Cleat removal

laurentian Posts: 2,480
edited March 2012 in Workshop

I've just got into cycling in a not-too-serious way and, after being told cleats are a good thing to have, I have been given a pair of DMT shoes by (a very accomplished cyclist) friend of mine the same as these here: ... lash-10695

Although used, they are in good nick and fit me perfectly but I need to replace the cleats and cannot, for the life of me, get the old ones off the shoes!

The screw heads holding them on seem to have a slot for a flat head screwdriver with a small Allen "key socket" in the centre. This says to me that they should be removable with either a screwdriver or an Allen key but: 1) I can't find an Allen key to fit, and, 2) They just will not budge with a screwdriver. I've tried a bit of WD40 but still to no avail. Is there a special key for this?

Does anyone have any suggestions before I get the Mole Grips out? I really don't want to shear the bolt in the shoe!

Thanks in anticipation
Wilier Izoard XP


  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,301
    Typically they are standard 4 ? mm Allen key (can't remember which size). The bolts might be dirty and corroded, so first thing I would clean them well, then the allen key will fit. They might also be seized in... which suggest next time use some anti seize paste before screwing the new ones in
    left the forum March 2023
  • Yossie
    Yossie Posts: 2,600
    Very common if screws don't have a dab of copperslip when first installing.

    If you are happy with the current cleat position, draw around it with a Sharpie/one of those gold/silver coloured pens so bereft of art teachers and children. This will allow you to see where the old cleats went when putting the new ones on and so much easier than messing around with the sticky cleat shaped things you get in the packets.

    Get a hack saw. Or an axe. Up to you really.

    Cut the cleats off around the screw, pull any cleat material away from under the shoe.

    Throw old sawn up cleats into "very accomplished but lacking a tub of copperslip" cyclist's garden.

    As there is nothing for the screw to resist against then get a pair of pliers and grab the screw - the screw will come out simples like Guv'nor.

    Again, throw the screw into "very accomplished but lacking a tub of copperslip" cyclist's garden.

    Dab some copperslip into the threads.

    Get new cleats, install screws one at a time - leave loose and do them all up a couple of turns at a time so that they don't pull the cleat out of position.

    Do up tight plus half a turn.

    Go and sleep with "very accomplished but lacking a tub of copperslip" cyclist's burd and send us piccies of her norks.


  • laurentian
    laurentian Posts: 2,480
    Thanks fellas!

    Like the idea of cutting the cleat out - this opens up options for removal. If the truth is known - the "very accomplished but lacking a tub of copperslip" cyclist that gave me them has probably never had to replace cleats as he would have just been given a new pair of shoes when scuffed!

    As far as cleat position is concerned, they are currently set up for "very accomplished but lacking a tub of copperslip" cyclist so I will have to do this again for myself although will bear in mind the tip re drawing around.

    Thanks once again.
    Wilier Izoard XP
  • JamesB
    JamesB Posts: 1,184
    also suggest when fitting new cleats use torque key, eg ritchey 5nM ; I used to REALLY tighten cleat bolts and then REALLY struggle to undo them :( ; now find 5nM is enough, just remember to check after one or two rides as cleats bed in and bolts may need tightening. Also IME just any grease on bolts helps....
  • laurentian
    laurentian Posts: 2,480
    . . . and they're off!!

    Thanks again for the help and advice, good point on the torque key. Now off to get some copaslip and buy new pedals/cleats at the weekend. I guess the next tricky bit is getting the cleats positioned correctly . . .
    Wilier Izoard XP
  • Yossie
    Yossie Posts: 2,600
    Or just get a torque wrench and do it up with that and that way you've also got a torque wrench to do all the other jobs on the bike that you need one for.