Time’s Speciale MTB Pedals are a Much Needed Update Jan 9, 2019

There are a few of us out in the world of cycling who have always ridden Time pedals. In a world seemingly dominated by Shimano clipless systems, there are still diehard fans of the French company. It’s been years since Time updated their pedal platform and believe me when I say it’s been long overdue. With recent models lasting mere months, instead of years like their predecessors, I was thinking about making the switch to Shimano. Then the Speciale was announced.

Two things struck me when I saw the Speciale pedals. First, the design. An all-aluminum pedal with an updated platform, refined shape, grippy spikes, and weight that rivaled Time’s other pedals. Then I saw the price tag. With a MSRP of $275.00, they are anything but cheap, especially if you like to have a set on each of your mountain or off-road bikes.

I will say this, after a few months of riding this review pair – Time sent me these to review – I’ll be buying a pair. They’re that good. Their resistance to breaking has impressed me in this review period, after smashing them on rocks while reviewing the 5010 and its low bottom bracket height when the rear shock is open. They’re made from 6106-T6 aluminum, which is strong and less prone to cracking. These pedals are adorned with trail marks and so far, no cracks. The engagement is like a bear trap, which is what I want.

In previous Time models, I’ve come unclipped in the air due to the tension spring getting smashed on by rocks causing an asymmetrical engagement, one side will have tension, while the other will not. I find myself attempting to clip into the tighter spring side quite often. Time has been great with warranty claims but it’s still a pain to send your pedals off.

Yes, $275.00 is a lot for pedals but when you consider the material, the durability, the weight of 202grams, and the fact that they’re made in France, where people are paid a living wage, suddenly, it’s justified. I will say, all it takes is seeing them in person to see that they are above and beyond anything else in Time’s pedal catalog. Head to Time to see more.

  • Dean Taylor

    Nice! I spotted these on the 5010 review (also on my desired list…). I’ve been a Time pedal user for 20+ years – I even use their road pedals. The quality has varied, but I like the float. These look great, but quite physically large – like the old Z platform pedal. Do you know if a smaller XC version is also likely? Good work as always.

    • I’d love a smaller XC pedal too! But honestly, I rode these on my Firefly for a bit and they didn’t bother me.

      • Dean Taylor

        cool – I will look into UK retail on those bad boys!

        • Raoul Morley

          Merlin are doing a deal at the moment I’m trying to resist…

          • Dean Taylor

            Ooh! Nice avatar BTW ;^)

      • Heffe

        Anyone here try those HT Leopard M1 pedals yet? Pretty light, and have a hybrid Time/Shimano thing going on.

  • benreed

    I was definitely…time….for a change.

  • planning_nerd

    Price is crazy, but its the fast wearing brass cleat that’s the real deal breaker.

    Nukeproof Horizon CS pedals use SPD cleats and have a very similar shape. I have had them for a couple of months and am happy with them:

    https://www.chainreactioncycles.com/us/en/nukeproof-horizon-cs-crmo-trail-pedals/rp-prod156620

    • Yeah, I guess I should have noted that I hate the SPD system – it gets clogged with rocks and mud so easily.

      • planning_nerd

        I am in so cal so mud not a factor but yes, fair point.

        I guess the question would then be if these are worth the extra money compared to Mallets.

        • I’m in SoCal too but there’s mud here in the arroyo / canyon trails. El P has a stream that runs year round.

          • planning_nerd

            i guess there’s no accounting for taste…we ride the same trails but clearly have different preferences.

            I suspect a lifetime of riding on locked-in road pedals makes me more aware of the minor play from brass cleats. I just hate it.

          • Totally! I like the float in the Time system. xo

    • Heffe

      The Nukeproof pedals also have spring engagement on the front of the pedal like the really old SPD pedals did, so you don’t have to ‘toe in’.

    • snakeboat

      Disagree, I ride daily and the brass cleats wear in rather that out. I get years out of ’em. YMMV.

      • planning_nerd

        fair enough…if you don’t mind some play in the cleat engagement, brass cleats can last a long time.

        I tried both eggbeaters and time aliums and the cleat engagement was only acceptable to me when the cleats were brand new. Within a few rides engagement was loose enough that I would start to pull out on upstrokes. I suppose pedaling style makes a difference as well.

        • Yeah I have to say my shoes wear out before the cleats do.

  • Ryan

    Also in the Time XC club hoping for news of more.

  • Chris DiStefano

    Shimano pedals is the distinguishing feature that will enable aliens to identify Earth’s most intelligent life forms.

  • Trenton South

    I really like the design aesthetic of these. From the profile view you can see the Look S-TRAC, but I appreciate that the extra girth of the aluminum platform. I really liked my S-tracs, (which these are clearly based off) but I recently traded them in for some ISSI pedals. I understand that SPD is the norm, & I too really want to hate on shimano, but I also want the opportunity to ride my friends bikes………and nobody rides time/look mtb platform in Santa Cruz.

  • Matt Good

    Here for French pedal talk.

  • pct77

    Time/Shimano, Shimano/Time. The real problem is explaining to someone why you clip in to a bike

  • I’ve been using a twin bar system pedal since the late 90’s, starting with Time attacs, I then tried Crank Brothers but finished up with Look Quartz and then the S-track which I just love and think is a far better system for riding off-road in muddy conditions and lightweight too, especially if fitted with an aftermarket Ti axle. I just never got on with using SPD in the mud so I can’t tell you how disappointed I was to see that Look have now gone to SPD with their latest XC pedal?

  • Cory Krock

    I have been using Shimano XT Trail pedals for years. No issues, work well in all conditions. $119.99 on the Jenson USA site. Or better yet, get them from your LBS. they are cheap enough, and good enough to have more than one set for your N + 1 addiction.

    • Yeah, I get that but Shimano’s pedals don’t shed mud and I don’t like the way they feel.

  • Heffe

    I’d love to see a redesigned CX/XC Time pedal along these lines.