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REVIEW | EDITORIAL

Crankbrothers Eggbeater Pedals - Enhanced Stance

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major
Date Mar 11, 2019

Stance

I was installing a refresh kit in my Crankbrothers Mallet DH pedals - a five-minute, 25 USD job - when I had a bit of an epiphany. The Mallet DH has been my pedal of choice since I tested them in 2017, which runs counter to my general pedal preference. When clipping in I've long opted for smaller 'XC' bodies and here I was riding one of the biggest pedals in the business.

I've thought for some time that Shimano 'Trail' pedals are silly, always opting for the same support and smaller body of the XC models. I really like the Look X-Track but I'm unimpressed by their larger-body, En-Rage model given the impressive contact area of the X-Track. Why then aren't I riding the Crankbrothers Candy or even the original Eggbeater design?

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Enduro bearings, Igus bushings, tool steel axles, and stainless steel body and wings. These share the same guts as my Mallet DH pedals.

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These Eggbeater 3 pedals have been regularly smoked on obstacles but other than some wear on the blue anodizing they look brand new.

The answer, as I alluded to when talking about the Look X-Track in my Dear Santa article, is that the Mallet DH has a much wider stance than any of the other pedals in my shop. For the quantifier, they have a 57mm Q-Factor where Mallet-E, Candy, and Eggbeater are all running 52mm. Five millimeters per side doesn't sound like a lot but on a long ride with a lot of climbing my hips feel better with the slightly wider stance and I also vastly prefer it while descending.

The good news is that in addition to now offering four different cleat options, Crankbrothers sells the wider LS (long spindle) axles separately for folks looking to customize their fit. This is the same spindle that comes stock with the Mallet DH and with the Mallet-E LS*.

*Mallet-E is available stock with the standard spindle and the LS

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The long spindle kit includes the refresh kit (which sells for 25 USD on its own) and two longer pedal axles for 50 USD.

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The difference between a 52mm and a 57mm spindle length sounds tiny, but visually it's a big change.

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An 8mm socket is the only tool required other than a couple hex keys. A shaft for bushing install is included with every refresh kit.

With fresh pedals, the axle swap takes less than five minutes to do both sides. And you might as well fill that pedal body with grease while you're at it. the Crankbrothers seals do a good job of holding in excess waterproof bearing grease.

It takes a bit longer if installing fresh bearings and bushings at the same time. Maybe ten minutes total to do both sides. In addition to getting great life out of the new Crankbrothers internals, their pedals are by far the quickest and easiest to service.

With the long spindle kit installed the Eggbeaters immediately feel better to me. They have the same audible click as the Mallets when a cleat is inserted and the same effortless but obvious release. There is one big difference, which is that the Eggbeaters have less restricted float since there is no shoe-vs-pedal contact.

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Axles come well greased from new but as a rule I fill the bodies with more grease and then wipe away any excess.

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Long spindles installed. It's a notable difference in stance, matching the Mallet DH, but the pedals also have much more float due to the lack of shoe/pedal contact.

One of the things I like about the Mallet DH, other than the wider stance, is the ability to use body-English without release compared to other clipless pedals and that's even more true with the Eggbeaters. For this will take some getting used to.

On the other hand, absolutely nothing clears snow like the original Eggbeater design. That's not a general Crankbrothers endorsement - I'm specifically talking about these pedals. No matter how snow-packed the shoes, it's all snapping in and smooth exits without concern.

My only Eggbeater worry was shoe stiffness with the reduced contact area and that has proved unfounded. I've been mainly riding them with the Scott MTB Comp Lace and Bontrager JFW Winter, neither of which is a particularly stiff shoe, and I'm thoroughly satisfied. I do hit my shoes more often than with the Mallet DH so the latter would still be my first choice for fast DH runs on rocky trails.

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Flat pedals rule on the snowy days unless I'm trying to dig into climbs in which case the Eggbeaters are bar none the best clip-in option.

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The Eggbeater 3's stainless retention springs come in a range of anodized colours that offset the stainless wings. These are electric blue which match the carbon Chameleon nicely.

Is a 5mm wider Q-Factor worth the cost of the long spindle kit? Any rider who has their cleats slammed inboard in order to push their feet out, or who is dealing with knee or hip pain from their feet being forced inboard should certainly give some thought to pedals with a wider stance.

Riders happy with the big body of the Mallet DH or Mallet-E LS can already buy that wider Q as a stock option. Riders who prefer a more diminutive clip-in pedal but want the wider position can upgrade any Candy or Eggbeater model with a Long Spindle Kit. That includes everything in the 25 USD refresh kit and two tool steel axles for a total of 50 USD.

Comments

neologisticzand
+1 Andrew Major
Chad K  - March 11, 2019, 6:18 a.m.

Out of curiosity, have you tried the quick release cleats? I noticed they were mentioned, but I've yet to find anyone who has used them.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Chad K
Andrew Major  - March 11, 2019, 7:58 a.m.

I have not. This may be willfully ignorant on my part but I’ve ridden a lot of pedals with smaller release angles than the standard CB cleats and one of the things I love about Crankbrothers is how much body English I can put in my bike with zero accidental releases going up or down. 

We do have some of the smaller release angle / standard float cleats so I could bolt them on some shoes in the name of science.

My knees like lots of float so the 0* float cleats aren’t something I’m into.

Reply

neologisticzand
+1 Andrew Major
Chad K  - March 11, 2019, 8:27 a.m.

Gotcha. I'm curious about the rose cleats (normal float but 10 release rather than 15). Coming from Shimano, I want to try CB pedals but find the release angle to be rather large. I'd rather not topple over on my bike like I'm just learning to clip in again.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Chad K
Andrew Major  - March 11, 2019, 10:04 a.m.

So on the one hand I jump back and forth all the time (it’s actually a miracle that in the last couple years I’ve only shown up for one ride with the wrong shoes) with no issue getting in/out of CB, SPD, Time, so I’d suggest giving the stock cleats a try before plunking down for the reduced float option.

On the other hand. CB only added 3x other cleat options because of rider demand. Some ‘cross and XC racers want a more direct attachment then the standard float provides and lots of folks thinking of trying CB pedals (or trying them again now that the quality is awesome) want a release feel more similar to SPD. 

We have some rose cleats, so I’ll try to get a few rides on them and report back.

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MattyB
0
MattyB  - March 11, 2019, 2:33 p.m.

It's been a while since I ran egg beaters, but I remember them having a very vague transition from the end of float to the beginning of release. I guess it doesn't matter I spend most of my time on flats now anyways

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Chad K
Andrew Major  - March 11, 2019, 5:30 p.m.

You’d be a candidate for the new reduced release angle cleats for sure.

Reply

neologisticzand
+1 Andrew Major
Chad K  - March 12, 2019, 11:24 a.m.

Sounds like I might be a candidate as well. I like the smaller release angle of SPDs but I find that even the 55mm Q-factor of the XTR pedals is not quite enough and I run my cleats pushed almost all the way inboards. LS spindle CB pedals with a easy-release 6* cleat might be the ticket

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - March 12, 2019, 11:16 p.m.

There's been a lot of interest so I'm going to be putting some time in the easy-release cleats starting this weekend.

I love the extra stance descending in addition to feeling more comfortable climbing. The difference in release will be very notable on the Eggbeaters since there's no body to restrict the show (the standard cleats feel like they have more float and a more vague release on Eggbeater compared to Mallet DH).

Reply

IslandLife
+1 Andrew Major
IslandLife  - March 11, 2019, 3:07 p.m.

Don't mean to take away from this review but I'm looking at picking up some of the Look X-tracks, but looking at the rage version.  Partly from your review of the x-tracks.   But thinking about the rage because 1. The contact area is 63 mm wide vs 57 and the whole contact area goes up from 350 mm² to  545 mm².  2. Then, as you mentioned with the Mallet DH's, these will be my only clip-in pedals so I'd like something that does it all and offers some protection from rocky descents while also having a bit of area for unclipped errors.  And don't think I need the platform size of the "Plus" model, nor the pins... think the rage is a nice middle ground... and you save some weight and cash over the plus model.

Anyway, additional thoughts on this?  You think that just the x-track is enough?  Will be mating them to Giro Chamber II's.

Thanks!!

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 IslandLife
Andrew Major  - March 11, 2019, 5:34 p.m.

No stress! The only X-Track pedals I’ve ridden are the more XC version - they’re awesome and what I recommend to anyone looking for an SPD.

I’ve used 6x different pairs of shoes with them including winter boots and never had a support issue that would make me want more platform.

There’s lots of pedal there in terms of smoking it on stuff (Eggbeater is another level on minimalism) so, like the Shimano Trail pedals, the Rage is a product that’s lost on me. 

Certainly doesn’t mean it won’t work great for you though!

Reply

IslandLife
+1 Andrew Major
IslandLife  - March 12, 2019, 8:39 a.m.

Good feedback, thanks for the help!

Reply

amrskipro
0
AndrewR  - March 15, 2019, 9:44 a.m.

I tried Crankbrothers Mallet-E pedals last summer, on the recommendation of a fellow guide, as a test to see if they could cope with the Chilcotin lava ash that acts like quick set concrete when the bike goes through multiple dust/ water cycles (drainage crossings, river crossings, puddles etc). The short answer was that they do resist mud like no other pedal I have tried. I had been riding HT T1 pedals, which are my favourite pedal ever from a spring tension and shoe interface point of view but they have ineffective weather sealing and I have more than enough to do as a guide without having to find time to re-build/ re-grease my pedals every four days (this was my summer 2018 average time between fresh re-build and needing grease again). I agree that the Shimano M8020 pedal 'platform' doesn't really provide shoe support and if it is only there to protect the mechanism it could be made out of a lighter resin.

I found that I was having trouble clipping out when my foot was in a rear level position, as the crank arm was blocking the inward movement of my toe. I eventually realised that it was due to the narrower Q factor (I know one is meant to clip out when the crank is in the 12 or 6 position but as a guide I sometimes don't get the time to choose perfect foot position, sometimes it is a case of clip out now or probably fall and die). As you have said, in your review, the Mallet is sold in the LS version which gives a more 'normal' trail Q factor.

It is odd that Crankbrothers have committed to a quite XC racing focused Q factor as their default axle length. This might make sense on the Eggbeater line of pedals but I would have thought it would be more user friendly to have the 57mm Q factor spindles on their trail/ enduro/ DH pedals as a default?

Anyway I quite like the pedals and given Crankbrothers new reputation for bearing and grease longevity I think I will be trying the Mallet LS this summer as there are times in technical terrain when I miss clipping in the cleat but need good non slip foot support to ride a short section before I can safely try clipping in again.

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