Crankbrothers Mallet NSMB AndrewM
Long Term Review

Crankbrothers Mallet DH Pedals

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major
Date Sep 8, 2017

Riding the Mallet DH

It has been years since I clipped a cleat into a Crankbrothers pedal. It's a much more positive feeling than I remember. Entry is obvious and audible. Float is comfortable and generous. Release is light and instant.

I am swapping the pedals around between several bikes and shoes. Mainly I'm using a pair of Lake MX shoes that I'm testing, a pair of Five Ten Impacts and I've also installed a pair of cleats in the deep cleat trenches of a pair of Mavic Deemax Pro shoes for a more challenging look at compatibility with the wide cage of the newest Mallet DH.

Crankbrothers Mallet NSMB AndrewM

What's true of a wide flat pedal is also true of the Mallet DH. I smoke these pedals more regularly than the lower profile XC and trail bodies that I'm used to - particularly on narrow rocky trails. 

Hammering uphill out of the saddle the additional support of the full bodied Mallet DH is immediately noticeable in the Impacts. It's less noticeable with the much stiffer Lake MX 332 shoes but placebo or otherwise at the end of a long day on my single speed I always notice my feet feel fresher. 

Crankbrothers Mallet NSMB AndrewM

The chamfered and polished edges help the pedals slide through obstructions and to keep them looking fresh compared to past Mallet DH pedals. 

Descending, the more natural float compared to other pedals allows for more fluid body English. Despite the very light release action I have not experienced a single accidental release. Local conditions have been abnormally dry and a frightening combination of moon dust and loose-over-hard soil has made the riding more rowdy than usual. Foot out flat out it's confidence inspiring to be able to slam my feet back on the Mallets and have an impressive amount of grip the odd time my cleat misses its target. 

Crankbrothers Mallet NSMB AndrewM

That's right Troy Lee glove - everything in this photo makes me smile too! What's that Troy Lee glove? Yes, I have been riding solo a lot lately. Why do you ask?

Wear

It is a ridiculously easy five-minute-max job to re-grease the Mallet DH pedals. This service is performed with a 6mm and 8mm hex key and an 8mm socket and it can be done without removing the pedal axles from the cranks. 

In addition to the initial teardown I did as part of my first impression I am pulling the pedals apart one more time to check for wear and re-grease them. As with my Crankbrothers Highline dropper post experience (still working as new) I intend to keep riding the Mallets until a problem occurs.

Crankbrothers Mallet NSMB AndrewM

Crankbrothers standard refresh kits works with most of their pedals including all the Eggbeater models and the new Stamp 2 & 3 flat pedals. 

The $25 (USD) standard refresh kits include a tool to remove and install the bearings and bushings and it's a quick and easy job albeit one that has not been necessary for these pedals to date. 

I am starting to see a very slight amount of cosmetic wear on the polished part of the tool steel pedal axle where it contacts the IGUS bushing in the pedal body. This is only a monitoring concern at this point but I appreciate being able to buy an axle kit, including all the parts of the refresh kits for $50 (USD) if I need it.  

Crankbrothers Mallet NSMB AndrewM

All the tools needed to re-grease an Eggbeater or Stamp 2 & 3 pedal. 

Crankbrothers Mallet NSMB AndrewM

Remove the end cap. Remove the 8mm nut. Pull the pedal body off. Grease. Reverse the procedure.

Compatibility

As clip-in pedals expand in size and complexity from the basic layout of an SPD XC model compatibility becomes more and more of a question. In addition to a large body the new Mallet DH pedals have rubberized traction pads and eight adjustable traction pins per side. 

One factor that eases compatibility is that the Mallet pedals come stock with the wider of the two axle options that Crankbrothers produces. With a 57mm q-factor pedal/crank interference is not an issue. 

The eight traction pins can be bottomed right into the pedal bodies and this combined with shimming cleats should allow compatibility between any shoe and pedal. 

Crankbrothers Mallet NSMB AndrewM

The Mavic Deemax Pro is an excellent shoe for both riding and hike-a-bike sections. With its deep lugs it is more difficult to set up for use with the Mallet DH pedals but well worth the effort. 

Crankbrothers Mallet NSMB AndrewM

On the cleat side the Deemax shoes require a thin cleat shim in addition to the standard Crankbrothers cleat shim I run on the Lake MX shoes.

Crankbrothers Mallet NSMB AndrewM

On the pedal side compatibility with the Deemax shoes requires the inner most and outer most pins at the rear of the pedal to be threaded down into the pedal body or removed. The outer-most pins take a beating.  

Polished

Excellent performance, simple service, rebuild kits and tech manuals readily available, concave pedal shape and traction pins for un-clipped grip and a five year warranty; the Mallet DH is a polished product in the same vein as the Highline dropper posts. 

Like any flat pedal the wide body tries to eat rocks regularly and is already starting to look like crap. That's not a structural concern but spending $170 (USD) on a pair of pedals it would be nice to have them stay looking fresh. The simple solution would be to offer the Mallet DH in the same silver finish as the new Stamp 3 pedals. 

Crankbrothers Mallet NSMB AndrewM

It's easy to qualify how impressed I am with my Mallet DH experience. As my other pedals die and funds become available I plan to use them on all my personal bikes. Swapping pedals between multiple bikes is great for testing and a first world PIA. 

Crankbrothers Mallet NSMB AndrewM

I know a few riders who loved the action and float of the original Mallets but gave them up for durability issues. The new Mallet DH warrants a second chance. 

It's easy to cynically dismiss the second coming of Crankbrothers until riding the product. Between my experiences with the Highline dropper post and these Mallet DH pedals I'd be willing to give any of their new releases an honest shot. 

Anyone considering the same can get more information on the $170 (USD) Mallet DH pedals here

Comments

shrockie
0
Shrockie  - Sept. 13, 2017, 2:53 p.m.

Do you get any rocking, side to side?  It seems the cleat hits the spring in the middle, but the shoe doesn't hit the inside/outside of the pedal enough to support it.. the result is a wonky wobbly feeling. 

I have the Mallet E, with the thicker side pads installed, with a pair of VXi Clipless 510's.. Coming off flats, I was hoping they would give the support of flats, while being clipped in. But I just felt like I was rocking around in them.. 

I just couldn't get along with them, and ended up going back to flats.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Sept. 14, 2017, 10:02 a.m.

How many cleat shims with your Fivetens and where are the cleats position?

No rocking with the Lakes or Mavics. I was having some issues getting the pedals to release well with my FiveTens unless if I added an extra shin at which point there was a lot more movement - similar to the regular Eggbeater. It helps to back down the rear pins and I experimented a bit with cleat position to get the closest pedal/shoe interface and the least amount of play and they ended up being better.

That said, a clip-in pedal is always going to load more in the center (cleat) than on the outside like a flat or release and entry would be compromised.

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