Crank Brothers presented their new Mallet E pedals nearly two months ago at Eurobike. Since then, we have been riding them in the Alps.
Out of the box
The E on the new Mallet stands for Enduro, to differentiate these pedals from the DH ones. The Mallet E are about 30 grams lighter and 12% smaller than the Mallet DH. They also have chamfered edges to reduce rock-strikes, 6 adjustable pins per side and a double seal system, one internal and one external.
The outer bearings are completely new, and they are also happen to be called “enduro”, while the inner bearings are Igus LL-Glide, developed and made exlusively for Crank Brothers. The black traction pads are customizable: in the box there are thicker and thinner ones, depending on the shoes one is wearing.
The cleats remain the same, with a 15/20° release angle depending on which shoes they are mounted on. Like all CB pedals, the spring release force cannot be changed/adjusted.
On the trail
I liked that electric blue from the first sight at Eurobike: it adapts well to all the different frames colors, without being too flashy.
In the last 12 months I have been using Crank Brother pedals a lot (Candy and Eggbeater), therefore I am quite used to the clip-in mechanism, the predefined spring force and the rather vague release when compared to some competitors like Shimano. If you are new to CB, the spring force can be compared to a soft Shimano setting, but this doesn’t mean it’s easy to unclip accidentally during the ride.
The first thing I noticed was the tons of support coming from the Mallet E platform using a Specialized 2FO shoe. This comes from the cage width , its grippy pins and the traction pads: the pedal is really close to the shoe sole, so that the pins grab into the rubber nicely, giving lots of traction when cornering. As said before, the distance between the sole and the pedal can be fine tuned with the Traction pads, and with the thin cleat plastic underlayers included in the box. This way, it’s easy to find the right fitting for all kind of shoes.
In muddy conditions I found no trouble clipping in: the mud falls off the pedal through the big spring and then the big hole in the cage. This is a big advantage when you are riding at the limit and you need to unclip one foot for whatever reason, dab and then clipping back again. Probably the best system on the market. Even when not being able to clip back in, the ribbed body and the traction pads gave me enough grip to keep my foot on the pedal without slipping off, mastering a difficult section before I had the time to clip in securely.
After two months of using the Mallet E, I extracted the spindle and found no sign of dirt inside or on the bearings, which are still working perfectly. The cage is very sturdy and its cut-off edges give less surface to scratches from rock contacts. Still, the pedals received their fair amount of impacts, but they still look ok.
The Crank Brothers Mallet E are an excellent product: clipping in and out is very easy even in muddy conditions, the ribbed cage, with its pins and traction pads, delivers lots of grip supporting to the shoes very well, and they are very robust. Add this to a modern and good looking design, and you will have a best seller.
Weight (single pedal): 212 grams
Price: 165 US$