To look upon a Time pedal is to gaze upon an empire grasped and lost. Time pedals arrived in 1988, less than three years after Look started the clipless revolution, designed by a guy who helped birth the Look pedal. The fellow French manufacturer went straight after their competition with the tag line Le Defi, or The Challenge. Time pedals had something Look didn’t: float. And if you used Time’s shoes with their pedals, you had a system with a dramatically lower stack height as well. Several pro teams got on board fast. In 1988, Time pedals and shoes were used by Pedro Delgado to win the Tour de France.. And repeated by Greg LeMond in 1989, who used the pedals the rest of his career. Time captured a third of the road clipless market straightaway. Indurain used Time pedals throughout his career, Pantani used them for much of his career, as did Ullrich. Time’s success ran into the twenty-first century with Telekom, among others. Now, it’s: Time? What’s Time?
Their pedals back then weren’t light and you had to use their shoes to take advantage of the lower stack height. Using them with another brand shoe had limitations—if you used the adapter, you had a weight disadvantage, but you could find some non-Time shoes that had a Time-specific sole. This last fact might have also played a part in their downfall in a second way. The creator of Speedplay pedals liked what Time was doing and designed his cleat to work with the Time sole. At first, this connection seemed minor. But when Time abandoned the four-bolt cleat system, DMT still had a Time-specific sole. Bjarne Riis of team CSC heard of it, and got his team on both the shoes and pedals. Today, those soles are called Speedplay soles, Speedplay pedals are everywhere, and Time is an also-ran.
It’s a pity because Time still makes a good product. Looking at the I-Clic2 Carbon, there is plenty of good thinking going on. The pedal body is long and wide for good support. One set of axle bearings, right next to the crankarm, is a relatively large diameter, which should make for smooth, low-friction rotations with little flex. There’s a carbon-fiber leaf spring for the retention system that should make entry and exit easy. There is still the two-part cleat that sets each piece next to the axle. There is ample float. The cleat is designed such that the retention elements are separate from the parts you might walk on, and thus, clipping in and out won’t be affected by walking wear. The cleat even has tabs that are designed for walking. The pedal steps it up over the original I-Clic with two tiny stainless steel ‘shoulders’ embedded into the pedal over the axle, which should dramatically slow any wear on the pedal body. If you want to reduce your float, there are two other settings that increase the leaf spring’s tension, and it’s adjustable with a narrow bladed screwdriver.
There are some other smart design features. The two cleats are slightly different. Set them up one way, and your feet can have a 2.5mm narrower stance than the other. In other words, adjustable Q-factor. You set the narrow position by putting the “Q” on each cleat on the inside; the wide has each Q to the outside. And the cleat variation is on top of the built-in lateral float. The cleat has three marks by the forward cleat bolt. These, when used in conjunction with the proper washer, allow you to set the cleat so that the “neutral” position is either straight-on or up to five degrees canted in or out. The walking tabs have been updated from earlier iterations with harder rubber; supposedly it doesn’t quite grip as well but lasts much longer. And, unlike earlier Time cleats, you can disengage either to the inside or outside.
The one disappointment with the cleat information is the center-line marker. This is what you should reference to know where the pedal spindle is relative to your foot. These are tiny lines on the edges of the cleat, and look more like residual molding marks rather than an alignment tool.
The weight of the pedal system is fairly low. Our left pedal weighed in at 116g, our right at 117g, or 233g for the set. The cleats and hardware are 43g for the left and 44g for the right, or 87g for the set. The pedal system is 320g total. Stack height is relatively low. Sorry to report we don’t have an exact measurement, but the people at Time Sport USA say it’s the same as their older RSX, and Speedplay has measured the RSX as having a stack height of 12.5mm, and Time didn’t dispute it.
In terms of operation, clipping in and out is easy. It feels like it takes less pressure to get in and out of these Time pedals than it does with our Speedplay Zeros. There is both an audible sound and feel to getting out, as if the cleat is popping out of the pedal. It should feel easy; each pedal is ‘open’ before you clip in. Pushing the cleat into the pedal closes the spring. Interestingly, a friend who is riding on the older RSX reports that his system is even easier to get in to. As riders used to double-sided pedals, we were worried that we’d press down on the wrong side; it happened only once or twice.
On the road, the pedal feels good. The engagement is positive and the shoe feels like it’s firmly attached to the pedal. We could see our feet moving around a bit, but we didn’t feel like our feet were loose or sliding, even under extremely low or high cadence, in the saddle or out. We went with the lowest spring setting on the float. Even though the spring is supposed to push the cleat toward the center of the float range at all times, we barely noticed it going on—and we merely set the cleat angle at the zero point. We didn’t experience any problems cornering, but you’d have to lean over pretty far before the pedals would scrape the ground.
There are two things that we were unable to measure in our time on the Iclic2. One is how the cleats wear, and the other is how the bodies wear. The ‘café cleat’ is designed for walking. They seem to wear fairly slowly. Cleat wear is something that can get expensive, either for the speed at which you need to replace the cleats, or the speed at which they wear down pedals. It would be great if the café cleats made for less cleat wear and those little steel shoulders on the pedal body slow down wear to almost nothing. At this point, we can’t say. The people at Time suggest paying attention to lateral rocking as a sign of cleat wear.
Overall, the Time I-Clic2 Carbon is an excellent pedal. Now if they’d just figure out how to make front and rear cleat pieces so owners of Speedplay-soled shoes could use these Time pedals and lower their stack height.