A premium quality clipless pedal from Time, with a proven mud-shedding mechanism. Does its performance mirror its high price tag though?
Most of the Time pedals we’ve tested previously have had a composite (nylon) body but the Speciale 12 is the first that’s all aluminium. It features a quality 6106-T6 series surround to protect the mechanism and to boost traction there are four set-screw style pins on either side and they’re coated with thread lock, so you can vary the height without them working loose. You can also replace them with shorter studs or mix and match; it’s your choice.
The Speciale 12 uses Time’s tried and tested ATAC mechanism, which consists of two spring-loaded stainless steel bars that clasp the custom brass cleat. When it’s on the underside the forward bar does stick up quite far, so Time adds a little ramp, to help it glance off rocks and suchlike. This ramp also allows the cleat to slide easier into the mechanism, the downside is it does scuff up pretty quickly.
At the bottom of the slope a screw is set to adjust release tension, but it only works one way, it’s more not less.
Like most Time ATAC pedals, you can switch the cleats to change the release angle. The stock cleat comes with 13 degrees but if you swap left with right, it goes to 17 degrees. If you want less there’s also an ‘easy’ 10-degree cleat available aftermarket.
Clipping in doesn’t feel as positive as the Mallet E but getting out was more of an issue – the release angle seems way too much. It didn’t help that the rear pins also stick up too far, so actually caught in the cleat box on our test shoe and started trashing the sole. Screwing them down helps but it feels like you have to twist miles and then pull up to disengage. In fact, we had better success when we just twisted inwards.
The rotation arc does take some getting used to, but our bigger concern is the Time Speciale’s high price.
Time's French made Speciale 12 boasts top quality construction and excellent mud-shedding ability but comes with a high price tag attached. So if the design appeals to you then the Speciale 8, with a slightly smaller platform, is worth a look as it's substantially cheaper.