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The Time Xpresso 15 pedals are extremely lightweight and clipping in/twisting out could hardly be easier, but they're expensive and the cleats wear noticeably faster than those of other brands.
Weight weenies will be delighted when they remove the top-of-the-range Xpresso 15s from their natty metal box. With their carbon bodies, hollow titanium axles, and Ceramic Speed bearings, ours hit the road.cc Scales of Truth at just 140g for the pair (Time claim 66.5g each, or 133g the pair). That's very light when you consider that Look claim 180g for their Kéo Blade 2 Ti pedals (£224.99). There's a maximum rider weight of 90kg (14st 2lb) for the titanium axles.
Clipping into the pedals is ridiculously easy because the engagement mechanism sits partially open when there's no cleat inside. You just put your foot in place and the engagement mechanism snaps shuts with very little pressure. Clipping into other pedals is hardly difficult but the action is certainly lighter than normal here.
That doesn't mean to say that the pedals lack holding power, though. Rather than a metal spring to provide the tension, Time use a carbon strip and it works very well. I've never had a cleat release accidentally. I ran a little experiment to see if I could pull the cleat out of the pedal by a combination of force and clumsiness and found it impossible, yet it's really simple to flick your heel to the side and release the cleat in the proper way when you want to.
The pedal platform is large (700mm2, according to Time) and you get plenty of stability even when standing up and throwing the bike around in a sprint. While we're doing the stats, the distance from the top of the pedal body to the centre of the axle is just 13.5mm (very similar to that of Look's Kéo Blade 2 Ti).
The carbon pedal body is tougher than you might think. After 12 weeks of heavy use the pedals are looking in very good shape with just some cosmetic scratches across the central aluminium plate. That plate can be changed if/when it wears out. The Xpresso 8s that I've been using on and off over the past couple of years have proved equally durable. The only real damage you could do to the pedal body is if you come off and it hits the ground. No pedal is going to like that very much.
You get a generous amount of float with the Xpresso system. If you want to put figures on it, you can move your heel in and out by up to 5° from the centreline and you also get a small amount of lateral movement across the pedal. That's only 1.5mm in each direction from the centreline though and, in truth, you'd do well to notice it. While we're talking about lateral positioning, it's worth noting that Xpresso cleats aren't quite symmetrical, giving you the opportunity to adjust the distance between the crank and the middle of the engaged cleat by up to 2.5mm on each side by selecting which cleat you put on each shoe.
As I said, the hollow titanium axles spin on Ceramic Speed bearings. What's the benefit over standard bearings? The manufacturers reckon these give you the lowest possible friction and longevity that's 3-5 times higher than normal steel bearings. Have I noticed the difference in use? Nah, I can't say that I have. The pedals do spin beautifully, but so do many others I have with cheaper bearings.
In the past, both Jo and Dave have had issues with the Xpresso 8s, specifically with water getting inside causing them eventually to seize. I've not had any issues with the bearings here, and nor have I had any trouble with the bearings in the Xpresso 8s that I mentioned.
If you do have any bearing issues, these pedals aren't user serviceable – not officially, anyway. If you open them up you'll void the 24 month warranty.
My only real complaint isn't with the Xpresso 15 pedals themselves but with the cleats. They wear out too fast. Look Kéo and Shimano SPD-SL cleats wear quite quickly but the nose of the Time cleat starts to get scuffed up really fast despite the fact that I do just the minimum amount of walking in my cycling shoes – to and from the bike and into the occasional mid-ride shop or café. It's the weak point of the system for me. Time cleats aren't especially expensive – the RRP is £17.99 but you can buy them cheaper – it's just a pain to have to change them so often.
Extremely lightweight pedals with a light action but they're expensive – very expensive – and the cleats wear quickly
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Make and model: TIME Xpresso 15 pedals
Size tested: 700mm2
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?
Time says: Time has revolutionized clipless pedal technology and introduces its newest generation: Xpresso.
This brand new pedal has an even faster, more intuitive engagement without any rubbing, which is thanks to the Iclic concept of a pre-open clipless system (TIME patent).
The use of a carbon flexion blade instead of the traditional metal spring allows for these new pedals to be extremely light.
The oversized platform of 700 mm2 gives the pedals a record surface area/weight factor.
* Automatic pre-opening of engagement mechanism
* Q-Factor adjustment '' setting of lateral foot position
* BIOPOSITION Concept '' minimal distance sole to pedal axle
* Angular float (+/-5°) and lateral float (2.5 mm)
* Release angle: 15°
* Hollow titanium axle
* Ceramic Speed bearings
* Light carbon body
* Aluminium plate
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
You get three settings for what Time calls the 'adjustment of angular sensations, or feel'. That controls how tight the movement feels as you alter the position of your foot while the cleat remains attached to the pedal.
You're paying a lot for the Ceramic Speed bearings. Like the Xpresso 15, the Xpresso 12 Titan Carbon comes with a hollow titanium axle and a carbon pedal body but without the Ceramic Speed bearings. They're £229.99. Xpresso 10s with a hollow steel axle and a carbon body are £129.99.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well with minimal signs of wear to the pedals, but lots of wear to the cleats.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
They're only about 50g lighter than the Xpresso 8s but it all counts. The easy entry is cool too.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The rate of wear to the cleats and that huge price.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yep
Would you consider buying the product? Nope. Not at that price.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? If money wasn't an issue.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
You generally get diminishing returns as you go up a range – that's normal – but my feeling is that the price hike over the Xpresso 12s is too much. Each to his/her own though: some people are just going to have these because they're so light.
Age: 43 Height: 190cm Weight: 75kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.