The New Crankbrothers Pedal vs. The Old Pedal
Crankbrothers has confirmed with us a minor update to the inner body of the Mallet 3 pedal. The newest version of this product now has an inner body composed of die-cast aluminum, a change from the composite material in the version we reviewed. The price remains the same. The photo below shows the small difference in the appearance of the new model (on the left) and its predecessor (on the right).
A full platform clipless pedal, the Crankborthers Mallet 3 is most at home on an enduro or all-mountain bike, but it also works well for downhill riding. Just like bikes that are designed to handle anything, this pedal can handle uphill just as well as it can ride lifts and hit jump lines in the bike park.
The Mallet 3 is most at home on six-inch enduro bikes, like the Trek Slash 9.8 pictured here. This full-platform pedal provides distinct advantages for downhill riding, but is light enough not to hinder the pedal up.
Ease of Entry
The Mallet 3 is easy to clip into. The platform makes it easy for your foot to find the spring and the Crankbrothers spring action is smooth. Unlike the platformless Crankbrothers Eggbeater 2, which requires precision to accurately clip in, the platform on the Mallet 3 allows your foot a place to rest and push if you don't get clipped in immediately, and it also guides your foot to the spring, allowing for faster entry.
Ease of Exit
Exiting the Crankbrothers spring is smooth and easy. The traction pins on the platform make it a bit harder to get out of these pedals because they grip the rubber on the bottom of your shoes. However, the amount of grip depends on how high you run the pins. We recommend trying different pin heights front to back and side to side to dial in the feel that works for you.
The biggest problem with release from the Mallet 3 is the shoes you are likely to wear with these pedals, which can be so wide in the forefoot that they hit the crank arm at certain angles, preventing a full release. Once your cleats and the edges of the shoe break-in this will become less of a problem. Beware that with a new pair of Mallet 3s, new cleats, and a fresh pair of Five Ten Hellcats, you might find yourself falling over in front of your buddies.
Note that this is where the Crankbrothers Mallet DH Race and the Mallet 3 differ: the Mallet DH has a 10mm wider stance, which may make unclipping easier and prevent interference with the crank arm. This wider stance is known as Q-factor. To note the differences in stance width between products in our test we measured the distance between the outside edge of the crank arm to the center of the clip-in mechanism on each pedal. The Mallet DH's distance is 5 mm wider than the Mallet 3's, resulting in a 10 mm wider stance overall, which allows for more space between shoe and crank arm. So in summary, the Mallet DH may be slightly easier to exit than the Mallet 3.
The grip of the Mallet 3 can be fine tuned using the traction pins. They can be dialed up for a more aggressive grip or screwed down for a smoother, less grippy feel.
Just like with all Crankbrothers pedals, there is no adjustable tension to the clipping mechanism on this pedal. However, as we mentioned above, the feel of the pedal can be adjusted with the height of the traction pins. The Mallet 3 has 6 pins per side on each pedal, while the Mallet DH Race has 8 pins per side, giving you an even greater range of grip adjustability. We find that 8 pins per side isn't necessary, and we get plenty of grip with the Mallet 3's 6 pins.
You can also adjust your release angle by the way you install the cleats on your shoes. If you put the cleat with the indented dot on your right shoe you will get a 15 degree release angle, whereas if the cleat with the dot goes on your left shoe providing a 20 degree release. Because of the problem of shoe/crank arm interference we mentioned above we recommend you go with 15 degrees if you are running these pedals with beefy shoes like Hellcats or Minnars.
The Mallet 3s are heavy when compared to platformless pedals, but are lighter weight than the Mallet DH Race. Amazingly, the Mallet 3 actually weighs less than the semi-platform Shimano M530 by a little over 7 grams per pair.
Size comparison between the Shimano M530 (left) and the Crank Brothers Mallet 3 (right). Even though the Mallet 3 is larger, it is actually ligher than the M530.
The Mallet 3 platform is just a tiny bit smaller, but nearly the same size as the DH Race and the HT X1. We find this 4" x 3" size to be confidence inspiring. The platform allows a rider to pedal short distances without being clipped in, though the cleat retention spring sticks up slightly, making it less comfortable than a standard pair of flats.
The full platform pedals in our test (plus a pair of flats) for size comparison. From left to right: Shimano DX, Crankbrothers Mallet 3, Crankbrothers Mallet DH Race, HT X1, Shimano Saint flats.
Mud Shedding Ability
The mud shedding ability of this pedal is pretty good for a full platform clipless model. It is not quite as good as the Mallet DH, which has a more open design, but sheds mud way better than the Shimano DX or the HT X1, which have more small spaces to trap mud in the engagement mechanism.
The one downside in durability to these pedals is that they are half plastic, and plastic usually does not hold up well on a mountain bike pedal. But, despite the half plastic platform these are very durable pedals. Since the outer portion is aluminum, and this is the section of the pedal that takes the hardest beating, we have had no issues with the plastic bits. Compared to the Mallet DH, which has a completely aluminum cage, they seem about as durable.
The outer half of the Mallet 3's platform is aluminum while the inner half is plastic, which saves weight. The outer half of any pedal is more prone to damage from rocks (as you can see by the scuff marks) so this combo of metal and plastic is clever and advantageous.
This pedal has long been the daily downhill pedal for a number or our testers. We think it works just as well on an eight inch downhill bike as on a six inch enduro bike. The platform gives the Mallet 3 an advantage for the more gravity-oriented branches of mountain biking, but it isn't overly cumbersome or heavy for grinding uphill.
At $135, the Mallet 3 is quite a bit more than the Shimano M530, but it is lighter and has a bigger and better platform. Compared to other full platform pedals, the Mallet 3 is the least expensive in our test. We think this is an excellent deal if full platform clipless pedals are what you are looking for.
The Mallet 3 is our favorite full platform pedal that we tested, which is why it wins our Top Pick Award for enduro and downhill riding. We would choose this model to put on our downhill bikes over any of the others, and it is our favorite pedal for using on all of the bikes in our upcoming enduro bike review. It is lightweight, durable, and has adjustable pins to customize the amount if grip for your foot. If you want a full platform clipless pedal, you can't go wrong with the Mallet 3.
The Mallet 3 is best partnered with a softer, grippy shoe, like the Five Ten Hellcat pictured here.
This pedal is best paired with a softer bike shoe such as the Five Ten Hellcat and a six-inch enduro bike such as the Trek Slash or the Santa Cruz Nomad. Wear a pair with an extended coverage mountain bike helmet, and you will be ready to enduro enduro enduro! We also think this pedal is a good choice for a full blown downhill bike.
Other Versions and Accessories
Not only does the Mallet 3 come in red/black but they are now available in all black and camo, which is a combo of greenish, orange, and black. We love having more color options. (The better to match with!)
The Mallet also comes in several versions:
- Cartridge bearing/bushing
- Aluminum and plastic body
Crankbrothers Mallet DH Race
- Cartridge bearing/bushing
- Wider platform and Q-Factor
- More traction pins per side