Time is known primarily for its road pedals but its new, seriously pricey Speciale clips are designed to meet the high demands of trail riding and enduro racing.
The pedal body is machined from one piece of 6061-T6 aluminium billet. Time reckons that makes it seriously durable on the trail. It’s certainly beautifully finished.
Inside sits an oversized hollow steel axle, which turns on steel bearings. The platform is both wider and longer (70x90mm) than that of Shimano’s benchmark ‘Trail’ SPDs, though not as broad as CrankBrothers’ Mallet E pedals.
There are four grub-screw-style traction pins per side, which sit around 4mm off the platform. Once clipped in, I found that the height of the mechanism made the front pins somewhat redundant.
At the centre of the pedal is Time’s ‘ATAC’ (Auto Tension Adjustment Concept) system, which uses a pair of sprung parallel bars to clamp the cleat in place. Unlike on its other MTB pedals, the tension can be adjusted.
Asymmetric cleats allow you to tailor things even further, with a 13- or 17-degree release angle (though I found the latter a little hard on the knees).
In use, it feels similar to CrankBrothers’ mechanism, with lateral tension building progressively until the pedal unclips. It’s a different feel to SPDs, so try before you buy if you’re a Shimano user looking for a change.
With the tension adjustment left untouched for my first couple of rides, I found unclipping tricky. Even with the tension screw backed off completely, things still felt quite tight. Thankfully, after a few more days on the trails, the mechanism bedded in, things loosened up and clipping in and out became easier.
Underfoot, the broad platform provides a decent amount of lateral support, though it’s not so wide that it’s overly susceptible to rock strikes. The large body also gives you a big target to aim for when you’re scrabbling to get clipped back in.
Having tested the Speciales all summer and early autumn, I haven’t encountered enough mud to comment on how well they cope with dirt. That said, Time pedals usually perform well in grotty conditions, which bodes well for these.
It’s too early to comment on long-term durability too, but my samples are still spinning smoothly — as you’d hope, considering the price. At 410g they’re decently light too, though a touch heavier than the (£54 pricier) Mallet E 11s.