A wide pedal with a grippy platform and a love or hate clip in mechanism
Nov 27 2017
Large platform offers plenty of grip
Shed mud very well
The float on offer gives plenty of foot position choice
Clip in mechanism is vague and won't be to all tastes
Hard to get clipped in quickly 100% of the time
You like a large cage providing a good pedalling platform and get on well with the clip in mechanism
The Crankbrothers Mallet 3 clip-in pedals sit between cheaper Mallet 2’s and lighter Mallet E’s in the company’s extensive lineup. The 3’s offer a ‘love it or hate it’ clip-in mechanism with that Crankbro distinctive ‘float’ feeling and a large surrounding platform for extra support.
I’ve long been a Shimano SPD pedal fan but in the hunt for a bit more support from the surrounding pedal platform I turned to Crankbrothers for the answer. The Mallet 3’s, at £120 are the second cheapest Mallet you can buy, with the base model (Mallet 2) coming in at £90 and the Mallet E’s we reviewed back in July, costing a slightly spendy £150. Differences between the 2 and the 3 lie in the grades of steel used in the wing material and the inclusion of 6 pins per side on the Mallet 3 for increased grip.
The Mallet 3’s are a particularly chunky looking affair with the central four-sided clip mechanism surrounded by a two-tone platform. The mechanism in the middle of the pedal is easy to locate at a standstill but it’s not so quick to clip in on the move when compared to clipping into a Shimano pedal where you are guided in nicely. The Crankbro’s clip and cleat don’t offer the same way of sliding forwards into the mechanism as you find with a Shimano SPD, it’s a case of planting your foot down directly on the pedal above the mechanism, wiggle and hope for the best. 8/10 times it happened for me, the other times I’m left flailing and failing to hit the spot.
Once clipped in and on my way though, I liked the 6 degrees of ‘float’ on offer from the Mallet’s, the range of movement aids foot movement during cornering. I didn’t experience any mid-corner ‘unclipping’ as other riders reported I might. If you don’t like to ‘float’ you can always purchase 0 degree float cleats instead.
Clipping in and out of the Mallet’s don’t produce a resounding ‘click’ as Shimano pedals do, it's less distinct and sometimes hard to fathom if you are in or out. At the end of the trail the Mallet 3’s like you to conduct a quick, sharp exit. Turning the heel out slowly saw me stretch that float to the maximum and take part in a few more SPD fails than I’d like given an audience. Cleat release angles are customisable between 15 and 25 degrees depending on which foot you position the cleats on. I set the cleats to the former for the duration of the test, feeling as if 25 degrees was a little too much rotation to employ before being allowed to exit the cleat. The clip mechanism with a protruding and open design clears mud well with only the outer corners of the cage harbouring the sticky stuff. Not a problem in mechanical terms but did add a little more weight.
The cage of the Mallet 3’s is pretty large and can be clearly felt when pressing down on the pedals. As well as providing a large foothold, it also prevents the feeling of balancing on the ball of your feet which over a long day dissipates pressure. The 6 removable pins add traction when needed, helping grip matters when you slam the foot on the pedal when unclipped, whilst not hindering the classic ‘float’ movement of a Crankbrothers pedal when clipped in. I felt confident riding down a techy trail unclipped, the cage and pins provided me enough grip to carry on riding and be relatively happy about that decision! Whilst the large platform undoubtedly adds to the weight of these pedals, at 503g they are still lighter than other clipless pedal with a similarly sized cage, even if they are a way off the 435g claimed weight. Price is on par with competitors too for the size, shape and weight, for example the new Shimano Saint SPD pedals are 60g heavier but £11 cheaper.
There’s no hiding from it, durability has been a problem in Crankbrothers history, I’ve been giving these a hard time for a few months now and have felt no play in the bearings. Whilst the marmite clip mechanism isn’t for me, I prefer to be helped towards the cleat for a quick getaway, I liked the float on offer. I'm no weight weenie and felt the benefits of the large surrounding cage both when laying down the power and over long days in the saddle.
Editor here at off-road.cc, Rachael is happiest on two wheels. Partial to a race or two Rachael also likes getting out into the hills with a big bunch of mates. In the past Rachael has written for publications such as, Enduro Mountain Bike Magazine, Mountain Biking UK, Bike Radar, New Zealand Mountain Biker and was also the online editor for Spoke magazine in New Zealand too. For as long as she's been riding, she has been equally happy getting stuck into a kit review as she is creating stories or doing the site admin. When she's not busy with all the above she's roasting coffee or coaching mountain biking in the Forest of Dean.