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Crankbrothers Mallet DH Race Review

Crankbrothers Mallet DH Race
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Price:  $165 List | $104.98 at Competitive Cyclist
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Large all aluminum platform, available in black or red, eight traction pins per side
Cons:  Heavy, Expensive
Manufacturer:   Crankbrothers
By McKenzie Long and Luke Lydiard  ⋅  Aug 7, 2015
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71
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Ease of Entry - 20% 9
  • Ease of Exit - 20% 7
  • Adjustability - 15% 4
  • Weight - 15% 5
  • Durability - 10% 8
  • Platform - 10% 9
  • Mud Shedding Ability - 10% 8

The Skinny

The Crankbrothers Mallet DH Race is a full platform clipless pedal made for charging downhill. It likes riding lifts and bombing back down on the hunt for KOMs. It is in league with other full platform pedals such as the HT X1, Shimano DX M647, and its little brother our Top Pick winner, the Crankbrothers Mallet 3. Of those pedals, this model is the most appropriate for riders who primarily ride downhill and like jumps and steep terrain. Overall we don't think the DH Race is much different than the Mallet 3, it has a slightly larger platform, slightly wider Q-Factor, more traction pins per side, and is heavier. In almost all cases we would rather go with the similar and slightly lighter weight Mallet 3.

Read the complete Mountain Bike Pedal Review to learn about all 8 clipless pedals we tested.


Our Analysis and Test Results

The Mallet DH Race is the full platform clipless pedal worn by World Cup Downhillers Steve Peat, Greg Minnar, and Stevie Smith. There is no doubt this pedal is popular with the pros, and if you are like the YouTube video and Only Ride Park, then this is the model for youl.

Performance Comparison


The large platform on the Mallet DH race makes these pedals quick to get into  and allows for a stable place to stand if you don't get clipped in right away.
The large platform on the Mallet DH race makes these pedals quick to get into, and allows for a stable place to stand if you don't get clipped in right away.

Ease of Entry


The DH is easy to clip into, the large platform guides the foot to the spring mechanism for quick entry.



Ease of Exit


It's easy to get out of the spring on any Crankbrothers pedals, but on the full platform styles with traction pins, the exit from the pedal can feel stickier or less grippy depending on the height and number of pins.

The Mallet DH Race has eight traction pins per side  more than the Mallet 3s  which have 6 pins per side. The feel of exiting the pedal can be modified by dialing the pins up or down.
The Mallet DH Race has eight traction pins per side, more than the Mallet 3s, which have 6 pins per side. The feel of exiting the pedal can be modified by dialing the pins up or down.

One of the primary differences between this pedal at the similar Crankbrothers Mallet 3 is that the DH has a wider Q-Factor. Q-Factor is your stance width from side-to-side on the bike. Measuring from the outside edge of the crank arm to the middle of the clip-in mechanism, we found that these pedals differed. The Mallet DH's pedal distance is 5 mm wider. Double that result, and you get a 10 mm wider stance overall than on the Mallet 3's. This is advantageous for downhill riders who usually wear bulky sticky rubber shoes because it leaves a little more space for the shoe to twist out of the pedal without hitting the side of the crank arm, which is sometimes a problem with the Mallet 3. This makes the Mallet DH marginally easier to exit.

Adjustability


There is no adjustable tension on the spring mechanism on any pedals by Crankbrothers. The only adjustable feature is the height of the traction pins, which can be dialed up taller for more grip or screwed in lower for less grip. This changes the feel of the pedal when clipping in and out. The DH has eight pins per side.

Remember, the dotted cleat allows for a 15-degree release your right foot, and a 20-degree release on the left.

Weight


On our scale the Mallet DH weighed in 5 grams heavier per pair than Crankbrothers' claimed weight of 479 grams.

The DH weighs 42 grams more per pair than the Mallet 3. That 1.4 ounces might not seem like much on your 40 lb downhill tank, but remember that pedals are something you move around using your legs, so extra ounces count. We tend to favor lighter weight pedals.

Here you can see that the Mallet DH Race (right) has a thinner profile than the Shimano DX (left). The DH race is 90 grams lighter than the DX per pair.
Here you can see that the Mallet DH Race (right) has a thinner profile than the Shimano DX (left). The DH race is 90 grams lighter than the DX per pair.

Platform


The Platform on the Mallet DH Race is big. It is just slightly bigger than the Mallet 3 platform. Technically the HT X1 has a slightly bigger platform than these, but the Mallet DH feels bigger because of the less tapered edges and additional 2 traction pins per side.

The Mallet DH Race has the second largest platform in this review measuring 4" x3.2". It is just a tiny bit smaller than the HT X1 and slightly larger than the Mallet 3.
The Mallet DH Race has the second largest platform in this review measuring 4" x3.2". It is just a tiny bit smaller than the HT X1 and slightly larger than the Mallet 3.

Mud Shedding Ability


The open design of the DH Race makes it slightly better at shedding mud than the Mallet 3 design because of the extra space between the spring and the platform cage.

Durability


The bearings on one of our test pedals began grinding after one season of use, which doesn't speak well for the durability. Crankbrothers sells rebuild kits for these pedals. Shimano doesn't sell similar kits because you will never need them with the dual angular contact bearings. Then again, Shimano pedals are so cheap you can just buy new ones for the cost of the Crankbrothers kit.

The all aluminum cage makes the Mallet DH Race a durable pedal. As you can see here  sometimes pedals take quite a beating on rocks  trees  and other terrain features. Metal is far more likely to last than plastic.
The all aluminum cage makes the Mallet DH Race a durable pedal. As you can see here, sometimes pedals take quite a beating on rocks, trees, and other terrain features. Metal is far more likely to last than plastic.

Best Applications


These pedals should be found on an eight inch downhill bike and should be used for shredding, winning world cups, and dominating Strava segments. The DH Race also makes a good option for large-footed riders who would benefit from more platform than what is found on the Mallet 3.

The large platform and entirely metal construction make the Mallet DH Race an excellent option for gravity-oriented styles of mountain biking such as downhill and enduro. The weight makes it not as ideal for styles of riding that involve a lot of uphill.
The large platform and entirely metal construction make the Mallet DH Race an excellent option for gravity-oriented styles of mountain biking such as downhill and enduro. The weight makes it not as ideal for styles of riding that involve a lot of uphill.

Value


At $150, the Mallet DH is the second most expensive pedal in our test. Though this is a high performance pedal for downhill mountain biking, we would recommend the Mallet 3 over the Mallet DH because they are lighter weight and $20 less expensive but still enough pedal for most riders.

Conclusion


Don't get us wrong, we like the Mallet DH Race. It is an all aluminum, durable pedal with a large platform that increases the ease of use. Besides the difference in Q-Factor, we think that the Mallet DH is a little redundant when compared to the Mallet 3 in Crankbrothers line-up. If we had to choose, we would go with the Mallet 3.

Recommended Pairing


Run this pedals on an eight inch downhill bike, wear a full-face helmet and neck brace, and ride soft shoes like the Five Ten Hellcat or Impact.


McKenzie Long and Luke Lydiard