The Crankbrothers Mallet DH pedals are designed for downhill racing or riding with a wider q-factor and a larger platform than the similarly priced Mallet E’s. These aren’t to be limited to DH use though, the supportive pedal is equally at home on regular trails too.
The Mallet DH’s cost £150 and are one of two pairs designed for downhill riding, the other being the astronomically priced titanium Mallet DH 11 at £300. The new iteration of the Mallet DH includes traction pad technology seen on the Mallet E pedals and a chamfered leading edge for more clearance.
The open design of the Mallet DH’s make for a clean and elegant looking pedal, they also shed mud very well, better than any other clipless pedal I’ve used. They feature the same four-sided egg-beater mechanism other Crank Bro offerings, which is able to rotate through 360 degrees. The pedals spin on a forged chromoly axle with a 57mm q-factor, wider than the Mallet and Mallet E’s to give more space for bulky shoes and wider spaced swing arms. The inner bearing is an igus LL-glide bearing whilst the outer is an enduro cartridge bearing, neither of which I have heard a peep of complaint from during two months of winter testing.
The concave shape makes locating the cleat mechanism easy and I found it quicker to get clipped into than other Crank brothers pedals I’ve tried such as the Mallet 3's. The open design sheds mud better than ever before and they aren’t too heavy either for such a large platform at 482g per pair. The 8 long pins per side are all adjustable but make sure you get it right before caking them in too much mud, otherwise it’s a job to clean the dirt out of the pin in order to get the Allen key in, an issue with non-through mounted pins.
The large platform of the Mallet DH pedals is super supportive both when clipped in and on the rare occasions I wasn’t, I felt well balanced no matter where in the 6 degrees of float I was. The ability to move the foot around on the pedal allows movement on the bike to feel much more fluid and less like you are stuck rigidly in one position. Whilst riding hard, or dabbing a foot, the large platform is handy to slam a foot back onto and feel relatively secure, meaning you can continue riding pretty hard downhill even when not clipped in.
Those pins are pretty sticky though, on one set of shoes with a deep cleat recess (Scott MTB AR shoes) I needed to wind the pins right in and use an extra spacer in order to locate the cleat at the correct height before I could get clipped in. On another set (Spesh Cliplite Lace shoes) I didn’t need to make these alterations and could extend the pins further for more grip when unclipped.
Cleat release angles are customisable (although release tension isn’t adjustable) between 15 and 25 degrees depending on which foot you position the cleats on. I also tried out the 0° float cleats that are available as a separate purchase on these pedals and whilst the clip in mechanism is still a little vauge if you are used to Shimano SPD’s, the clip out is much more positive and I preferred it. The brass cleats though, do wear quickly and as they have worn, I’ve found myself unclipping mid trail which is a little disconcerting.
With reference to the traction pad technology, these are small interchangeable height pads either side of the cleat, helping close any gap between the shoe and the pedal. The deep cleat recess on my shoes meant I didn’t need to change min from the thinnest set supplied, if you do it’s a tricky job and I found it to require some elbow grease and a flat head screwdriver to push the old pads out!
The Mallet DH’s are a rather pricey investment at £150 when there are other large platform pedals for less, the new Shimano Saints SPD’s are £110 and even cheaper are the Funn Ripper clipless pedals are £100, granted though these offer few pins and both are heavier than the Mallet DH’s.
If you like the Crank Brothers cleat mechanism, are happy to spend some time learning the knack of getting in and out of these pedals and enjoy the benefits of the flat and large platform, you’ll get on like a house on fire with the Mallet DH’s. I’m going to use them when racing, planting a foot on the pedals and not slipping off even when unclipped should lead to faster times and more confidence!