Time have a long history in clipless pedals, that is, pedals without toeclips and straps. They developed the first clipless pedals in the mid 1980s, based on their expertise with ski bindings. Fast forward a couple of decades, and Time pedals were popular on the road and off it as well, thanks to their movement (or float) that was friendly to knees, and an engagement and release system that was easy to get along with. The mountain bike pedals were especially popular thanks to how well they continued to work in the mud. This was well before the age of rock armouring and gravel, so mud performance was crucial!

Time pedals have a different feel to the float compared to the popular Shimano SPD system. As a rough summary, Time's float is from the centre of the cleat, whereas a SPD system is a little more from the front of the cleat with most felt at the heel. That's a very rudimentary summary, but the biggest difference is the amount of float. Shimano have 8 degrees, but no lateral float. Time have either 13 or 17 degrees (although cleats with less float are available) with 5mm lateral float on their XC pedals. The lateral float is the inboard/outboard movement. It can take a little to get used to, but really allows you to move the weighting of your pedal.

A lot has changed in the mountain bike arena, but the popularity of Time's pedals have not. The original ATAC design was updated well over a decade ago and recently, the Speciale range has been introduced, with the 8 aimed at trail riders or those looking for more support, and the bigger 12 more closely aimed at gravity riding and aggressive trail use. Australian importers PSI Cycling sent up a few pairs for us to fit up and get riding.

A closer look

With three sets of pedals on hand, here are the details of each pair. Firstly though, take a look at the cleats! Each Time pedal uses the same cleat. That said, in a pack of two the cleats aren't the same. Depending how you mount them, you can have 13 degrees or 17 degrees of float.

This is just a matter of swapping which cleat is on the left, and which is on the right. For riders who move around on the bike a lot, you may prefer more float. But you may also like the 13 degree position (which is a lot) with higher spring tension for a hard stop before release. But that's ok, as you can choose how you want to set them pedals and cleats up. The 17 degree release is a very aggressive option for most riders.

Time Speciale 12

This one was designed specifically for the demands of gravity racing, with a light and tough aluminium body and Time's trusted twin-bar retention system. The alloy is 6061, head treated to T6, to be stronger than most other alloys used in pedals.

 

The Speciale 12 comes with screws to fit as you need, and the pedals weigh 202g each without them. With a stack height of 19mm these are becoming a popular choice! This pair are off to long-time Time fan Ryan Walsch for testing.

RRP: $414

Time Speciale 8

The Time Speciale 8 is based on the popular Speciale 12 - it's just a little smaller! The body is aluminium and there are 8 pins to fit for added grip. The Time twin-bar retention system remains, as does the 19mm stack height.

Time have this pedal aimed at trail to enduro riding, but with our test set weighing just 394g, the pair comes in lighter than a Shimano XT Race pedal, so you can have the extra support of the larger platform without a weight penalty.

 
Given the good weight, support and versatility of setup - this one looks like it could be perfect on a downcountry bike or light trail bike - just as much as on an enduro bike. Nice work Time!

RRP: $226

Time ATAC XC 8

The Time ATAC has fans around the world, and while a few swear by the older ATAC Alium, the current ATAC range has many benefits including lower weight and better lateral control.

The Time ATAC XC 8 has a carbon body with a hollow steel axle, but if you're fancy, the XC 12 has a Ti axle to drop a few grams. This pair weighs 292g on the scales - so they're pretty damn light! The stack height is 19mm like the other models, 3mm more than Shimano XTR and 1mm more than Shimano XT. Stack height is important in terms of consistency between bikes, although it does impact ground clearance a little bit, and can have an impact on your centre of gravity. But if you can notice a few millimetres there - that's pretty amazing.

 

This pedal is aimed squarely at cross-country riding and racing, along with our gravel bretheren. It's light, has a lot of built in float for aggressive riding, and the ATAC entry system is self cleaning when clipping in.

RRP: $196

All these pedals are being setup by riders right now, so stay tuned for reviews after some considerable trail time.