, the shape and style works well  – I could definitely wear these without people knowing they were bike shoes and they looked good with jeans. I’m not crazy about the wide velcro strap, I think these shoes would look better without it, but it does a really good job of making the shoes feel secure when you ride and it keeps your laces out of the way.

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The shoes are ‘pleather’ which is great for our animal friends however it’s not one of my favourite materials  – I find pleather gets very hot and aesthetically, well it just doesn’t float my boat. On the plus side, it does dry very quickly and will give you a little protection from the rain.

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I’ve been for several rides in these shoes and found them comfortable – actually when I got in last night, I realized I still had them on a couple of hours later – I hadn’t rushed to get them off my feet the minute I got in. They perform well in the city environment they’re designed for – they’re a hell of a lot better than regular trainers and toe straps. Out on the open road, well they’re not a match to my SIDIs, but that’s not really the point.

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