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Tech review - November 5, 2004

DMT Ultimax RSX shoes

DMT is an Italian manufacturer of cycling shoes that grace the feet of many race-winners at the highest level, from stages of Grand Tours through to Olympic gold medals. Our reviewer, Graham Purches, has put a pair through their paces for the past few months, and has come away quite impressed.

DMT RSX Ultimax
Photo ©: Paul Mirtschin
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The major design feature of DMT's top-of the line Ultimax RSX shoes is what DMT calls the Energy Strap Control System. This comprises a combined heel cup and ratchet buckle closure that's intended to firmly but comfortably lock your foot down into the shoe. Control is the name and that's just what it provides. With the ratchet strap mounted in an extension of the heel cup, and the buckle screwed into the other side, you have a solid foot retention system that has no stitching except that to the rest of the shoe itself.

The micro-adjust buckle has a riveted pin construction, something that is not always there in other shoes. The heel cup provides two threaded locations for the buckle to allow for a wider range of foot thickness. The ratchet strap can be simply pushed through the buckle mechanism or can be levered one notch at a time. The lever action is very easy even when on-the-move adjustments are needed. There are also two standard Velcro straps to adjust tension across the front of the foot.

The buckle
Photo ©: Paul Mirtschin
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Double stitching
Photo ©: Paul Mirtschin
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The strap
Photo ©: Paul Mirtschin
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Padding round the heel
Photo ©: Paul Mirtschin
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The sole is 100 percent carbon fiber with front and rear traction plates. These are permanently attached - it would be nice if they were replaceable. The 100 percent carbon sole gives the shoe rigidity and lightness. You really appreciate how stiff they are when you put pressure down on the pedal stroke and feel all the power going into the stroke and not into shoe flex thus maximising acceleration - always a good thing!

The sole is designed to accept any Look compatible pedal system with a standard three hole pattern directly inserted into the carbon sole, that is no inserts or adaptors are needed.

There are tough mesh side panels to help keep those feet cool. A nice soft edged padded tongue also adds to the overall comfort of the shoe.

Compared to my previous long-term shoes from Shimano and Sidi, the DMT Ultimaxes have a lower arch support; if you have high arches you may need an extra insert to give you that extra bit of support.

One minor complaint is that the metallic blue finish is easily scuffed especially on the toe where it can rub on the front wheel as often happens when waiting at traffic lights.

The DMTs felt comfortable and secure from the time I put them on, and they've continued to be so through three months of riding. At 635g per pair, they're light and thanks to the carbon sole they're stiff. Great shoes and well recommended. And of course, they're the shoes of Fassa Bortolo's top sprinter Alessandro Petacchi - nobody's promising that strapping on a pair will turn you into Ale-Jet, but the comfort and stiffness certainly can't hurt!

Recommended retail price: US$259.95
Weight: 635g/pr
Available sizing: 37-48, half sizes from 40.5-45.5.
Colours: White, Pearl, Shock Blue.
Pro: Stiff, comfortable and well-controlled
Con: Low arch compared to some
More information: www.diamantdmt.com; US importer: www.uplandsg.com
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