June 19, 2014

Installing your cleats so they don't move, a.k.a. "Can I dig through your trash"

This was the second time I've hit up my friendly neighborhood bike shop for busted tubes. The first time was to make swim bands for myself and my swim class buddies. This time, I was looking for a way to keep my cleats from slipping loose on my cycling shoes. Note to other small folks --12Nm carbon leaf pedals are a pain in the rear. I plan on lobbying Look to make a 8Nm version so I don't have to torque my whole body (and yank my cleats out of whack) to get out of them.

I got this MacGyver-ism idea from a resourceful Slowtwitch forum poster. The gist of it is to create a rubber gasket between the shoe and the cleat, to help prevent the cleat torquing out of position when it's under load.

Step 1: Acquire an old tube

Mountain bike tubes are best, as they're wide enough to cover the whole cleat surface once you open them up. My local shop was happy to give me some from their trash bin.

Step 2: Prep the tube

The spray adhesive we're going to use works best if the surfaces are clean. So cut out the section of tube you're using, and wash it with a little dish soap. Dry thoroughly. Put your cleat on top of the tube and trace around it. Cut out the cleat shape as well as holes for the screws.

Step 3: Glue the rubber to the cleat

Spray adhesive to both the cleat and your new cleat-shaped piece of tube. Slap em together. Wait for any excess adhesive to dry, or wipe it off, so you don't inadvertently permanently install your cleat to your shoe.

Step 4: Install the cleat to the shoe 

Screw the cleat in place as usual.

Done, done, and done. Crossing my fingers that this is going to work.

UPDATE: This has worked fantastically well. I haven't had to touch my cleats since installing them this way, which was over a year ago now. Success!

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