Decathlon’s Van Rysel product line offers everything from full road bikes to cycling accessories to help you take your fitness or performance goals to the next level. In this review we’ll specifically be looking at the mid-tier Van Rysel RoadR 520 road cycling shoes. With a retail price of only $149 the Van Rysel RoadR 520 shoes offer a composite carbon sole and single ATOP dial closure system. Decathlon markets the shoes toward “regular cyclists looking for excellent support without the rigidity of a full carbon sole.” The Van Rysel 520 shoes are only offered in a sleek black color with ventilated upper and sole to help air cycle through. One of the unique features of the shoes is the fact that they are also dual-cleat compatible with holes for both 2 bolt cleats such as Shimano SPD and popular 3 bolt cleats like Shimano SPD-SL or Look Keo setups.
The Decathlon Van Rysel RoadR 520 shoes offer an affordable dual-cleat cycling shoes with anadjustable dial closure system.
|Measured Weight (in g)||608 (EUR 44)|
|Likes||+ Affordable price|
+ Easy to adjust ATOP dial closure system
+ Compatible with both 2-bolt (Shimano SPD) or 3-bolt cleats (Look Keo / Shimano SPD-SL)
|Dislikes||– Lacks color options|
– Bottom Velcro strap has little effect
– Flexible sole is less suited for sprinting
|Where to Buy (US)||Decathlon|
As a value-oriented company, it’s not surprising that Decathlon skipped fancy packaging with the Van Rysel RoadR 520 shoes. Instead, the shoes simply come tied together without any additional accessories or packaging material. If you’re lucky enough to have a brick-and-mortar Decathlon near you, you’ll find the shoes simply hanging off a peg. Although this approach means less unboxing content for us, the lack of excess packaging is nice to see.
FIT & FINISH
The Decathlon Van Rysel RoadR 520 road cycling shoes are mid-tier cycling shoes that combine an affordable price point with a dial closure system. Currently, Decathlon only offers the shoes in a single black color with minimal white Van Rysel logos along the sides. While the color choice may lack the pop found on shoes like the DMT KR0, the black color scheme looks high-end and pairs well with nearly any cycling kit. You’ll also find a vertical reflective stripe on the back for additional nighttime visibility. The upper material is listed as a Polyurethane and Polyester blend with a perforated front section and smooth rear. It’s a soft and flexible construction that can stretch around your feet. There is additional built-in structure for the toe and heel cup to provide more support and rigidity while pedaling.
In terms of the closure system, the Van Rysel RoadR 520 has a single ATOP dial with a bottom Velcro strap. The ATOP dial is the more affordable variation of BOA dials and offers the same micro tightening adjustment system. The main difference between the dial designs is that the ATOP dial can’t be pulled to release tension, instead you rotate it to do a full tension release. While it’s not quite as sleek as the current generation BOA Li2 dials with micro-loosening capabilities, the dial is easy to operate with a nice textured finish. The cable is routed through two levels to adjust the upper fit while a separate Velcro strap on the bottom can be used to fine tune the fit. In practice, we’ve found the Velcro strap to have little effect on the fit which is why some shoes like the DMT KR3 shoes have eliminated them entirely.
Unlike the more expensive Van Rysel RoadR 900 cycling shoes, the RoadR 520 shoes have a carbon composite sole. The Decathlon website lists the sole as 12% carbon with moderate stiffness for “regular cyclists.” Visually, the sole has a matte finish with full length design that extends from the heel to the toe. You’ll find two labeled vents on the sole as well, an inlet at the toe and an outlet near the heel with mesh backings. Decathlon has also pre-drilled the sole to accommodate both 2-bolt and 3-bolt cleat setups which allows the Van Rysel RoadR 520 to be used for spin bikes, mountain biking or road cycling. Note, there is no backward/forward adjustment or Look Keo Memory Eyelet available for the 3-bolt cleats so you’re limited to only the cleat adjustment. To help position the cleats there are lines cut into the sole around each bolt hole.
To prevent scuffs or scratches there are built-in toe and heel guards. Although we would have liked to see replaceable versions, a feature found on more expensive shoes, they feel well designed and are strategically placed. To help keep your feet in place there is also an anti-slip material on the heel cuff which has silicone strips sewn into it. It’s similar to the cat tongue like material found on the Shimano S-PHYRE shoes and is quite effective. Inside the shoe you’ll find basic foam insoles with ventilation holes cut into the front and low arch support. If you have a high arch or other special needs we’d highly recommend looking into custom insoles or off-the-shelf upgrades to improve the shoe fit and comfort.
ON THE ROAD
While many of the reviews on Decathlon warn about small sizing, we found the EUR 44 size fit well and was comparable to other brands such as Bont Cycling or Scott. The toe box on these shoes is a European design which means they are fairly narrow especially compared to Shimano and Bont Cycling. Even though it may lack the roominess of our wide EUR 44 Bont Cycling Vaypor S shoes, the upper material is flexible which helps offset the narrow profile of the shoes. Riding the shoes indoors and outdoors, we found them to be pretty impressive for the price. The ATOP dial provides simple adjustments to the fit and the ventilated tongue and sole help funnel air through the shoes. In fact, we found the shoes to be a bit chilly on colder days so we’d recommend wool socks or toe covers if you plan to use them in winter.
One of the reasons the RoadR 520 shoes are so comfortable is the carbon composite sole. By design, it lacks the stiffness of carbon shoes and allows the shoe to flex while pedaling. This is a good and bad feature. If you’re an aggressive rider and want direct power transfer between you and the bike then this is a deal breaker and we’d recommend going to the RoadR 900 carbon versions or other carbon soled shoes. The best way we can describe the RoadR 520 shoes on the road is “mushy” with a noticeable flex during sprints. If you’re more of a recreational rider or spend more time cycling indoors this isn’t an issue, and likely a feature you’ll appreciate. In fact, we think the RoadR 520 is an excellent indoor trainer shoe as it’s far more comfortable on long indoor rides which can often cause foot fatigue from the lack of movement that occurs while riding outdoors.
Overall, we found the Decathlon Van Rysel RoadR 520 shoes to be well priced and built cycling shoes. The shoes combine an affordable price point with an ATOP dial closure system and dual-cleat compatibility. Note, Decathlon has tuned the carbon composite soles for cyclists who don’t want the rigidity of full carbon. This compromise means the RoadR 520 shoes flex during sprints or high-intensity efforts and prevent any discomfort. We found the shoes to be extremely comfortable on indoor trainers and slower paced rides. If you’re a more aggressive rider or do road racing we’d highly recommend a full carbon sole cycling shoe like the RoadR 900 or other models. For everyone else, the Van Rysel RoadR 520 is an excellent cycling shoe that combines the affordable pricing and high quality construction that Decathlon is well known for.
Disclaimer: The product for this review was provided by Decathlon. The views expressed on this website are solely those of the authors and are here to help people make an informed choice before a purchase. The authors or the blog itself does not get any monetary compensation from the product manufacturer or third-party websites/vendor links that are posted here.