Ask a Mechanic: How to Replace & Install BOA Dials on Cycling Shoes

The BOA dial on my shoes keeps slipping when I get them tight. Can you show me how to replace them?

BOA closure systems can be found on select Specialized, Louis Garneau, Pearl Izumi, and Five Ten shoes among others. The BOA system is great for the rider who makes adjustments to their shoe while riding, since all that’s required to tighten or loosen retention force is a turn of the dial. Some models also feature a quick release by pulling up on the BOA dial.

However, like most moving parts, BOA dials can and will eventually wear down and need to be replaced. Although parts of the process can be a bit tedious at times there really isn’t to much to it. When changing the BOA dials themselves I also highly recommend changing the cable as well.

All BOA dials can be removed with a T6 torx wrench. Remove the dial by loosening the bolt in the center. Once completely loose you can remove the outer part of the dial. This is typically the part that will wear out, and will often restore acceptable performance upon replacement, but it’s a good idea to put all new parts in the shoe. Next you’ll remove the inner part of the dial which is responsible for holding the cable, and giving the cable space to wind. The easiest way to remove the cable is simply to cut it and pull it out of the shoe. You’ll want to pay attention to how the cable is routed through the shoe to make sure you run the cable correctly when you put the new one in.

Now we can put the new cable in the shoe and connect it to the new inner part of the dial. Make sure you have both ends of the cable through the dial housing before connecting it to the cable retainer. This is where the job can get a bit tedious and having the old retainer can be a big help to use as a reference. BOA connects the cable to the retainer by putting the cable through a series of holes and then overlapping the cable to secure it. Start by putting the cable through the hole with the red dot next to it from the outside in. Once that is done pull enough slack through so that you have some cable to work with, and then put the cable through the next hole from the inside toward the outside and then through the last hole from the outside back in. When running the cable through the holes don’t pull the cable tight each time you go through a new hole, otherwise the last step will be very difficult.

Once the cable is through all the holes it should be on the inside of the retainer along with a loop created by the first two holes. Slide the end of the cable through that loop, and then pull the cable tight, securing it to the retainer. A pair of needle nose pliers may be a big help here. Once you have one side of the cable connected, pull the other end of the cable until the retainer is close to the dial housing, then pull the shoe open to make sure there is enough slack in the cable for you to be able to get your foot out of the shoe. Now repeat the process of securing the cable to the other side of the retainer. After getting the second end of the cable in the retainer, double check to make sure there is enough slack in the cable to open up the shoe, then secure the cable and trim the excess from both ends. All that’s left now is to put the retainer back in the dial housing with the knots down and then screw on the dial. Wind the dial and release it a few times to make sure that the BOA is working and nothing is binding up, and you’re good to go.