Sidi Dominator “Frankenshoes”

So, here’s the deal: I’ve successfully brought my well-worn Sidi Dominator 5’s back from the Dead!

Note: This is also a bit of a follow-up to my last Bloggishnish posting back on June 28th… you know, the one with the photo of the two gals sporting blue paint on the blue Kuwahara tandem that drew more hits than just about any photo I’ve ever posted to my blog!  Human nature, it’s hard to set it aside…

As mentioned, the lugged soles of the Dominator 5′s that I’ve been wearing on our road tandems for the past umpteen years had finally worn down to the point where even rebuilding them with Shoe-Goo didn’t work. Some of you might ask, why do you wear MTB shoes on your road tandem?  Good question.

I’m one of those captains who opts to wear lugged-sole mountain bike shoes on our road tandems to take advantage of the sure-footed security they provide when I’m stopping and starting with Debbie all saddled-up, noting we’re subscribers to what Bill McCready coined “The Proper Method” of starting and stopping our tandems.  There have been a couple of times when I’ve worn my Sidi Genius or Freeze road shoes with Campy ProFits on the tandem where stops were not part of the ride plans, so it really didn’t matter.  However, for 99% of the rest of our ride time, it’s just more convenient to have shoes that are easy to walk in on any surface and I really am a big fan of Speedplay’s Frog pedals.  But I digress…

Sidi Dominator 5 With Cleat's Shaved Off

So, as you can see in the photo at right, I shaved the molded-in lugs off the sole of my well-worn Dominators so that they’d have a nice and smooth surface for mating a set of Sidi’s Sole Replacement System (SRS) lugs.  Now, I will say if I had to do this again I’d probably just find an old tire and cut my own replacement lugs out of the carcass to save the $50 that these replacement lugs sell for.  Worse yet, the SRS lugs for my newer Dominator 6’s (the ones that are a little too big) are even more pricey.  And if that wasn’t bad enough, the SRS lugs use a softer, faster-wearing compound than the molded-in lugs on the less-expensive Sidi MTB shoes.

The "New" sole for my "dead" Sidi Dominators

The SRS lugs are designed to fit into recesses in Sidi’s Dragon or other higher-end MTB shoes that have some molded-in clips and be screwed into 10 threaded inserts in the soles.  I opted to use some hex-headed 6/32 x 38″ wood screws for the initial installation and good old Loctite professional epoxy such that the lugs would be glued and screwed in place.  I thought about drilling out 10 holes and pressing in 10 threaded inserts to replicate the OEM SRS attachment system, but since I don’t use these shoes for off-road riding, where the lugs are put under a lot of sheer loads providing traction on hike-a-bike trail sections, it seemed like overkill.

New SRS lugs 'glued & screwed' to Dominators

Once I had the lugs installed I realized the screw heads were a bit too tall as they’ll become problematic once the lugs start to wear down. So, at some point I’ll probably replace them with some type of lower-profile Phillip’s head wood screw.. assuming the lugs stay attached to the shoes!

After the epoxy had fully cured some 24-hours after I first attached the lugs to the shoe sole I was tempted to remove a couple of screws to see if I could pull a lug off the shoe, or if the epoxy would hold just by itself.  After thinking about it, I decided to leave well-enough alone and see how they’d hold up in the real world as is.

This weekend provided the first real-world testing as we headed up to the Knoxville, Tennessee area to spend the 4th of July weekend cycling and socializing with friends.  I opted to wear my Frankenshoes on Saturday’s and Sunday’s rides and they worked just fine.  I came back with all of the lugs still attached and no signs of any pull-away or lifting.  For today’s ride I gave the Dominator 6’s another chance and I think I can make them work if I use a more robust insole to get a tighter fit until the shoes begin to soften-up and conform to my foot.  These newer Sidi’s are somewhat better-suited for hot weather as they have mesh inserts for ventilation whereas my all-Lorica Dominator 5’s don’t, so there appears to be a win-win that may extend the life of both pair of shoes.

My Sidi Dominators "Live Again!"

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About TG

I've been around a bit and done a few things, have a couple kids and a few grandkids. I tend to be curmudgeonly, matter-of-fact and not predisposed to self-serving chit-chat. Thankfully, my wife's as nice as can be otherwise we'd have no friends. My interests are somewhat eclectic, but whose aren't?
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18 Responses to Sidi Dominator “Frankenshoes”

  1. gary says:

    Did they hold up? Thanks

  2. Pingback: Sidi shoes - Page 8 - London Fixed-gear and Single-speed

  3. David777 says:

    Still holding up a year+ later? I’m in a similar situation with my Dominator 5s.
    Thank you!

  4. TG says:

    They are, but I have been surprised by how “soft” the replaceable lugs are compared to the original molded ones. I’ve worn down the toe & heel pieces and the leading edge of the center lugs to the point where I’ll either need to touch them up with some Shoe-Goo or will need to replace them once again. Moreover, I wouldn’t characterize my use of these shoes as “heavy” since our riding has been down a bit from previous years and because these shoes are used in parallel with another pair of Sidi Dominators and a pair of Sidi Genius road shoes.

  5. David777 says:

    Maybe try the SRS Dragon Black/Red/Yellow replacements next time. They are speced to be a harder compound than the original lugs on the Spider.

  6. Tim says:

    What did you use to shave the old cleats off?

  7. Pingback: Got Shoes? Cycling Shoes That Is… « The TandemGeek's Blog

  8. Doug says:

    Thanks for posting this. I was considering this for my Dominator 5’s. Did you end up taking the screws out? Are they still holding up?

    • TG says:

      Screws are still in; holding up OK but the yellow replacement lugs are pretty soft and wear through very fast. It’s only because I switch off between different shoes that the lugs have lasted as long as they did. Probably due for another replacement set in the not too distant future.

  9. Brendon Peter Lim says:

    I am in the same situation.

    And to make things worse, I live in Malaysia where I can’t get the parts I want.

    Thinking of using Vibram soles over the SIDI soles.

    Would you be keen to assist? I could send the shoes over to you.

    Thanks

    • TG says:

      I’ve seen where folks have simply cut out pieces of auto tire tread and screwed those into the soles as a cheap way of re-generating their MTB shoes without dropping $50 on a set of Sidi cleats that wear out in about a year of hard use.

      • Brendon Peter Lim says:

        Food for thought mate!

        But I would prefer Vibram or Sido soles. I can’t get any Vibram soles here so I am stuck here!

  10. WPAdmin says:

    How thick are the soles on these shoes – ie – how dangerous are the screw tips?!

    What I am asking I guess is: with the correct screw length, there is ample thread in the sole, but the tips stop before entering the insole??

    • TG says:

      There’s more than enough “meat” in the sole of the shoe to deal with the sheet metal screws. Trust me, if there were any screws sticking through the sole I’d have found a different method of attaching the lugs.

  11. Pingback: Makin’ em Last – The Eternal Sidi Sole | the frugal cyclist

  12. Stephanie says:

    So glad I found your blog. I’m about to do surgery on my Sidis also!

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