My cleats are pretty worn out. There are a few white indicators that are showing up. However I do not have problems riding them. When do I need to replace the cleats? Is it dangerous to ride with cleats that are worn out too much?
I’m sure there is an “official” answer to this, but in my opinion (and practice) if the cleats work for you and they’re not loose/wiggling and, most importantly, they’re not bothering your knees or causing you an sort of bike fit problems … ride them until they disintegrate.
Your cleats look much like mine … but it is such a pain in the ass to get a new pair of cleats lined up just right that I avoid it as long as I can.
Those obviously look bad. My recommendation for checking actual function is to install the the shoe/cleat into the pedal when you are not wearing them. Give the shoe a wiggle and twist in all directions. If it rocks and rolls a fair bit, it’s probably best to replace them.
If you put new ones on, I recommend the test above to understand the proper motion allowed & controlled with a clean, new interface. Keep that in mind and look for wear this way over time.
Considering the relatively low cost of cleats, it’s better to replace them too often rather than not often enough.
Yes, I found this document. It says in red:
Warning : The use of automatic pedals with cleats having wear indicators over the limit, is dangerous. The thickness of the material at gripping spots is then insufficient, and the risk of breakage is considerable. Sudden breakage of a cleat can cause a fall.
Mine have long been over the limit. I decided to replace.
I am with you there but my technique is to draw round the old cleat first before removing it and line up the new cleat with the outline it makes it a bit less of a pain, unless you change shoes or cleat types!
Yup, very fine tip on a permanent marker tracing is a great guide and plenty accurate for many riders.
I use masking/painter’s tape around the cleat to mark its position. 3 pieces - front, entre back (marks the twist angle) and a point on one side to get the lateral placement. Actually just the back and one side would work.
To the OP - You might be able to squeeze a few more rides out of those but I’d definitely have a new pair of cleats on hand ASAP. While things are getting better, it is still sometimes hard to instantly get your hands on consumable bike parts so best to plan ahead.
Putting it off can just make it harder. The longer the screws are untouched the greater risk they’ll be tougher to get out. On that note, a couple times over the years I have put off a cleat change so long the the cleat wore down enough that the head of a screw was contacting the ground. Not only did that mean I was walking on metal, if you let that go long one or more screw heads will start wearing down which can make it very hard to get out.
You’re going to have to replace them anyway so just do it and enjoy fresh cleats more often! Keep a spare set on hand then you can just replace at your leisure.
Agree that replacing those is a good call, cleats are relatively cheap and cleat failure can have serious consequences because they rarely give up while you are just spinning along.
Something else to consider is that badly worn cleats can put extra wear on your pedal bodies.
Great point, and this general issue of “pedal wear” also gets overlooked in some cases. I’ve replaced worn cleats and then shown the bike owner that they also need new pedals since they wore well into the pedal body.
Some of the composite pedal bodies without any metal contact/wear surfaces are the most problematic and worthy of a closer look
They talked about this on the most event Geek Warning podcast….the potential issues with it, possible overuse injuries, etc.
Net advice they had - if you can’t remember the last time you replaced your cleats, you probably should.
And here I thought wear indicators were just Big Pedal trying to sell more cleats.
That cleat obviously look bad.
i’d keep a spare pair pretty handy, mine broke off unexpectedly last week at the start of a 6 hour ride. Really frustrating. Managed to find a bike shop and get a replacement but not worth the hassle when you can easily change them.
Yes, I had the same experience. As I was walking out from a hotel, the front part chipped. It was not holding in the pedal at all. Very disappointing. However these cleats were manufactured as “licensed by Look”. Since then I only buy cleats in Look packaging.
I guess I’m in the minority but that cleat looks just fine to me and I’ve worn them down much thinner without issue.