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|
|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.
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.
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.
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