Upgraded performance: Crankbrothers Mallet DH clipless mountain bike pedals review

Go hammertime

from Crankbrothers
RRP  £170.99
Crankbrothers Mallet DH clipless mountain bike pedals

by Adam Binnie |
Updated on

Few things on a mountain bike divide opinion like clipping in – ask a group of riders what they think of something like these Crankbrothers Mallet DH clipless mountain bike pedals, and the answers will swing from “sounds absolutely terrifying” to “I can’t live without them”.

The picture couldn’t be more different on a road bike or even cross-country, where efficiency can be the difference between winning and losing your race. Cleating your shoes to the pedals is a no-brainer.

Winning hearts and minds in gravity-fed disciplines like enduro or downhill is not just a case of promising more secure feet in a rock garden or techy root section - they also need to be easy to clip out of at a moment's notice. Can these Crankbrothers Mallets convert life-long flat pedal riders?

Verdict: It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that the Mallet DH pedals have been absolutely flawless during my test, given the number of pro downhillers who choose to run them on their race bikes. But they’re not just good for athletes - their confidence inspiring nature will also appeal to novices too.

They’re easy to clip in and out of, with enough float to shift your weight around. The large platform means they feel like flats under your shoes and they spin super smooth on the axles. A huge performance upgrade and easy recommendation all round.


  • Huge pedal platform
  • Easy to clip in and out
  • Rock-solid mechanism


  • Non-adjustable
  • Expensive replacement cleats
MaterialAluminium and steel
Dimensions (l/w)100mm x 78mm
Spindle length 57mm
Inner bearingIgus LL-glide bearing
Outer bearingEnduro MAX cartridge bearing

What’s good?

I like a big, concave platform for my shoe to sink into on my bike, and every other clipless pedal I’ve tried feels like I’m tip-toeing on a small point of contact under my sole, which I hate.

The Mallet DH pedals look like they’d work pretty well as a flat if you removed the mechanism in the middle, with plenty of real-estate to stand on and four big, tuneable pins either side for grip. The edges of the platforms are chamfered to resist getting hung up on terrain and the axle bearings feel buttery smooth.

Crankbrothers Mallet DH pedals end cap

Even unclipped they feel secure underfoot, but these are not hybrid pedals, they’re designed to be used with clipless shoes. The spring-loaded wings that clamp around the cleat have plenty of space for dirt to fall through and there are four points of entry – you can basically clip-in however the mechanism is rotated.

Under vertical load the pedals feel absolutely anchored onto your shoes, but it doesn’t take much outward rotation of your foot to unclip. This is really impressive – my old SPDs pedals can be set up for an equally quick exit but that also makes them feel insecure when being bounced around on rough terrain.

What’s okay?

Unlike those pedals you can’t directly tweak the tension on these, you have to replace the cleats with a set that offer more float or an easier exit.

Crankbrothers Mallet DH pedals mechanism

On one hand that’s a good thing – it means less faff and also removes an additional mechanism (and its weight) but if you’ve got a very particular way you want your pedals set up then the options available here might not offer enough adjustability.

There are also a bunch of different sized traction pads included in the box to help tailor the fit to your shoes. I might just need some more testing time, but I can’t say I can picked up on a huge difference between them.

Any negatives?

The cleats reportedly don’t last very long and are quite expensive to replace. I noticed a fair bit of surface damage after just a couple of rides. I’ll update this review with an estimate of how long they lasted.

Crankbrothers Mallet DH pedals traction pad

There’s no way around it either – using cheaper third-party replacements will void your five-year warranty as Crankbrothers say they reduce pedal lifespan. You also can’t use Shimano SPD cleats (even though they look quite similar) so buying a set of Mallets will mean converting any extra pairs of shoes you might have.

The pedals themselves are heavier than flats too, but then again, they are intended for everything up to downhill racing. That extra heft will be reassuring on an enduro bike and even on a trail bike I don’t reckon it’ll be an issue.

Gram-focussed cross-country riders might like to consider one of the lighter pedals in the Crankbrothers range.

Also consider:

How the product was tested

Crankbrothers Mallet DH pedals on a bike

These Crankbrothers Mallet DH pedals were tested on my Cannondale Jekyll enduro and Santa Cruz 5010 trail bikes, both on local cross country singletrack and bike park laps at Dirt Farm. Most of the testing took place in late winter and early spring so I got a good mix of dry mud and absolutely saturated slop to give the bearing seals a proper workout.

Adam Binnie is the Affiliate Operations Editor and reviewer for WhatsTheBest, specialising in bikes, fitness, cars, parenting and cooking.

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