Review: Time Speciale 12 Enduro Pedal

May 29, 2018 at 13:32
by Daniel Sapp  
Time Speciale review


When it comes to enduro and all-mountain clipless pedals, the scene is currrently dominated by Shimano and Crankbrothers. French brand, Time, does have a DH pedal that shows up every once in a while, but these days it's a bit of an outlier. Shift over to the XC/cyclocross crowd and you'll find a fair bit more use of Time's ATAC pedals. There haven't been any groundbreaking design changes on the ATAC system in years, but they work well, do a good job of shedding mud, and have developed a cultish following of devotees.
Time Speciale 12 Details
• All-mountain/enduro/aggressive trail pedal
• Adjustable release tension
• Uses ATAC cleats
• Available in blue, red, dark grey
• Weight: 408 grams (pair) confirmed
• MSRP: $350 USD
www.time-sport.com/

Time's Speciale 12 pedal is their first full-on jump into the clipless trail scene bringing a modern competitor to the enduro/all-mountain world. Instead of appealing to the more budget minded crowd, they have gone all in with a $350 USD offering that's hardly affordable, but very different from anything they offer or currently on the market.


Time Speciale Review
Time's micro adjustment allows you to adjust spring tension, a first for Time's off-road pedals.
Time Speciale 12 review
The one-piece aluminum body is robust and offers solid protection against rock hits.


Details

The Speciale 12 pedals are machined out of one piece of aluminum rather than two halves bolted together as some other pedals do. The profile of the pedal is longer and more narrow than Time's DH pedal in order to create a a stable platform for aggressive riding while staying out of the way enough to help prevent rock strikes. The pedals use a hollow steel axle and steel bearings, and the retention system is the same dual spring engagement ATAC system and cleat design that's used on Time's other MTB pedals.

There are a couple of differences between the Speciale 12 and Time's ATAC DH4 DH pedal. The Speciale 12's shape and platform is longer and narrower, as mentioned above. It also has drilling for removable traction pins, eight per pedal, to give increased bite and to custom tune the way your foot does or doesn't want to move around while latched in.

The other major difference is the ability to adjust the release tension of the pedal, something that isn't offered on Time's DH pedal, or any of its ATAC pedals. ATAC, if you didn't already know, stands for "auto tension adjustment concept" so while the cleat used for Time's MTB pedals may be the same, the fact that you can actually adjust the tension on the Speciale 12 pedals is a totally new concept and unique to the Speciale 12.


Time Speciale review
The auto tension adjustment concept is gone but the Speciale 12 still uses an ATAC cleat.
Time Speciale 12 review
The rear of the pedal firmly contacts shoes, giving a sure footing but still allowing some float when engaged.

Time Speciale 12 review
When engaged, the front pins don't contact your shoes but offer a bit of security when things get squirrelly or you're clipping in.
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Easy in, easy out but secure and firm engagement. The closest to a ski binding a pedal could be. Note how the back of the platform is firmly in contact with the shoe, giving solid support.


Performance

So, how does this $350 pedal perform in real life? Time has the loyal following they do in the XC and cyclocross scenes for a reason - their pedals work well. There's a smooth engagement and release and they do a fine job of clearing muck. I've personally always preferred the way they feel over Crankbrothers pedals, though the engagement and release on the two are fairly similar in feel versus the SPD system. For sake of simplicity and personal preference, I've been primarily using Shimano's SPD pedals for years and have few qualms with them, however, the release point is firm. You're either in or out which is something I like but very different from the way Time or Crankbrothers pedals feel with the gradual "pop" or "spring" out.

The Speciale 12 have the option of adding traction pins. There are spots for four on each side of each pedal - two in the front and two on the back of the platform. Using the pins at all is somewhat unnecessary. The pedals will support your feet as well as a Shimano SPD trail pedals, if not better. There is some float but a very secure, "ski binding" type feel to them. I preferred to use the two pins in the front just to give a little extra grab when engaging the pedal, however, these pins don't contact the shoe at all when riding as long as you're clipped in. The rear pins provide a great bit more grab on the shoe when clipped in. After trying them out, I chose not to use them as they made it more difficult to unclip, and eliminated some of the ability to move my foot around a little within the float of the pedal.

I used the pedals with Five Ten's Hellcat Pro shoes as well as Specialized's 2FO Cliplite. The interface between the pedals and any shoe is going to be significantly tighter than any SPD pedal with the shoe firmly resting on more of the pedal body. The engagement was somewhat easier with the Specialized shoes and their harder compound of rubber. The Five Tens were slightly more secure and I found that running a shim under the cleats gave a little more ease in engagement.

Engagement and release on the Speciale 12 is firm and smooth, where I would characterize the SPD as more abrupt. You do get a fair bit more float before fully dis-engaging the pedal, as opposed to an SPD-style set up. The tension adjust is a good addition to these pedals in my opinion. It doesn't go from zero tension to a bear-trap that you're never getting out of, but provides a good usable and tunable range to dial things in according to personal preference and need. I kept it right in the middle and was pleased with how it felt.

I had a few more rock strikes than usual with the Speciale pedals, which caused some scuffs and scratches in the anodizing, but that was the only sign of wear even after quite a bit of use.


Time Speciale
The Speciale 12 next to a Shimano XTR Trail pedal. A little larger and somewhat more robust.
Time Speciale 12 review
The stack height is a little bit higher than the Shimano however it's fairly negligible on the trail.


Why So Expensive?

There's no denying this pedal is expensive, so I reached out to Time and asked them why. They responded by acknowledging that the pedal is expensive and saying, "in developing new products that will be used in competition, we work to make the product for an athlete's needs at the highest levels of the sport...From there we modify the product to make different versions and reach different price points or rider needs. In the case of the Speciale 12, this is the top of the category. It has a high price for a few reasons but it comes down to the materials used and the milling of the pedal body..."

"The objective of this pedal was to have a pedal body which is light, strong, low profile, along with a good platform size but with limited exposure while pedaling...all while being able to house our clipless ATAC system. There is a cost for these elements and as you add more of them into the product, the costs increase. We're building the best product for competition and you can see how we're not too concerned about the cost."


Pinkbike's Take
bigquotesTime did a great job with the Speciale 12 and it's one of the best options out there, but is it worth the expense? For those who love Time's other pedals and have long awaited an all mountain/enduro pedal, then you've hopefully saved up your money and are ready to throw down some cash...and you won't be disappointed. Yes, $350 is a lot for a set of pedals, however, if they are durable as Time's other pedals have proven to be, it could be a worthwhile investment if you can handle the upfront dent in your wallet. Daniel Sapp









94 Comments

  • + 75
 Time - when you don't want anyone else to ride your bike.
  • - 1
 For same reason all y bikes equipped with LOOK pedals. And I still can use TIME pedals.
  • - 1
 Time to stick to the road riding.
  • + 13
 Lots of time pedals in my riding group. Lots of people who know what's up in my riding group. Time ATAC MX pedals are fantastic.
  • + 2
 you can still click in with spd cleats into the time system, just there is no easy way to release
  • + 1
 @fecalmaster: you obviously never used yime pedals vefore. They are the best. Thr atac 8s with the carbon body are the lightest clipless pedals with a solid platform, are basiclly indestructible. Also way cheaper tgan these...
  • + 1
 @CarrotCorn: mx12 are even lighter Wink
  • + 49
 Time IS money !
  • + 2
 Yes, more or less six times (!) the cost of a XT Trail pedal, three and half the cost of XTR or two and half the cost of a HT X2. All bombproof at the same weight ...
  • + 3
 @duzzi: there are much more affordable models in the MX range which works and compare very well with XT trail pedals.
  • + 1
 @duzzi: I was trying to find the msrp of the xtr pedals and discovered on Shimano’s website that they are all model 2015 perhaps the fact that they haven’t made any changes in three years or made too many pedals too begin with has something to do with their low price on the internet. Does anyone remember what the top level xtr pedal went for back in 2015. Also I know they are great pedals. I was just looking for some msrp perspective.
  • + 6
 I am devastated we didn't use this line.
  • + 9
 I have had two sets of Z's for a really long TIME and they're still working perfectly till this day, still smooth as silk

I moved the Z's from bike to bike to bike, etc

great pedal


get that price down closer to $120/$150ish then we'll talk
  • + 3
 yup.... my aliums lasted a decade and the atacs with composite cage are sitting in my toolbox. they are way better than my HT T1s currently in use but the Times don't come in pimpin' purple, so what's a rider to do? (my bike's clean, my kit is brand new)

These look amazing and if they were closer to the $100 pricepoint i'd grab a pair in a heartbeat.
  • + 8
 I've been racing enduro on Time MX4s for 4 years now. The composite body absorbs rock strikes if you manage to catch one, they shed mud and clip in/out smoother than any pedal I've ever used, and if you get em on sale online, they're dirt cheap, I've gotten em for $40 a pair. They're the only clipless pedal I've used that I can foot out in turns regularly over and over again and get in and out without thinking or trying, almost as if I'm riding flats. I've tried the higher end pedals in the MX line are lighter, but they tend to be far less durable, I've cracked multiple spring axles. The MX4s are the cheap sweet spot.
  • + 6
 Agree. I have several sets of 4's and 8's. They are a rear pedal. Not sure where the reviewer got "For those who love Time's other pedals and have long awaited an all mountain/enduro pedal". He must be new or something.
  • + 6
 I have been running Time pedals since....1997. I think the pair on my road bike is from 2002ish. To say I like them is a bit of an understatement. When I was building up my most recent bike, I bought a pair of the MX8s, because hey, enduro! The level of my hatred for those pedals almost equalled that of the hate I have for onZa HO pedals. Pedal strike after pedal strike. I think that's what caused me to break my RF Next crank one day, the pedal got hung up on a root. I was the damned crashing MACHINE! Having said that, I'm not going to buy these pedals. I like what I've got and I'd rather put the money towards the new XTR gruppo. Maybe when they come down in price and I decide I don't like riding on little pedals....naaahhh....won't happen.
  • + 7
 oldfut, like you, I use Time mtb pedals since euh… Almost forever. I won't also purchase a set of these, because 275 € here in Europe, nope. But, the MX8 looks to be a good choice. I have 5 sets of pedals and some are over 10 years old, and still work perfectly. Taking about their reliability is an understatment. I have tried Shimano, Look, Crankbros, in my opinion, Nothing offer the comfort and ease of use of the Time.
  • + 2
 I'm a huge fan of time pedals. I prefer their feel to crankbros, abd their durability is next to none. The mx4 is usually on sale online for cheap, and lasts practically forever!
  • + 2
 @ratedgg13: The Time MX's are also available as Mavic Crossmax XL. I got a pair that are the Mavic equivalent of the MX2 and I love them. Super cheap as well.
  • + 1
 @Facingtraffic: I'm using the non xl version on my cyclocross bike. I don't know how close the Mavic reproduction is, but it seems like the original times are a touch better to me (could be confirmation bias)
  • + 6
 I've used Time pedals in assorted forms since '95. They are insanely reliable and require zero maintenance. Currently a set of MX8's and some ATAC Z-controls* are doing time on my bikes. I think the Speciales are a step in the right direction, but with two major caveats. Number one, the cost. I've never paid more than $100 for any Times (usually scored them lightly used) and honestly the lower end models (Z's, Aliums) hold up better than the fancier ones. Secondly, speaking of fancy, the adjustable ones they've done intermittently over the years never felt as good as the simple ATAC's nor were they as durable. It is my hope that this design will be available with the simple ATAC system at lower price point and then they'll have another killer. *The Z-controls and the Aliums are the most bombproof pedals from Time, period. They weigh more than most, but are rock solid.
  • + 4
 High end pedal that hardly no one will buy because of the cost. I'm not sure if they are out pricing themselves. I used Time pedals before and they worked great, whilst they lasted. I'll reach for Crank Brothers based on quality and reasonable price.....yup everyone's a critic
  • + 7
 You will have to work for some serious Time to afford a pair of these bad boys
  • + 4
 The world of cycling seems unique in the sense that so many seem to think that companies owe them top-level products at bargain prices. Can't afford it? Don't buy. In a year or two they'll drop the price to something more reasonable in response to not selling any. But FFS don't whine like you're being oppressed just because a company released a product you want but can't afford. Make your own cost/benefit determination and move on. I love Time pedals too but for the price I'll be sticking with Mallets, lest you think I'm a "dentist" who buys $350 pedals.
  • + 4
 A pair of Crank Bros Mallets is $250 msrp. You break a minimum of 2 pairs per season, snapping and bending spindles which are nearly impossible to acquire in Canada, so you end up having to buy a new pair. If these pedals last a full season, they are worth the money.

Or you could just ride flat pedals.
  • + 7
 Or shimano, because they last forever and are super cheap
  • + 1
 250$ a pair? look online few are 250 I just looked and they were mostly around 100 some 60 and yes some very expensive ones too. How are you breaking so many pedals. I had a friend who snapped a few pairs of pedals and B.B. spindles, then he got smoother and didn’t do that anymore work on your form man two pairs a year?
  • + 6
 The objective of this pedal was to have a pedal body which is light, strong, b>low profile/b>..."

Compared to what...a BRICK?
  • + 3
 Shimanos are good for people that don't want float.

Crank Brothers are good for people that want float and are ok with the high likelihood that their pedals will fall apart prematurely and will eject them if the bottom of the pedal hits a rock.

Times are good for people who want float and a durable pedal, and are ok with some extra weight.

Also: "the fact that you can actually adjust the tension on the Speciale 12 pedals is a totally new concept and unique to the Speciale 12."

Various Time pedals in the MX series have had adjustable tension for a while now.
  • + 7
 You have to be pretty Speciale to get this.
  • + 3
 "For those who love Time's other pedals and have long awaited an all mountain/enduro pedal..."

The Time ATAC MX pedals aren't all mountain pedal? Pretty sure they were. Pretty sure a number of people rode the rebranded Mavic version on the Enduro circuit also...
  • + 2
 You can find these for around $260 in the US. I've had a pair on my enduro bike for a few months now and love them. They provide solid platform stability and grip, offer consistent and easy clip-ins and releases, have some decent float, and shrug off PNW mud and trail debris with ease.
  • + 1
 Yeah HTs definately work better than Shimano for me in that that they dont seem to have that tendency to release unintentially however I am very keen to try some of these times although god knows what they might retail for in NZ. $500?
  • + 1
 Hoping to pick up a set when get to Performance/Nashbar for $100ish bucks. Really need to upgrade my current probably 15+ year old ATACs and was toying with the idea of going back to SPD, but I really do like the ATACs. I just feel like they're quality/durability has suffered over the years. My buddy bent a new pair of ATACs in one ride...and I smash my current ones every ride!
  • + 1
 I had a version that used some sort of lameo push pin to hold things together in the plastic surgery body. When the metal pins started walking out, I contacted Time and was told to glue the pins in. Needles to say, that was not my favorite version. I've got an old pair that's hopped up with ti springs and axels and they're on their third bike.
  • + 1
 In my old Aluminium (2013-ish) DH ATAC pedals you have a three levels of a tension release adjustment. Not mentioning if you swap cleats in your shoes left to right, you can change release angle. They are very good! New ones seems to be way well, overpriced?
  • + 1
 I have a problem: I have been using Time ATAC pedals since 1997. Every time I try SPD style or Crank Bros, etc I have problems...AKA I just hate them. I tried the newer design of the ATAC pedals and they suck. Harder to find the retention spring and your foot slides medially and laterally on the spring rails. So now I am back to using my 21 year old TIME ATAC ALIUM's and they still work as good as day one. PS I found another pair of ALIUM's on eBay. And weirdly the ALIUM's cost the same for a used pair as a new pair 20 years ago.
  • + 1
 Hey do the Alium's not have that (annoying to me) lateral free float? I'm looking for something more knee-friendly than Shimano, and also less prone to unclip mid-air! But i really dislike that slide-slide side-to-side action on the Time X-Roc's I tried.
  • + 1
 Just want to agree with everyone that the price of these pedals is ridiculous... I guess you make pedals for your athletes with the intention of not selling them to anyone else?

I have lots of older time pedals, one set of newer but barely used pedals that has a bad side on one of the pedals so they sit on a shelf. (because I was an idiot and didn't send them back in time) The heavy old scared, scratched and gouged ATAC's from way back when are still going strong.

Old Time was great, new time not so much.
  • + 1
 I'm a longtime Time user (+20 years) and what really sets these pedals apart for me is the 13/17 float you get vs 5° for Shimanos and alike. I used to (and still do) twist my feet a bit sometime when jumping or moving on the bike and did experience unwanted unclipping when using Shimanos -- it never almost happened with Times, plus it's easier on the knees. On top of that, Time pedals shed mud better than most, are durable (the older ones, at least) and pretty affordable. So, this is not a matter of cost or weight only, but overall ease of use for me.
  • + 1
 I've been using time pedals for over ten years and they're incredibly long lasting. Even the MX2 does the job great and they really shine in muddy condition.

Since I started using them I never felt the need to get back to other manufactureres - they are really that good and 100% problems free.

Speciale 12 are expensive but for wealthy fans that's great to have them bolted to your bike.
  • + 1
 I gave a try to Time pedals lately and love them. I found the CB to difficult to disengage but the Shimano too easy, especially as I tend to move my feet a lot.
Now I didn't go for the Stage 12 bit for the old DH platform rebranded as Mavic, on sale for about 15% of the price of the Stage! Sure they alslo look about 15% as good, but nevermind. I am happy with these.
  • + 1
 I had the same problems. Got a pair of used HT X 2 (actually from Brosnans Bike) -problem solved.
  • + 1
 Is it really comparable to the Shimano Trail pedals? The Saint clipless pedal seems to be the right competitor. Exspecially regarding the contact area. The two rear pins are also in contact with the shoes. With a Trail pedal there is no contact area with the additional plattform.
  • + 2
 Or the CB Mallet E, which is what, $165?
  • + 1
 I’ve used Time pedals for the last 15 years or so, which I guess makes me a fan (though I had no idea I was part of a cult until reading this article!). I heard they were great I. The mud, took a chance on an old pair of ATACs and haven’t looked back.

For what it’s worth, Times are incredibly durable and have always feel worlds better than SPDs. I’m not in the market for these, as I run flats on my mountain bikes, but if I was into the clipless platform style, I wouldn’t think twice.
  • + 1
 I have 4 year old Time Atacs with adjustable tension release, so not new. I just hope they didn't use plastic screws in these to save weight. Have nearly stripped the heads off mine.
  • + 2
 I am still riding my ATACs that I bought 18 years ago. If these last even half as long without issue I’d consider that money well spent.
  • + 3
 (Had me at)enduro and red... Then I saw that it's clip in.
Does not complete me.
  • + 3
 Not all is lost! You can still burn some serious cash on Syntace NumberNine² Titanium Pedal.
  • + 1
 I owned two sets of Time pedals. Both popped right off spindle while riding. I liked how they felt. Didn’t like how they fell apart and tried to kill me.
  • + 2
 taking the piss with the price. currently using MX6 and a pair of the original ATAC pedals from the mid 90s
  • + 1
 Come on! You pointed it out for yourself! Which pedal is more durable as the XTR Trail? You will get three of them for one of the Time
  • + 2
 Looks like that grub screw that adjusts the tension sticks out just enough to get mangled by a rock.
  • + 1
 I really love the Atac feel, but I kept breaking the plastic ones. This pedal looks sweet, but I don't think I can justify $350.
  • + 2
 I can, and will, LITERALLY buy 10 pairs of Shimano M530 pedals for that price.
  • + 4
 you wont need to. one pair will last you a lifetime
  • - 2
 $350 for the materials and milling of the pedal body? Weird, HT was able to mill my T1 pedals for $139 and they came out lighter and better looking. They can't even explain the price themselves... as Donnie would say: SAD, TERRIBLE DEAL.
  • + 1
 I have 3 sets of older Time ATAC pedals. One set is going on 18 years old. I will always use Time pedals.
  • + 1
 Pedal review + pedals look like mine do after two weeks of use = not a pedal review relevant to me.
  • + 1
 $350 for a 400gr pair of pedals?! I fail to see how can this be justified in any way...
  • + 2
 @Biguc: the point was not to justify the price of the Time pedals, but just showing pedals at that pricetag already exist and it seems to not bother anyone Wink
  • + 2
 @smartfartbart: What are you talking about? People complain about the price of those every time there's a pedal review on PB.
  • + 2
 @smartfartbart: Ok, but CB has also this: www.chainreactioncycles.com/ch/de/crank-brothers-mallet-dh-race-pedale-2016/rp-prod112793

And that price can get me just my old and proven "brick like" plastic Times.
  • + 3
 @Trailsoup: People complain about the price. Full Stop.
There will always be people to find that something is not worth its price, and they are the most vocals about it. Not that it's never justified, but that you're always more akin to speak up when something feels wrong than when it feels OK.
  • + 2
 I blame Donald Trump lol
  • + 2
 Only 10 Times the price of Shimano's M530. Nice.
  • + 2
 They will be a less expensive version... in Time.
  • + 1
 $350 USD yeah right lol I’d have to sell a kidney to afford these
  • + 1
 Nor flat, not one up, cost more that 50$ - I do not see any selling points
  • + 1
 Stop reading when i saw the price !
  • + 1
 Still love my TIME ATACs from 1996.
  • + 1
 how do you adjust tension after that 2mm hex socket gets clogged with mud?
  • + 0
 If I could afford expensive pedals id rather have vaults and save a few quid
  • + 1
 why would anyone buy a $350 pedal?
  • + 1
 Those cleats looks so right
  • + 1
 Bout time Time included tension-adjust
  • + 1
 Probably not the evo stumpy?
  • + 2
 Unfortunately not, Evo is aluminium only atm so won't have the SWAT box.
  • + 1
 I like the look of these. Too bad the price isn’t justified.
  • + 0
 Laughable price for you yanks .....Europe get them half price ....Mr Trumps idea
  • + 2
 HT pedals FTW.
  • + 1
 I need Time to pedal my bike... but need tim€ to buy those Time
  • + 2
 @nozes beat me to it
  • + 1
 Check online in Europe, got mine for $250 CAD
  • + 1
 £154 at Merlin Cycles
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