Mountain bike technology has progressed rapidly over the past decade. Carbon has become stronger. Geometry changes have made bikes more capable. Wheels spin faster. Brakes stop us quicker. Helmets and pads make us safer. All of this leads to improved riding and a better mountain biking experience.
Having maxed out my credit cards on every possible upgrade to my bike and my gear–along with a really cool fanny pack–I noticed my improvement had stalled. I wondered if there was something else I could do. Maybe develop more skill by riding more? No. Maybe I could change my diet and lose a little weight. No. Both of these require planning and discipline, more or less making them impossible. What else could I do after purchasing every possible upgrade? Then, it dawned on me.
I noticed that the shoelaces on my Five Ten Freeriders looked old and were probably a little bit on the heavy side. I realized that I was sacrificing energy with each rotation of the pedals with my OEM laces.
Generally speaking, shoelaces out of the factory aren’t all that light. This is one place the mountain bike shoe industrial complex has been cutting corners for years. Of course, we, the riders, pay for this in the end with reduced performance.
After searching the internet for the lightest shoelaces, I went with the Kevlar-infused carbon RaceLace from WasteMoney Components and Apparel. Each pair is only $3,200, which I couldn’t afford so I bought a single lace off Pinkbike’s Buy/Sell page for a more reasonable $1,100, a great price for minor improvement on STRAVA times I don’t get paid for.
Unfortunately, the only lace I could find was white, so it didn’t match the gray lace in my other shoe, but I noticed an immediate difference in my riding after installing the lace. It was .0005 grams lighter, making my left foot stroke much quicker than my right. My wife suggested this might be placebo effect after spending $1,100 on a shoestring, but I have my doubts about her theory.
After some STRAVA testing, I noticed I was .0000069% faster than my average times. I was also able to hit jumps more smoothly, though I did notice some dip in the air from my right foot due to the weight difference between the two laces. One of the best things about the RaceLace was telling people that I spent $1,100 on a string. Middle-aged Yeti and Pivot riders seemed particularly excited about it.
Another benefit of the RaceLace was decreased fatigue in my left leg, which was noticeably less weary than my right. I ended up eating one less energy gel than normal during my ride. This is proof of the benefits of my new shoelace.
In all, the experience with my new shoelace was great and I can’t wait to buy another one so I have a matching pair. I’d like to have a new pair ($3,200) so I’m saving up and considering selling my work laptop to fund the purchase. I’ve also started a GoFundMe page you can donate to.
If you’re looking for another way to improve your riding after maxing out your bike and gear upgrades, but don’t want to put in the time and effort to develop skill or get fit, new shoelaces are a great option.