Time Speciale 8 Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Solid platform, lightweight, exceptional mud shedding, reasonably priced.
Cons: Lateral float feels slippery, entry and exit aren't the easiest, higher profile height.
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Time Speciale 8 is a compact aluminum-bodied enduro pedal from the famed French pedal company. The pedal is fitted with two grub pins on the front of each side to help it orient for engagement. The clipless mechanism is micro-adjustable, and like the HT T-1, they provide lateral float. The premise behind lateral float is that the entire foot can move side to side, not just the heel like SPD pedals offer. Proponents of lateral float claim itis easier on the joints, particularly the knee. We found them to be reasonably lightweight and well suited for the mud, making them competition worthy.
Ease of Entry
A perfect sized target, the pedal doesn't roll underfoot, we found the Speciale 8 easy to engage but not quite the magnetic feel we experienced with the Shimano XTR M9120. When you engage the cleat into the pedal the sound is quite similar to the Crank Brothers Double Shot 3, subtle and a bit vague. Like other Time pedals we've tested, the Speciale 8 have a uniquely floaty feel. The lateral float feels a bit more slippery than we experienced with the HT T-1. This can be disconcerting if you're not accustomed to it. The float may be better for your joints, but it certainly takes some getting used to. Many riders swear by this system.
Ease of Exit
The lateral float in the Speciale 8 allows the entire cleat to shift within the range of the bars. Depending on where your cleat is positioned in the float, releasing from the Speciale can vary somewhat. Add to that the fact that these pedals require more degrees of twist to release from and they can be much harder to disengage from until you're used to it. Its something you can learn to live with and seasoned Time riders have no issues with, but the reality is that it results in an inconsistent release effort and that cost the Time pedals a point here.
While the HT T-1 also features lateral float, the release comes sooner at 4 or 8 degrees vs. 13 or 17 degrees with the ATAC cleats. Additionally, the HT-T-1 provided more friction between the cleat and shoe, resulting in a more secure feeling.
Incredibly adjustable, the Speciale 8 feature adjustable release tension that is accessible using a 2 mm Allen, tension varies from barely holding on to pretty firm. You also have the option to adjust the release angle depending how you mount the cleats to your shoes. The standard brass cleats allow you to set them up for either 13 or 17 degrees, and a set of "easy" cleats can be purchased to reduce the release angle to 10 degrees. They also feature adjustable grub pins on the fronts of each pedal giving them a bit more adjustability than the Shimano XTR M9120.
At 399 grams, they look to be 2 grams heavier than the Shimano XTR M9120 but that doesn't capture the whole picture. When paired with their respective cleats, the Time system is actually 5 grams lighter than the Shimano system. The extruded and machined aluminum pedals feature hollow steel axles and plastic end caps.
The platform on the Time Speciale 8 we liked quite a bit, it's higher profile but supportive, offering a feel very similar to the HT T-1. Unlike the Shimano XTR M9120, the platform felt purposefully designed and put the material under your foot, adding to the pedals stability. Time machined this pedal down to 17mm in the center, but where your foot rests it measures 22mm, that's 5mm thicker than the low profile HT T-1 at 16.8mm.
While the platform felt about as stable as the Look X-Track En-rage Plus, it was a bit more slippery feeling, likely due to the lack of texture at the contact points.
Mud Shedding Ability
Sharing some of their architecture with the HT T-1, the articulating front bar of this pedal leaves nowhere for mud to hide. The deep recess in the center of the body gives mud and debris a place to evacuate. We found them to perform well in a huge range of conditions, they shed mud with the best of them and never jammed up with dirt or other trail debris.
The Speciale 8 pedals fall right about the median price for pedals in this review. We feel they are relatively reasonably priced, although they will probably represent the best value to the consumer who likes a floaty pedal feel or will benefit from the float by alleviating pressure on the joints.
The Speciale 8 provides a lightweight, solid platform pedal with a different approach to engagement. It performs quite well against the bigger players and has a well-deserved reputation for keeping you connected regardless of conditions.
This pedal is best paired with a mid-width enduro shoe like the Specialized 2FO Cliplite or the FiveTen Kestrel Pro
— Joshua Hutchens