Time ATAC XC8 Pedals

Time ATAC XC8 Pedals


The Time ATAC 8s are great for riders who want a lot of float and are ok with a high stack-height. They are lighter and less expensive cheaper than Shimano pedals.


We feel like the Shimano XT and XTR pedals are so dominant in 2-hole riding, that any other pedal needs to be compared against them. So when we demoed the Time ATACs, we constantly had to ask ourselves “Why would we buy this pedal instead of a Shimano?”


Let’s start with weight and price. And let’s be honest, you all want to know how heavy and how much. But first, a gripe. Everyone publishes their pedal weights without cleats. This is silly because the cleats from different systems have different weights (For the record, Shimano cleats are 5g per pair. Time cleats are 44g per pair). All of our weights are the combined weight of 2 pedals and 2 cleats.

  Weight (pair with cleats) MSRP ONLINE
Shimano XT 390g $120 $90
Shimano XTR 361g $180 $160
Time atac XC2 346g $55 $60
Time ATAC XC 8 335g $130 $130

As you can see the Time ATAC XC 8’s are lighter and less expensive than Shimano’s top of the line pedal (these aren't even Time’s top of the line). The ATAC XC 12 is only 292g for about $170. The economics of Time’s ATAC series actually get better as you go down-market. The lower end of the lineup, the ATAC XC 2 is only $60 and it still weighs less than Shimano's top of the line pedal. The story of Time’s ATAC pedals, across the line, is that they are extremely light, but inexpensive. It seems like everyone would ride them if they knew.


The time ATACs offer considerable float. This could be disconcerting to some riders until you get used to it, but we love it. We are big believers in letting your feet and knees fall into their most natural position, and a lot of float allows them to do this. Tons of float = no knee problems. Shimano's XT and XTR pedals probably have enough float for most people, but the Time pedals take it to the next level. They have 5° of angular float, and they also have 6mm of lateral float. That means your foot can settle into its natural Q factor within a range of 6mm. We discovered while riding these pedals, that our legs want a narrow Q factor. When we clipped in we would initially be towards the outside of the lateral float allowance, but after riding a bit, our feet would always work their way to the inside. So riding these pedals taught us something about our biomechanics. Thanks Time! 


Out of the box, the engagement was snappy with a very satisfying pop. Even though there is some freedom of movement in the interface, the hold on the cleats is secure and there was never a question whether I was clipped in or not. After I broke in the pedals and cleats a bit, the pop mostly went away. I could still feel when I was engaged, but the pop became a little bit mushy.

By default the cleats disengage at a 13° angle but the cleats are made so that if you reverse them they disengage at a 17° angle and take more forced to clip out. We tried them both ways twice. At first we loved the extra force it took to click out with the swapped cleats, but eventually we came to the conclusion that when riding off-road, we wanted to have the ability to unclip as quickly as possible. Even the default setting on the cleats take more movement to clip out than Shimano’s system.


The largest downside we could find with the Time ATAC pedals is the stack height. They are almost twice as tall as the Shimano XTs. This makes them more prone to rock strikes, and raises you a little bit higher up off of your bike, making it theoretically harder to maneuver in technical terrain. 


We did not think about or notice our pedals when we were riding, except for the times when we had to remind ourselves to think about them so we could write this review. This is high praise. Your pedals should be invisible. If you are thinking about whether you are clipped in or not you have a bad pedal. If you are conscious of a hot-spot from a small unstable platform you have a bad pedal. If you are rocking laterally you have a bad pedal (or a worn shoe). In our experience, the pedals were flawless. We did not experience rock strike problems. 

The Pure Gravel team rode the pedals in dry conditions, but you can tell at a glance that they are made to clear any amount of peanut buttery mud with no problems. The part of the design that gives them a high stack height also allows ample space for mud to clear out. 


  • One tester commented that the amount of effort required to unclip from the Time pedals caused them to decide to stay in the pedal longer than when they rode their Shimanos. This caused them to get into trouble rather than dabbing in an emergency situation.
  • The Time ATAC XC8 pedals were great! I had zero issues clipping in and clipping out.
  • I Really like the look of the pedals and the engagement has a super positive connection. My only concern is the overall height of the pedal once clipped in.
  • I liked this pedal’s easy access, positive ‘click’ in feel and ideal amount of float… A small sacrifice is its higher body profile body but it worked well for self cleaning in the mud.
  • I had no issues clipping in or out. I always felt secure.
  • I was very impressed with Time pedals… the Time pedal had a very easy clip in and out system, and once clipped in I felt very secure with a good size platform to ride on.
  • If you like lots of float, these are the pedals for you! They have a distinctive click when clipping in and out which I really liked. They are a little bulky for my liking and are prone to pedal striking through rocky terrain.


UPDATE January 15, 2019

Members of the Pure Gravel test team rode the Time ATAC 8 pedals at the Belgian Waffle Ride Survival Camp and can confirm that there were absolutely no problems clipping or out with a full coating of mud caked on their shoes.

8 Responses


August 17, 2021

When living in snow country 20 yrs ago, I built up my mtn bike and decided after reading many articles about the Time Atacs…..to give them a shot.

I know have them. on ALL my bikes. One platform to rule them all! The mud, snow and ice clearing capabilities of this system is 2nd to none.

I bought high end SIDI mtn shoes, and they serve me well on all bikes, road, mtn and gravel.

And float? Foe-get about et! Best in the biz.

You’d have to fight me to change systems.


August 17, 2021

I’ve a couple of pairs of Atac pedals. I can’t tell you how old they are. Certainly over 20 years though.
I’ve just fitted my second pair of cleats.

I don’t MTB any more but I use Atacs on my winter bike and gravel bikes with MTB shoes. They’re plenty stiff enough and means I don’t fall on my arse at coffee stops. 90% of road cyclists would be better off with double sided pedals and MTB shoes.

These are the best pedals I’ve ever used – I hate to think how much I’ve wasted on Look cleats and pedals that wear out.
I have speedplay on my summer bike but tbh Atacs would be great there too.

Best kept secret in cycling. Fit and forget.


July 22, 2021

Purchased Time Atac pedals in 2000 for a long 90 day tour. Still have them and they are in good shape … having been on other bikes … cleats have been replaced at least a few times. I wore at least one set of cleats out walking on granite rock. I don’t understand how the pedals have lasted so long. Bushings not bearings I think. Worked for me. Certainly worth the money.

Stack height not excessive. … This makes a difference … they don’t catch (much) on the ground around corners when using long crank arms. (Not sure about the MKS variant … they look alarmingly thick.)

Mud is everywhere I go … so never a question of my using SPD.
I ride often in winter where I like the low temperature (-30C .. -20F) keeping my big body cool …
I have minimal problems in snow and Ice interfering with the clips. Mostly the problem is the buildup of ice in bottom of my shoe. A bit of grinding usually takes care of that. I did experience 10 hours in an extreme blizzard where I had to use a screwdriver to clear my shoes .

I think SPD users cannot make the same claim about ice.

My problem is with shoes for ATAC. There is not a lot of supprt for the shoes from the ATAC pedal I have. After 3000 miles the shoes let my feet slant out … which I discovered is not good for knees. The shoes distorted. Probably started well before the 3000 mile mark … I just did not notice.

Shoes have only gotten worse over the years. Glue and velcro and foam and soft plastic— all shoes seem made in China. I walk a good amount when touring (gravel roads turn to sand … which often so soft it is easier to walk or trot some sections than to ride with a load of gear.) Shoes just don’t last … and there you are out in the middle of emptyness with deconstructing shoes.

Shoes have driven me back to platform pedals. I can wear footwear that lasts and is actually fun to walk in. Even boots.

Perhaps the current shoes work well (for a while) for a 65kg person … but I am much heavier than average and with long feet (size 50 to 51 … U.S. 15)

If I were younger I would have Dehner Boot make me some custom handcrafted cycling shoes for ATAC cleats … which would last a lifetime. Everything they produce does. (Note: I have never asked them if they would. The Ketzler family was once close to my own.)

And I would instantly and happily return to using cleats and ATAC pedals. I still have a set of shoes (Diadora I think) … but find little joy in wearing them. So the ATAC pedals are limited to when I want to wear sandals with clips. For some reason it is easer to get a solid cycling sandal than cycling shoes. That is not to say they will last a long time. But they make it worth swapping out MKS pedals for ATAC. I don’t suppose I have many miles on them.

My personal experience is that ATAC pedals benefit from good shoes … which I cannot get.
I don’t know if SPD system has the same problem or improve the situation.
My experience is almost certainly aggravated by my size and perhaps is not typical.
I do think that decent cycling shoes are difficult to come by …

And I am 100% recreational. The longest distance I ever went without putting my feet down was 60 miles.
And that was before SPD or ATAC.

I have to laugh about gravel bikes. I have avoided pavement for many decades … even when touring.
That is where all the cars are. I specialize in the gravel roads that parallel interstates. NO CARS AT ALL!
Oh Joy.


March 12, 2021

I’ve been using Time ATAC pedals for close to 20 years. By far the best release system, and they work particularly well when it gets muddy. The float is definitely a benefit of the ATAC system. They are also among the lighter pedals available. Stack height has been an issue with technical mountain biking where I have broken a clip on the other side (bottom) of the time pedal (though this happened once in 20 years of using this product). I’m surprised how few companies have employed the ATAC system, but that is likely due to licensing (vs spd).

Paul Greenwood
Paul Greenwood

March 01, 2021

Just out to buy a new set after the last ones lasted 10 years and two sets of brass cleats. Bought them after using Shimano XTs and XTRs, and would not go back.


February 01, 2021

I’ve also ridden Time ATAC for 20 years or so (with a brief diversion to Speedplay Frogs). I originally rode SPDs, but the trails around my home town were super sticky mud/clay/sand and I always found the SPDs gummed up and wouldn’t clip in. I love the positive clip in of the Times; once you get used to it you never go back. And the float.. my knees are grateful.

Stack height hasn’t been an issue. The platform thickness of the Time is 22mm vs 18mm for the Shimano XT, so that’s a 2mm difference. The platform is where the rubber of my shoes rests on the pedal on either side of the cleat recess.


January 12, 2021

Know one gives two hoots about stack height…do they? Come on five millimeter isn’t exactly make you top heavy!!!
Like the above i’ve used these for over 20 years. I to have my original sets. I switched to them years back because they are far superior to all the Shimano in thick mud. Plus if the bearings do fail its easy to rebuild them.


December 14, 2020

I’ve used different iterations of Time ATAC for over 20 years, I still have my first pair of White Aliums. I can’t fault them and currently have 5 sets.

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in News & Reviews

Fear and Loathing on the Swale Canyon 80
Fear and Loathing on the Swale Canyon 80

Embark on another thrilling gravel adventure with Chris Bagg as your guide. In his latest blog post, Chris takes us through the twists and turns of Swale Canyon, sharing insights, tips, and tales from the trail. Don't miss out on this exhilarating ride!
Read More
Japanese Hollow: Neverending Novelty
Japanese Hollow: Neverending Novelty

Read More
Mammoth TUFF: Taming Volcanic Gravel and Embracing High-Altitude Cycling
Mammoth TUFF: Taming Volcanic Gravel and Embracing High-Altitude Cycling

Read More