Crank Brothers Mallet DH Pedal

Words Morgan Taylor
Photos Morgan Taylor
Date Apr 9, 2013

Crank Brothers has been producing pedals since 2001, and in that time has made a number of refinements to its models. The Mallet was introduced in 2008 as a wide, DH-friendly clipless pedal with pins in the platform to aid with traction. In 2010, the Mallet was updated, slimmed down, and narrowed – but this didn’t land well with DH racers who liked the wide platform of the original Mallet.

Fast forward to 2013 and we see the introduction of the Mallet DH/Race pedal, with a silhouette that echoes that of the original Mallet, but the refinements of another five years’ experience. I have been riding the new Mallet for a couple months now; long enough to smash it off a good number of rocks and find out where the platform shines.

Crank Brothers Mallet DH Race DHRace pedal review NSMB mountain bike downhill clipless spd

The Mallet DH/Race marks a return of the wide platform pedal for DH racers in Crank Brothers’ lineup.

The wide platform is definitely noticeable when you clip in to the Mallet DH. Most clipless pedals, even Shimano’s venerable DX M647, have some amount of torsional movement when you’re standing on them. The tendency for shoes to roll over the outside of the pedal, noticeable on traditional width clipless pedals, is non-existent; the Mallet DH has the support of a flat pedal that you are locked in to.

Crank Brothers Mallet DH Race DHRace pedal review NSMB mountain bike downhill clipless spd

The shoe-pedal interface is customizable via eight adjustable pins on each side as well as a cleat spacer in case you need a bit more room. Sticky at first, my shoes are now getting on just fine with the Mallets.

The first day I rode the Mallets, I failed to unclip on a tech climb and fell right over while my bike stayed attached to my feet. Feeling the embarrassment that new roadies know oh-so-well, I considered using Crank Brothers’ provided cleat shim to gain a bit of clearance, or dialing the adjustable pins in to decrease traction. In the end, I let my shoes wear in to the pedals, and since that first week, haven’t had a problem unclipping even in emergency situations. I’m happy I didn’t, as the positive feel of standing on the big platform inspires confidence.

Crank Brothers Mallet DH Race DHRace pedal review NSMB mountain bike downhill clipless spd

The Mallet DH/Race has a thin, concave platform that rivals modern flat pedals: 17mm in the centre and 20mm at the leading and trailing edge. Fit and finish is good, however you can see in the detail of the left pedal that the two halves don’t line up perfectly on our test set.

Testing and statistics-wise, the Mallet DH has been in use by World Cup racers since April of 2012. Among the test group were Greg Minnaar, Steve Smith, Steve Peat, and Danny Hart. Over the season, Crank Brothers saw zero failures from the World Cup – and they state that warranty claims on pedals have decreased to less than 1% since the 2010 upgrades. To back up that claim, Crank Brothers puts a 5 -year warranty on the Mallet DH pedal. Serviceability remains at the heart of the Mallet, so you can pull your pedals apart to re-grease or replace bearings.

Crank Brothers Mallet DH Race DHRace pedal review NSMB mountain bike downhill clipless spd

Broken in and ready for a season of DH.

Weighing in at 479 grams for the pair, the Mallet DH is marginally heavier than a narrow clipless pedal, but lighter than the above mentioned M647 by 90 grams.

The Mallet DH is a confidence-inspiring platform with useful adjustable traction pins and a thin, lightweight pedal body. While the pedal was developed through Crank Brothers DH race program, it would feel just as comfortable on your AM bike. MSRP is $140 USD.


Do you use clipless pedals on your descending bike? Does a wide platform appeal? Pedal in to the comments below…

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Comments

apak
0
apak  - April 9, 2013, 11:18 p.m.

Morgman, that is good to know. I have never tried the Mallets myself, that is just what I heard from multiple users around town who had tried them. Their opinion convinced me to just get the Candy pedals, and a seperate pair of classic DH pedals which I interchange depending on the day's type of ride.

Reply

morgman
0
Morgan Taylor  - April 9, 2013, 12:36 p.m.

apak, I would disagree with that. These are actually the best "unclipped" clipless pedal I've ridden. This is a combination of the pins, wide flat platform, and relatively low profile spring. I rode various pairs of Shimano pedals with these shoes before the Mallets. In the past I've dismissed comments from people wanting a pedal that inspires confidence unclipped – but these ones do it well.

Reply

apak
0
apak  - April 9, 2013, 12:23 p.m.

The consensus is that these are not any good without cleats. The wings of the slip body stick out too much to provide any practical platform for riding with just flat soles.

Reply

slimdog
0
slimdog  - April 9, 2013, 12:10 p.m.

I have been interested in Crank brothers pedals for a while but they have so many bad reviews all over the internet it has turned me off every time I consider them. This is promising and a good review. How does it feel when you are not clipped in?

Reply

nouseforaname
0
Nouseforaname  - April 9, 2013, 9:06 a.m.

Nope. Still Crank Brothers.

Reply

CoilAir
0
CoilAir  - April 9, 2013, 4:21 p.m.

+1, but darn it, they look good…

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