For Crank Brothers, it all started with the humble pedal. Pioneering the incredibly simple ‘Eggbeater’ design back in 2002, Crank Brothers quickly became the brand of choice for weight weenies and XC racers who needed maximum mud clearance and ease of entry/exit. The range grew from there to include the small-platform Candy and the broad-platform Mallet, both designed for riders who wanted more support underneath the shoe. In 2013, Crank Brothers have a revamped Mallet pedal range and we’ve got ourselves a test set to see how a decade of experience has fared them.
The Mallet pedal range from Crank Brothers utilises a large platform design and is built for aggressive riding and downhill racing. They’re based around the original Eggbeater pedal design, albeit with a large alloy cage surrounding the clip mechanism. The range simply splits into the standard Mallets (1, 2 & 3 models) and the Mallet ‘DH Race’ model. The former model uses a hybrid alloy/nylon construction and is more suited to trail and All Mountain riding due to it’s lighter overall chassis and slightly smaller platform. The latter is the bright red version we’ve got here, which uses a full 2-piece machined alloy platform and a longer spindle to increase surface contact between shoe and pedal.
Crank Brothers Mallet DH Race Pedals
- Designed “specifically for downhill racing”
- Platform: 2-piece, extruded and machined alloy
- Wings: Investment cast steel
- Spring: 300 series spring steel
- Spindle: Forged scm435 chromoly steel
- Bearings: Inner needle bearing & outer cartridge bearing
- Traction pins: 8mm adjustable
- Release angle: 15-20 degrees
- Pedal body dimensions: 100mm x 80mm
- Weight: 479 grams (pair)
- Warranty: 5 years
- RRP: $159
Take a look at any World Cup DH race and you’ll find it very hard not to spot a pair of the distinctive red Anodized pedals. Greg Minaar, Rachel Atherton, Stevie Smith, Aaron Gwin and Mick Hannah are just a handful of the many speed demons racing on Crank Brothers pedals this season, with many more (including Shimano-sponsored athletes) also choosing to connect into the Eggbeater mechanism.
While they have been built with downhill racing in mind, the Mallets are also a popular choice with trail riders wanting more platform between shoe and pedal. This is particularly so if you’re riding with more aggressive-type shoes such as the Shimano DX shoes, Teva Pivots or the DZR Mamba’s we have featured in our new issue.
There are a number of key improvements with the latest Mallet pedals that set them apart from previous models. We’ve actually got a pair of the originals in the Enduro parts bin that are still going strong, despite many battle scars from being smashed into all sorts of trail obstacles over the years. After 5 years of abuse, they’re also starting to spin a little rough.
Compared to the earlier versions, the new pedals see improved bearing seals, a stronger, longer and more smoothly tapered spindle as well as adjustable traction pins and an extruded 2-piece machined alloy body. The objective has been to create a broader pedal, whilst boosting bearing durability and increasing overall strength.
Whilst it’s not something we’ve experienced ourselves, there were reports of axle failure on earlier Crank Brothers Mallet pedals. The new model uses a forged scm435 chromoly axle that is 5mm longer to widen the Q-Factor and provide a larger platform, but it’s the smooth taper throughout it’s length that increases strength and reduces any potential weak points.
The Eggbeater mechanism is really what draws people to Crank Bros pedals, as their smooth entry & release is unmatched by any other clipless pedal on the market. The Eggbeater rotates freely inside the pedal cage, which allows for entry into the pedal by pushing your feet forwards or backwards into the pedal. It’s minimalist design and open cage allows for mud and debris to exit the pedal freely, making these a must-have for riders who frequent gluggy trail conditions. And if you’ve ever gone to slot your cleat into the pedal only for it to be met with a muted ‘clunk’, you’ll know exactly what we mean.
The Mallet DH pedals come with 8 adjustable pins on each side of the pedal. These are most useful for fine-tuning the interface between the tread of your shoes and the pedal body, to provide more security for steep terrain. For us and our trail-riding application, the pins get wound down most of the way to ensure there’s minimal resistance to twisting the shoe out of the pedal.
We’ve setup the Mallet DH Race pedals with a number of different shoes already, including the Teva Pivots (above). Teva actually co-designed their first clipless shoe in conjunction with Crank Brothers, so you’d expect a good fit. And that would be right, though it’s worth pointing out that you’ll still need that cleat shim to provide sufficient clearance between the pedal body and shoe tread.
There’s plenty of length to the pedal body, which lends to a stable feel underfoot. This is particularly good if you approach a section of trail when you’re not clipped in, as you can make use of the broad platform knowing that you can take a foot off at any point. This is where the adjustable pins also become more usable, so you can boost traction even when you’re unclipped.
It’s also worth noting that like the rest of the Crank Brothers range, the Mallet DH Race pedals are fully rebuildable. In fact, they share a similar internal setup to the Eggbeater 3 pedals we had up for long term review in Issue #24, and we also posted an article about the rebuild online: Crank Brothers Eggbeater Pedal Rebuild. In addition, you can replace the pins, spindle, seals and bearings all relatively pain free. They come with a 5-year warranty against manufacturing defects too, so that should provide some peace of mind for anyone who had a bad experience with the early models.
We’ll be abusing the Mallet pedals over the next season and will be updating you with our longterm durability report in an upcoming issue of Enduro Magazine. In the meantime, you can get Crank Brothers pedals from any Jet Black Products dealer in Australia, so get in touch with Jet Black to find your nearest dealer.
Jet Black Products
Phone: (02) 4560 1200