Time Atac Alium clipless Pedals are extremely versatile cost conscious versions of the classic design. For the uninitiated, ATAC is an acronym for 'Auto tension adjustment concept' which in lay speak means masses of knee friendly float and remarkably dependable entry/exit since the twin bar expels mud with tremendous panache.
Cyclo crossers and mountain bikers are the obvious audiences but the pedals' qualities coupled with reasonable ground clearance lend themselves very nicely to road duties too.
100g portlier than standard clipless systems, Tonka truck build quality and impressive rigidity justifies some additional girth. Bodies are powder coated cast aluminium, which may scratch over time but unlike magnesium won't quickly succumb to the salt monster. High tensile steel axles lack the same strength to weight ratios as Cro-moly but feel very sturdy and turn on super slick, weather sealed cartridge bearings, which should last many seasons without intervention so long as you're not partial to jet-washing.
Disappointing then to discover that release tension seems take-it-or leave-it factory preset. I find this a curious move commercially since fine-tuning is almost universal - even on much cheaper systems. I also have a love/hate relationship with the brand's cleats, which boils down to material. Being a softer metal, brass is much kinder to the pedal bodies but wears much faster than steel, especially when gloop - whether it be winter or woodland - is involved.
Minor grumbles aside, performance has been otherwise excellent. Bombing along seasonally boggy bridle paths on my Univega presented no problems whatsoever and the slightly broader platforms provided welcome support over longer distances. This was also very welcome on riding fixed, where a single, eighty-one inch gear means storming up the climbs with pedals taking the majority of my weight.
More secure engagement inspires faster cadence. Entering city limits, cornering hard at roundabouts and similar traffic control couldn't ground them - at least with 172mm cranks.
Classic pedal particularly suited to mountain biking and general riding, but faster cleat wear may deter some.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Time Atac Alium Pedals
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
"A.T.A.C (Auto Tension Adjustment Concept)
The proven ATAC dual-arch retention system guarantees easy engagement and dependable release in all conditions. Low spring tension of the ATAC design causes less friction in extreme conditions, and along with an optimised release angle (13° or 17°), provides consistent entry and release, allowing MTB riding with total confidence.
When other pedals pre-release or jam, with ATAC you get quick and easy release when and only when you want it, even with mud, sand, gravel...
Mud and dirt cannot stick to the simple 'open arch' engagement mechanism which is wiped clean by the cleat as you step into the ATAC pedal.
The ATAC body profile gives a wider angle of attack into a cleat engagement window that is larger than any other pedal. This is due to the width of the arches, combined with the spacing between the front and rear arches (TIME patent).
You can step into a TIME ATAC pedal faster than into any other.
The wide, stable platform of TIME ATAC pedals distributes pedaling pressure over a large area so you won't feel a pressure point or 'hotspot' under your foot. Unlike pedals without a platform, you feel secure on ATAC pedals even without being engaged."
The ATAC are principally an mtb design but lend themselves nicely to generic riding-especially fixed.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
· Steel axle and aluminium body
· ATAC system for ease of engagement
· Excellent mud-cleaning thanks to the self-cleaning concept
· Angular float (+/-5°) and lateral float (6 mm)
· Cleats included
Bomb-proof pedals but brass cleats wear relatively quickly.
Positive engagement will polarise opinion.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's not difficult to appreciate why the ATAC system has been so popluar all these years, thanks to vastly superior mud clearance and ample knee friendly float.Dual sided design and positive entry/release lends them surprisingly well to fixed duties too, although being a softer metal means cleats wear faster compared with SPD.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Lovely build quality, loads of knee friendly float and superior mud clearance.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Brass cleats are a double edged sword-won't scratch pedal bodies but wear faster and replacements are more expensive.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Quite possibly.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, with some minor reservations.
About the tester
Age: 38 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)