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"Off-Brand" Cleats. Yay or Nay?

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View Poll Results: Do you buy on-brand or off-brand cleats?
On-brand; I've had all 3 of my knees replaced because of cheap cleats
8
80.00%
Off-brand; with the money I've saved, I bought a gold-plated Colnago
2
20.00%
Voters: 10. You may not vote on this poll

"Off-Brand" Cleats. Yay or Nay?

Old 07-06-20, 06:01 PM
  #1  
Leinster
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"Off-Brand" Cleats. Yay or Nay?

My current Look Keo grey cleats are due for replacement, but they can be a bit on the spendy side. I've always stayed on-brand when buying cleats, since my first pair of Look Arcs when I was 15, but in recent years I see more and more off-brand manufacturers (Wellgo, Exustar etc) offering them for about half the price. Am I being too cautious buying the brand cleats? It's just a piece of plastic with no moving parts, right? It can't possibly misalign so much that my leg will tear itself to pieces as I ride? The knock-off versions can't wear out any quicker than my regular Keos do already, right? And does this lesson apply across all brands of clipless pedals, be it 2, 3, or 4 bolt? Please do regale us with your tales of woe/joy regarding the wonderful world of mechanically clamping your feet to your machine.

Last edited by Leinster; 07-06-20 at 06:08 PM.
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Old 07-06-20, 06:11 PM
  #2  
TiHabanero
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For as little as the cleats cost why not simply buy the off-brand and find out how well they do? I do know the off-brand Delta cleats don't last as long as the Look branded Delta cleats, but the Look Delta brand cleats are no longer available so off-brand is all there is.
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Old 07-06-20, 06:13 PM
  #3  
rosefarts
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I've used both. Never gotten stuck and never blown out during a sprint.

On brand ones have more walkable surface, that's worth something.
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Old 07-06-20, 06:18 PM
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Drago1010
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Bought a set of knock off SPD SL's a few years ago. They sucked. Changed the after 1 ride. Shimano brand only.
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Old 07-06-20, 06:20 PM
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Leinster
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Originally Posted by rosefarts View Post
On brand ones have more walkable surface, that's worth something.
I'm pretty religious about putting my cleat covers on for cafe stops.

Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
For as little as the cleats cost why not simply buy the off-brand and find out how well they do?
I don't want to be the guy who shreds my achilles because "everyone knows" the CrabonDuLuxe brand cleats have a rep for twisting your ankle when pedalling at 75rpm. If somebody else has found this out before me, I would like to know.
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Old 07-06-20, 06:26 PM
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The cleats last forever on spd mandals
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Old 07-06-20, 06:47 PM
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The price difference between name brand and aftermarket isn't worth the risk of an issue IMHO.
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Old 07-06-20, 07:07 PM
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I bought a discount set off eBay.
Advertised as "Cleats for Shimano SPD Pedals PD-M520 M540 M324 M545 M424 M647 M959". They came a little bit "small" (etc). Real one on right.



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Old 07-06-20, 07:11 PM
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For the small price difference, I'm not bothering with knockoff cleats.
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Old 07-07-20, 08:11 AM
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For me this is a safety issue. I'm ok shelling out the what? Extra $2 for on-brand cleats? Spread over the life of the cleat, I'm spending what? Less that 0.0000000004 for an on-brand cleat vs off-brand.
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Old 07-07-20, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by NoWhammies View Post
For me this is a safety issue. I'm ok shelling out the what? Extra $2 for on-brand cleats? Spread over the life of the cleat, I'm spending what? Less that 0.0000000004 for an on-brand cleat vs off-brand.
Is that savings in Canadian or US dollars? And is that per pedal?
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Old 07-07-20, 08:28 AM
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I bought 4 sets of knock-off SPD-SL cleats from Ali Express for about 12 bucks. I figured if they really sucked, I could toss them. Functionally, I see no difference between them and the genuine Shimanos but I would guess they last about half as long.

Don't think I'll buy them again as I did not care for the Ali Express experience.
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Old 07-07-20, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by NoWhammies View Post
For me this is a safety issue. I'm ok shelling out the what? Extra $2 for on-brand cleats? Spread over the life of the cleat, I'm spending what? Less that 0.0000000004 for an on-brand cleat vs off-brand.
I'm seeing differences on eBay/Amazon more in the range of $15-20 ($30-35 for the branded Keo cleats vs anywhere from $10-20 for the generics). If it was $2, I wouldn't have started the thread.
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Old 07-07-20, 09:29 AM
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Changed my cleats once for a week in Mammoth Lakes to a Chinese cheap off brand. Tried to clip-in outside the hotel entrance and guess what? No Go! Luckily I brought spare shoes with worn SPD-SL Shimano cleats just in case. Learned my lesson.
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Old 07-07-20, 10:00 AM
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Some places I'll happily save on no-name stuff - bar tape, saddle bags, lights, jerseys - but not where the consequences of catastrophic failure could be significant. Having a cleat fail at full bore is a potentially life-changing event - I'll pay the extra and get the real thing.
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Old 07-07-20, 10:33 AM
  #16  
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I've used Wellgo DELTA cleats for years (as both Wellgo and Forte). I cannot tell the difference between those and the LOOKs once they are on my shoes. I haven't used any Exustar cleats except their slotted cleat for traditional pedals but those cleats are the best slotted cleats I've ever used or seen. I wouldn't worry for a second about knockoff cleats from either of those companies. I don't begrudge LOOK charging twice as much and it is noce they put touches in like making them a little less slippery to walk on and including wear indicators. But I use KoolKovers anyway and I have to actually look at my cleats? NOt a biggie.

I'll buy whichever is on the shelf. If they are side by side, I take the Wellgos. Riding? I don't even know unless I stop and look.
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