April 22, 2014
The knee-loving pedal has improved
Around a year ago, Mavic and Time announced a partnership which now sees the ATAC pedal being produced in Mavic colours.
Although the livery and name has changed, Mavic has maintained the ‘Auto Tension Adjustment Concept’ as it originally was; these pedals boast a substantial amount of lateral and angular float, adjustable release angles and spring tension independent of that of release and engagement. These adjustments come via left-right orientation of the cleats to change between a 13° and 17° release angle and a float-tension screw on the pedal body.
In comparison to the previous cross-country version, the Crossmax SLs have a larger contact area and the spring tension is appreciably tighter; the combination of these two factors gives the pedal a really positive and reassuring feel. The retention system allows movement of your foot when you want it while remaining clipped in, but at the same time – and despite my best efforts at crashing – allows you to clip out just in time to dab.
From a biomechanical point of view the 10º angular and five millimetre lateral float has been the saviour of many a cycling knee, by allowing natural adjustments in ankle, knee and hip position. On the flip side I am running these pedals with the most conservative settings – a 13º release and the tightest of the three spring tension systems – and there is still plenty of float and ease of movement. If you are after something really rigid then this is perhaps not the pedal system for you.
The ATAC system is renowned for its mud clearance and even in this winter’s extremely clarty conditions,
I’ve never had trouble getting my feet in and out; not something that can be said for my riding companions and their SPDs. The one thing they do seem to struggle with is snow, which packs down into a hard ice layer between the underside of the front of the cleat and the pedal spring. It’s fairly easily resolved with a quick flick of a multitool, but a bit of a pain nonetheless. The pedal body has stood up to everything I’ve thrown at it over the last few months, including a couple of pretty hard wallops against rocks, and so far they remain free from scuffs and scrapes.
The Crossmax comes in two versions: the cross-country style SL, replacing the ATAC XC, and the larger-bodied XL, which replaces the DH. Aside from the improved tension of the spring and body shape, another noticeable change is that it’s lost its 15mm spanner flats and now only boasts a hex key axle fitting; probably not a big deal unless you forget to take them off from time to time for a good thread greasing.
I tested the SL Ti version which consists of a titanium axle with carbon body and weighs in at 240g for the pair, the same as Time’s previous high-end version. But at £230 the weight saving comes at a price. There’s a more affordable SL version, retailing at £130, which weighs 280g and still sports a carbon body, and the Crossroc for £100 which doesn’t allow spring-tension adjustment and weighs in at 295g.
Whichever model you go for they come in considerably lighter, but more expensive than Shimano’s pedal equivalents.