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Crankbrothers Mallet E Review

This enduro worthy pedal comes complete with great versatility
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Crankbrothers Mallet E Review (crankbrothers Mallet Enduro)
crankbrothers Mallet Enduro
Credit: www.crankbrothers.com
Price:  $180 List
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Manufacturer:   Crank Brothers
By Joshua Hutchens ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 22, 2017
66
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#14 of 20
  • Ease of Exit - 25% 6.0
  • Ease of Entry - 20% 7.0
  • Adjustability - 20% 6.0
  • Weight - 15% 6.0
  • Platform - 10% 8.0
  • Mud Shedding Ability - 10% 8.0

Our Verdict

A compact platform clipless pedal made for enduro riding and racing, the Crankbrothers Mallet E is most similar to the XPedo GFX with its wide body and traction pins. Renowned for their mud shedding ability, these Crankbrothers pedals are natural picks for those riding and racing in wet conditions. The Mallet E is the updated, lighter and simpler version of our last test's Top Pick award for enduro/all-mountain riding. Winner of a design and innovation award, we were excited to see how it stacked up on the trails.
REASONS TO BUY
Stable
Confidence inspiring
Versatile
Attractive
REASONS TO AVOID
Heavy
Traction pins
Vague engagement
Expensive

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Bottom Line This wide bodied contender is known for mud-shedding abilities and is at home racing or enduro ridingStable platform, highly adjustable and available in a multitude of colorsShimano's latest enduro approved pedal grows up a bit and the refreshes are mostly welcomeA solid choice for those wanting next generation stability at an entry-level price pointSolid, stable and heavy, we found the control they offer top-notch
Rating Categories Crankbrothers Mallet E HT Components T2 Shimano PD-M8120 XT... Shimano ME700 Shimano Saint SPD M820
Ease of Exit (25%)
6.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
Ease of Entry (20%)
7.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
Adjustability (20%)
6.0
10.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
Weight (15%)
6.0
8.0
7.0
5.0
3.0
Platform (10%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
10.0
Mud Shedding Ability (10%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
Specs Crankbrothers Mallet E HT Components T2 Shimano PD-M8120 XT... Shimano ME700 Shimano Saint SPD M820
Weight per Pair (grams) 420g 380g 430g 482g 550g
Weight of Cleats and Bolts (grams) 33g 62g 51g 50g 50g
Cleat Type Crank Brothers brass HT X1 cleats SPD mountain SPD mountain SPD mountain
Style platform mini-cage mini-cage mini-cage mini-cage
Platform Dimensions (lxw) 95 x 77mm 83.5 x 68mm 100 x 71mm 100 x 74mm 100 x 79mm
profile height 21mm 17mm 18mm 19mm 19mm
Q-Factor 52mm 56mm 55mm 55mm 57mm
Total Width from Crank Arm 90mm 90mm 92mm 93mm 95mm
Entry 2-sided 2-sided 2-sided 2-sided 2-sided
Adjustable Tension no yes yes yes yes
Traction Pins 6/side 8 grub pins 0 0 4/side
Bearings Igus LL glide bearing / Enduro cartridge bearing Stainless Steel sealed cartridge bearings dual angular contact, metal retainer dual angular contact, plastic retainer dual angular contact, metal retainer
Cage Material 6061 Aluminum extruded/CNC machined aluminum anodized and machined aluminum painted aluminum forged and machined aluminum
Pedal Wrench Type 8mm allen 8mm allen 8mm allen 6mm allen or 15mm open end 8mm allen

Our Analysis and Test Results

The new Crankbrothers Mallet Enduro is the welterweight entry to their platform pedal line up. It's a versatile platform offering up a high level of stability with a tad less weight than the Xpedo GFX. This new offering from Crankbrothers sees a slimmed down, concave body with chamfered edges, customizable traction pads and adjustable traction pins in an updated configuration. The slightly concave pedal shape is designed to cradle the shoe and enhance traction while unclipped. Do the impressive list of features result in impressive performance? Read on to delve into the results of our testing below.

Performance Comparison


crankbrothers mallet e - crankbrothers mallet e in its natural habitat.
Crankbrothers Mallet E in its natural habitat.
Credit: joshua hutchens

Ease of Entry


As with most of the Crankbrothers pedals, entry is relatively straight forward; the pedal technically has a four-sided entry, but its cage makes it essentially a two-sided pedal. The traction pins, while helpful in many situations can hang up on some shoes, preventing smooth entry. This pedal's entry performance isn't affected by mud, sand, or debris, and can be relied upon when the trails (and your shoes) are in rough shape.

The entry is mostly consistent, sometimes offering more feedback in the way of auditory response and sometimes not giving much feedback at all, leaving the rider to wonder if they're engaged or not. Engagement is not affected by moisture, nor does it change the feel of the pedal's float as much as previous iterations of the pedal. The new polyurethane traction pads that replace the machined aluminum surfaces provide more consistent friction when they're wet. Despite any complications with traction pins, the slightly larger body of the Mallet E makes them just a bit easier to hit and engage than the Candy 7.

Ease of Exit


The exit release on the Mallet E feels consistent yet vague. The end of the float feels a lot like the beginning of the disengagement, if you've got the hang of riding Crankbrothers pedals, this isn't a big deal, and most riders quickly understand where exit release occurs. The issue with the new traction pads, however, is that they provide a bit of reluctance to the float; it's reassuring in terms of platform stability, but it diminishes the already vague feel. While these pedals can be set up to have a 15 or 20-degree release angle, depending on cleat arrangement, the amount of float seems at times, uncertain. By contrast, the Xpedo GFX have a smooth float and a hard stop before a solid click disengagement.

Adjustability


These CrankBrothers pedals have inherently less adjustability than most pedals on the market. With the Mallet E, however, there are a few tweaks that the user can make. All of their pedals offer six degrees of float, with a switchable 15 or 20-degree release angles using standard cleats. Reversing the mounting of the cleats changes the release angle from 15 to 20, which is a relatively simple task. These pedals come with 1mm and 2mm thick traction pads. You can adjust the level of contact with your shoe soles by switching between these two.

crankbrothers mallet e - the crankbrothers pedals all employ the same engagement mechanism...
The Crankbrothers pedals all employ the same engagement mechanism, the traction pads seen here on the Candy 7 (center) and Mallet E (right) are a relatively new feature.
Credit: joshua hutchens

By increasing or decreasing this interface, it gives more or less stability to the pedal platform. The Mallet E features six adjustable pins that can be inserted to different heights or eradicated for less aggressive traction. For enhanced efficiency, Crankbrothers also sell a 0-degree float cleat. All this adds up to a fair bit of 'adjustability' for a Crankbrothers pedal, but the Xpedo GFX (that also has adjustable release tension) takes the win for this category.

Weight


At 420 grams per pair, this model is lighter than most pedals offering a platform of this size along with traction pins. Unlike the mini platforms, the adjustable pins provide reassurance when unclipped. If you're vacillating between the Mallet E and Crankbrothers Candy 7, the extra 100 grams provides substantially more traction when unclipped.

Crankbrothers pedals and durability haven't always been a common pairing, but since 2016, all models have been upgraded to new bearings and seals intended to keep muck and grime out. These changes lead to increased life and time between servicing. Pedal refresh kits that contain bearings, bushings, and seals will cost you $25.

Platform


This pedal excels in technical situations where the rider may want to disengage from the pedal mechanism but still utilize its platform. It doesn't offer the stability or traction of a flat pedal but its a great compromise between the efficiency of a clipless and reassurance of a flat. The Mallet E is a good option for the enduro racer/all mountain rider or those wary of adding too many extra grams.

crankbrothers mallet e - comparing the platforms of the xpedo gfx and mallet e, the xpedo is...
Comparing the platforms of the XPedo GFX and Mallet E, the Xpedo is 7mm longer and 14mm wider.
Credit: joshua hutchens

Bested only by the Xpedo GFX in the platform category, the Mallet E gives the rider a stable and grippy purchase. At $169, this model is on the higher end of the price spectrum and are not what we'd consider inexpensive. Its a relatively large sum for a component you'll be bouncing off roots and rocks and dragging through the mud. That said, they're two of the five interfaces you have with the bike and one of the components that can make a serious impact on your level of confidence. While they do not offer the tremendous value we found in the Shimano M530, we still consider them a pretty good buy.

Mud Shedding Ability


The internals of this pedal are legendary for their resistance to packing up with mud, the addition of a platform only slightly diminishes its prowess in the foul weather. The Mallet E clearly outperforms the Xpedo GFX in this category repeatedly resisting our attempts at choking it with mud.

crankbrothers mallet e - to minimize variances in the type of mud we encountered, we brought...
To minimize variances in the type of mud we encountered, we brought the test to the trail. Here, we're playing in the mud.
Credit: joshua hutchens

Conclusion


If you're after a versatile pedal that will help you approach features with the caution of not being clipped in and the confidence of having traction the Mallet E offers a fine product. The somewhat vague entry and release didn't impress us but the pedal's ability to be unfazed by mud and debris was a certain plus.

Recommended Pairing


This pedal is best paired with a free ride shoe, like the Five Ten Hellcat where the soft rubber sole can take advantage of the traction pins. While not a bad choice on a cross country bike, the bulk and weight of these pedals leaves us to recommend them for bigger bikes where platform is more of a priority.

Joshua Hutchens