First Look Friday: Shimano R088 shoes; Dirt Apparel clothing; 661 Exo pads; Mio Velo

First Look Friday is an introduction to the products that we are currently testing for review. This week we're featuring the Shimano R088 road shoe, Dirt Apparel riding shirts, 661 Exo Knee/Shin and elbow pads, and Mio Velo heart rate monitor.

Shimano R088 road shoes

Shimano's R088 road shoe sits on top of their "Road Sport" collection and is billed as the perfect fit for the club and recreational cyclists. This does not mean that it is short on features and comfort.


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Featuring an integrated air intake and exhaust system, the shoes stay nice and cool on hot summer rides. Two-position adjustable buckle mount accommodate more foot shapes and asymmetric, offset straps relieve pressure points.


The body of the shoe is made from synthetic leather that is claimed to be lighter, stronger and more durable than natural leathers. The low-profile soles are made from lightweight glass fibre reinforced-polyamide.


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    • Tough stretch-resistant synthetic leather provides a snug fit
    • Breathable mesh keeps you comfortable
    • Micro-adjustable buckle and dual off-set straps supply a precise, snug fit without pressure points
    • Adaptable cup insole conforms and accommodates a wide variety of foot shapes
  • LAST
    • Shimano Dynalast provides a precise fit and improves pedaling efficiency
  • SOLE
    • Low profile, lightweight glass fibre reinforced-polyamide sole
    • Indoor cycling friendly SPD and SPD-SL cleat compatible

Dirt Apparel

Dirt Apparel is a proudly South African cycling clothing brand. Their tagline "ride for the sake of it" says it all.


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We've been given male and female versions of Trail Ninja cross-country shirts as well as a more gravity oriented MacDaddy jersey to test. The Trail Ninja features moisture management technology, grip sleeves and some bright colours. The Trail Ninja goes retails for R650 while the MacDaddy is R600.


661 EXO Pads

The 661 EXO pads are light weight flexible pads covered in abrasion resistant fabric. Ideal for riders looking for a basic level of protection. The knee and shin pad combo looks ideal for those wanting to reduce pedal wounds. We'll be sliding these pads on for a test (crashes to be confirmed) on our local trail as well as at the next enduro. The knee/shin pads retail for R780 while the elbow pads are R585. They are available through Dial'd Bikes dealers.


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Light weight protection for both climbing and downhill riding, great for the endure guys looking for breathability with good ventilation but still added protection.

  • Light weight impact foam perforated for ventilation
  • Blood flow and muscle recovery with compression fit
  • Core cooling with ventilated construction
  • Stays in place with silicone print

Mio Velo cycling heart rate band

The Mio Velo is an optical heart rate monitor. It communicates with ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart 4.0 device. It can also work as a relay for other devices to communicate with your phone or devices. According to Mio's South African website the Velo retails for R1,899.


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  • Reads EKG-accurate heart rate data, with no chest strap required
  • Sends heart rate data to smartphone apps, GPS watches, and bike computers via Bluetooth Smart 4.0 and ANT+
  • Transmits data from existing ANT+ speed and cadence sensors directly to iOS smartphone apps
  • 5 configurable heart rate zones allow you to customize your workout
  • Fits wrist sizes 149-208mm / 5.9”-8.2” View Sizing Chart
  • Water resistant up to 30m (3 ATM)