When I started riding, my first clipless pedals were SPDs, followed by my first ‘real’ road bike with Look Keos. Once I got the Vaytanium, with its delicious Crank Brothers Candy 3s, I decided to change pedals on my road bike. I threw a set of Candys on it too, so 1 pair of shoes could cover all of my bikes (all then either being eggbeaters or Candys). That way, I could keep a spare pair of bike shoes in my car, and always be covered (as I had a bad habit of forgetting shoes).
When I posted the first Ridley Noah review, I received a bunch of feedback from people who said that using Candys was a bad idea…and who suggested that riding with road pedals would be more efficient and result in greater power transfer. I received similar comments from some who suggested that this was a bunch of bunk.
I decided to try out the theory and throw some road pedals on the Ridley, to give it a go, when I got my Bontrager RXLs. I talked to the peeps at North Central Cyclery, and Tobie was kind enough to loan me a pair of his spare Time IClic2 pedals to try out. After a couple hundred trial miles, I picked up a set of the Time IClic Carbon pedals.
Spring tension in the iClics is non-adjustable…it is set by a carbon fiber leaf spring in the bottom of the pedal.
Clicking in and out is easy–the cleats are somewhat triangular at the front…you dip your toe in, and then step down to a resounding (and reassuring) loud SNAP.
Unlike the Candys, there is never a question about whether you’re clipped in or not. In that pic (above), you can see the oversized main bearings that the pedals ride on (at the left, by the pedal). It is an order of magnitude larger than the bearings in the Candys.
They’re quite delicious looking, if I dare say so.
The cleats are relatively low profile, and as far as clipless road pedal cleats go, reasonably easy to walk in.
So…now having compared the two back to back on the same bike, with a several thousand miles on the Candys and a few hundred miles on the Times, here are my impressions:
- I think the Times will ultimately take less maintenance than the Candys. They seem to be a bit sturdier and I am greatly appreciative of the larger bearings…notwithstanding the fact that the Candys are aluminum body and the Times are carbon.
- While the Candys are light, the Time + cleat is significantly lighter than the Candys + road cleat.
- There is much less ‘float’ in the Times. I didn’t realize how sloppy I was with my pedaling, rotating my heels around relative to the pedals, until I rode with the Times. Once I had my cleat angle dialed in, they’ve been great–no knee discomfort, and much more stability.
- On flat roads and normal pedaling, I’m not sure what the efficiency gain (if any) is. That’s the honest truth. But…
- When climbing, cranking, standing, pedaling hard, or otherwise exerting, my perception is that there is a direct, significant and measurable difference in pedal efficiency. With the Times, I feel clipped in. I feel mechanically connected to the bike–with no wasted effort between my push on the pedals and the bike surging forward underfoot. Throw the Times on a stiff carbon shoe, on a bike as stiff as the Ridley, on wheels as stiff as the ENVES, and it’s a recipe for fast. There’s no hiding on this bike…whatever you have is whatever you get. There’s no energy lost.
I had borrowed the Times expecting to find that there was no appreciable gain. I was planning on blogging about how the Candys are still the schiz-nit, and this whole “road pedal” thing is a farce. I was wrong.
In my opinion, there is a direct, palpable efficiency and power transfer gain to be had riding a road specific pedal/cleat, as compared to riding the Candys. I don’t have a power meter and cannot quantify it, but it is palpable–you can feel it the first time you rise out of the saddle to crank.
I’m not in a position to comment on the long-term durability of the Times. So far, with a few hundred miles under foot, no problems. I’ll be curious to see the long-term durability of the cleats as well…that was a big advantage of the Candys (the durability of their quattro road cleat). Clipping in and out is simple and predictable, and I prefer the tight, mechanical feel of clipping in and out on these to the Candys (and, from what I remember, to the Look Keos I used to run).
So in summary…they’re lighter, better built, and result in greater efficiency. And they look hot. What’s not to love?
1. I thought this would be self-evident, but I would only use the Times for road use. For off-road use (or even for gravel efforts like the Vaya), the Candys are undoubtedly better suited. Rock strikes would not be well taken by the Times.
2. Clipping out:
Here’s the deal…clipping out is totally different from the Candys. The Candys have a low force requirement, and a relatively large heel turn required to clip out.
The i-Clics take a higher amount of force (nothing strenuous…not even moderate), and a smaller heel swing.
Adjusting to clipping out took no serious effort. With the Candys, you turn your heel and the shoe turns and comes right out. With the Times, you apply a little force and once you apply that force, your shoe pops over a bit, and you’re out. It’s definitely a more positive engagement and disengagement. I have had 0 problems clipping out, even in those rare occasions where you need to clip out quickly at low speed (e.g. ‘man, I thought that light was going to change.’)