Speedplays - unclipping by accident.. in races

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
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by iscarrr

Lately I seem to be unclipping almost randomly, mid race, and its both annoying and dangerous.

I can't seem to figure out why this is, and I'd love to get to the bottom of it, so here is what I know and what I've tried:

-"The less float you have, the less you have to move you foot to unclip". Thats the way I understand the pedals work. Intially I didnt run much float, but now as you'll see below i'm running a reasonable amount I think?


-Cleat bolts too tight. I read that if the bolts are over tightened, the mechanism doesn't work as intended, and you can unclip quite easily. I've tried running them quite lose, and have even managed to lose screw mid ride. Is using loctite key here? so you can run the screws really loose?

-Maintain the cleat: I've pulled them apart cleaned them as best I can, lubed a little.

So far I've came unclipped doing hairpin turns in races, but sometimes just on the flat somehow, really odd. For the most part they're new too, been using them for 3 months or so i guess.

I'm a bit confused because people often talk about how hard it can be to get out of speedplays, but to me, its incredibly, compared to say an SPD.

Any ideas?

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by Ozrider

You must be twisting your foot or something. I changed from SPD to Speedplay Zero
's about 16 months ago and no issues. A lot of guys I ride and race with use Speedplay and I haven't heard of similar complaints.
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by Weenie

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by Juanmoretime

How many miles or km's on them? Worn cleats will start releasing under extreme efforts first.

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by sungod

check that you are using the correct shims between cleat and sole

the four cleat screws should be done up until you feel the notches under the screw head start to bite, then give just a quarter turn more, if you over tighten, the cleat may not engage fully

compared to mine your cleats don't look worn, but they do look dry, about once a month i put plenty of lube (the finish line ptfe one) on mine

check the pedal(s) for damage/wear/dirt

degree of float should be set for what you are comfortable with, i have mine set for very narrow float and have no problems, but if you are happy with huge float then try that and see if there's a difference

is it both feet or just one?

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by stevei

I find the same, very little force required to unclip (compared to the 16Nm Keo blades which is what I used before) once you reach the end of the float range, so I have the float range maxed out in that direction so I never reach the end of the range in normal riding.

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by Sacke

I had Speedplay Zero's in 2009, and despite correct set-up, they were worn down to non-usable state after only 2500-3000km.

In my case, the problem was the contact surface being worn on the outside --> making the contact with the pedal feel wobbly.

After having gone through all major pedal manufacturers, to try to find a way to avoid knee problems, I finally ended up returning to Look pedals.

I had always thought that free float + no spring load was the key to avoiding knee problems, but I found that 0% Look cleats with a properly set up cleat eliminated my problems. (That, and a varus wedge in the shoes)

The subject was unclipping by accident... Not so much, but the force required to unclip definitely decreased with wear. Faster than with other pedals.

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by CamW

Have you checked the condition of your bowties and pedal bodies. In my limited experience I was expecting new cleats to tighten up the engagement/disengagement but did not find this was the case so assume the bowties/body had actually worn to some degree.

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by aeroslave

I have been using Speedpaly Zeros for 5 years and I have never had any problems with it in either training or racing. I am using the Chromo and Titanium.
Last edited by aeroslave on Sat Jun 02, 2012 2:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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by Zigmeister

Like others suggested.

Every 4-5 months, itake them apart, thoroughly clean and regrease the cleat assembly. Every 6 months, grease the spingle with a laur lock syringe and get clean grease in there, or sooner depending on your riding conditions.

Also, dont overtighten the base screws as others said.

It looks like you have the ability to turn your heel way inward to the point where you must be hitting the chain stay, ornhave enough play to easily do that with your heel? That is way too much play. I would take up some float to just a few degrees, and so your heel has no hance of striking the rear atays or crank arm.

Last, we dont know how you pedal, that is likely the issue somehow.

Top pros, sprinters etc, use speedplay, they arent unclipping anytime accidentally. It has never happened to me either.

Check the bowties for wear, didnt read how many milesnthis setup has. But i have about 1500 miles on mine, still solid, no issues so far.

If allmelse fails, call speedplay and see what they have to suggest.

Sorry for typos, damn ipads suck for typing.

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by Butcher

It's hard to tell but are the 'C' clips in the cleats are installed properly? You should see the tapered side when they are installed.

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by racermech

This might be stupid, but you are using zero pedals with the zero cleats? And they are not the light action ones that require much less force to clip out?

Speedplays are virtually impossible to just pull out of under normal circumstances.... However there are factors that will lead to you pulling out. Worn or dry cleats. Run some sort of dry lube on the cleats (I even put a couple drops on the bow ties as well)

I have also seem people either running too little or no shim between the sole and the black part of the cleat. This can cause all sorts of issues.

I personally have been using zeros since 2003, they have helped with my knee issues and I can honestly say I have never pulled out of a set. Track,TT,crit multiple bikes,cleats,shoes and pedals.

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by Gregorio

Looks like the "c" metal spring is broken in the picture. (at the bottom of picture) looks like the end of it has broken off.
Excessive wear on the bow ties edge can cause this to happen quickly.

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by stevei

How much force should it take to unclip? If I clip in, remove my foot, and rotate the shoe with my hand, I'm able to unclip the shoe. It feels like a lot of force to do this with my hand. However the Keo 16Nm requires much more force, there is no way I can unclip them by hand like that. When other people are saying their Speedplays need more force to unclip, can you unclip them by hand like this if you really apply a lot of force, or is it impossible like the Keo 16Nms?

Mine were like this when brand new and freshly greased, so I don't see that it's a maintenance issue, they just feel to need much less force to unclip once I rotate to the end of the float range than the Keo 16Nms do. They don't unclip within the float range, they are completely secure so long as I don't hit the end of the float range.

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by bikedoc

had the same problem, what i found was as my legs got tired during a race my foot would twist more on the pedal and because the release tension is so light it would unclip. Having less float makes it worse. I now us SPDsl which solved it and feels better

by Weenie

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by artray

I switched to keo pedals . I loved the speedplay entry but found that the cleats did not last that long . There is only so much adjustment . I think if you are a lighter rider and do not give as much umper then they are fine , but for me and I tend to ride in a hard gear they just wore out and the cleats are not cheap.

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