Crankbrothers has released a new pedal, the Mallet Trail. Combining its Eggbeater clip-in mechanism with a small pedal body. Given the name, there's no prizes for guessing that the new pedal is aimed at trail riders.
When it comes to the best mountain bike pedals, Crankbrothers are one of the main players, and its unique clip-in mechanism has built a loyal fan base over the years. The expansive range covers almost every use case from minimalist mud-shedding XC and cyclocross pedals, to large clipless downhill platforms. The new trail pedals sit in between the supportive cross-country Candys and the enduro-orientated Mallet E which has a considerably bigger platform. I have been hitting the trails to see how they perform.
Design and specification
The minimal pinned platform of Crankbrothers Mallet Trails isn’t anything new, we have already tested the Look X-Track En-Rage Plus and Time Speciale 12 pedals which share a similar layout, albeit the Times have two more pins on each side. The design makes a lot of sense for Crankbothers though, filling the gap between its lightweight cross-country-specific Candy pedal without having to commit to a full platform Mallet E.
Crankbrothers says they have, “optimized platform size and surface for trail/gravel riding”, which presumably includes anything in between. The platform itself measures 65mm by 65mm with two adjustable pins mounted on the front edge.
In the center of the pedal is Crankbrothers four-sided Eggbeater mechanism which give customizable float and release and has replaceable traction pads to fine-tune pedal/shoe interface and cleat engagement. The pedals give a wide stance, using a 57mm spindle and spin on premium Enduro cartridge and Igus LL-Glide bearings. These are sealed behind a double-lip internal seal and alloy endcap and the pedals come with a five-year warranty. Out of the box, the bearings felt a little slow but soon loosened up after some riding.
Weighing in at 357g, the small platform of the Mallet Trail pedals means they are only 13g heavier than the Candys and considerably lighter than the much larger Mallet which tips the scales at 440g. They are also considerably lighter than other similarly designed pedals, including the Look X-Track En-Rage Plus at 451g and the pricy Time Speciale 12 pedals at 412g.
Crankbrothers pedals and cleats include shims and traction pads to adjust the pedal shoe interface. Crankbrothers recommends that, if like me, you are using Mallet / Mallet E shoes you remove any cleat shim for the optimal shoe-pedal interface. I followed these instructions and found it gave a good balance of easy clipping-in, free float, and support to the shoe. If you are using different shoes, it may be worth experimenting in order to find your preferred setup.
If you are a fan of Crankbrothers cleat engagement then you will already be familiar with the light mechanism, six-degree float, and 15-degree release (or 20 degrees by putting switching the left and right cleat) as nothing has changed there.
Really the only difference is the minimalist pedal platform. The front pins don’t actually engage with the sole of the shoe when you are clipped into the pedal, instead, they act more like a point of reference to help you re-engage the cleat quicker. The idea is that if you miss your clip-in then the front pins can catch you so you can either realign and drag the shoe backward over the mechanism or lift and engage again. They will also offer a little traction should you not get clipped-in and need to deal with a technical section of trail but it's not something you really want to rely on. If this is a situation you often find yourself in, your best going for the standard mallet instead.
Durability has so far been good. Despite almost every ride in the last few months dishing out a huge serving of grit and dirt, my Mallet Trails are still spinning smoothly. I fitted them to my low-slung Stiff Squatch test bike, with 80mm of bottom bracket drop the Mallet Trails found themselves having to fend off a number of pedal strikes. Other than a few aesthetical scrapes they are still spinning straight.
The Mallet Trail fills in the last gap in Crankbrothers clipless pedal range with a lightweight yet supportive trail pedal. The added platform and pins give a good amount of support for very little extra weight over the XC-orientated Candy. The Mallet Trails have plenty of versatility and are light enough for downcountry yet strong enough for enduro missions.
Tech specs: Crankbrothers Mallet Trail pedal
- Price: $179.99 / €179.99
- Colors: Black, Champagne, Purple
- Weight: 357g (pair)
- Float: 6 degrees
- Release angle: 15 degrees