Bontrager RL Mountain Shoes

3.71/5 (21 Reviews)
MSRP : $149.99


Product Description

Bontrager's RL MTB shoe is the perfect companion for your epic trail rides. Rugged, efficient, incredibly comfortable, and more about epic adventure than all-out speed, the RL MTB is plenty light and stiff thanks to a Bronze Series Composite sole that helps put the power to the pedals. It's also built for long-wearing durability, featuring a TPU toe cap and tough medial and lateral side mud guards. It's all-day comfort and all-day support for all day on the mountain.

Bontrager RL Mountain Shoes Pro Review

I ripped open the package like an overzealous kid at his birthday party and the contents spilled onto the garage floor. “Wow” I thought, cool-looking shoes, silver uppers with an orange plaid trim around the ankle. They seemed reasonably light weight and the three strap system looked typical – two Velcro straps and one buckle-type strap. Also in the package were the optional toe cleats and the tool for tightening them. Continue reading →



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Reviews 1 - 15 (21 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:2
Submitted by Skelldify a All Mountain Rider

Date Reviewed: January 21, 2014

Strengths:    Stiff, yet comfortable. Lightweight.

Weaknesses:    Not very durable, buckles snap off easily, poor traction when hiking, overpriced

Bottom Line:   
These have been my first pair of clipless shoes, and I think I could've done better for the price. Bought them based on the Trek saleman's recommendation that they were good all-mtn shoes. I've had them a year, riding aggressive desert trail 2x/week, and they're getting really beat up. I've only gotten them slightly wet on two rides.

The buckles are made of plastic, and snap off really easily. Like, if you pull too hard to unclip, they break. They cost $20 each to replace. I started using Bontrager's cheaper buckles, which aren't made for this shoe, but only cost $3 each. They don't work perfect, the ratchet system is made for a different strap, and they sit a little crooked, but at least they're not breaking off all the time.

The shoe itself is gradually just falling apart. The stitching is coming apart all over the place. I'm afraid my foot is going to rip right out of the shoe before long. One of the ratchet straps broke off about 1 notch short of where I like to set it. So that shoe is always tight, and in danger of popping back through the buckle. The two velcro straps are tearing, and the velcro is starting to separate from the strap, so they're not very effective anymore.

Last complaint is that the traction in these things is terrible! They have two removable spikes on the front. If you can get them to bite, you might be okay. The gray plastic "teeth" are basically useless because they're all connected by a lengthwise piece that prevents the teeth from biting!

Good points: they're comfortable while riding, power transfer is great, lightweight. Just seems like they were an XC designer's attempt at making an all-mtn shoe.

Also worth noting: after the first time I broke a buckle, Bontrager sent me a brand new pair of shoes. No idea why. It made no difference to me since the shoes were only a couple weeks old anyway, and the new pair was exactly the same except for the color of one piece.

Expand full review >>

Price Paid:    $150.00

Purchased At:   Trek Superstore


Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by SoFlaBiker a All Mountain Rider

Date Reviewed: November 8, 2012

Strengths:    Very comfortable. Super easy to get in and out of , plenty of toe room and not narrow squeezing your feet fatiguing them . Stiff enough sole to get you moving and keep you moving, good tread pattern when it comes time to hump up the trail.

Weaknesses:    None so far, these are the 2012 edition which the rep says they did improvements from last years model.

Bottom Line:   
I upgraded to these shoes from Sete Element MTB shoe which is a outstanding shoe for beginners starting out clipless. But after 1 year of riding with those shoes I realized my feet needed a better shoe overall . Something not so narrow, comfortable and with better securing to my feet. The Bontrager RL Mountain fits my requirements and needs for an "Upgrade Shoe". Also the Trek store rep gave me 10% off for buying them, total cost was less than $140.00 .

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Markham Park & Manizales Colombia

Price Paid:    $140.00

Purchased At:   Trek Bicycle Shop Pl

Similar Products Used:   Sette Element MTB shoe

Bike Setup:   2011 Trek Fuel EX

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:4
Submitted by shenny88 a Weekend Warrior

Date Reviewed: August 3, 2012

Strengths:    pretty stiff sole (carbon reinforced), comfortable, fairly durable, good looking, plastic heal cup, lightweight

Weaknesses:    large exposed ratchet/buckle prone to damage, plastic strap non-replaceable, little bit of strap-stretch

Bottom Line:   
This if a review of the 2010/2011 model Race Lite shoes***** (not the 2012)

For the money the 2010-2011 RL shoes are a great bargain, an excellent mid range shoe.

....dont bother with the heavily downgraded 2012 models

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:4
Submitted by BmoreKen

Date Reviewed: May 27, 2012

Strengths:    cost, on the wider side inside, stiff sole

Weaknesses:    eSole insoles that are compatible are costly, noticed threads coming loose, etc. after modest amount of use, fit isn't for everyone

Bottom Line:   
The price is right for these shoes but they don't work for everyone. I wear a 46 but these were a little too large for my foot, while the next lower size was definitely too small even with a super-thin sock. No half sizes is a bummer. With the shoes being slightly large, I figured no sweat, I'll wear them during the shoulder season -- wear a winter boot is too hot but you need a thick sock to keep the feet warm -- but they do not keep water out. Not a problem in the summer, when if sometimes feels good to get some water on your feet in a stream crossing, but not good in the late fall or winter/spring.

The other issue was the inside fit was strange -- had a lump or something that pushed on the side of my foot. Don't fit as well as Shimano or Sidi.

Finally, the construction quality is suspect -- though they're nice a lightweight, I can't see them holding up well for more than a season of hard use. So I gave up on them and went with Shimano -- much happier.

Expand full review >>

Similar Products Used:   Shimano, Sidi


Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Dave Nicholson a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: May 12, 2012

Strengths:    Lightweight, Breathable, easy to get in and out of, STYLE!

Weaknesses:    Adjustments, Fit

Bottom Line:   
I bought these at a LBS Tent Sale a few weeks ago and have about 10 rides in. I like how comfortable the shoes are to wear. They breathe nicely and have super stiff soles. These are the Orange/Plaid model. My only complaint would be that I constantly have to adjust the fit on a long ride; they stretch out and become loose way too easy. IMO

My feet do not become nearly as fatigued and get 'hot spots' as they did in my old Shimano's.

Not sure I'd buy another pair, but for the price, they are a heck of an upgrade!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Chimney Gulch to Enchanted Forest finish at Apex

Price Paid:    $70.00

Purchased At:   Bicycle Village Tent

Similar Products Used:   Shimano M086
Forte CM220


Bike Setup:   2008 GT Zaskar Re-Issue; Rock Shox REBA Team; SRAM X0; Industry 9 XC Wheelset; FSA Team Carbon Cranks with Shimano XT clipless.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by p0g0 a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: May 10, 2012

Strengths:    Good stiff sole, comfortable for long rides.

Weaknesses:    The plastic soles can be very very slippery indoors. The plastic buckles seem fragile. I bent the metal that holds it in a crash. It still works, but I'm not sure if it will survive another crash.

Bottom Line:   
Good shoes, good value. I'll shop around when I have to pick up a new pair, but I would consider them again.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by slomak a Cross Country Rider from boulder colorado usa

Date Reviewed: May 12, 2011

Strengths:    light weight, carbon midsole, quick secure strap system, breathable, better than expected durability, pricepoint

Weaknesses:    none so far

Bottom Line:   
Overall, Bontrager hit the mark! Recommended by racer who has over two hard seasons with shoes, and still going strong. Have not been disappointed. Good fit (even on steep loose hike sections), truly feel the carbon under foot difference; light and ventilated. Can not beat the price for this quality. Going into season two and nothing is showing any excessive wear. I feel like a rep for Bontrager, but not so-just a great shoe!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   kenosha pass

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $120.00

Purchased At:   university bikes

Similar Products Used:   shimano m180, carnac

Bike Setup:   yeti asr-c

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Stevuke a Weekend Warrior from Bergenfield, NJ, USA

Date Reviewed: May 7, 2011

Strengths:    Light weight, well ventilated, holds your foot tightly to the carbon fiber sole for excellent power transfer

Weaknesses:    crappy plastic buckle. plastic release already broke. the plastic strap is about to break off at the end (it'll still work though.. just shorter)

Bottom Line:   
I enjoy using the shoe and I love riding clipless.. this is my first mountain shoe. I'm riding on CB Mallets.

It's light, stiff, great treads and decent for walking. Very breathable.. I can feel the breeze on my foot. This shoe is nice and efficient.. looks cool too.

But the plastic strap, buckle and release are for crap.

Don't get me wrong, I love how you can ratchet the buckle to make it fit super perfect.. that part works well.. but it breaks way too easy.

I'm going with laces next time.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Cunningham Park

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $139.00

Purchased At:   LBS

Similar Products Used:   my first clipless shoe

Bike Setup:   Specialized Enduro, Jamis Durango

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Rucker a Weekend Warrior from Auburn, Alabama, USA

Date Reviewed: December 3, 2010

Strengths:    Super light
Comfy
Great looks
Super breathable


Weaknesses:    Really only the ratchet strap. Its made of plastic and kinda cheap.

Bottom Line:   
Awesome shoe overall. They are light, comfy, and overall a good shoe. I dont have any problems with the shoe being too loose, but I have to have the straps all the way tight. One of the best things I think is how breathable they are. I dont sweat at all in these. Highly recommend.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Oak Mt.

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $135.00

Purchased At:   Local Store

Bike Setup:   Specialized S-Works FS

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Brett Houser a Cross Country Rider from Long Beach, CA

Date Reviewed: December 3, 2010

Strengths:    Lite in weight, great arch support, good looks (silver)!

Weaknesses:    Buckle seems some what flimsy, but works well. Buckle strap could be 1" longer.

Bottom Line:   
I have been using these shoes now for approx. 3 months and I have had no issues with them. It's a well made shoe, lite, firm, and not bad looking. I normaly wear a size 11, but had to go with a 44.5 (10 1/2)

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   ALL

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $140.00

Purchased At:   Jax's Bicycle Shop

Similar Products Used:   Sidi

Bike Setup:   HiFi Pro 29er (2010 model) Full XT componets.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by bnbski a Cross Country Rider from St Louis, MO

Date Reviewed: October 24, 2010

Strengths:    Durable and comfortable.

Weaknesses:    Could have a slightly wider toe box.

Bottom Line:   
Have used these shoes hard for last 18 months. Completed BT Epic 55 mile mtb race yesterday, same race last year and other xc races plus 100's of personal rides. Shoe has never let me down, ratchet system can be adjusted by clicking and also by changing the screw location for larger/smaller feet.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Berryman Trail

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $125.00

Purchased At:   Trek Store

Bike Setup:   Scott Scale 29 Elite - stock with Time ATAC pedals.

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:2
Submitted by Crisis a Cross Country Rider from Orlando, FL, USA

Date Reviewed: September 7, 2010

Strengths:    Good looks

Weaknesses:    Where to begin. I broke the cheap plastic ratchet thing on my left shoe the first time I went down on it. Unlike most other shoes that have some kind of metal ratchet system that is as flat against the shoe this design goes with cheap plastic that sticks out pretty far and is almost impossible to not land on.

Another problem I'm having with the ratchet system is that the leather strap has stretched to the point where it's no longer as tight as I need it to be around my foot. I'm experiencing stretching with the two Velcro straps as well.


Bottom Line:   
Don't waste your money on this shoe. It looks nice but at this price there are many other options for a better shoe. The flimsy ratchet and stretching straps kill this shoe for me.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Anything technical

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $150.00

Purchased At:   David's World Cycle

Similar Products Used:   I'll be investing in Sidi's soon

Bike Setup:   Trek hard tail

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by lethaljd a Weekend Warrior from Pittsburgh, PA

Date Reviewed: August 4, 2010

Strengths:    Comfortable, customizable insoles, look cool

Weaknesses:    ratchet buckle strap unreplaceable, velcro tabs stretched out

Bottom Line:   
Have had these for about a year and half and I still enjoy them. They are more durable than they look, and they look pretty cool. The ratchet strap is all chewed up now, and that is not replaceable. The velcro middle and bottom strap have a little stretch to them and now that they are stretched out, it is hard to get the shoes really tight. Overall, they have worn well and been comfortable, so I cannot complain. Good power transfer with the carbon soles with just enough flex to be nice to walk in.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Bavington TT Loop

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $145.00

Purchased At:   Dirty Harry's

Similar Products Used:   Specialized BG Comp

Bike Setup:   SPDs

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Kingfsher a Weekend Warrior from Charleston, SC USA

Date Reviewed: August 3, 2010

Strengths:    Great fit, affordable, comfortable!!!, firm sole, & light!!!

Weaknesses:    Feels more like a cleat walking on concrete/asphalt & hardwood floors. (but it is a cleat so I wouldn't dock them any points)

Bottom Line:   
Great shoe. Comfortable, feels like my Brooks running shoes. They are LIGHT!!! very affordable. Clicked straight into my pedals w/o any issues. I wish they weren't click clacky like cleats are on artificial surfaces but thats not really a real issue to be concerned about when buying a mountain bike shoe. Highly recommend!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Marrington Plantation

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $100.00

Purchased At:   Trek Bikes of Mount

Bike Setup:   2011 Trek 4300 Stock w/ Shimano M324 SPD pedals and Bontrager Carbon Fibre bar ends.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by DangerDave86 a Cross Country Rider from Reston, VA, USA

Date Reviewed: July 21, 2010

Strengths:    Carbon fiber power plate, light weight, wide toe box, breathable, and price.

Weaknesses:    The ratchet seems chintzy, but does not pose as a huge issue so far.

Bottom Line:   
I have been extremely impressed with this shoe so far. Only put about seven hours in them but they are performing better than I expected. With the carbon fiber plate you can really put the power down, unlike with some of the other shoes I have had. And if you have a wider foot than most people this is the shoe for you, it has excellent arch support, breathable and a large toe box. The only downside I can see is the ratchet, it seems sub-par and may break in a wreck but besides that this is a great shoe you can feel comfortable in for those long all day rides.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Ft. Custer, Augusta, MI

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $124.00

Purchased At:   Bike Lane, Reston VA

Similar Products Used:   Specialized Comp Mountains, Pearl Izumi Select MTB.

Bike Setup:   Trek mountain/cross

Reviews 1 - 15 (21 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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Fox Vanilla RLC or Float RL 140s for all mountain Chameleon. (suspension noob)

Hey guys I have very little experience with suspension forks. I ride BMX and so I have avoided bong bong bikes for a long time. All my experience is some old Manitou SX (3 weeks all on road) and my current 5 year old DJ3 (I just got them). I have ridden ridge off road though. I am building a ... Read More »

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