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  1. #1
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    Creaking Time Z Control Pedals

    I installed a set of 2008 Time Z Control pedals last week. They replaced a set of Shimano M545 pedals, which had been working fine. I replaced them for a silly reason: appearance. I wanted black pedals instead of silver. The Time Z Control set was about twice as much as my Shimano M545's (steep price just for "looks", but I'm not bragging about how smart I am).

    So one week into using these pedals, after maybe 50 miles of gentle trails and pavement, they've started creaking loudly. I feel it in my feet on every crank rotation, and they both do it. I used to associate this with failing bearings, but an exterior inspection of the shafts reveals no looseness and no grinding when I turn them by hand. Everything seems to be turning smoothly, although a bit stiff.

    Do these pedals require a break-in period where they're supposed to make noise? Could the ATAC mechanism be creaking? How does one take the shaft apart if the bearings need replacing? Are there rebuild kits available for these pedals?

    I'm kind of annoyed, I sound like an old horse-drawn carriage riding down the street...

    "creak" "crawk" "creak" "crawk" "creak" "crawk"

    P.S. I weigh 255 pounds, and I pedal HARD when I want to accelerate. But this has never fazed my old Shimano M545's.

  2. #2
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    for me I get the creaking coming from the shoe-cleat, pedal interface...annoying, but not critical.

  3. #3
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    I agree pedal and cleat interface...should go away...
    "Home of the Bearlodge Mtn Classic"



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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maadjurguer
    for me I get the creaking coming from the shoe-cleat, pedal interface...annoying, but not critical.
    I'm starting to think that's what I'm experiencing too. I turned up the spring retention tightness and the creaking became less noticeable... but then it's harder to step out of the pedals.

    I'm really not liking these pedals so far. They're harder to get in and out of and they're noisy. When I click into them, my feet are always at some random position, and it takes a bunch of wiggling to get them placed properly. This is not a very good interface.

    Plus, the "control" part of "Z Control" is really lame. There's only 3 distinct stiffness settings, and they come pre-set to the lowest setting. If I'd known that, I would've gotten the cheaper Z (not Control) pedals. As it is, I wish I'd never bought Time pedals at all. They look sweet, but they perform like crap. Maybe I'll go back to my Shimano M545's after all...

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoremanX
    I'm starting to think that's what I'm experiencing too. I turned up the spring retention tightness and the creaking became less noticeable... but then it's harder to step out of the pedals.

    I'm really not liking these pedals so far. They're harder to get in and out of and they're noisy. When I click into them, my feet are always at some random position, and it takes a bunch of wiggling to get them placed properly. This is not a very good interface.

    Plus, the "control" part of "Z Control" is really lame. There's only 3 distinct stiffness settings, and they come pre-set to the lowest setting. If I'd known that, I would've gotten the cheaper Z (not Control) pedals. As it is, I wish I'd never bought Time pedals at all. They look sweet, but they perform like crap. Maybe I'll go back to my Shimano M545's after all...

    Can't speak specifically for the Z Control....but it sounds like you're still just getting used to clicking into them....give em some time. All new pedals take some getting used to....heck, every time I change a cleat and they're slightly off from their previous position, it takes some relearning....it's not the interface, it's the user learning how to optimally get into them.

    As for your settings....3 is a lot in my experience....that's not lame to me. My ATAC's have easy and stiff....and so what if they come pre-set to the lowest setting....crank em up if you don't like it.

    As for SPD vs. ATAC's....that's user preference. I have knee issues....so it's ATAC's for me.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maadjurguer
    Can't speak specifically for the Z Control....but it sounds like you're still just getting used to clicking into them....give em some time. All new pedals take some getting used to....heck, every time I change a cleat and they're slightly off from their previous position, it takes some relearning....it's not the interface, it's the user learning how to optimally get into them.

    As for your settings....3 is a lot in my experience....that's not lame to me. My ATAC's have easy and stiff....and so what if they come pre-set to the lowest setting....crank em up if you don't like it.

    As for SPD vs. ATAC's....that's user preference. I have knee issues....so it's ATAC's for me.
    You're right, I've only been using these pedals for about a week, so it's not like I have vast experience with them. However, in that week, I've done over 100 miles of both road and off-road riding. Yesterday I did 31 miles that involved a lot of clicking in and out of my pedals. So while 1 week may not be much, it's been a busy week that allowed me to use these new pedals a lot. The fact is, these pedals are just harder to get into than my M545's. There were some instances yesterday where I'd be pedaling across a traffic light intersection from a dead stop, and it would take me over a hundred feet to finally be able to put enough downward pressure to get my feet to click in. My feet were in the right place, I just somehow didn't have enough pressure to bring on the "click".

    I'm not giving up on them yet, but yesterday's ride really exemplified my main problem: I was going "creek" "crawk" "creek" "crawk" for all 31 miles. It was driving me nuts. Someone I spoke to recommended I try greasing the ATAC mechanism and see if that fixes the problem. I was a bit hesitant to put grease on my pedals, but I'll try anything to get rid of that noise. Maybe it'll help with the stiffness of the mechanism, too.

  7. #7
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    oops, I was wrong. It's not the ATAC mechanism at all. The bearings are shot on one pedal. It's all wobbly now, and I think the other side is not far behind.

    I was under the impression that these pedals were intended for FR/BMX. I don't get anywhere near that intense in my riding. I just wanted a set of reliable pedals that I wouldn't have to worry about. This is disappointing, especially considering how much they cost.

  8. #8
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    Some Time pedal users bash Crank Brothers pedals, but that hadn't been my experience.
    Both Mallets and Acids are easy on/off and good float for bad knees.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strafer
    Some Time pedal users bash Crank Brothers pedals, but that hadn't been my experience.
    Both Mallets and Acids are easy on/off and good float for bad knees.
    I've heard a lot of good things about Crank Brothers pedals, especially at my local bike shop today when we were examining my Time pedals. Seems like Crank Brothers advocates bash Time pedals, and Time advocates return in kind

    My concern is that the Mallet 1 (the only one I can really afford) doesn't seem to have much in the way of seals for the bearings. A lot of my riding has been in rain lately, which means lots of mud.

    Also, jumping from pedal to pedal is getting expensive. My Shimano M545's were $77, my Time Z Controls were $118, and now I'd be looking at another $80 for Mallet 1's, therefore sending my previous $195 investment into the spare parts drawer...

    I really miss my old Bontrager Big Earl pedals. Those were indestructible... I wish they came in a clipless model.

  10. #10
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    Maybe I exagerated a little when I stated the bearings are "shot" Thanks to Davis Carver at Bikeman.com, I was finally able to figure out what's really going on.

    There's only one bearing in the Time Z platform pedals (just like Time ROC ATAC and Alium pedals). This bearing is held onto the shaft by a nut. Then an end cap threads into the end of the pedal and keeps the shaft from sliding out of the pedal. So essentially the bearing and nut holds the shaft, and the bearing is held in place between the pedal body and end cap.

    But the end cap on the Z platform is made of super soft plastic (instead of aluminum like on the ATAC XS), and the one on my right pedal popped out by a couple of threads. This allowed the shaft and bearing to slide around inside the body by 1/4", thereby making the horrible noise. The bearing is still in good shape, it was just sliding around loosely and caused the pedal to slide and wobble.

    I've added threadlocker to the end caps and tightened them down properly. I had to put the end caps in the freezer before I could tighten them. The plastic is so soft, the 6mm Allen key would just squish around in the hole as soon as there was any resistance. I'll let the threadlocker cure for 24 hours and then see how the pedals hold up for another week.

    I really hope this works, because I've found one distinct advantage to the ATAC mechanism over SPD. My Shimano M545 pedals kept getting packed with mud today at the dirt park. It was annoying having to scrape dirt and gravel out of my pedals everytime I wanted to get on. The ATAC mechanism sheds mud brilliantly.

  11. #11
    bt
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    you can also reverse your cleats from shoe to shoe for an easier/harder release.

    makes a big difference.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by bt
    you can also reverse your cleats from shoe to shoe for an easier/harder release.

    makes a big difference.
    Yep, I already have them set to easier. But it's not the angle of disengagement that bugs me, it's the effort involved in clicking in and out. Those springs hold TIGHT compared to my SPD pedals (which I have set halfway between stiffest and loosest)..

  13. #13
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    Good job! Time z control pedals

    I have had these pedals for 5 years no problems. I have worn a set of cleats completely and it has only been in the last month or so that I have started to feel bearing wear( Turns out it was the tension springs and not the bearings, just needed some more lube pushed in). Mind you the pedals have seen alot of abuse bad weather and repeated jumping and held true this whole time. I love them so much i brought another pair (they were going mega cheap)for the sad day that the current ones fail. Hhhmm maybe its time (lol) to get them out and overhaul the old pair.

    Well they shed mud like nothing else the shimano's could only dream of such performance and ill never go back to them. Dont get me wrong the shimanos were good pedals but muddy days just had you riding flat pedals with no clip in action till you cleaned them out.

    Anyway thats my two cents. If you stick with em you'll love em and by the way they will get easier to clip in and out with a bit of use.
    Last edited by craftworks750; 09-18-2009 at 01:46 AM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by craftworks750
    I have had these pedals for 5 years no problems. I have worn a set of cleats completely and it has only been in the last month or so that I have started to feel bearing wear. Mind you the pedals have seen alot of abuse bad weather and repeated jumping and held true this whole time. I love them so much i brought another pair (they were going mega cheap)for the sad day that the current ones fail. Hhhmm maybe its time (lol) to get them out and overhaul the old pair.

    Well they shed mud like nothing else the shimano's could only dream of such performance and ill never go back to them. Dont get me wrong the shimanos were good pedals but muddy days just had you riding flat pedals with no clip in action till you cleaned them out.

    Anyway thats my two cents. If you stick with em you'll love em and by the way they will get easier to clip in and out with a bit of use.
    I think my problem is that when I stand and hammer really hard on pavement (which I do regularly), I tilt the bike back and forth towards the opposite side of the pedal that I'm pressing down on. This allows me to apply my leg strength directly downwards and accelerate faster. But because of this angle, my 255 pound weight and all my leg strength is sliding the pedal into the shaft, which puts undue pressure on the end cap. That's probably why the end cap popped out a couple of threads. If the bearing was pressed into the pedal body properly, like it seems to be on the left side pedal, then all this pressure would be on the bearing itself rather than on the end cap. But as it is, the right-side bearing is only held in place by that flimsy plastic cap, and that cap's not handling the load.

    I think I'll send these back to Time for warranty repairs, and then just set them aside to play with another day. It's unfortunate because I really did like the mud-shedding aspect of the design. In the meantime, I've bought a different set of pedals (again) and am giving those a try instead. So far, they're working out way better than Time Z Control pedals.

  15. #15
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    z control

    Well my pedals have suffered the same abuse because my weight has been between 107-117 kg over the years of use which is close to yours. Well you might have just been unlucky and got a poorly assembled pedal which puts a downer on things cos it sux when things aren't perfect on ya bike well good luck with the new pedals.

  16. #16
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    Its probably just what you get used too. I left shimano's for Times about 10 years ago, at the time, the Time pedals were leap years ahead of everything else out there. I liked them so much, that I never even experimented with anything else. I now use Time Z Control's, and they perform just like my 10 year old Times.

    I think what is most important, is to pick a design you like, become accustomed to it, and stick with it. I think any pedal could be good, once you teach yourself to use it.

    I've never had any trouble with any of my Time's. The first set I ever bought, works just as well as my latest set. I own 6 of them now, and love them. Engaging and disengaging, is just as natural as driving a manual car for me. No thought ever goes into the process, it just happens naturally.

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