At three times the price of Crank Brothers’ standard brass cleats, the Silca Titanium cleats have to do something spectacular to justify the price, right?
Well, sort of, yes, but also they claim to last 4x longer. So, in theory it’s a slight win in durability. But they do two more things better than the stock brass cleats that make them worth the upfront expense.
First, they’re lighter. Silca founder Josh Poertner loves the “marginal gains” concept, and indeed that’s the case here. Silca’s ti cleat, with the included ti bolts and washer plate is 9g lighter than the standard cleat and hardware per shoe – 18g lighter per pair.
But the real benefit is the cleat’s engagement with the pedals – it’s firmer and feels more secure.
I’ve ridden these with both Eggbeater and Candy pedals and the retention is improved on both. The click upon engagement is audibly more satisfying, but more importantly, it feels a lot more solid, too.
For years I’ve wanted Crank Brothers to make a “pro” cleat that has better retention, and Silca’s version delivers the improved feel I’ve been seeking.
“Yes, they’re shaped differently,” Poertner told me. “They’re a little more boxy. I’ve always thought the stock cleats felt a little vague. So I made the edges a little harder, which gives them a less greasy, floaty feel when you’re riding.”
FWIW, Crank Brothers has not tested these cleats, nor do they approve them. I’ve reached out about whether they’d void any pedal warranty and will update this review with any reply.
UPDATE: Crank Brothers told me that, in their own testing, Silca’s cleats could cause more wear on the pedal’s wings than the stock cleat, so any warranty claim that arose from premature wear would not be honored if it was due to using these cleats.
Silca says the 6/4 titanium used is still a softer material than the steel used on the pedal’s retention mechanisms, so it shouldn’t wear out your pedals any more quickly than the softer brass cleats used by Crank Brothers. I haven’t noticed any undue wear on the pedals, but to be fair, I rotate through about 5 different pair of Eggbeater and Candy pedals on different bikes, so I’m not putting the same miles on the pedals as I am the cleats.
The Silca cleats definitely appear to be lasting longer than the brass ones, and both engagement and retention continue to feel solid six months after I started riding them.
I like that they include T25 bolts rather than standard hex bolts. I feel like I can tighten them more securely without fear of stripping them. And, despite concerns that dirt would fill the little Torx grooves and make them harder to remove, so far that hasn’t been an issue at all. And, also, nothing an old toothbrush or toothpick couldn’t resolve.
If you’re looking for an improved feel and retention from your Crank Brothers pedals and don’t mind amortizing a higher upfront cost for longer-lasting cleats, the Silca Titanium cleats are definitely worth trying.
Since I received my test pair, Poertner says they’ve improved their heat treatment process that makes them even tougher, using a process designed for high-wear airplane engine parts, so they’ll maintain their out-of-the-box feeling even longer, and they’ll be a bit smoother when new, too.
MSRP is $85.00, available direct.