Don't get stuck

Here we’ll show you how to successfully remove, adjust and replace cleats and make it easier next time round.

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When they aren’t left rusting in the confines of the garage or the shed, your pedal cleats have a hard life. They’re stamped upon, constantly clipped in and out of, ground upon rocks and treated with complete neglect.

If you’ve found that your pedals don’t have the same crisp feel of retention they once had, or that involuntary unclipping is becoming a regularity, sorting out your cleats is the answer.

Loose cleats

Dodge that stuck-to-the-bike moment by fixing that loose cleat.


1. Always clean out compacted mud and stones from your cleat bolts before attempting removal.


2. If your cleat is still in position, remove only one bolt at a time to maintain
its position.


3. Thoroughly clean all the threads (bolts and cleat nut) with alcohol so that the Loctite can work to full effect.


4. Apply blue Loctite 243 to the bolt threads and torque them up (Shimano recommend 5-6Nm). If your cleat has moved, use the imprint in the sole as a guide for positioning.

Seized cleats


A problem most of us will face is removing the old ones. Due to the hostile environment your cleats have to deal with, now will be the time when you discover how well they were installed in the first place.

Properly installed cleats should pose no problem to remove, but if they were fitted some time ago, with little care, you may need to get nasty and attack your shoes with some power tools.

1. Clamp the offending shoe in a vice or a Workmate.

2. The first line of attack is the trusty Allen key.

3. If you can’t budge the bolt with an Allen key don’t risk rounding out the head. Soak the bolts in penetrating oil (Plus Gas) for a few minutes and try again.

4. If the bolt head does round out, you may be able to hammer a slightly oversized Torx key into the bolt and use this to undo it.

5. Last resort is a drill. Once the head of the bolt is removed the cleat should come free.

6. Most shoes come with two mounting positions, so if you’ve damaged one set try the other.

7. If the threads are unusable, you should be able to remove the cleat nut from inside the shoe. Shimano cleats are available with new cleat nuts.

8. When installing the new cleat, use the marks left by the old cleat as a guide in order to achieve your usual positioning.

9. Install the new bolts with Blue Loctite 242.

10. If Blue Loctite isn’t available, waterproof grease is a reasonable second choice.

11. Finally, stick a piece of gaffer tape inside the shoe, on top of the cleat nut, to prevent wind and water ingress.

Top tips

It helps to remove any debris from inside the bolt head so the Allen key can be inserted fully.

Make sure you use a high quality drill bit, as cleat bolts can be made of stern stuff.