(Editor's note: the spikes reviewed here were provided complimentary for our review, though no promise was given of the outcome of the review.)
Earlier this cyclocross season, I saw Adam Myerson mention Horst Engineering's toe spikes. I figured he knows what he's doing, so why not check them out? Turns out Horst sponsors a number of riders beyond Myerson, including team Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld, Mo Bruno-Roy, Jeremy Powers, Justin Lindine, Cassie Maximenko, and more. A short time later, a combo pack of all four sets was on its way.
The combo pack includes a combination (see what they did there) of all the different spikes Horst makes - small (14mm) medium (16mm) large (18mm) and ice & snow. Straight away, I mounted up the medium and large on two pairs of Giro Code shoes, greasing the threads so there wouldn't be any issues removing them later.
A couple days later, it was race day - I chose the shoes with the medium spikes and got down to business on a course with spitting rain, some steep upward pitches I could ride during course recon, but would end up running during the race as I tired. I'm the worst runner in terms of speed, and it makes my heart rate skyrocket, but I know that many times it's the best way to stay upright and keep moving forward (#svenness.) The Horst spikes gave me grip when my tires - FMB Supermuds - could not.
Fast forward one week later, the second test came on another mildly wet course with a few more steep bits and a deep swampy bog in a flat section that could not be ridden. A good portion of this track also had loosely cut long grass, which when combined with mud easily clogged any tread on the shoe. After a pre-ride with the mediums, I swapped to the shoes equipped with long spikes and found the situation much better. Running the mud and scrambling up a couple steep sections I couldn't find the power to ride was now much easier.
Overall I rate these very highly. They show no appreciable wear as of yet, and since they're stainless steel, no rust. They should last easily more than one race season and can be a big difference maker in some situations.
(Editor's note: The spikes can be purchased directly here for $15.99-16.99 for single packs of each length or $42.99 for the combo pack reviewed here that runs the gamut.)
photos and words by Gavin Gould