As one of the dominant players in the clipless market, Crankbrothers have long provided riders with top-tier pedals that offer a unique feel and engagement. With three core models in their line-up, they realized a need to fill the gap between their Candy cross-country pedal and enduro-focused Mallet E pedal. Introducing the Mallet Trail, Crankbrothers new mid-sized clipless pedal. Built around the same eggbeater retention system, double-sealed spindle, and platform design as its counterparts, the Mallet Trail was developed to accommodate a wide range of riding disciplines.
- 6061 aluminum
- Footprint: 78mm long x 74mm wide
- Optimized platform size designed for trail or gravel riding
- 57mm q-factor for additional clearance and stability (52mm or Ti spindle available)
- Integrated and adjustable traction pads
- Two adjustable pins per side
- Hex alloy endcap
- 4-sided entry
- Customizable float and release angle via different cleats
- Premium bearings and double seal system
- 5-year warranty
- Colorways: Black, Champagne, Purple
- Weight: 344g per pair (verified)
- MSRP: $179.99
The Mallet Trail follows the traditional Crankbrothers design, with an eggbeater retention system surrounded by an aluminum platform body. Its footprint size (78mm L x 74mm W) is closer to the Candy (67mm L x 74mm W) than the Mallet E (94mm L x 75mm W) but offers two adjustable pins per side for added grip. Separating the Mallet Trail from the rest of the Mallet family is its unique stepped design. By removing the middle of the platform in the rear, the design makes clipping in a bit easier, improves the pedal's ability to clear mud, provides extra clearance on the leading edge of the pedal, and saves a few grams.
Clipless pedal preference is very personal, but typically what draws riders to Crankbrothers pedals is the additional float and 'natural' feel of clipping in and out. While the Mallet Trail has no tension adjustability, float and release angle can be adjusted via different cleats (0 and 6-degree float options in standard or easy release angles). Additionally, changing pin height and traction pads can alter how tight or loose the pedal feels.
The mallet Trail uses the same double-sealed spindle system found on all Crankbrothers pedals, featuring an Enduro cartridge outboard bearing (designed specifically for pedals) and an Igus LL-Glide inboard bearing (exclusively formulated for Crankbrothers). The sum of these parts creates a pedal with extremely durable and long-lasting internals that are protected from the harshest elements. The spindle and internals are fully serviceable, and riders can upgrade to a titanium spindle or a smaller 52mm q-factor if desired.
Having spent the past decade riding Crankbrothers clipless pedals (when I'm not running flats), I was relieved that the Mallet Trail maintained almost the identical clip engagement, float, and smooth release characteristics that I love about the eggbeater mechanism.
Since most of my time has been spent on the Mallet E or mallet DH models that feature more pins per side, I've become accustomed to a tighter shoe-to-pedal interface. Out of the box, the Mallet Trail pedals felt looser with more float when clipped in, so I switched to the thicker 2mm traction pads, backed out the two pins 1.5 turns, and installed a cleat spacer on my shoes. The result was a snugger-clipped-in feel that still allowed me to mindlessly unclip when needed. Even though you can't adjust the tension of the eggbeater mechanism as you would with SPD-style pedals, I've never had a problem achieving the tension I want with the adjustments available on Crankbrothers pedals.
After a few months of bombing singletrack primarily on our Fuel Ex test bike, the Mallet Trail has lived up to the happy-medium intentions Crankbrothers set out to achieve. The platform is noticeably smaller than the Mallet E or DH but still offers enough support for aggressive trail riding. The addition of two pins per side nicely separates the Mallet Trail from the Candy pedal and gives riders an extra degree of tunability. The pins are less useful if you ride with all-mountain or hard-soled XC shoes, but when paired with the Crankbrothers Mallet BOA shoes, the pins sink into the outsole, adding a desirable amount of friction when twisting to unclip.
While I enjoy the look of the stepped pedal body, I didn't notice any difference clipping into the Mallet Trail vs. the Mallet DH I had been riding. My feet are hardwired at this point to know exactly where my cleat is on my shoe, and I rarely struggle to clip in. However, the stepped design could make clipping in easier for riders still acclimating to clipless pedals since there is less material around the eggbeater to snag your cleat on. What I did enjoy about the stepped design was the increased clearance on the leading edge of the pedal. Over the years, I've mangled several Crankbrothers pedal bodies via pedal strikes. In the last three months of testing, I've kept a clean slate and have not hit anything with the Mallet Trail pedals. This makes it tough to comment on how the pedals will fair when the inevitable pedal strike occurs, but based on the 15+ sets of Crankbrothers pedals I've owned over the years, I know the spindle and bearings are impressively bombproof to impacts, mud, water, and lack of maintenance.
What's The Bottom Line?
An ideal option for trail, cross-country, touring, or gravel riders alike, the Mallet Trail successfully fills the gap between Crankbrothers cross-country and enduro-focused clipless models, giving riders a light, sleek pedal with just enough grip and support. If you've ridden Crankbrothers pedals in the past, rejoice because the Mallet Trail maintains the same clip-in feel and float you know and love. If you are considering dipping your feet into the clipless realm, the stepped platform design could jump-start your learning curve thanks to less material surrounding the eggbeater mechanism. And in the long term, we expect to see a lot of riders swapping from the Candy or Mallet E to reap the benefits of a more compact pedal with pin adjustability.
For more information, please visit www.crankbrothers.com for more details.
Reviewed by: Jason Schroeder - Age: 28 // Years Riding MTB: 16 // Height: 6' (1.8m) // Weight: 175-pounds (79.3kg)
A once-upon-a-time World Cup downhill racer turned desk jockey, Jason has spent years within the bicycle industry from both sides of the tape. A fan of all day adventures in the saddle or flowing around a bowl at the skatepark, he doesn't discriminate from any form of two wheeled riding. A SoCal native who doesn't spend too much time in any single place, you can find Jason camped out in his van most weekends somewhere on the West Coast.