The Crankbrothers Mallet are undoubtedly some of the most popular clipless pedals among mountain bikers, with countless downhill and enduro pros relying on the Californian brand. The Mallets also convinced the jury of our 2022 group test, outperforming the competition and coming out on top. Can they make it two in a row?
Crankbrothers rely on their own clipless mechanism for their pedals. The Mallet E LS pedals are the enduro variants with longer spindles (= axles), offering a wide 57 mm q-factor. The clipless mechanism consists of a spring-loaded bracket that can rotate freely around the axle, and can be clicked into from four sides. Since these brackets are spring-loaded on both sides, you can click in either heel or toes first. They’re the only clipless pedals on test where you can’t adjust the spring preload, and thus how hard it is to click in and out. Apart from that, the 428 g Mallet E LS pedals offer a wealth of adjustment options. There are four different cleats with 0° or 6° float and a 10° or 15° release angle. The supplied cleats have the larger angles for both. We would recommend a 6° float for trail riders. The cleats with a 10° release angle are an interesting option for newcomers to clipless pedals who want to click in and out more easily. Another adjustment option that no pedals on test apart from the Mallet E LS can offer is the height of the cages by means of interchangeable traction pads. There are two different thicknesses included. You can further adjust the amount of contact and grip you want with the help of 6 pins, which is more than any other pedals on test. The pedals come with 8 mm pins installed as standard, but Crankbrothers also include 10 mm versions. However, since these all screw in from above, it’s difficult to adjust the height of the pins once they’ve become dirty or damaged. All these features of the Mallet E LS pedals can be yours for € 179.99.
The Crankbrothers Mallet E LS pedals on the trail
The feeling of clipping in and out of the Crankbrothers pedals is very soft, or vague. The cleats are made of brass and therefore wear out rather quickly. Once they get worn down a little, they feel even less defined. There’s no clear feedback when clicking in, occasionally leaving you guessing whether you’ve successfully clicked in or not. This feeling is further enhanced by the free, unrestricted float. You can still move your feet freely, even if you’re firmly connected to the pedals. Since the spring preload cannot be adjusted, you can’t fine-tune the feeling of the mechanism. And even if you swap out your cleats, the required force doesn’t change, just the angle. That doesn’t mean the Mallets are bad pedals, though: it’s precisely this free feeling despite the firm connection that many riders appreciate about the Crankbrothers clipless pedals. Because even if the mechanism feels a bit vague, the connection is very secure, and as long as you don’t twist your feet, they’ll stay put. The pedals are rounded off with robust aluminium cages that can cope with the occasional pedal strike, and pins that allow you to have a relatively secure footing even if you’re not clicked in. Moreover, the pedals offer excellent self-cleaning thanks to the freely spinning mechanism.
The Crankbrothers pedals don’t feel like any other clipless pedals on test. They’ve got enough float to let you move your feet freely, providing ample freedom of movement despite being securely clicked in. Thanks to the freely rotating mechanism and the open design, they’re unlikely to pack up with mud either. However, the spring preload isn’t adjustable, and they feel too vague for some. In addition, the soft brass cleats wear out quite quickly.
- lots of customisation options
- free float feeling and good grip
- excellent self-cleaning
- spring preload isn’t adjustable
- cleats wear out quickly
- vague feeling mechanism
You can find out more about at crankbrothers.com
Click here for an overview: The best pedals for mountain bikers
all pedals in Review: Acros Clipless Pedal | Crankbrothers Mallet E LS | Hope Union | HT T2 | Shimano XT PD-M8120 | TIME SPECIALE 12 | Chromag Dagga | Crankbrothers Stamp 7 | Hope F22 | Look Trail Fusion | Nukeproof Horizon Pro Sam Hill | OneUp Composite Pedal | Race Face Atlas | Sixpack Kamikaze RA | SQ Lab 50X | Tatze Link Composite |
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Words: Simon Kohler Photos: Jan Richter