Crankbrothers Mallet DH Pedals - Review

Jan 4, 2018
by Mike Kazimer  
Crankbrothers Mallet DH review



Crankbrothers' Mallet DH pedals have been in existence since 2008, although they've gone through several revisions over the course of the last nine years. The wide platform and mud-shedding design have made them a popular option on the World Cup DH circuit, but they don't necessarily need to be mounted up to a downhill bike – they work just as well for general trail riding.

Available in red or black, a set of Mallet DH pedals weighs 479 grams, and will leave your wallet $169 USD lighter.


Crankbrothers Mallet DH Details
• Aluminum body, chromoly spindle
• Platform dimensions: 101 x 77mm
• 57mm q-factor
• Weight: 479 grams
• MSRP: $169 USD
• 5-year warranty
www.crankbrothers.com


Crankbrothers Mallet DH review
The leading edge of the pedals has a chamfer to help keep them from getting hung up on obstacles.
Crankbrothers Mallet DH review
Eight removable pins are in place on each side, and there's plenty of room around the clip-in mechanism to prevent mud from building up.



Design Details

The Mallet DH's aluminum body has been changed slightly compared to the previous version, and it now has a chamfered leading edge to provide a little more clearance from rocks or other obstacles. In addition, deeper grooves have been machined into the platform to provide extra traction for those moments when you're trying to find the pedals again after unclipping.

The traction pad feature first seen on the Mallet E has also been carried over to the Mallet DH, which consists of a removable, rectangular piece of polyurethane that sits on each side of the clip-in mechanism. There are different pad heights available, allowing riders to customize their pedals to work perfectly with their shoe of choice.

The pedal spins on a forged chromoly axle that provides a 57mm q-factor, with an igus LL-glide bushing located on the inboard portion of the axle, and an Enduro cartridge bearing on the outboard portion. Crankbrothers also worked to improve the pedal's wet weather capabilities, and there's now a two-stage rubber seal that's designed to keep water from working its way to the internals.



Malllet DH review
Riders that frequently find themselves hiking in rocky terrain may find that the brass cleats wear quickly, but I didn't run into any issues.
Crankbrothers Mallet DH review
Shoes with a flatter sole, like Shimano's AM9, work best with the Mallet's platform design.



Performance

Riders who are familiar with Crankbrothers' clip-in mechanism won't be surprised by how the Mallet DH functions. If you're making the switch from an SPD-style pedal, the feel of clipping in is slightly different – it's more 'mushy', for lack of a better term, compared to the crisp 'click' that accompanies stepping into an SPD pedal. There are 6-degrees of float compared to the 4-degrees found on Shimano pedals, and the release angle can be set at 15- or 20-degrees depending on the orientation of the cleats.

What do those numbers mean out on the trail? For me, the additional float makes it easier to forget that I'm clipped in, which is a good thing. With the Mallets I was able to twist my feet a little further while cornering or navigating a tricky section of trail, and it felt less like I was locked rigidly into one position. If anything, the Mallets feel like a nice set of flat pedals underfoot, with the added bonus that they keep your feet securely attached to the pedals in really rough sections of trail. The wide platform provides a nice perch for those half-clipped in moments, and while the jury's still out on whether or not those grooves in the body make a noticeable difference, I never had any trouble keeping my feet on the pedals, even in slimy, wet conditions.

For most of the test period I used a pair of Shimano AM9 shoes, which paired perfectly with the Mallet DH. I didn't need to remove any of the pedal's pins, or fuss around with the replaceable traction pads. It's worth noting that the Mallets work best with shoes that have a flatter, skate shoe style sole – that way there's as much contact as possible between the pedal platform and the shoe.


Crankbrothers Mallet DH review


Durability

After eight months of use and abuse, the aluminum body has lost some of its luster (getting dragged over granite will do that), but all of the traction pins are still in place, although rock strikes have ground a couple of them down. Both pedals are spinning smoothly, and when I pulled them apart there wasn't any corrosion to be seen, with a judicious amount of factory grease still in place. Considering everything they've been through, these pedals have fared extremely well, and after a quick cleaning and greasing they're ready to go for another season of rock smashing.



Pinkbike's Take
bigquotesThey may be aimed at the downhill crowd, but the Mallet DH pedals are an excellent choice for anyone who frequently finds themselves in technical terrain. The ease of entry and exit, along with the durability, make them a highly recommended option. 
Mike Kazimer








113 Comments

  • + 129
 I'm not willing to bash a company that has transparently addressed their reliability issues head-on, then put serious effort on R&D to correct them. Crankbros has worked hard to change the public narrative of their products. I already ride on a pair of mallets that have worked flawlessly, and am taking a hard look at their other components. I say well done, 'bros.
  • + 33
 I am also impressed with their Highline dropper. Not one issue in the first 1000 miles.
  • + 32
 @funkendrenchman: 2nd you on the Highline. Replaced a miserable reverb with one and havent looked back. Only took 20 mins and two IPAs to install as well.
  • + 85
 @NebulousNate: I think that measuring repairs in IPA count should be an industry standard.
  • + 4
 @zsandstrom: I concur completely!
  • + 9
 I bought a pair of the DH last year (?) just after CB did the Q&A on PB, along with some Mallet Enduro and also some Eggbeaters for the CX bike.

Must have done about 5k km across all the pedals and never had any issues - really impressed.

Only very trivial problem I had was the plastic contact pads on the Mallet E coming loose over time from clipping in/out... really can’t complain!
  • + 5
 @funkendrenchman: I am still rolling on a kronlog post (OEM on my 2013 process) - almost 2500 miles on it.... LOL....
  • + 3
 @zsandstrom: that is one industry standard we all need to get behind!
  • + 6
 @funkendrenchman: Ditto... Highline is by far the best height adjust post I have used. 1500+ miles, no issues.
  • + 2
 @R4Squares: Same, here, same bike too lol.
  • - 9
flag oldtech (Jan 5, 2018 at 5:13) (Below Threshold)
 every time I see a felow rider in the woods with a broken pedal its a Crap Bros.
  • + 4
 @properp: dude! Think ur stuck in 2010!
  • + 0
 @properp: *phelloh
  • - 4
flag oldtech (Jan 5, 2018 at 6:19) (Below Threshold)
  • + 5
 @properp: Isnt that the TI spindle? rated for 160# rider?
  • - 1
 @gregemrick: yes and Im 135#. The amount of recovery time from this injury will never justify another try.
  • + 4
 @properp: weird I'm 190 and have my ti's on my cyclocross going on season 5 with one rebuild! Mallet E on my other rides since inception.. Never an issue!
  • - 1
 @bohns1: Lots of people have luck with stuff that gets destroyed when I ride it. I really dig the design of the mallets. I just don't have any faith to run them anymore.
  • + 0
 Like the platform, clip-in and QF, however had the old seal DH and they degenerated fast, tried the E version same again. Seals aren’t good enough for the UK and the cleats do wear quick.
  • + 42
 stamps and 5-10s tho
  • + 11
 I freaking love that setup. They're tearing up my 5 10's though lol
  • + 1
 @joalst: same here, good excuse for new shoes haha
  • + 39
 This would be a good chunk of troll food, but after poor Sam Pilgrims case, I’m so fed , that I will give CB props for this product and possibly buy them before the summer
  • + 96
 what happened to you, man?
  • + 21
 @shutupWAKI: Haha an user only concerned with shutting up another user, that's what pinkbike's comment section is!
  • + 4
 @shutupWAKI: New Year's resolutions.
  • + 1
 Whats the Sam Pilgrim issue?
  • + 1
 @scary1: Exactly.
  • + 2
 @TheR: Hahaha
  • + 2
 @scary1: he has given up on riding bicycles
  • - 2
 @scary1: The Haibike e-bike new sponsor issue. "Deal With It."
  • + 4
 @shutupWAKI: must be on a troll food diet, new year resolution I guess
  • + 1
 This confirms my theory that you can post references to Sam and his ebike for automatic props (one way or the other!). What's interesting to watch is the rate of decay of the props received. Within 48 hours, making a SP comment on another article was guaranteed 100+ upvotes. Now we're down to a mere 36.
  • + 19
 Using Mallet E pedals on trail and dh bike.
  • + 24
 are those the e-bike specific ones???
  • + 2
 @adrennan: Yes. Electric shock warning just before disaster strikes! Through rubber?
  • - 8
flag Kimura (Jan 4, 2018 at 15:07) (Below Threshold)
 only thing you need in life are wellgo plastic flats
  • + 0
 I own both and the DH’s have a firmer hold on the shoe when clipped in and the DH platforms are a tiny bit larger in the sense that they’re more square. Both are great pedals.
  • + 10
 I absolutely love these pedals. Had earlier versions that had some reliability issues but my newer ones have been going rock solid for over a year and a half.
  • + 3
 Agreed.
  • + 5
 With reports of their reliability being better, I’m tempted to try these or the E pedals out. Only problem, I’ve been on Time’s since about ‘99 and I’d have to change out pedals on three different bikes, when my Time MX or DHs and Five Ten Stealth are a pretty steady combo. Maybe next time I break a pedal I’ll try them out, but I’ve only broken 1 Time pedal in 18 years, so that may be a bit.
I no longer talk friends out of CB pedals, but I remember a lot of friends walking out on the trail in the early CB years. Glad to see they have stepped up and fixed their issues.
  • + 1
 Time pedals FTW
  • + 5
 These are great pedals. They need a rebuild after a Washington winter, but what doesn't? I have cracked 2 frames, sheared off a crank bolt under load, and been through 4 chains and 2 cassetes all with these same pedals on the bike. Just replaced the cleats for the first time, but they feel better if you replace the cleats a little sooner. Glad the cleat is brass so that the pedal mechanism doesn't wear.
  • + 4
 Love my Mallet pedals. I’ll use nothing else but them! My original pair last 6 years before I sold them to a buddy. I not have two sets on my DH and trail bike and love them Big Grin
  • + 3
 Any idea if these work with Fiveten Hellcat Pro? Been struggling to get a good compromise between no contact with pedal body and so much I can't even get in.
Anyone had any joy?
  • + 1
 To get it to work with mine required a metal shoe shield and two plastic shims between the cleat and my shoes. This is on the previous version of the Mallet DH that doesn't have the adjustable traction pads.
  • + 2
 I'd be interested to know as well, I find they don't play well with impact vxi's. I found they worked best with some cheap touring shoes I had.
  • + 1
 @tbmaddux: Same story on the peds, mine are originals.
Hate the rock involved with running 3 spacers though+ it was gypo as f*ck.
  • + 1
 I've really struggled with my mallet E pedals and five ten vxi shoes. I couldn't release consistently and kept toppling over. Only remedy is a ton of spacers when ch negates the benefit of the platform.
  • + 1
 I'm using Hellcats with XT Trails. Work well but not much contact between sole and pedal.
  • + 6
 Ive got them with the 5-10 Maltese Falcon shoes (very similar to the hellcats) and I run them with no shims, the smallest traction pads, and the pins wound down a good bit (slightly sticking out of the pedal for added stability for my foot. When I first put them on I rly wasnt thinking and I had no shims, stock traction pads, and the pins wound all the way out (the way it comes out of the box) and I got my foot in but had to shout at the neighbors to come outside and rip my foot out of the pedal lmao. Good times, good times.
  • + 5
 Running Mallet E pedals with the new Five Ten Kestral Lace, no shims, lowered my pins quite a bit and they're working perfectly. Nice float, feels like I'm riding flats, but I stay connected when it gets nasty.

These are my first set of clipless after using flats for about 10 years. My only issue at first was that I thought I'd set the release degree at 20 thinking it would feel more like the flats I was used to. After I toppled over about 6 times on my first ride, I turned the cleats around to lower the release degree from 20 to 15, now it's perfect.

Maybe you need one plastic shim... then just play with the pin length?
  • + 4
 I use these pedals with Fiveten Hellcat Pros. With the metal shim under the cleat, and making sure the egg beater of the pedal isn't rubbing against the sole (specifically the side of the cleat recess), it works great. Love the setup.
  • + 1
 I ride these pedals with 5.10 districts. Run the pins super low otherwise can’t unclip easily and shred the sole with the pins. Work real nice. I predominantly run flats for downhill but use these for XC/light trail work
  • + 2
 @ianwish: Always go with the 15. I've never felt the need for the 20. I think I made that mistake once also, I don't think my foot twists that far.
  • + 1
 I run 510 Stealth with the mallets on both my trail bike and downhill bike......No issues with clearances, no shims needed, great comfortable fit all around. Not exactly the same shoe to answer your question but, my 2 cents.
  • + 3
 CB are an absolute class act. The only time I’ve had a warranty/service issue they went absolutely above and beyond, but most importantly their pedals now keep you from needing that outstanding service in the first place.
  • + 3
 Does anyone find themselves less prone to throw manuals and wheelies with clips? I want to switch to flats this year for that very reason.
  • + 3
 I find it more comfortable to throw Manuel’s and wheelies on clips because you can control the bike better
  • + 1
 I've ridden Crank Brothers since their first Eggbeaters. I am on the Mallet 3 now and it's a great pedal for me, zero problems. I use Shimano AM45 (clown) shoes which are a little wide and hang up on the cranks so I may give the DH a shot next. Now what to do with the 20lbs of old pedals in the box?
  • + 1
 Always been a little curious how they compare to Times but only reason I would even consider is if they have better traction because of the pins when unclipped through scary sections. Just waiting to see actual ride reports of the speciale 12, either that or just have to finally learn to 100% commit through everything.
  • + 3
 @Jesse221 the pins are the real reason I’d consider switching. With the right shoes, like the 5 10s you don’t miss the pins when clipped, but you’d be more secure unclipped with the CBs with the pins. Switching to my 5-10s have reduced my desire to get the CBs because they grip the Time platforms so much better when clipped in, I feel like I get all the grip I need. My old Giros/ Sidis/ Pearl Izumis/ SixOnes, not so much. But you’d have to set the pins real low to not get hung up clipping out with certain grippy shoes, so I’m not sure how much they’d help in the end.
The bonus to the Times is that if you hit a rock on the bottom it doesn’t release you like the CBs because the top and bottom aren’t connected like on the CBs. Also, after only breaking 1 pedal in 18 years, and still being able to ride out on one side of that pedal, id say they are some of the best for durability out there. They do wear out eventually, but I am still running pedals over 10 years old on one bike. Cleats do wear fast like the CBs though.
Or you can always just run flats and call it good.
  • + 2
 @whambat: good to know about the CB releasing when hit from under and makes sense. I've always loved the feel of Times since I started using them in 98 and currently the mx8 has been the best of them. Also like that if they hit they don't get hung up like alloy pedals like the Z control. Maybe that's shape more than material, might try the DH4 for the v10 but waiting to see more info on the speciale 12 when it's out. Clipped in I love the times it's just when going to a new section or a section I haven't cleared and not 100% sure of I will try riding it unclipped as a "just in case" even though I have never had an accident where I couldn't get out with Times so it just psychological but then when clipped out your not really as grippy as a true flat so it's kind of a no win situation.
  • + 1
 @Jesse221: gotcha. I wish they just came out with an MX or DH with pins. Figured that would have been an easy cheap option. The new pedals look cool, but only have seen a stupid expensive version. I still haven’t tried the new DH, the only alloy ones I’ve had are the old original Zs which are still in my parts bin, good to go.
  • + 5
 I have these pedals and love them. Well done CB.
  • + 2
 "The ease of entry and exit, along with the durability, make them a highly recommended option." You've basically outlined my whole tinder dating approach.
  • + 2
 I've had the mallet dh first version since summer 2013 and they are still going strong. CRC is practically giving them away this month too!
  • + 3
 I have used Mallets for the last year and love them!
  • + 2
 I might buy this to replace my DX pedals if they ever fail. ....so probably never.
  • + 3
 Still don't understand the pins-on-clips thing.
  • + 5
 I'm still undecided on this. On the one hand, they're great if you can't get clipped in and you're already going down scary technical stuff - your feet won't just blow off them. On the other hand, they basically eliminate any kind of float the pedal offers, and makes it harder to unclip. I just try to find a happy medium by running my pins super low.
  • + 6
 helps if you can't get clipped in quick enough. Esp in a race run just getting back on the pedal for a section is critical, so all the new DH pedals do run spikes or pins. Even my old shimano DX ones have some grip on the resin section. It's extremely useful in a race.
  • + 2
 having the pin is phenomenal when at time do can't clip-in on time. I set the pin just above the surface of the pedal.
  • + 2
 I have ridden these pedals many times without clipping in, either because I had the wrong shoes or because I was too lazy to switch the pedals, and they have performed very well. On even relatively rough tracks, my Freeriders stayed pretty put, and I even felt comfortable doing tables and whips. I have a feeling the pins helped with that
  • + 5
 It’s so us clipless riders can also get shin wounds so we look more hardcore like the flat boyz.
  • + 2
 So these don't just explode anymore? That's good.
  • + 2
 This is a PB article. Dissenting opinions will not be tolerated!
  • + 3
 The best pedals mofos
  • + 1
 I have had too many issues with CB products to ever consider them again.
  • + 1
 Anyone know how to adjust the spring tension so it’s easier to unclip?
  • + 1
 Shimano DX (pd-m647) >> CB pedals
  • + 1
 I just came here for the CB haters.
  • - 7
flag oldtech (Jan 4, 2018 at 14:25) (Below Threshold)
 Shimano fanboy. I tried CB never liked them. Also every time I find someone on the trail with a broken pedal it's always a crack Brothers.
  • - 3
 Just remember, $25 for a new set of cleats, and those things wear out fast! Also, you can't buy just the do or no-dot ones, so you're gonna end up with a whole bunch of extras for one side.
  • + 0
 From the Crank Bros web site:

Why are the two cleats different?

One cleat has two small dots in the center between the bolt holes, and the other cleat does not. If you put the cleat with two dots on it on your right shoe, then both feet release outwards at a 15 degree angle and if you put the one with the two little dots on your left shoe, then both feet release outwards at about 20 degrees. First-time users should start with the 15 degree release angle.


How can I change the release angle?

For a 15 degree release angle (earlier release) on both feet, place the cleat with the two dots on the right shoe. For a 20 degree release angle (later release) on both feet, place the cleat with the two dots on the left shoe.
  • + 0
 @benwe1: Thank you for confirming what I said...

Assuming you always like to have the same release angle, the cleats are not interchangeable between sides. Thus, if you always get on/off the same side of your bike, you're always going to wear out the same one.
  • + 1
 @skelldify: Replace the pair?
  • + 1
 Was any of this unknown?
  • + 39
 There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know.
  • - 1
 Donald Rumsfeld for president!
  • + 0
 @Zen-Potatoes: As your name implies, you sound like a master of zen contemplation.
  • - 2
 @WaterBear: he stole it from Rumsfeld...
  • + 1
 @Zen-Potatoes: all my knowledge falls into the latter two categories
  • - 1
 @WAKIdesigns: don't know why people are neg. propping this - it's funnier because it's true!
  • + 2
 @Zen-Potatoes: all I know is I know nothing
  • - 1
 @Zen-Potatoes: If I could up-vote you more than once, I would up-vote you all of them!
  • - 2
 @endurendo: Give credit where credit is due. Ironically this is how Rumsfeld motivated going to Iraq Big Grin as someone smart commented afterwards: holding two contradictory theories in ones mind is a sign of prime intelligence... as long as you realize that they actually are contradicting each other...
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: Next up, to start posting un-attributed quotes from Yogi Berra
  • + 1
 @WaterBear: get off my ice you little wankers! Don’t give him a stick!
  • - 1
 I don't understand why the mushy cleat engagement is so popular. I like a real click.
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