A disappointment

I’m an anti-big-American-manufacturing snob. I expect products produced by big American companies to be shabbily made, and to appeal to the worst of our instincts. I’m rarely proven wrong.

The corollary to this is that I have the expectation that products made by small manufacturers, or by foreign manufacturers (or by small, foreign manufacturers) to be better made. I’m sometimes proven wrong, and it happened again most disturbingly.

On my road bike, I use “clipless” pedals; these employ a “cleat” that screws onto the bottom of the shoe, and snaps into a holder on the pedal – they allow the rider to power through much more of the pedal stroke than the regular, flat pedal allows. Since the cleat is attached to the bottom of the shoe, the rider winds up walking in it, and the cleats have to be replaced when they wear.

The cleats I use, manufactured by French company Look, have been replaced and are obsolete. I found an old set, and tried to screw them onto my shoes last evening. Of the six screws, two were too short (they were all the same length, but the receiving holes for the front two were too deep for the screws to engage).

Now, it’s true that the cleats were slightly thicker than the old ones that came off. But it’s also true that the supplied screws were shorter than they had been previously. I found some of my old cleat screws in a drawer (don’t ask), and the old screws were a smidge over 12mm long. The newer screws were barely 11mm long. That little bit made the difference.

Since the cleats are obsolete, it’s time to get new pedals anyway, and I suspect I won’t have the same problem with the newer ones. But it’s a disappointment. Look, as a French manufacturer, I had hoped for more from you.


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