RBA Test: Exustar Shoes & Pedals

Taiwanese cycling accessory company Exustar isn’t known for its flashy product names. Take the brand’s top-of-the-line road shoe, for example. ‘E-SR228’ doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, does it? But what Exustar lacks in the catchy nomenclature department, it more than makes up for in variety and functionality. Case in point: Exustar offers no less than 11 shoe models for the U.S. market, and the E-SR228 features all of the accoutrements you’d come to expect from a brand’s top-of-the-line model. These include a ratcheting buckle closure, carbon fiber outsole and plenty of ventilation.


THE RIDE

A popular expression used by both marketing departments and media outlets alike when describing a pair of cycling shoes is ‘slipper-like,’ meaning the shoe’s last offers a fit that feels custom-tailored to your feet. Unfortunately the E-SR288 is not slipper-like and instead felt boxy to most testers. We attribute this largely to the E-SR228’s last, but also to the synthetic material, which is a bit on the thick side and not as supple as its shiny surface would suggest. Plenty of perforations along the upper and a large mesh panel at the toe provide terrific ventilation, however. And those with wide feet appreciated the ample room in the toe box, as well as the long closure strap, which gives plenty of room to high-volume hooves.

The aluminum buckle is effective and easy to use on the fly, and the hook-and loop straps are some of the most secure we’ve come across. And among its price-point competitors, the E-SR228’s stock insole is well padded and extremely well ventilated, thanks to a plethora of perforations. On the bike, the carbon outsole serves up enough stiffness to appease most riders, and the aforementioned closure system provides plenty of security, despite a touch more heel slippage than we’d prefer.

PUNCH LINES

? Fit should appease the wide-feet crowd
? As stiff and functional as others in its price range
? Ample ventilation but some heel slippage

STATS
Price: $249.95
Weight: 525 grams (size 41)

THE PEDALS
Like Exustar’s shoe line, the company also offers an extensive selection of road pedals, ranging in price from $54.95 to $349.95. And also like the shoe line, the pedal model names leave much to be desired, sounding more like fax machines than sleek cycling wares. Price-wise, at $119.95, the E-PR2CKTI sits right in the middle of the 11-model lineup. The Exustar pedals work with a three-hole mounted cleat that slips underneath a raised portion of the pedal body at the toe and steps into a spring-loaded retention device positioned at the back. Crafted from a blend of carbon fiber and nylon, the pedal body measures 89mm long while the pedal platform measures 61mm wide. There’s no metal plate where the cleat comes in contact with the pedal, like those found on offerings from other brands such as Look and Time. This sheds a few grams of weight, but could impair durability. Exustar adds value by including two sets of cleats: one that provides 6 degrees of lateral float, and the other creating a fixed position.

THE RIDE
The Exustar pedals function along the lines of similar pedals from Look, Xpedo, VP Components and Mavic. Slipping the front of your cleat underneath the E-PR2CKTI’s front loop is an easy task, as is stepping down and locking your foot into place. Tension adjustment is simple and straightforward, thanks to a single, 3mm Allen bolt positioned underneath the retention device: turn the bolt clockwise to tighten and counterclockwise to loosen. The bones of this intuitive system have been around for quite some time and functions without any trouble. The pedal platform is plenty wide and feels stable underfoot, and the cleats even work well off the bike, with their rubber-covered bottoms providing plenty of walking traction for mid-ride stops at the local pastry shop. A hallmark of a great product, particularly one that serves as the contact point on a bicycle, is its ability to remove itself from one’s sense of awareness. That is to say, the Exustar pedals function well enough and similarly enough to comparable models that most riders will take to them with ease.

PUNCH LINES

? A fine option for the three-hole-style pedal fan
? Durability is just about average
? Comes with two sets of cleats

STATS
Price: $119.95
Weight: 202 grams (pedals); 77 grams (cleats with hardware)
For More Info: Exustar

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