The Crank Brothers Mallet Trail is a brand new clip-in pedal that’s designed to suit a wide range of riding types. Featuring the iconic four-sided Eggbeater mechanism and a compact two-piece machined alloy body, the Mallet Trail straddles the gap between the Candy and Mallet E. According to Crank Brothers, this is now the most versatile pedal in its clip-in range.
The Crank Brothers Mallet Trail pedals
As with the Mallet E and Mallet DH, the Crank Brothers Mallet Trail features a sturdy platform that’s machined from 6061-T6 alloy. The leading edge is chamfered to help it glance off rocks, and each side gets two adjustable grub screws to provide a little more traction in front of the cleat area.
The footprint is notably smaller than the Mallet E, with the Mallet Trail measuring 78mm long x 75mm wide. It does feature the same 57mm spindle length however, which is 5mm wider than a Candy or Eggbeater pedal. This will turn off XC and gravel riders who prefer a narrower stance.
At the centre of each pedal is the four-sided Eggbeater mechanism. Made from stainless steel, the mechanism is able to rotate independently of the pedal body. Along with the large machined cutouts, the Mallet Trail offers plenty of space to evacuate mud and debris.
Supporting each pedal is a forged chromoly steel spindle, an Enduro cartridge outboard bearing, and a custom IGUS LL-Glide inboard bushing. The internals are protected by an external seal and an internal dual lip seal to keep the crud out and the grease in.
Crank Brothers Mallet Trail price
Unlike other Crank Brothers pedals that are offered in multiple spec levels, the Mallet Trail is only produced in the single version we have here. The price on these is $294.95 AUD, putting them at the premium end of the clip-in pedal market.
The pedals include a set of brass cleats, which provide 6° of angular float when engaged. Follow the ‘L’ and ‘R’ logos during installation and you’ll need to twist your feet 15° before the pedal will release. Swap the cleats from left to right, and that release angle increases to 20°. Prefer a narrower release angle? Crank Brothers offers the optional ‘Easy Release Cleat’ for exactly that.
Further adjustability can be had with the included Traction Pads. These interchangeable plastic shims sit on either side of the Eggbeater mechanism and help to take up any available space between the pedal body and the underside of your shoes. You get both 1mm and 2mm thick Traction Pads in the box, and they’re relatively easy to change over if needed.
Crank Brothers Mallet Trail weight
Confirmed weight on our set of Crank Brothers Mallet Trail pedals is 356g for the pair, without cleats.
They’re some of the lighter platform pedals on the market, coming in under the Shimano XTR Trail pedals (396g confirmed) and the Time Speciale 12 pedals (412g confirmed).
The weight differential increases further when you factor in Crank Brothers’ brass cleats (40g) compared to a set of Shimano SPD cleats (51g).
What’s good about the Crank Brothers Mallet Trail?
Anyone who’s used a set of Crank Brothers clip-in pedals before will be familiar with the ergonomics of its distinctive Eggbeater mechanism. Entry is smooth and fluid, with the spring providing a linear rate that means very little force is required to engage your cleats.
As the mechanism and internal seals bed in, it becomes easier to rotate the Eggbeater wings within the pedal body. This means you can roll your foot forwards or backwards, or alternatively, just stomp downwards to clip in. It’s very forgiving, even in wet and muddy conditions.
The angular float is also great for sensitive knees, as the Mallet Trail doesn’t totally lock you into position. This provides a nice bit of flexibility for those who like to move around the bike and rotate their hips through the corners. It feels a little more like using flat pedals, which may be why World Cup downhill racers like Loic Bruni and Vali Höll choose to race on the Mallet Trail’s big brother, the Mallet DH.
Given the impressively low weight, there’s still a good amount of platform available underfoot with the Mallet Trail. Our best results were achieved when using a slightly flexier trail-oriented shoe with a rubber outsole (like the Shimano ME7 shoes shown here), which provided more surface contact with the pedal body. Riders with stiff carbon-soled XC shoes will experience less benefits from the bigger platform, and will likely be better off with the smaller and lighter Candys.
What don’t we like?
If you haven’t gelled with the Eggbeater mechanism in the past, your experience is likely to be much the same with the Crank Brothers Mallet Trail pedals.
The downside of the effortless entry is a somewhat vague release that lacks the audible snappiness of a Shimano SPD mechanism. You can’t adjust the spring tension either, so it’s simply a matter of getting used to it.
We’ve had moments in the past with a set of Mallet DH pedals where a rock has smacked the underside of the Eggbeater wings, causing the top to randomly unclip from the cleat. That was a rare occurrence, though it’s still worth mentioning.
The adjustable pins aren’t overly effective, and are really only there to grab your shoe tread if you’ve rolled too far forward of the mechanism. Overall there’s less grip compared to the bigger Mallet E and Mallet DH pedals. If your trails are especially fast and rocky, those pedals will provide a more stable platform and greater traction thanks to their additional pins and more widely-spaced layout.
Lastly, while the long spindles will likely work for most riders, those who prefer a narrower Q-factor are currently out of luck withthe Mallet Trail. Hopefully we’ll see a standard option join the range in the future.
The Crank Brothers Mallet Trail pedal takes the successful and well-proven recipe of the Mallet E and Mallet DH, and shrinks it down to an impressively svelte pedal that boasts a class-leading weight.
They offer the effortless entry and release that Crank Brothers is well known for, and incredible mud-shedding capabilities that few clip-in pedals can match. There’s excellent adjustability for customising their fit, and while outright grip isn’t as good as their bigger siblings, the platform is still usefully broad.
They certainly aren’t cheap, but the Mallet Trail does feature a high-quality construction and a user-serviceable design to back it up. They also look pretty snazzy too, especially when compared to the dull greys and blacks of a Shimano SPD pedal. Along with a generous spare parts catalogue, options to customise the fit, and a 5-year warranty, the Mallet Trail is a top-notch option to add to the list.