Time ATAC XC6 Pedals Review
Time ATAC XC6 Pedals Review
We’ve had a pair of Time’s ATAC XC6 pedals to play with over the summer, so how did they fare?
I must admit, that I had a bit of a bias going into this review; as I mentioned in my preview article, I have two pairs of ATAC pedals that are older than my first born, over 15 years old – the pedals not my son. In that time, I think I’ve replaced only one set of bearings, which says a lot about Time’s build quality.
Those pedals have been through a lot: mtb racing, 7 runnings of the 100 mile epic that is the South Down’s Way, general bashing around the countryside and too many winter ‘cross leagues to remember. Time’s ATAC design, with it’s double sided dual arch mechanism has been reliable and pretty resistant to clogging during that time, only being beaten by ice.
So what have Time changed for the latest version that I have been testing, the ATAC XC6?
Well they’ve dropped 73g per pedal over my vintage editions. As you can see in the picture they are also a lot more open than the older ones, with less places for mud and debris to collect and jam the mechanism. The open front portion doesn’t allow debris anywhere to collect, with fresh gunk being forced down and out by the clipping in action.
Time have kept with their dual arch mechanism and why not? It’s simple, robust and as I can confirm, will last. The arches are stainless steel and have become more angular over the years. They are now moulded separately from the springs. The XC6s allow for 5 degrees of angular and 6mm of lateral float, which should keep your knees feeling fresh. Although I didn’t notice this when riding, it’s nice to know it’s there, protecting my ageing joints. The XC6 also allows for a choice of release points, either 13 degrees, which is “standard” or 17 degrees. This achieved by simply rotating the cleat underneath your shoe.
Switching to the 17 degree “competition” setting allowed me to get my knee down in tight, muddy corners while keeping the bike upright, something that other pedals couldn’t handle; they would usually unclip half way through the manoeuvre. The ATAC XC6s allowed me to keep connected all the way through the corner, giving me a couple of metres over other riders – every little helps. Although you do have to remember that it will take a fraction longer to dis-engage from your pedal, important when heading towards a dismount at speed in a ‘cross race…
There is also a small screw next to the spring that allows you to adjust the spring’s tension. This is made from plastic, so you will need to be careful with your adjustments. I was a little ham-fisted on the first attempt and managed to wreck one of the screw heads. Go slowly and use the right sized screw-driver.
So on to the important “how do they do in the mud?” question.
In muddy conditions they performed as well as I was expecting based on my previous experience. Any mud that builds up around the arches is squeezed out the other side by the clipping in action, self-cleaning powered by your legs. Even small twigs that were caught up were either pushed out the front or crushed into the rear. Any large obstructions were usually cleared by simply pressing harder! At no time was I not able to engage the cleats, apart from the odd rider induced error.
Other than that one small screw head, the ATAC XC6 have stood-up to abuse remarkably well. After 6-months the bearings are as smooth as day one, with no play in them at all. Even the composite body is bearing up pretty well, with only a few scratches from missed attempts at engaging.
If you’re the kind of rider that likes to fiddle with their kit, then there isn’t a great deal for you to do with the ATAC XC6. The pedals have a cap that looks to be removable with the help of a pin tool, letting you get to the bearings inside, but I would be very surprised if you needed to. My own, older ATAC pedals have now gone onto the spare bike, and the cleats are still compatible after all this time, another bonus.
So there you have it, Time’s ATAC XC6 pedals, still going strong after all these years. They’ve shed some weight on the way but have kept to a tried and tested mechanism that works in all conditions. If their bearings are of the same standard as in the older siblings, then I am expecting to get as much use out of these pedals as I did my previous versions. Well done Time!
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