Even wear on cleats

I’ve been working diligently to click into my pedals without looking. I can do it about two-thirds of the time now, and I’m hoping to get even better at it. Imagine my surprise Sunday then, when I didn’t seem to be able to do it at all.

Every time I put my foot down, I was unable to click back in smoothly. It took three — even four — tries before I heard the satisfying click. Finally, when I took a break about 20 miles into the ride, I discovered the problem.

I clip on my right foot (dominant side) 98 percent of the time. That has put excessive wear on the right cleat.

Excessive use of the same cleat has caused more wear than on the other cleat.

The cleat is ripped at the front, which makes clip-ins very difficult. Once I started disengaging the left cleat and keeping the right one in the pedal, things improved right away. Although the left cleat’s looks are little better than the right one’s, at least it’s still all in one piece, and works the way it should.

The left cleat. Yeah, I could probably keep them cleaner. The left one still works, though.

It’s awkward for me to use my left side to do anything, but I forced myself to disengage from the left pedal for the rest of the ride, and when re-engaging the cleat, I was able to do it on the first attempt without looking down about three out of four times.

These are Shimano SPD-SLs, and I’ve had them for about three-and-a-half months. I’ll be making a trip to the LBS this week to get replacement cleats, but from now on, I’ll alternate the foot I click into and out of. With any luck, equal use will mean longer life.


  1. says

    I have never thought about how that might wear on a cleat. I have never had such a problem. But then I just started using road type cleats in March. I have five bikes and as many pedal systems. I know it just happened.

    Is the wear from clipping in and out or from the road. Have you though about using a mtn bike type clip system?

    Due to a bone spur on the ball of my foot I switched to power grip straps for my commuter bike. I love them.

  2. Michael says

    I concur with Red re: MTB style pedal systems. The recessed space for the cleat greatly reduces wear on the clear and the lugs on the shoe help keep your foot on the pedal if you miss the connection on first try.

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