Words and photos: Nick Waygood

The Speciale 8's are constructed with an aluminum body that's stiff, strong, and light, with durable steel bearings in the spindle wrapping up a very robust product that's ready to take on all the abuse an enduro rider would normally throw at their pedals. They weigh 396g before you add any of the supplied pins.

As a loyal Shimano SPD user and abuser I’d always been skeptical of changing pedal brands. So the chance to test the Time Speciale 8 was well-received. Rated by Time as an enduro/trail pedal, the smaller platform would have most coming to the conclusion that it may be rated as a cross-country pedal. 

On the trail 

On the trail the Speciale 8 performed as well as any other enduro or trail clipless pedal on the market, with an intuitive cleat system giving reliable performance.

The smaller platform is unobtrusive when rotating your feet, and offers as much support as needed under repeated impacts without feeling like your shoes are bending around the pedals. That said, in situations where you're repeatedly taking heavy hits, or not quite making the transition of a gap, the larger-platformed Speciale 12 may be the better choice for a more rigid pedal feel under foot.

Time's ATAC cleat system is all about the float you want: 13 or 17 degrees. Choosing the 13 degree setting, I found the ATAC system easy to clip in and out of on the driveway, despite the huge jump in float when compared to Shimano’s float of 6 degrees.  

On the trail, 13 degrees of lateral float was playful enough to easily unclip and slide through the inside of a corner, while still staying clipped in when hauling over janky rock gardens and pushing the bike sideways in the air. Clipping in is as easy as jamming the cleat into the pedal, with the ATAC cleat system itself designed to clear any debris from the cleat box or pedal by way of forcing it out the front.

With the trails being drier than the Sahara, I’ve not yet experienced the self-cleaning design in the mud. There have been multiple situations where rocks have jammed themselves in the cleat box, but were quickly pushed out of the way when clipping in.

When unclipping, the ATAC system feels as if it ejects your shoe from the cleat. It’s worth noting that the cleat can only unclip from a sideways rotation, not vertically, compared to other cleat systems. When you’re on the trail and finding yourself needing to unclip in a hurry, this ejection action pushes your feet away from the cranks to avoid any pedal-meets-shin-meets-crying.

There is a spring tensioner which allows for a tighter or looser hold on the cleat, making the pedals a little more user friendly. That being said, the pedals were already easy to use straight out of the box!

OUR TAKE

The Speciale 8’s were issue-free, aside from the usual cleat system gremlins. Cleaning the pedals should become habit when using Time, as the cleat spring system can catch small chunks of dirt and grit, sounding out a grinding noise which won’t fade away until given the attention it’s calling out for. 

In the current market of clipless pedals, Time shine through with the Speciale 8 as a reliable and relatively affordable clipless pedal system that is built tough. With multiple options in the range, the ATAC cleat system is easy to use and has the ability to support a wide range of mountain bikers. The only downside might be the brass cleats. They feel great but they do wear a little faster.

RRP: $226

From: PSIcycling.com.au

Hits:

  • Easy engagement and release
  • Great size
  • Excellent feel in use

Misses:

  • Brass cleats wear faster