You can often make one of three assumptions when you spot a rider in Australia using Time ATAC pedals: the rider is French, the rider had knee problems about ten or fifteen years ago (especially if you see the rider using ATACs on their road bike as well), or the rider is following the advice of someone who had knee problems ten or fifteen years ago.
It’s unlikely that most people reading this review are francophones wanting to learn more about their national pedal. We’re going to concentrate on what makes them so recommendable to others instead.
The biggest things that set the Time ATAC XC Carbon 8 pedals apart from its competitors are a wide release angle and excellent mud shedding ability.
Depending on which way you run the cleats the release angle is 13 or 17 degrees. For riders with knee issues this means more movement at the ankles. This places less stress on and around the knee joint by allowing a riding position that is less ‘fixed’
Cleat engagement is quick, simple and provides an audible click. While riders used to Shimano pedals will miss the tighter feeling of the cleat in the pedals, we like that the ATAC system means more freedom to move the angle of the foot on the pedal. This allows us to move nicely with the bike through technical terrain. It also means less chance of accidentally clipping out. See our previous review on the ATAC DH pedals for further comments on the cleats from a rider used to Shimano pedals.
Unfortunately there is also extra movement when you pull up on the pedal, something that is only really noticeable on very steep climbs. It doesn’t happen with the wider platform ATAC ROC line and is something we’d like to see in the next update of the XC range.
The self-cleaning design of the pedal sheds mud easily, as advertised. We’ve clipped in effortlessly in boggy conditions and ridden away from other riders still banging cleats and scraping pedals too many times to count. This makes the ATAC XC 8s easy to recommend to people who like equipment which functions well in all conditions – an especially good option for the committed racer who wants to push forward despite the weather.
The XC 8s feature a lighter, more minimal design in comparison to its predecessors and we were curious to see how they would hold up over several months as a result. The polycarbonate body is certainly more scratched than when they were new, but given the rocky trails we enjoy riding we were glad to see the wear stopped there. The same goes for the stainless steal retention system. Neither have impacted performance, the impact is purely aesthetic.
After a solid year of use we’d expect that the most we need to do with XC 8s is put some grease under the dust cover at the spindle to keep them spinning smoothly. It’s almost like these pedals age a fair bit visually speaking over the first few months then stop. This is were they have the biggest edge over the Crank Brothers Eggbeater – a pedal that also shares the float and mud shedding properties of the Times but tends to need a lot more ongoing maintenance.
We see the XC 8s as a solid option for riders who want a little more float from their pedals or who don’t want to mess around in muddy conditions. We are impressed with the durability so far, and if our collection of older model ATACs are anything to go by, we expect to be using them for a long time yet.