How to Remove a Stuck Cleat from a Pedal

How to Remove a Stuck Cleat from a Pedal

We’ve all had this happen either to us or a student in class. A screw on the cleat loosens so much that when the rider twists the ankle to dismount the bike, the shoe twists, leaving the cleat behind. Or, you have to take your foot out of the shoe and wrangle the shoe from the cleat. It’s never a fun job, because, without the leverage that the foot adds, the spring holding the cleat is too tight. Most of us who have tried to pry out the cleat with a screwdriver have had to nurse scrapes and hold back expletives!

This video provided by ICA member Joe Howard shows you how to quickly remove a cleat that’s stuck in a pedal with one simple move. All you need to have on hand is an allen wrench. No more leaving remnants of your skin on the pedal!

Now…to prevent it from happening again, make sure all cleats are very tight. Keep your allen wrench handy so your riders can occasionally verify the screws are on nice and tight. 

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  1. Thank you so much for this helpful tip. As others have echoed this video saved me money and time. Appreciate you much

  2. Wow, finally found a video that provided a simple and quick solution. Thanks!

  3. Omg this saved my morning???????????? Thank you!11

  4. Great. Thanks for the help. Worked ok – actually was not getting enough pull with just the Allen wrench for such an easy release, but used a flathead screwdriver to pop the cleat out when I pulled the spring back with the wrench.

  5. Like some of the other comments said, the best 20 seconds I’ve used this week! Had 5he whole shoe locked in for two days, 1 minute later all done! Thank you! ????????

  6. This didnt work for the style of pedal I had. I was able to release the clip using pliers and pinching the metal part that bends back with another part of the pedal.

  7. HOLY SHI*, BEST 20 SECOND VIDEO ON INTERNET EVEN TODAY! Thank you so much for this incredibly simple bit of info. My cleat bolt worked itself loose on the right shoe & every time I tried to swing out, the inside cleat (bike side, towards the center/crank) kept sliding so I couldn’t get the leverage I needed to release the shoe/cleat on my new Look X-Track clipless pedal. Had to get out of shoe & leave it clipped into the pedal until I returned home & came across this video. Even tried to disassemble the pedal roadside.
    Anyway, thanks for the video. It was well worth every single one of my 20 seconds!!!

  8. I couldn’t get at the cleat as Joe showed because the shoe was in the way, still clinging on by one screw. I sawed the short leg of the allen key for the tension screw to about 1/4″ which I could then wriggle into the tension screw and release the tension. This was a mountain bike type Shimano cleat.

  9. Super – Thank you! I had ridden onto a ferry headed for Vashon Island off of Seattle and couldn’t get out of my pedal.

    The ferry workers stared in confusion as they were trying to load cars and I was still clipped onto the bike.

  10. Worked with the shoe in place. I was able to practise on the other pedal.

  11. Thank you. Best tip in many a year.

  12. So timely! Thank you for posting!

  13. thanks man!!! I had the right tool just not the right technique! thanks!

  14. thank you will save scraped fingers next time!

  15. Aaah, okay. Nice video!
    And if the cleat is still attached to the shoe you have to try and remove the shoe first? Of try to go under it with the allen wrench?

    1. Author

      Good question Nancy! I’ll ask Joe if he has a secret tip for that one too! Last time it happened in my class (~5 years ago) we just worked the shoe loose by wiggling it until the second screw fell out (the reason why it got stuck int he first place is the first screw had fallen). But that took awhile.

    2. That is exactly what happened to me. Had to take my shoe out and search for a solution when I found your video. But since my cliped shoe was a mtb shoe with a very rugged sole I had to put the bike upside down and instead of an allen wrench use a small screwdriver to go into the +and- tensioner, pulled a little and off it went.

  16. Ha! So easy!! I always have an allen wrench in my bag, but I’ve always made the task of cleat removal FAR more difficult!! Thanks!

  17. Very good! Now to remember tocary my allen wrenches!

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