Crank Brothers Egg Beater 3 Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Lightweight, 4-sided entry, excels in the mud
Cons: Can be difficult to engage, small pedal platform
Manufacturer: Crank Brothers
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Crank Brothers Egg Beater 3 is a subtle upgrade to the previously tested Egg Beater 2, employing stainless wings instead of stamped steel. Overall, the Egg Beater pedal line-up is one of the most iconic designs in the bicycle world. The simple pedal design, with its obvious egg-beater namesake origin, is so straightforward and elegant that they make others look clunky and complicated. They're the only pedal on the market with four-sided entry and have become well known for their ability to resist packing up with mud. Lacking any type of platform or adjustability, their core user group seems to care more about weight than other performance factors. The Egg Beater is offered in four flavors, ranging in price from $60 to $450, for the "lightest pedal in the world."
Ease of Entry
Despite their four-sided entry, we rated these as some of the hardest pedals to engage. If your cleat doesn't hit exactly where it needs to, the pedal tends to roll underfoot. In technical situations, this tiny pedal can seem like an impossibly small target. With other pedals, there is sometimes a mashing that you do with your shoe until the cleat engages, the Egg Beater doesn't allow for that. Mashing your foot often results in your shoe in the dirt.
The mechanism itself works fine once you find it, but the engagement feels a bit vague. They lack the audible confirmation we've come to appreciate on pedals like the Shimano XTR M9100.
Ease of Exit
With nothing to hang up on, they're incredibly easy to get out of. No traction pins, platform or adjustment screws, just release. There isn't much in the way of a click when releasing, but because there is nowhere for your foot to rest, it's essentially ejected once released.
In theory, the stainless wings should be smoother and than the stamped steel wings found on the Egg Beater 2. The wing is the part that interfaces with the cleat, so this should result in smoother float, but our testers were hard-pressed to notice a difference. The stainless wing is more durable and spending the extra forty dollars on the Egg Beater 3 isn't for naught.
We didn't like the release on this pedal as much as the XTR M9100 as its sound and feel were so muted. It's a characteristic of all the Crank Brothers pedals, and it occasionally leaves you wondering whether you're engaged or not. The Time pedals are also similarly vague in their release sound and the amount of twist required to release.
Not much to adjust here, and our scoring reflects that. Depending on the orientation of the Crank Brothers brass cleats on the shoes, you'll have 15 or 20 degrees of float before disengagement. If you're of average weight and skill, the release tension seems adequate. Our lighter weight testers feel the release effort was a bit too high while our heaviest tester occasionally pulled out of the pedal by accident.
There is no adjustability of tension like you'd find on the Time ATAC XC 8, you're stuck with the preset release tension. Crank Brothers sells an aftermarket set of rubber sleeves that can be slipped over the cylindrical parts of the Egg Beater pedal. These rubber sleeves come in multiple different thicknesses and will create more resistance in the float as they obstruct the interface between shoe and pedal. It's the same concept as the traction pads for the Candy 7 and Mallet E applied to the Egg Beater. They do not have an effect on the release tension.
The small and straightforward Egg Beater is the lightest pedal in our test, weighing in at 280 grams per pair. If lightweight is what you're after, you'll be impressed.
It's worthy to note that Crank Brothers pedals also use the lightest cleats in our test at 33 grams - compared to 65 grams for the Xpedo GFX cleats. For those willing to trade more dollars in the pursuit of fewer grams, the Crank Brothers Egg Beater 11 weighs in at a paltry 179 grams per pair.
It's safe to say that platform isn't the forte of any of the Egg Beater models.
There are many models of Crank Brothers pedals featuring platforms, but the Egg Beater is for the purists. We'd recommend those purists use some pretty stiff shoes to compensate for their size. For those interested in platform, we'd recommend the XPedo GFX or Crank Brothers Mallet E.
Mud Shedding Ability
The Egg Beater pedals excel in the mud, as their open design sheds mud exceptionally well.
In real-world Sierra Nevada spring riding, we were unable to clog the Egg Beater 3 or the XTR M9100, regardless of how much mud we jammed in the bottoms of our test shoes.
It's no wonder that these pedals are incredibly popular for cyclocross racing, earning an 8 out of 10, alongside the Shimano XTR M9120 Trail, Shimano Deore XT M8120, Crank Brothers Mallet E, and Crank Brothers Candy 7. The highest scorer for this category was the Shimano XTR M9100 Race.
The retail price of the Egg Beater 3 is fairly reasonable, so they don't feel overpriced. They do, however, cost a fair amount more than the Crank Brothers Egg Beater 2 from our last test and weigh five grams less. Are they worth the extra dollars? We'd say no. While the wings are theoretically stronger and smoother, wing strength hasn't been an issue for us, and we really couldn't feel a difference in the float. As for the 5 grams, we're pretty sure we could clean 5 grams of dirt off of our shoes.
This style of pedals will be most appreciated by those counting grams on their bikes. We award them our Top Pick Award for weight savings. The Egg Beater is bare minimum underfoot and delightfully simple. That same lack of complication results in a less than user-friendly pedal, it requires precise aim when engaging and there's not much to adjust. Once accustomed to the size, clipping in becomes second nature and won't likely make you regret buying these. Very stiff cross country shoes will help compensate for their size.
This pedal is ideally paired with a stiff shoe, like the Giro Empire VR 90 or the Shimano S-Phyre XC9. They're best suited for lightweight cross country and cyclocross bikes.
— Joshua Hutchens