For a very reasonable 50 quid, the B'Twin Road 5 shoes are eye-catching, decently made and comfortable.
The initial impression given by these shoes is that they look more expensive than their £49.99 price tag. The shiny white toe section may not be to everyone's taste, but the variation in finish - from matte white/black to gloss white, along with black mesh breathable panels and red accents - makes these shoes stand out from other offerings in this price range, where single colours tend to dominate. They remind me of a Mavic shoe for some reason, perhaps it's French styling; it certainly works for me.
The second thing of note when lifting them out of the box was the weight; at 687g, they don't feel like a clumpy budget shoe, though the PVC upper and straps do feel quite thin at first touch. The integrity of this material hasn't been a worry during the test, with no loss of shape or increase in elasticity - something I thought would happen quite rapidly after they'd been ridden a few times. The shoes have kept shape surprisingly well, despite having to pull the straps fairly tight to get the uppers to fit my feet.
Fit in the size 46 tested was generous, not unreasonable, but larger than other 46 cycling shoes. The benefit of the compliant upper is that it does lend itself to being pulled tightly to get a close fit, with little movement around your foot once the three velcro straps have been pulled tight and secured in place. If you're usually a 46, I'd recommend having a look at the 45 and compare the two fits, the 45 felt slightly too small and the 46 slightly too large - it could just be my feet, but it's something to bear in mind if ordering online.
The TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) reinforced heel section of the shoe is very comfortable, with a good secure feeling and decent comfort right the way up to the bottom of the ankle; arch support isn't generous and the toe box has a bit of room to wiggle your toes - not as airy as some shoes and a thicker sock would fill the space, which is useful to note if planning to use the shoes in colder weather.
As mentioned previously, the fit (though generous) has remained consistent throughout, out of the saddle efforts and sprints haven't dislodged or stretched the straps. The polyamide carbon-reinforced sole of these shoes is, as you would expect, thicker than a solid carbon shoe, but not unreasonably so.
A sole guard at each end of the shoe (not replaceable, though you wouldn't expect it to be at this price) and moulded marks for positioning your cleat are provided on the underside. These shoes are 3-bolt cleat only. There's no provision for SPD pedals, though there is a corresponding shoe in the B-Twin line up that does accept 2-bolt cleats.
The soles feel thick when hobbling around on the pavement and there's some flex when walking in the shoe, but this doesn't transfer when you're actually no the bike, where the shoes feel solid and fairly stiff. Not as stiff as a carbon soled shoe, but a decent level of rigidity for a shoe of this price.
There's no sole vent in these shoes, which is something I have missed on hot days and also on rainy days when it provides a handy drain point. There would be no worries using these shoes for training, sportives, fast road riding and entry level racing.
Supportive and stiff shoes with bling French styling, belying the low price tag; fit is on the generous side
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Make and model: BTwin Road 5 Men's Road Cycling Shoes
Size tested: UK 11, White/Black
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Supportive first pair of road shoes for someone venturing into the world of clipless pedals for the first time, with a decent level of stiffness for a plastic sole. Also ideal as a second pair of shoes for training for the more experienced cyclist.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Upper: Synthetic phthalate-free PVC
Heel: TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane)
Outsole: Polyamide 6.6 + 5% polyamide + carbon fibres
Insole: PE foam + fabric
3 bolt cleat fixing system
3 velcro straps
2 year guarantee
Stitching has held up well; no loss of shape from the shoe or straps.
Weight on these shoes is fairly impressive at this price.
Wise to check your size if buying online, comes up bigger than expected.
A racier design than some other sub-£50 shoes.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Did everything without fuss, no having to adjust strap tension mid-ride, easy to walk in given the slight flex of the sole when off the bike.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The design: colour, use of gloss and contrasting matte areas; the stiffness of the sole when on the bike and the support and comfort of the heel area.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The sizing, overall the amount of upper is quite generous for the size tested. Lack of toe vent in the sole. Plasticky feel of the straps. No reflective elements on the shoe. Lack of 2 bolt provision may put some users off.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly, if the fit was better.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 31 Height: 183 Weight: 77kg
I usually ride: Kinesis Racelight T My best bike is: Cervelo S2
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, club rides, general fitness riding,