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Time ATAC XC 8 Review

Though they're great in the mud, they're our least favorite pedal
Time ATAC XC 8
Photo: Time Sport
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Price:  $225 List | $109.94 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Lateral float, lightweight, great mud shedding design
Cons:  Inconsistent release tension, small body is easy to miss or roll underfoot
Manufacturer:   Time
By Joshua Hutchens ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 22, 2017
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48
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#19 of 19
  • Ease of Exit - 25% 2
  • Ease of Entry - 20% 3
  • Adjustability - 20% 7
  • Weight - 15% 9
  • Platform - 10% 2
  • Mud Shedding Ability - 10% 7

Our Verdict

Unique in their floaty feel, these French pedals offer up something a bit different than the rest. The only pedal in the test (or on the market) offering lateral float, they can take a little getting used to. Their unique design makes them operate exceptionally well in the mud. The release wasn't quite as consistent as with other pedals but their low weight was impressive.

Logo Updates
Time Sport updated the logo on their products for 2020, but there have been no functional changes to the technical specs or materials of the pedal. The latest version is shown in the photo above.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Time ATAC XC 8
This Product
Time ATAC XC 8
Awards  Editors' Choice Award   Top Pick Award 
Price $109.94 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$135.00 at Amazon$177.97 at Amazon$180 List$120 List
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Pros Lateral float, lightweight, great mud shedding designLightweight, adjustable, low profile, inexpensive, available in many colorsLightweight, low profile, available in 2 different axle lengthsSilky smooth float, lightweight, great mud shedding, additional platform widthSubstantial platform underfoot, legendary durability, solid value
Cons Inconsistent release tension, small body is easy to miss or roll underfootHeavier cleats, float isn't as smooth as ShimanoNarrow platform, expensive, not recommended for trail or all-mountain ridingExpensive, rear platform is under utilized, questionable durabilityOversized locknut can interfere with proper fit and float feel
Bottom Line Unique in their design and purpose, they're less user-friendly than the restSpot on product that overtakes the reigning king in almost every categoryThe top dog race pedal from Shimano that can punch above its classUpdated doesn't necessarily mean better, they're larger and heavier than their predecessorsShimano's latest enduro approved pedal grows up a bit and the refreshes are mostly welcome
Rating Categories Time ATAC XC 8 HT Components T1 Shimano XTR M9100 Race Shimano XTR M9120 Trail Shimano PD-M8120 XT SPD
Ease Of Exit (25%)
2
8
9
9
8
Ease Of Entry (20%)
3
9
8
9
9
Adjustability (20%)
7
10
8
8
8
Weight (15%)
9
8
9
7
6
Platform (10%)
2
8
5
6
8
Mud Shedding Ability (10%)
7
9
9
8
8
Specs Time ATAC XC 8 HT Components T1 Shimano XTR M9100... Shimano XTR M9120... Shimano PD-M8120...
Weight per Pair (grams) 293g 372g 314g 397g 430g
Weight of Cleats and Bolts (grams) 44g 62g 51g 51g 51g
Cleat Type ATAC (Auto Tension Adjustment Concept) HT X1 or HT X1F SPD mountain SPD mountain SPD mountain
Style no cage mini-cage no cage no cage mini-cage
Platform Dimensions (lxw) 64 x 74 mm 68mm x 83.5mm 71 x 68 mm 100 x 71 mm 100 x 71 mm
profile height 22mm 16.8mm 17mm 17mm 18mm
Q-Factor 53mm 56mm 56mm 56mm 55mm
Total Width from Crank Arm 88mm 90mm 84mm 91mm 92mm
Entry 2-sided 2-sided 2-sided 2-sided 2-sided
Adjustable Tension yes yes yes yes yes
Traction Pins 0 4 grub pins 0 0 0
Bearings Outer Cartridge bearing, Inner bushing EVO+ dual angular contact, metal retainer dual angular contact, metal retainer dual angular contact, metal retainer
Cage Material Carbon extruded/CNC machined aluminum annodized aluminum annodized aluminum anodized and machined aluminum
Pedal Wrench Type 8mm allen 8mm allen 8mm allen 8mm allen 8mm allen

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Time ATAC pedals are unique in the marketplace and provide a unique feeling than the rest of the pedals in the test. For starters, they're the only model that provides lateral float, the premise being that the ability to move side to side is easier on the joints in the legs than a fixed toe position. The pedals also have a fixed rear arch and a front arch that is spring-loaded and responsible for engagement and release. They're lightweight and have great mud shedding characteristics making them competition worthy and a favorite among wet weather and cyclocross riders.

Performance Comparison


Time ATAC at altitude.
Time ATAC at altitude.
Photo: joshua hutchens

Ease of Entry


A small target, that was a bit prone to rolling underfoot, this wasn't the easiest pedal to engage. The sound of engagement was similar to the Crank Brothers, subtle and a bit vague, although not always. Once clipped in, the Time pedals provide a unique feel with their lateral float; it's a bit like being unclipped and can feel disconcerting until you're accustomed to it. Some of us found sprinting on these pedals to be a bit scary; when you're giving everything you've got out of the saddle, having two of your four contacts sliding back and forth doesn't feel reassuring. While the added play may have a positive impact on your joints and ligaments, the inconsistent feeling felt detrimental to our safety.

Clipped into the XC 8.
Clipped into the XC 8.
Photo: Michelle Powell

Ease of Exit


The only pedal with lateral float, the Time model allows the front of the cleat to move side to side. If the front of the cleat was inboard when you swung your heel outward, the process was pretty straightforward. If the nose of the cleat was outboard, however, the release wasn't immediate. The rear of the cleat got to its limit then the front had to pivot. This results in an inconsistent release effort.

Additionally, because the front of the pedal is spring-loaded, the release tension varies by how much force you're exerting in the forward motion. Most other pedals on the market utilize a fixed position for the front of the cleat and a spring-loaded rear. Pulling up and out like you might do when panicking produces reluctance beyond what we often felt comfortable doing.

Trying like hell to get out of the ATAC pedal with the cleat set for...
Trying like hell to get out of the ATAC pedal with the cleat set for 13-degree release.
Photo: Michelle Powell

Adjustability


The Time contender has adjustable release tension that is accessible using a flat head screwdriver. The cleats can be mounted to provide 13 or 17 degrees release angles. Aftermarket "easy" cleats are available for riders wanting a 10-degree release angle. This pair earned an above-average 7 out of 10 in the adjustability metric and was bested by the Xpedo GFX, which earned a 9 out of 10, and the top four Shimano pedals, which scored 8 out of 10s.

Time ATAC and XTR M9000 on display, notice the adjustments on the...
Time ATAC and XTR M9000 on display, notice the adjustments on the sides of the Time pedals, a quick twist will increase or decrease your release tension.
Photo: joshua hutchens

Weight


Amongst the lightest pedals in our test, they're almost a quarter-pound lighter than the Shimano XT M8120's. The carbon body isn't likely as durable as the forged or machined alloy bodies on other pedals, but we didn't experience any issues with the carbon. These pedals took a 9 out of 10 for weight - the highest in our review, along with the Crank Brothers Egg Beater 3.

Platform


The platform on the Time is nicely shaped and offers a bit of a shelf that stabilizes the shoe. However, due to the lateral float, you're sliding back and forth on the platform, and most of us felt it was a bit disconcerting.

A small pedal, the ATAC provides minimal platform.
A small pedal, the ATAC provides minimal platform.
Photo: Michelle Powell

While the platform felt more substantial than the Egg Beater 3, it didn't impress. Its size may not have been the main issue as it's comparable in size to the Shimano XTR M9100. The disconcerting part for us was that we weren't fixed to any spot on the platform, and our entire foot slid side to side.

Mud Shedding Ability


With seemingly nowhere for the mud and muck to go on the solid-bodied pedals, it's a wonder they can be used in the mud at all. Surprisingly they perform quite well in a variety of conditions, resisting our efforts to muck them up with snow, mud or trail debris. They're designed to shed mud out the front of the pedal upon engagement and it's quite effective.

The best mud shedding pedals of this test, from left t right, Time...
The best mud shedding pedals of this test, from left t right, Time ATAC XC 8, Crank Brothers Egg Beater 3 and XTR M9000.
Photo: joshua hutchens

Value


The ATAC XC 8 pedals are expensive. While they may be spendy, they do make sense for the gram counting riders of the world who are racing cross-country, gravel, or cyclocross. Whether you can justify the price, is up to you.

Conclusion


The XC 8 provides a lightweight, cool-looking pedal with a unique approach to engagement. They're elegant and shed mud quite well, we're not convinced that their retention system is better than anything else we've tested and its uniqueness wasn't really a positive attribute to most of our testers. If clipless pedals have given you knee or hip pain and you're hankering for something different, we say, give em a try.

Recommended Pairing


This pedal is best paired stiff cross country shoe that will complement its small platform. The Giro Privateer R, or a stiff race shoe like the Shimano S-Phyre XC9 are good options.

Joshua Hutchens