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Over The Bars

Gear Review: Crank Bros Mallet
By Mike Sullivan

The revised coyote's tool...

Clip in or step on, your choice.

Sooner or later anyone who happens to ride a mountain bike around other people (or just hang out with fellow riders) the debate about clipless pedals is inevitable. Since I began riding mountain bikes, I’ve yet to see any other debate that is quite so polarized (saver for perhaps the full suspension vs. hardtail debate).

I started my riding career as a solo rider and rarely hung out with the “big dogs” because I didn’t think it was all that necessary to embarrass myself in front of others. That being said I got my clipless pedals knowledge from a little place called the internet. You see I was growing increasingly tired of shredding my shins on my pedals while navigating bumpy ascents and descents and the occasional hard shift. After doing a bunch of online research about different brands and styles I did what most people do: I ran down to the LBS and purchased the only kind they had on the shelf. In my case it was a set of Crank Brothers Mallet 1’s.

My first clipless ride would, as fat would have it, be a night ride (yeah, as in “in the dark”) at some local trails- probably the dumbest thing that I could have done. As it turned out, the pedals performed flawlessly even when I did not. I was amazed at my newfound abilities in climbing and also at the security I felt when descending and taking hard corners.

The Mallet C’s have an open “eggbeater” style clipping mechanism (like all Crank Bros pedals) and come equipped with a large stable platform. The clipping mechanism is one of the most simplistic designs out there and that simplicity translates to smooth flawless operation. There are no tiny springs or hinged parts that can get gummed up with mud or sand and they always clip and unclip the same way. The large platform was a nice feature that allowed me to sissy out on some of the sketchier portions of the trail thanks to decent operation even when you happen to be unclipped. The biggest advantage that I found with this arrangement has to be when you find yourself on a trail that you have not yet mastered and constantly feel the need to dab a foot. Thanks to the platform, you can get your foot right back on the pedal and start pedaling until you feel confident enough to lock in. This is especially nice when you take a dab at the top of a hill and need to get back on the pedals in a hurry.

I’ve been running mine for a little over a year now and with the exception of some paint rub there is no noticeable wear from when they followed me home from the bike shop. They are still just as smooth as the day I installed them.

I believe you can pick a set of Mallets for somewhere between $120-$270 (depending on the materials used/ weight) but at any price these pedals are a winner. A word of advice though, if you happen to be planning your first ever “clipped in” ride, perhaps consider doing so in the light of day.
weight 540g per pair
spindle forged scm435 chromoly steel
platform aluminum
wings carbon steel
spring 300 series stainless steel
traction pins 8mm set screws
kick plates stainless steel
release angle 15? or 20?
cleats premium brass
warranty 2 years
msrp $120

For more info: Crankbrothers.com

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