In the same way that the BikeBox stand was covered in Schwalbe-blue, the GKA Sports stand was dressed head to toe in Vittoria-green. Best known in the Australian cycling industry for their distribution of Vittoria & Geax tyres and tubes, GKA Sports also sell a wide range of road and mountain bike product including Motorex lubes, oils & degreasers, Genuine Innovations pumps & accessories, SuperB tools, BOA bottles, Control Tech components, Slime tubes and even Dosh silicone wallets (well-cool). There were two products in their booth that interested us in particular, Bont shoes and FOSS superlight tubes.

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For those who don’t know, Bont is a shoe-specific brand based up in Sydney, and specialises in high-end carbon fiber, heat mouldable shoes. While Bont is better known in the road cycling world, they actually have their roots in Ice-Skating, where they founded their first fiber-glass reinforced skate booth in 1975. Only coming onto the cycling scene in 2007, Bont quickly established a reputation for their quality product after claiming 8 gold models at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 – not a bad start at all!

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The Bont Vaypour XC is their high performance shoe for mountain biking and cyclocross racing. It features a full carbon sole, and a pair tips the scales at just 340 grams each side (claimed). They use a single adjustable buckle at the top of the shoe, and an offset velcro strap over the forefoot. The tread on the outer sole is replaceable. The Vaypour XC retails for a reasonable $299, though Bont also make a cheaper and more flexible ‘Commuter-One’ shoe that should serve the purpose of the all-round cyclist, and will only set you back $189.

sole

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Bont construct the carbon sole to create a “Fully Heat Moldable Chassis utilizing Epoxy Thermoset Resin”. That simply means that when you leave the shoes in the oven at 70-degrees Celcius for 20 minutes and place your feet in them, the shell actually moulds around your feet as the carbon cools and the Epoxy returns to a hardened state. In the above photo, you can see how far up the side of your feet the mouldable carbon extends.

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The concept is based around providing a more comfortable fit, as well as better lateral support to the shoe. In addition to the heat moulding process, Bont also offer their shoes in a regular width as well as narrow and wide versions. Some of their shoes also come in half sizes from a European size 36 through to 50. However, if your feet are fussier than that, you can always go fully custom too.

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So you’re probably looking at that FOSS tube and wondering; what the hell is that? It’s true that many of us kissed inner tubes goodbye a long time ago, but for many riders out there, the mess and inconsistencies associated with tubeless conversions are not always worth the benefits.

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FOSS tubes aren’t just any old tube however, as they’re constructed from a super thin “highly polymerized un-vulcanized rubber composite”, which uses thermoplastic elastomer compounds to create a flexible and stretchy inner tube. Aside from making them about 30% lighter than a regular inner tube, it also makes them self-healing to an extent, so that they’re much more resistant to intrusions from thorns and such. Or at least so we’re told. We’d be keen on trying out the $22.50 tubes, but as a lightweight and much cleaner alternative to running tubeless rim strips, valves and sealant, they could be the ticket for those that like to change their tyres for different conditions.

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GKA Sports Distribution
Website: www.gkasports.com.au
Email: sales@gkasports.com.au
Phone: (03) 9308 8000