Time says their range-topping Speciale 12 is an enduro pedal, but it’s good at more than just racing: it’s super-secure, very well-built and fantastic for anything from messing around in the woods to two weeks in the Alps. It’s very expensive at £245, however, and the knee-friendly benefits of the ATAC clipless system are negated by the grippy pins.
The Speciale 12 uses Time’s proprietary ATAC cleat and a dual-sided, two-bar spring engagement, and gives riders a choice of either a 13° or 17° release angle. To get 10° requires fitting their optional ‘Easy’ cleat, and given the price it’s a shame Time don’t include a set here.
The two-bar design offers 5mm of lateral movement and six degrees of angular float, which – in non-platform pedals, at least – can be a help for those riders suffering knee pain. However, with the pins of the Speciale 12 doing their job of, well, pinning down your feet, float is naturally restricted and the benefits mostly absent.
Clipping in requires little effort and the angle of engagement tends to squeeze any debris out of the way, which I like. I never found I couldn’t clip in, no matter how much muck I stood in.
The 70 x 90 mm platform is machined from 6061 aluminium, and while the result is pretty light (404g for the pair), strength and durability seems high. I’ve hammered these pedals on a variety of trails both locally and in the Alps and Finale, and while they’re showing some gouges and scars, they still work perfectly with zero bearing wear, play or rattles.
I did need to adjust them, though, which I’ve never even wanted to with previous, non-platform ATAC pedals. I found these hard to get out of, especially early on (they loosen up with use), as high tension and those grippy pins can keep you pretty securely bound.
The Speciale 12 is light, robust and very secure, plus it clears mud brilliantly. As impressive as it is, it’s hard not to consider the Speciale expensive given the lack of titanium, magnesium or carbon and – if you were being harsh – you might think an aluminium body and hollow steel axle more 'ordinaire' than ‘speciale’. Nevertheless the weight, performance and durability are all excellent, so the value remains good.
There are some obvious rivals if you’re after this sort of ‘enduro’ style pedal. The Crank Brothers Mallet E11 is a little lighter (385g claimed) with an impressive 15° to 20° release angle, but gives no lateral or angular movement and – at £300 – is even more expensive.
Shimano has two options: the 408g XT 8120 at £100 and 398g XTR 9120 at £125. Neither offer float or lateral movement, but then you could buy both for the price of the Speciale 12s, and still put £20 towards a new knee.
Sticking with Time, there’s a slightly lower spec (and smaller) version of this pedal called the Speciale 8 which sells for £140.
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