Hands on with the new Crank Brothers Mallet DH/Race
Way back when, the original Crank Brothers Mallet was the first large platform clipless pedal I ever bought. To me, it was a radical departure from the small XC type pedals I had been used to, and it certainly didn’t hurt that it was on closeout to make way for the new models which had the addition of traction pins (I worked at a bike shop after all). That pedal is still kicking, though admittedly it hasn’t seen as much use as some of my XC pedals. Eventually, Crank Brothers sort of merged the Mallet and the Acid together to form a new AM/DH pedal that was somewhere between the two. Downhillers found themselves missing the wider platform of the original Mallets, which was the motivation for the all new Mallet DH/Race.
Getting back to the original shape and width of the first Mallets, the new Mallet DHs supposedly have a host of new features that will improve durability and provide the sure footed-ness needed to pin that next line. Get the breakdown of the new Mallets next.
Overall dimensions and profiles are nearly identical to the originals – though there is clearly a lot more machining to cut down on weight. Also, while the first and second generation Mallets had replaceable steel plates on the front of each face of the pedal, the Mallet DH forgoes these in favor of traction set screws only.
On the Bikerumor scale, Mallet DHs run 235g per pedal, or 470g per set – 9g less than claimed.
All of this is great, but it seems what everyone really wants to know about durability. In our disassembled view above you can see all of the pieces of the new pedal including the redesigned spindle. The spring is also stronger, which should save you in the instance of standing a pedal on a rock mid run. In addition to an improved design, with the development of the new Mallet came a string of new test procedures that will carry over into all lines of pedals. Standard pedal tests included:
- body drop test
- spindle deflection test
- spindle impact test
- spindle hardness test
- spring fatigue test
The new tests that were developed are:
- outer bearing load test
- outer bearing impact test
- seal cyclic test
- revised cleat wear test
Between the testing and the new design, the Mallet DH/Race pedals were raced a full season under some of the biggest down hill pros around, with zero failures. You and I aren’t pros though (at least I’m not), so we plan on testing these without a World Cup mechanic following us along.
In addition to the improved mud clearance and wider q-factor, Crank Brothers did some work on the inside of the pedal to keep them spinning smoothly. That grease covered blue circle in the first photo is the new seal which is responsible for the better sealing of the new pedal, keeping crud out of the needle bearing shown below. The pedal runs on an inboard needle bearing due to their increased radial load capacity with a cartridge bearing out board.
Overall, the new Mallet DH/Race seems like a better pedal through and through compared to my originals. How does that translate into real world durability? Stay tuned to find out.