Time's latest pedal, the Speciale 8, has a mid-sized aluminum platform intended for aggressive trail riders. Its ATAC engagement system mirrors the very popular Crankbrothers design and they share a number of advantages over the various Shimano SPD clones, like a softer, more predictable release and extremely reliable engagement in muddy conditions.
Similar, but not the same, Time's version of the double-loop spring mechanism has proven to hold up better to rock smashes than Crankbrothers, and its release action is adjustable. On the flip side, Time's ATAC system requires a more directional entry than its closest rival.
Speciale 8 Details:
• Use: trail, enduro
• Aluminum platform, hollow alloy steel spindle, ATAC release mechanism
• Sealed ball bearing and DU-type bushing
• Micro-adjustable release-tension
• Reversible cleat: for 13 or 17 degree release angles
• 90 x 64 x 18mm platform
• Removable front pins
• Weight: 392g/pair (claimed)
• MSRP: $125 USD
• Contact: TIME
Time's well constructed pedal body is 18mm thick. The shafts are alloy steel and well sealed. Two different cleats (easy and regular) provide release angles from 10 to 17 degrees. Optional pins for the forward section of the platforms are included, should you need a little extra security. Speciale 8 pedals weigh 392 grams (stated) for the pair without cleats and cost around $125 USD. Color options are anodized red, yellow or black.Trail Report
Time made the Speciale 8 as a smaller and less expensive alternative to its DH sized Speciale 12. The '8 is a little less than half the cost of the '12 and is proportioned about the same as Shimano's XT trail pedal - which is a good thing. As mentioned, Time's ATAC cleats are designed to be reversed, depending upon the rider's desire for a more prolonged 17-degree, or a quicker, 13-degree exit. If you move your feet around a lot on the pedals, I'd suggest you try the 17-degree standard position first. Reverse them if you favor a faster bail-out option. I used the 13 degree position. The dual-loop ATAC mechanism feels smooth and progressive, so I can anticipate the release and feel confident that I'm securely clipped in right up to that point.
Out of the box, my pedal's release tension was set up quite stiff. After a few days of riding, I was still fussing with entry and exits occasionally. I backed the two-millimeter hex screws out a half turn, which made a much greater difference than I anticipated, but addressed all of my grievances. I'm still riding the Speciale 8s and rarely give them a thought.
Pins are quite fashionable on "enduro certified" pedals and Time's '8 obliges with a pair of Allen grub screws on the front of each platform. I don't think that the front points are useful, as they seem to impede entry if they are set tall enough to make
Cornering clearance is good, and I've whacked the crank arm more often than the pedal in the rocks.
contact with the sole of the shoe. I gradually lowered them until my entries were perfect - and noticed that the pins no longer contacted the shoe. Their purpose, as stated in Time's literature, is for added security when you're forced to pedal unclipped. In those instances, the Speciale 8's were on par with Shimano XT trail pedals and not quite as secure feeling as Crankbrothers Mallet E's.
I've been riding the Speciale 8 pedals on a Rocky Mountain that is notorious for wonking pedals in the rocks. I anticipated that the Time pedals would bear the brunt of the punishment, but they have been thriving well. Instead, it's the Rocky's crankarms that are taking the beating. I'll chalk that up to good pedal design and cornering clearance.
If I were asked to rate the Time's pedal-entry against leaders like Shimano's XT Trail and Crankbrothers' Mallet E, I'd say the 8's are on par with Shimano, and five percent behind Crankbrothers. On the opposite side, the release feels ten-percent better
Speciale 8's are unaffected by sloppy mud, but still require a bit of a shove to clear hard-packed stuff.
than Shimano and five percent better than Crankbrothers. The edge over Crankbrothers is mostly due to Time's adjustable release. Once you've had the option, it's doubtful that you'll debate its value.
Will the 8's go the distance? I have had good luck with Time pedals in the past. These have been beaten up in the boulders and seen some off-season wet conditions, and they barely feel broken in. It will take a year, however, before I can compare their durability against the everlasting Shimano SPD or the mostly reliable Crankbrothers options. If something goes awry before then, I'll report it here. Pinkbike's Take: