Shimano don’t just unveil new groupsets without giving you some accessories to go with it, and this time is no different. Along with the unveiling of the new XT and SLX grouppo, the company has also unveiled a pair of feather light gravel racing shoes called the RX8 as well as some Shimano Pro Enduro components called the Pro Tharsis.
With the whole gravel/adventure cycling trend garnering more and more fans, it’s no surprise that Shimano has developed some nice footwear to help them go off the beaten path. Weighing in at 265g, which is darn impressive for shoes with extra bits sticking out at the bottom, the RX8 is an impressively light pair of shoes. Shimano has managed to shave around 60g off their XC9 and XC7 cross shoe (which the RX8 is heavily based on), primarily by getting rid off spike mounts as well as eliminating one BOA dial and replacing it with a velcro strap instead.
Not only is it light, Shimano says the RX8’s upper provides the perfect balance of holding power and all day comfort. The shoe is also equipped with Silvadur stay-fresh technology, designed to keep the insole material smelling fresh after every ride. The RX8 retains all the good bits from the XC9 including abrasion-resistant TPU lugs, heel stabilisers and super stiff carbon composite soles.
Pro Tharsis handlebar and stem
Whilst the RX8 shoes are designed for the off-road weight weenies, the Pro Tharsis components were built for riders who want bomb-proof parts. The Pro Tharsis parts are still fairly lightweight, but this attribute is secondary to its strength as they are expected to be perfect for those braveheart riders of the Enduro and Trail worlds.
The Tharsis 3Five Bar is made out of high end T800 carbon fibre and barely troubles the scale, weighing in at 198g. With an oversized 35mm clamp area, the bar gives a nice boost to steering stiffness and greater strength. It has a 20mm rise with 9 degrees of backsweep for greater weight distribution and stability. The bar comes stock as an 800mm wide bar but can be cut down to 720mm to suit your needs. There is also an alloy version in the same specification, which only weighs 72g more.
To accommodate the new 35mm clamping area, Shimano also created the Pro Tharsis stem, which is CNC machined to help with strength and weight. Coming in at 150g, the stem is available in 35mm, 45mm, and 55m lengths, with a 0 degree head angle and a stack height of 4mm.