Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Equipment - Cleats: Check Them

One of the casualties of my little tumble a week ago was my Look cleats. Well, both of them, so maybe I need to write "were", not "was". Whatever, my cleats ended up a bit damaged, with bits and pieces of said items disappearing at the crash scene.

When I went to replace them I realized just how damaged they'd been.

Initial assessment - outer bit of cleat chipped off, scrapes on shoe buckle.

I realized the left shoe wasn't right at the end of the "crash ride" when my 4.5 degree float pedal all of a sudden had a Speedplay-like 37 degrees of float. Okay, I didn't measure it, but it was the same disconcerting feel I had when I first tried Speedplays. I finally unclipped (pushing the shoe the other way), thought about it, and realized that, oh, the pedal or cleat must be damaged. Lo and behold, it was.

Nice illustration of what was (left) and what should be (right). Note big chunk missing from cleat on the left.

The new cleats were much taller, much thicker, and much more plastic looking. The old cleats looked like some art student shaped some bubble gum into a cleat-shaped lump.

Upon closer inspection, I noticed something else - both cleats were cracked, heavily, at the front.

Cracks at front of cleat, both sides.

The black marks are from the Sharpie I used to mark cleat position. But look at how tan my hand is. I mean, look at the cracks at the front of the cleat. If they failed catastrophically, it'd be ugly.

So, moral of the story?

Check your cleats. Now. And if they seem sketchy, get some new ones. It's not worth risking flipping over your bars or high siding off the bike sprinting out of the turn.

Put your extra cleats (you have them, don't you?) in your gear bag. I have to go out and buy a set for my bag because those went onto my shoes.

And, yes, I replaced them before Somerville. I raced there on fresh, un-cracked cleats.


Anonymous said...

did you know, that Sidi shoes and Look pedals have a cleat positioning adapter that allows you to replace the cleats without the need for the "sharpie" method? Apparently not. Ever wonder why there is a small nut in the middle of the 3 cleat position nuts. That is where the alignment wedge goes. So there is never any guessing on how to line up the cleat when you have to replace them. Check it out with either Look or Sidi.

Anonymous said...

What are your thoughts on cleat position? Looks like yours are pretty far forward which would make sense for crits, sprinting.

Aki said...

Anon - thanks for the tip. I actually can't find anything on it online, so I'll look into it for next time.

Anon2 - my cleats are actually positioned as far back as possible. That is why the screws are maxed out in the fore/aft plane (they're all the way forward in the opening, i.e. the cleat is all the way back).

I found that if I have my cleats more forward I cramp my calves more. I also lose power. I think I'm slower though.