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.
Crankbrothers Mallet DH Race Review
Cons: Heavy, Expensive
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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