Look Keo cleat quality

I have had a couple of Keo cleats crack on me. I use a leg length shim and that has to be a factor but had a clear crack when installing it. Bought another pair of cleats and cracked one again at <5 NM of torque and then the other crack after a couple of rides. Pretty sure I didn’t over torque the first one but wasn’t using a torque wrench or anything. Was super careful with the second and and third. Haven’t had this issue in the past but relatively new to Look pedals.

I had a pair if Exustar “compatible with Keo” cleats around that I had picked up from the LBS but never used because they are 7* float and installed them just to see if they were different than the Looks and, honestly, seem better made. The washers are better quality and no issues installing. Torqued the bolts down with no issues, seems to be working well so far.

Long rant about small parts but I guess I am bummed to has burned through two pairs of Look cleats by breaking them. Have stuck to the name brand cleats but not sure why when the other ones seem at better made.

Anyone else have issues with Keo cleats or issues installing cleats with shins? Any experience with off brand cleats?

I’ve ridden them for years without problems, other than the occasional creak, albeit without shims. Sorry dude - sounds like a pain. Hope you get a solution.

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I only ever buy genuine Look cleats after having issues with other keo brands over the years. Never had a problem with the genuine ones.

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  1. I have had no problem with Look cleats - they wear flat before they break.

  2. Which colour look cleats are you using? Red? and where did they crack? At side or across base?

  3. Where is this shim fitted? Is it between the cleat and the shoe?

  4. If you are interested I think I have a pair of brand new Exustar red cleats doing nothing. Came with pedels I have since sold. If you are interested, msg me. (UK based)

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I am using the grey cleats without the grip on them, last set help up great with no issues. The shim is installed between the cleat and the shoe and the cleats are cracking in the area of the base around the slot for the bolt.

Got to be related to the shim, only had the issue with that one shoe. The shim does support the cleat less than the sole of my shoe would and I can see how over torquing the bolt could cause issues. I haven’t had issues installing another other brands of cleat on a similar shim set up. Best guess is that the material on the Look molded a little differently or made with a more brittle plastic and less able to support the additional stress of installing with a shim.

I realize that there isn’t a lot anyone on the internet can do about it, mostly just frustrated and was thinking someone else might have experience with shim issues as well.

Thanks all for the response, better to vent here than just yelling at my shoe alone in the workshop :laughing:

Just some thoughts

  1. The Look cleats, I am sure, have small pimples on them. If these are beyond the shim, you might try adding some extra shim between the unshimmed part of the cleat and the shoe. Depending on the thickness of your shim, I would consider (a) coke cans or (b) suitable hard plastic (model makers have plastic in various thicknesses and if the shim is, say 2mm, then get 2mm plastic and cut to shape). That would bridge the gap. (It begs the question why do these cleat shims not match the cleats?)

  2. Plan B: I don’t know how thick this cleat shim is. Have you considered a thicker sole inside the shoe, instead? (I am no expert in this stuff).

  3. My bike fitter was saying he was never specific about leg length vs inflexibility as both cause the same problems at the ankle/cleat level (unless there is an obvious leg length difference). So often incresed flexibility can help (which is what i am focusing on where I have a “disparity” between the legs.).

  4. Finally, personally I would use red looks, as the float is much more forgiving. My bike fitter said that while some people use grey 'because the pros do", a) the pros are much more flexible and b) they have had much more time being fitted properly and to adapt. So he almost always recommends people use red look cleats with max float, set up properly.

Not sure if it helps… Like I say i do have some brand new, unused, Exustars cleats if you are interested.

I hope this helps…

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Thanks for the notes and being willing to share the cleats! I am over here on the Left Coast of the USA, pretty sure shipping would cost more than cleats but definitely appreciate the offer.

The shim was originally installed by a fitter and based on a measured tib/fib leg length difference. 5mm so it is on the bigger side of adjustments but not crazy I think. Have good hip flexibility and am reasonably bendy all around with a medium aggressive fit on the bike. The fitter who set up the shim has a good reputation for the physio side of things. Shim might not be the only solution but has been functional for a couple years outside of the cleat issue.

I have used cleats with different amounts of float, feel like the 4.5* is a good middle ground between feeling loose and zero float. Not sure it has a big impact on my cycling either way but like the feel of higher tension pedals and less float on the cleats. The shim marketed as Keo specific but the holes in the shim match the slots in the cleat, which leaves some open space under the cleat instead of supporting it more fully like the sole of the show would normally do

Figuring out how to support the cleat better around the shim is definitely a good idea, going to mess with that a little bit and see what I can do.

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Sounds like you are getting good advice. 5mm is a lot to pad out at the edges. Not surprised that under some tension/pressure they could crack. Add in the force you are applying and I would suspect there are definite stress risers where the cleat sits on the edge of the shim. i suspect the genuine look ones are harder, and therefore more liable to crack, the others a softer plastic, with more give, but wear quicker. Just a guess.

A quick search for “look Cleat wedges” found these (though i have not looked closely at thicknesses or whatever). (UK retailers sorry - just for examples). (I did not realsie such existed.)

Specialized: https://www.sigmasports.com/item/Specialized/BG-Cleat-Wedge-for-Look-KEO-Pack-of-8/RU4
and these https://www.tredz.co.uk/.Specialized-BG-Cleat-Stacker_129300.htm
and these https://www.i-ride.co.uk/products/accessories/bike-fitting/leg-length-shims---look-keo/?sku=BFT-3630103

All look to be the same shape, or broader than the look keo cleat. Maybe the answer is a ch
ange of cleat shim?

I have run out of ‘2-cents worth’ now, sorry. I hope you find a solution. (Yes its a bit far to post them :slight_smile: )

Final final thought - 3-D printed shims?

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I’ve never had a problem with my shims and Keos but I did find that the off branded cleats I got as a stop gap are a mm or two thicker mid cleat which stopped them clipping into my favero pedals (no problem with official or exustar cleats).

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