- Stiff sole for better power transfer
- Comfortable from the very first ride
- Perforated upper increases breathability
- BOA IP1 dial for easy two-way fit adjustments
- Asymmetrical closure reduces hot spots
- Heal cups and no-slip lining keeps heal in place throughout entire pedal stroke
- Tachyon rubber outsole provides traction on the toughest terrain
- GnarGuard material protects toe and heal area from abrasions
- Great for all types of cycling disciplines
- 30-Day Unconditional Bontrager Guarantee
- Limited color choices
Color: Black, Red/Black, Azure/Black
Sizes: EU 37-48
Closure: Single BOA IP1 dial
Upper material: Perforated synthetic upper
Stiffness index: 12 of 14
Sole material: Stiff Silver Series 25% UD Carbon and 75% fiberglass
Outsole: Tachyon rubber
Weight: 311g/shoe (size 42)
Cleat compatibility: SPD 2-bolt
How obtained: Purchased
Where sold: Online or at your local Trek dealer
RBR advertiser: No
Comfort, Performance and a Splash of Color
Back in September I somehow “lost” a pair of MTB shoes after a ride. I still have no idea how they vaporized. Maybe they’ll mysteriously reappear with the countless single socks and gloves that have gone AWOL. In my search for replacements I selected a pair of Bontrager Cambion MTB shoes. Why? They were light weight, used BOA closures, good stiffness rating, and of course — a pop of color. I was hoping for purple to match my bar tape, but no such luck. Also, with the bike shortage of 2020, immediate availability in my size was key.
When I received my new ruby red slippers — I mean shoes — it was easy to install and adjust the SPD 2-bolt cleats. A single BOA IP1 dial with two-way adjustment enabled me to adjust the fit perfectly with no need to adjust the Velcro closure down by the toes. I slipped them on and took off for a 45-mile trail ride.
With a 12 of 14 stiffness rating, the shoes had really good power transfer, but they weren’t so stiff enabling me to walk comfortably at the rest stop. The Tachyon rubber outsole provided good traction on a variety of terrain from dirt, wet grass and cement. The Cambion has a heal cup lined with a no-slip fabric, often referred to as cat tongue, designed to keep the heal in place throughout the pedal stroke. The no-slip fabric is smooth in one direction, when putting the shoe on, and rough in the other direction, to keep the heal from sliding out. No worries when it’s time to remove your foot, the BOA closure fully releases the laces, making it easy to step out of the shoe.
To enhance comfort on long rides, the Cambion has an asymmetrical closure that reduces pressure on the top of the foot and in turn reduces hot spots. Also, the perforated upper provides enhanced airflow for better breathability.
These shoes are designed to work and play hard in all types of conditions. Bontrager uses GnarGuard material to protect the toe and heal area from getting scuffed. And when, not if, your Cambion shoes get muddy and dirty, check out Bontrager’s video on how to clean your shoes.
The Cambion is available in three colors (Black, Red/Black and Azure/Black) and sizes 37-48 EU. I found them to fit true to size even when replacing the insole that came with the shoes with the Bontrager inForm BioDynamic insole.
The Cambion is great for all types of cycling including cyclocross racing, gravel adventures, shredding on the singletrack or a rowdy trail ride. It’s a very comfortable, versatile option even for roadies who want walkability in a shoe. Bontrager’s 30-Day Unconditional Guarantee lets you buy with confidence, but I doubt you will be disappointed as I’m enjoying my new flashy red shoes in style and comfort.
Sheri Rosenbaum regularly contributes articles and reviews products for RBR. She’s an avid recreational roadie who lives in the Chicago area and a major advocate for women's cycling, serving on the board of directors and volunteering with the Dare2tri Paratriathlon Club. Click to read Sheri's full bio or visit her web site sunflowersandpedals.com.