Foot Feathers: Time Xpresso 15 Pedal Review
Time’s Xpresso 15 Pedals push the boundaries of solid function at ultralight weight. Top spec bearings and raw materials choices meet very good design to yield an incredibly light pedal with easy but solid engagement, very good stability and ultra-smooth spin.
It’s been a few years since the last time I stepped into Time Pedals, but with a brand new Project bike from Enigma on hand and a new set of shoes fresh from the postman, the cycling Gods chose to also drop a pair of Time’s Tip-Top spec foot holders at my door in the shape of their Xpresso 15’s.
Time were early in the game for clipless, starting the biz in 1987 in France and almost immediately leaping in popularity winning the Tour with Greg LeMond and following up with Indurain’s domination. At this point, they’re a mainstay with steady success at the highest level.
Fast Forward to today and Time continue to push the envelope in product development and manufacturing processes not just for pedals but frames and components, weaving their own custom Carbon fibre for their top tier products while the bulk of their competitors farm out production.
That raw materials understanding have helped them put together the lightest and most efficient performing pedal in the line up in the Xpresso 15.
The pedal body is compression molded short-fiber carbon composite.
This is a carefully shaped structure that resists flex and handles all of the pressures applied by the rider through the stroke.
It’s also a very open / minimalist structure, having eliminated all of the material not directed at transferring a riders effort into the cranks.
This fly-weight body rotates on a hollow Titanium axle.
And in between, the friction is reduced to nearly nothing on a set of Ceramicspeed Bearings…
Time use a carbon fiber pressure plank that sits in a convex shape at the base of the pedal.
You can adjust the pressure of the carbon plank by way of a flathead screwdriver, rotating a three-sided piece that has a gradual thickness change creating more or less tension in float / engagement.
The contact surface for the cleat is 700 square Millimeters of metal and composite that sits very close to the axle. The actual contact patch of the cleat is a bit narrower that the overall contact platform though.
The contact points for the cleat body where they contact the pedal platform are slightly raised and inset a bit from the edge of the cleat (Red dots below). There are three raised points on the cleat that bear the walking load (Green dots)…
The cleats are also notable for the adjustment (or relative lack of). While they do move fore and aft, there’s not much incremental lateral adjustment (other than at the nose of the cleat for alignment).
Lateral adjustment is basically fixed to either 54.3mm (Red) or 51.7mm (Green) depending on which shoe you mount the cleat too. This is the measure from the outside of the crank arm to the center line of the cleat.
The cleat “float” is described as “angular” and that would be accurate as on the cleats designed to float (Time also sell “fixed” cleats with no float) they do allow your heel to twist 5 degrees from center of cleat position.
One more thing worth mentioning is that this float is self centering…
The cleat thickness tapers thinner, to a point, at the rear engagement point and this point is the natural position your pedal will creep back as you relax. That’s different that the free float on Look or Speedplay pedals that some people prefer which allows your foot to sit anywhere inside the float range. The float tension is very low (especially at the lowest tension setting), but the self centering pull is still present.
What’s all this add up to?
As far as weight? Damn little…
Both pedals tipped the scale 2 grams under suggested weight (71 grams per) at 69 grams…
And just 42 grams for the full set of hardware…
Now 111 Grams for the set seems good on the surface and when you pull the pedals out of the box, you’ll be hard pressed not to either get a grin, or if you’re like me, you’ll simply start laughing.
The Xpresso 15’s feel like they should be unusable prototypes in your hand… They’re so light that when I held the first set at a trade show I asked when they would have working samples as I was sure these were a mock-up that would crumble if I squeezed it.
The next thing I noted when pulling them from the box was that they’re VERY slick spinning. Given that Xpresso pedals in the past had a knock on them for bearing life, Time have upped the game at all levels for both the Xpresso and their flat-bottom version X-Pro models and none more so than at Level 15 with a full set of Ceramic bearings that not only spin very freely, but should do for quite a bit more time than their metal counterparts.
That these bearings also knock off the 18 grams you save versus the Xpresso 12’s is just a bonus (a $200 bonus).
Weight and Bearings aside, my favorite feature with Time’s Xpresso and XPRO line is the engagement.
Getting into these pedals is a breeze as you’re not fighting the engagement the whole way in, like you are on virtually all other pedals.
The Iclic system sits open and snaps shut when you step in and down. It works a bit like a spring loaded trap…
Step into the pedal with the cleat and, with very little effort, it snaps in place with an audible “CLICK”.
The beauty of Carbon Fiber for the spring of the trap is that it has nearly no fatigue life, meaning that it can be bent within reason repeatedly and keep its shape and tension. The plank being convex also means that it “hides” inside the pedal body, remaining more protected than convex (bowed-out) designs that are more exposed to impact.
Once into the Iclic, the engagement felt very secure. Of course pedal strokes vary from rider to rider, but for this rider, despite easy float and step-in action, the pedals were all but pull proof. I purposefully wiggled and wriggled and I stood and hammered as hard and fast as I could and never once did the Xpresso feel so much as unstable. There was never a hint that they may pull out.
All in all, these are easier in, smoother spinning and as stable as anything I’ve tried despite the exceptional weight spec.
So $600 makes this a fairly expensive pedal.
While you can certainly find deals below the SRP for the 15’s, you’re not alone in looking at Time’s Xpresso 12 as having all but the ceramic bearings and knock $200 off the top.
Of course it’s all down to choice and in the case of this build, the Xpresso 15’s seemed to make sense.
And at day’s end, it seems like a few other people agreed, with the Enigma taking home the 2018 NAHBS Campagnolo Best in show…
Of course Time have a fantastic range of their own frames and they, along with Times cockpit parts and other road and MTB/Gravel pedals can all be found at: https://www.time-sport.com/int-en/
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