Tested: Crankbrothers Mallet 3
Seb Kemp's first take on the revamped platform clipless pedal
Two-piece aluminum and composite body
Stainless steel wings
Forged chromoly steel axle
Needle bearing (inner) and cartridge bearing (outer)
8-millimeter adjustable pins
5 year warranty
Weight: 435 grams per pair
Crankbrothers has reworked its pedal lineup adding new bodies, new axles and new internals.
The two-piece design of the Mallet body comprises a composite half that helps lower the overall weight of the pedal and an aluminum outer half which is more durable against strikes, abrasion and wear and tear. The forged chromoly axle is designed to be stronger than previous models with an improved sealing to keep out unwanted mess and prolong the life of the pedal between service intervals (I couldn’t find and strip down an older version to compare them directly).
The body of the Mallet 3 pedal is 5 millimeters narrower than previous Crankbrothers’ clip platform pedals. This means there’s a little less foot support but the difference is negligible. The platform does provide ample support for shoes, a vital contact point. Platform clipless pedals certainly help when weighting the bike correctly in turns, in particular. There was little interference while using either a slimmed down shoe (Pearl Izumi X-Alp Launch) or a shoe with a larger sole (Giro Chamber). I’d suggest someone looking for no-hold-barred footbed support to opt for the Mallet DH pedals, which are wider and come with a full aluminum body, but trail riders who aren’t scared of a few grams should consider a platform clip less pedal. At 440 grams the 3 pedals are fairly good for a platform clipless pedal; they aren’t going to win over any weight weenies but that’s not the pedal’s unique selling point.
One thing to consider is the mechanism and the feel of the clip portion of the pedal. Whereas Shimano pedals offer a very sure in-or-out feel, I found going back to Crankbrothers pedals a little difficult because they have a more vague feeling. I’d often find myself surprised that I had unclipped mid-way through a rocky section of trail or when twisting my hips while cornering or riding off-camber sections of trail. This was something I had to adapt to, but something I never became as confident with. While the wide angle of release might suit some people, the lack of ability to personalize the amount of release tension might put others off.
So far the pedals have not required maintenance—a blessed relief after my experience of previous Crankbrothers pedals—despite a cycle of winter muck and unsympathetic hosings.
Pedals – they just got stamped on and very little care given to them. While the Crankbrothers Mallet 3s were entirely forgettable—being forgettable is a really good trait for a pedal—they weren’t screaming at me for more attention. Let’s see what the winter does to them.