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…
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 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.
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.