Problem with Shimano S-Phyre road shoes, loose cleat nut

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
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kkibbler
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Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2014 9:30 am

by kkibbler

I bought a pair today. Super comfortable, but I think there's a problem with the cleat nuts.

I installed cleats, tightened to 4nm by torque wrench, though the manual says 5-6nm. Upon tightening, I could hear a slight crackling, but I figured it had to do with the glue or something.

Hopped on the trainer, decided what I want to adjust, and went to loosen the cleat bolts. Made my adjustments, and tried to tighten to 4.5nm by torque wrench to finish up, but right away one of the bolts started turning freely.

After taking out the insole and glued-in padding, this is how the cleat nut is supposed to sit, inside the carbon rectangular recess.
Image

Tighten the bolt, and the nut digs into the surrounding carbon material.
Image

I have a feeling I've messed around enough that my LBS, however friendly they are, will not just take it back, so I've sent a message to Shimano to see what they say.

Trouble is these shoes are so new that almost nobody on the internet has them yet.

11.4
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Joined: Tue May 23, 2006 4:33 am

by 11.4

That happens from time to time. Most of the time it's because the user used too much torque, and Sidi's first response will be to think the same. There are sometimes delaminations or voids in the carbon sole that can cause this, but the odds are low. You can do a couple things:

1. Now that you have the inside exposed anyway, simply use some epoxy resin and fill the gap that the nut is sinking into.

2. Get one of the slightly larger rectangular-based nuts that Sidi offers as spares and use it instead. It looks like it should still fit, and it will bear on a larger surface and not be as susceptible to burying itself.

I wouldn't epoxy in the nut, which would be a third potential alternative, unless and until you know you have your cleats in the fore-and-aft position you want them in for all time.

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kkibbler
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by kkibbler

Thanks. I will wait to see how Shimano replies, and if I have to I will just epoxy the nut into the recess, since I know where I want them to be and there's enough adjustment in the cleats themselves. Guess I can't trust the torque wrench then. But why did they have to make the nuts so damn small? And with rounded corners?? UGH

pharris81
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2016 12:45 am

by pharris81

@kkibbler

I have had similar problems with the S-Phyre. I have an accurate torque wrench and tightened the bolts to the recommended 5-6nm tension but the cleats keep moving when I unclip. The metal pieces inside the sole of shoe that the screws go into have also fallen into the shoe. The design of the shoes is absolutely appalling.

It could be helped by applying an epoxy with a grippy material to the smooth carbon sole around the cleat screw holes, like many other shoe manufacturers do...(invalidating your warranty). Also, reinforcing the inside of the shoe properly so that the metal pieces that take the screws don't disappear into the shoe would also be helpful. I had to hold the shoes above my head so gravity would allow the metal pieces to sit in the right place while screwing in the cleat.

I called Shimano Sydney. "Oh, we haven't had any problems like this. It's not a manufacturing fault." To which I responded, "you do now, and it's a major design fault." Anyway, the chap wasn't too happy and told me to return them to the store from whence they came...and the LBS said "I need to speak to Shimano and won't refund you until I have."

They're comfy shoes but I'm very disappointed with the fact that they just don't do what they're supposed to, according to the instructions that come with the shoes (ie 5-6nm of tension). This is enough for the consumer law (ACCC) to compel the LBS to provide a full refund, regardless of what Shimano or the LBS say. And I'm now in an argument with both.

Anyway, I wouldn't recommend them. If you over tighten, you crack the cleat or damage the sole and invalidate your warranty, and then you're stuffed.

Just make sure you return them with the socks...oh, the socks. Great socks.

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jimaizumi
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by jimaizumi

Oh wow, just in the nick of time as I was really salivating over the new RC9 shoes. would something like sandpaper help keep the cleats secure?
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pharris81
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2016 12:45 am

by pharris81

If you could fix something like fine skateboard grip tape to the sole of the shoe, it could work...obvs with holes for the screws :p

I think it was a serious oversight by Shimano to not apply an epoxy-based abrasive to the sole of the shoe around the cleat attachment points.

I was debating doing this as a last resort but thought I might try the S-Works 6 before moving into the after-market-cycling-shoe-modification business.

If you do buy them, you'll love the socks. Oh, they're so good...but when you return the shoes, alas, the socks need to go with them.

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jimaizumi
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by jimaizumi

How about some carbon paste? Damn, you're ruining my mojo to lift a set of these shoes..

What makes the socks so special anyway?
:oops: THE PAST: 2005 Cannondale R700, 2006 Specialized S-Works Tarmac Gerolsteiner, 2009 Pinarello Dogma FPX My Way, 2011 Time RXR VIP

:D THE PRESENT: 2016 Colnago C60 ST01, 2017 Wilier Cento 10 Ramato

:wink: THE FUTURE: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

Mr.Gib
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by Mr.Gib

What a mess from Shimano. The sides of that nut need to be much deeper to disperse the pressure over a larger area. Of course a thin little plate of metal like that will cut into the carbon. I wouldn't be surprised if every pair failed. And that carbon looks quite poor.

You can bet there are some very angry conversations going on right now between Shimano and whoever makes those shoes.
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pharris81
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2016 12:45 am

by pharris81

TBH I disregarded carbon paste because I didn't think it would work well in that application- I think I came across something to this effect in a forum where a poster had a similar problem. Perhaps I should have given it a go. My first reaction when I notice the cleat slipping around was, "OMG, I've just spent $450 on some white tap-dancing shoes and beautiful socks."

I must say, they are very comfy shoes, and with pedals set for low torque release, might actually work alright. If you're determined to get the shoe working for you it would probably be a good idea to start with carbon paste (won't damage the sole too much), then work your way up to skateboard grip tape (which if you can't remove all evidence of will almost certainly void the warranty). Although, I'm not sure if the screws will be long enough if you have grip tape in there.

The socks are a nice tension around the leg, good length, and have a little extra padding on the top of the foot against the tongue of the shoe. I really felt awfully pro wearing the shoe-sock combo. I'm pretty sure my ftp doubled.

TheDarkInstall
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by TheDarkInstall

Jesus, this is really bad.

I was about to buy some of these as well, so I thank you all for posting your experiences, even though for you it must be extremely annoying.

What were Shimano thinking? The shoes seem to have been tested for a while among the pros, so I can only assume they got the design working there, and the mess up has happened as a result of the design being 'scaled' to fit production cost levels (ie, they got the design bang on with the prototypes, then cheapened it as much as possible for mass production in order to maximise profit)...

maxxevv
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by maxxevv

For your current predicament, if you have a access to, get a 0.5mm strip of aluminium, brass or stainless steel. Trim it to the correct length and place it on either side of the square cleat nuts. Glue them in place with epoxy. It will fix your problem.
If you can't get the material, cut open a can of soft drink or beer. Fold a piece till its about 0.5mm thick and trim to length and likewise epoxy it in place.

It should solve your problem with the nuts.

jmaccyd
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by jmaccyd

I was looking at these. I will be giving them a miss now.

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kkibbler
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by kkibbler

Update: Actually I got a replacement pair of the same shoes from Shimano through my LBS some weeks ago (credit to them), but I haven't messed with them because a) I haven't come up with a good way to make sure the nut problem doesn't return, and b) I haven't been riding much recently anyway.

Mr.Gib wrote:You can bet there are some very angry conversations going on right now between Shimano and whoever makes those shoes.

I would hope so, but you think? Either these shoes are still too new or I was unlucky, but this thread is the top hit for "S-Phyre problem" on Google. These shoes have started showing up on my fashion-forward IG feeds so they're out there.

maxxevv wrote:For your current predicament, if you have a access to, get a 0.5mm strip of aluminium, brass or stainless steel. Trim it to the correct length and place it on either side of the square cleat nuts. Glue them in place with epoxy. It will fix your problem.
If you can't get the material, cut open a can of soft drink or beer. Fold a piece till its about 0.5mm thick and trim to length and likewise epoxy it in place.

It should solve your problem with the nuts.

I've considered that. I've also considered epoxying the original nut to a bigger alloy plate that fills the length and width of the carbon recess. The recess is roughly about 25x15mm. The ideal solution would be a much longer nut (called T-nut, apparently), twice as thick as the original, with a shouldered M5 thread in the middle, but I have not been able to find such a specimen.

These are the closest I have found online but they're not much longer than the existing Shimano nuts.
Image

Nonetheless, for how much these shoes cost, I should not be dealing with this nonsense.

maxxevv
Posts: 1957
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2005 4:51 am

by maxxevv

Yes agreed. Its indeed nonsense to have to deal with such a design flaw.

11.4
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Joined: Tue May 23, 2006 4:33 am

by 11.4

Sidi makes some very nice shoe nuts (the same kind of T-nuts that are referred to above, if I read that post correctly) that are commonly available in a parts box that most Sidi dealers will have behind the counter somewhere. They have spare screws, spikes, heel plates, BOAs, and so on, and one of the parts are the nuts. These from Sidi are very slightly wider than the little wedge nuts that Shimano uses, and a fair bit longer. The threading is not just through the nut but through a 7-8 mm tube mounted through the nut. This give you a lot of thread to get accurate torque on (you can't depend on a torque wrench when the nut you're threading into only gives you 2-3 turns) and the sleeve goes through almost to the surface of the sole, so it's stabler and less damaging to the carbon. These also are very resistant to rust and other deterioration. You may have to tweak the holes a little with a rattail file, but you'll get a good result. Shimano has moved around a bit in terms of how they mount the cleats, but hasn't for a few years had as solid a mounting version as the Sidis.

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