Archive for September 24th, 2012

Nike Cycling Shoe Latches: Resprung

The Nike cycling shoes I bought some years ago (at a steep discount when they got out of the cycling shoe biz) close with a ratcheting plastic strap rather than laces, so I bought a spare set of straps: the plastic part always breaks first. As it turned out, a coil spring inside each latch failed and the stub end (on the right side here) gradually worked its way between the latch tab and the frame:

Cycling shoe latch - broken spring

Cycling shoe latch – broken spring

Eventually this got to the point where the latches jammed and I had to do something. The first step was to drill out the rivet holding the spring and tab in place:

Drilling latch rivet - magnetized bit

Drilling latch rivet – magnetized bit

You’ll note the rich collection of swarf clinging to the drill bit, which indicates this one hasn’t been used since a lightning strike magnetized all the steel in the house. A pass through that demagnetizer shook off the swarf and prepared the bit for the next time.

Releasing all the parts shows the problem:

Nike cycling shoe latch - broken spring

Nike cycling shoe latch – broken spring

The OEM springs used 24 mil spring wire that, surprisingly, matched a box of music wire in the Basement Laboratory Warehouse Wing. The spring coils have 5 turns that just clear the 3 mm rivet that I recycled as a mandrel; I think a 2.5 mm pin would produce a better fit. Not being a fan of rivets, I replaced them with 4-40 machine screws, even though the threads probably won’t do the aluminum frame any good at all.

A protracted bending and wrapping session produced a reasonable approximation of the OEM spring:

Latch spring - formed

Latch spring – formed

It’s worth noting that each of those coils uses up about 55 mm of wire: 5 × 3.5 mm × π. Cut an excessively long piece from the music wire coil!

Trimming and shaping the ends to fit through the notches and around the outside of the frame shows that my wire-bending skills need considerably more practice. This spring (the second one I made) also shows that my beginner’s luck with the first coils wore off all too quickly:

OEM springs with homebrew replacement

OEM springs with homebrew replacement

But both springs fit and work fine, so I’ll call it done for now:

Repaired latch - nut side

Repaired latch – nut side

Will a replacement spring break before the plastic strap?

Obviously, I need a CNC spring bender

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