Time turns back the clock and aims at the future with a new pedal range including the 'lightest system on the market'

Now under SRAM ownership, Time is aiming to recapture its glory days with the relaunch of a simplified but modernised lineup

They were the pedals of Greg LeMond, Laurent Fignon and Miguel Indurain, they won the Tour de France 11 times in a row starting with Pedro Delgado in 1988 and finishing with Marco Pantani in 1998, but in the modern era Time pedals have become conspicuous by their absence from the pro peloton as well as the club ride. Time’s new owner, SRAM, aims to change all that as it relaunches a simplified but improved pedal range that stays faithful to the original design but updates the aesthetics, adds user-friendly features and now includes the XPro 12 SL, which replaces the XPro 15 and is claimed to be the lightest and most ergonomic system on the market. And, with SD Worx, Lidl-Trek and Movistar now on board, the US brand will be banking on a return to the glory years and hoping to add more Grand Tours to add to Time’s palmarès.

Time’s story began in 1986 when Roland Cattin and his father-in-law Jean Beyl created the brand as a challenge to Look, who had introduced the first clipless pedal with spring-loaded jaws two years earlier. Beyl was the inventor of that Look pedal, but left to set up Time with Cattin after businessman Bernard Tapie took over. Originally named 'Time Le Défi', Cattin and Beyl openly challenged Look, vowing to return with a superior product.Greg Lemond and Pedro Delgado wearing Time shoes in 1989

Photo: Getty Images

That product was the Time 50.1 racing pedal in 1987 and it had something Look’s pedals didn’t have: float. From the beginning the Time pedal was a huge hit with the pro peloton, equipping Système U, Fagor, PDM, Reynolds and Weinmann La Suisse. Domination of the Tour de France ensued and the rest is history. However, the challenge faded somewhat after Time ran into financial difficulties at the beginning of the 21st century and Cattin himself died in 2014.

Rossignol acquired Time in 2016, selling it five years later to SRAM after producing a new version of Time’s shoes, which had been gamechangers in their own right and loved by the peloton. SRAM’s president, Ken Lousberg, said that like its previous acquisitions, SRAM would retain the Time brand as a distinct offering: “Time is a legendary brand and was the first to focus on ergonomics through the pedal stroke," Lousberg said. "We will work to preserve Time's history and heritage, and continue their legacy of innovation and quality.” First impressions are that SRAM has done exactly that with the new Time range.

Product manager Benjamin Marinier worked with Time before the SRAM acquisition and moved with the brand to its new owners. “We wanted to keep the ergonomics with the dedicated patent, technology and cleat. Time pedals have always had a different float, better pedal efficiency and they’re a super safe product,” he said, as he introduced the new range. “Till mid-2000 we had a huge community of riders, fun with coloured pedal bodies and iconic shoes. We want to retrieve the excitement and the aesthetic – cool, unique, contemporary and anti-establishment.”

Time XPRO 12 SL top

Time’s unique technology for its road pedals – which it retains with the new range – is the ICLIC system. Pre-opened ready for the rider to step into, Marinier describes it as “like a mouse trap. When you’re touching the ratchet [a small lever that holds the mechanism open] it closes over the cleat. It needs just the slightest pressure to spring it whatever the tension it’s set at.” This system is used by the XPro and XPresso pedals, as before.

Time’s other USP is the wide, large platform, which is aimed at supplying extra stability. “It won’t increase power but will reduce the play or pivot feeling compared to when you have a small surface,” says Marinier. 

However, there’s a new carbon spring tension indicator for the XPro. “We had feedback that people wanted to see which retention they were on,” says Marinier. Also new is the possibility of purchasing a second carbon spring blade to double the retention strength – the original had a single carbon spring.

But, says Marinier, “the biggest new and important thing on the road pedal is the availability of three different spindle lengths. Narrow 51mm, regular 53mm and wide 57mm. We want to make sure that we’re providing the possibility for people to fit their bikes as accurately as possible.” He illustrates the importance of achieving the correct stance width by calculating that during a 30-mile ride at 20mph at a cadence of 90rpm the pedals go through 16,200 rotations or three pedal rotations per second (L/R/L). In other words, if knees are not tracking correctly or efficiently, riders risk injury with so many repetitions. Although the correct spindle length (and stance width) helps realign the knees if they track inwards or outwards, Time stresses that it won’t attempt to direct riders to a particular measurement, leaving decisions to made by bike fitters.

Photo: James Startt

The XPro comes in three versions: the XPro 10 (carbon body, hollow steel spindle, 113g, £160), the XPro 12 (carbon body, titanium spindle, 94g, 305g) and the XPro 12 SL (carbon body, hollow titanium axle, ceramic bearings). The flagship pedal has a claimed weight of 87g per pedal – lighter than the Look Keo Blade Ceramic Ti which weighs “barely 95g” according to Look, and which Time claims is the lightest and most ergonomic pedal system on the market and has a rider weight limit of 90kg. This the one used by the likes of Mads Pedersen, whose Paris-Roubaix bike is pictured above. It’s also priced considerably higher at £440 compared to Look’s £290. All three get the three spindle lengths, the new tension indicator and new artwork.

Other than the artwork, the XPresso hasn’t changed from previously, available in two versions – the XPresso 6 (composite body, carbon spring, 115g, £95) and the entry-level Xpresso 4, which is built for “dependable everyday use” and is priced at £65.

The ATAC XC mountain bike pedals, which Time says are also to be used for gravel, since it doesn’t offer a specific gravel pedal, come in three levels – 6, 10 and 12. The flagship 12 version has a carbon fibre body and Ti spindle and is priced at £295.

We could be about to witness a resurgent Time – but what about the shoes? Any plans for a reissue of the classic Time TBT Equipe Carbon Pro? SRAM’s Marie Didier told us: “Not right now but we don’t close the door. Maybe someday. You never know!” We’re keeping our fingers crossed for that.

For all the details and specs of the new pedals go to SRAM's website.

Cover image by James Startt

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