Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Crank Brothers Eggbeater Damaged Cleat Bolt Removal

While replacing my cleats, I discovered a downside to Crank Brothers' decision to use stainless steel for their Eggbeater cleat mounting bolts.

Although the Crank Brothers cleat mounting bolts remain rust-free compared to the Shimano SPD bolts, the holes for the 4mm Allen keys have caved in. The holes on the Shimano cleat mounting bolts remain intact as they are made from a much harder (non stainless) steel.

There is a type of stainless steel much harder than what Shimano is using, but even if Reynolds is to dramatically lower its price, the sheer difficulty in machining 953 would render the item commercially nonviable.

That 4 mm Allen key is not going to fit in those holes (and a 3 mm Allen key is too small and/or will round the bolt out.)

Drilling the bolts out is one option. But (IMHO) it is a messy operation meant as a last resort.

There is a neater, less risky, and more elegant solution: use a Torx T25 Bit.

While Torx T25 Inserts are more common (and cheaper), they generally only fit into screwdriver bodies; unless you are a chronic wanker porn addict, it is rather doubtful you will possess the necessary grip to break the cleat bolts loose — you need a ratchet.

Use a Socket Torx T25 Bit. It usually comes in 1/4" drive. A ratchet would give you all the necessary torque you need for this operation.

The harder tool steel of the Torx bit cuts through the softer, deformed sides of the Crank Brothers stainless steel bolt hole, while the outer shape of the bit matches the hexagonal profile of the bolt hole. You may use a plastic mallet to force the bit straight in. Note: do NOT pry! The bit is made of hardened steel. I.e. it can't be drilled it out. If you break the bit in the cleat bolt, you are screwed.

Cleats (and bolts) replaced.

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