2013 Crankbrothers Mallet DH/Race


Amanda showing us around the office

On a recent visit to the Crankbrothers Laguna Beach office, Amanda Schaper gave myself and Andy Lightle a tour to get to know the crew a little bit.

We did a little Q&A with Amanda and head designer Colin Esquibel to learn more about the new Mallet DH/Race.

Mtbr: What was the original vision for the Mallet when it was introduced several years ago. How has it evolved over the years and into this latest generation?

Crankbrothers: When crankbrothers first launched the mallet in 2003, it was a decision to cater to a wider range of riding styles. While the eggbeater garnered a great following with the XC crowd, adding a platform gave the additional support that trail riders were looking for. The mallet gained almost a cult following among DH racers, largely starting with support from Steve Peat and quickly growing from there. As the years went on, the mallet got further and further refined to the point of the current half composite/half aluminum mallet 1/2/3. This pedal became very popular among trail and all-mountain riders, but the top World Cup DH racers still loved and kept their original style mallets. In response to numerous requests, we adapted what they loved about the order mallet and incorporated our newest designs and features into the latest member of the mallet family, the mallet dh/race.

Lead pedal developer Colin Esquibel hiding top secret stuff

Mtbr: Who is the ideal user for this pedal? Is the new Enduro Racing scene a good showcase for this pedal’s versatility?

Crankbrothers: This pedal was designed as a pure DH pedal, truly inspired by and developed alongside World Cup DH racers. So, first and foremost, DH racers are the ideal user for the mallet dh/race. However, with the growing popularity of enduro racing, we’ve seen that many DH racers are branching into enduro and using this pedal on their enduro bikes. We’ve found that although the pedal was designed for the abuse of World Cup DH courses, the platform and milled out body lend itself very well to all types of trail riding–in fact, it’s the pedal you see on most trail bikes here in the office! The wider platform is very confidence inspiring.

Mtbr: What shoe or type of shoe is this pedal ideally suited for? Is there any development going on with shoe companies to perfect the interface between the pedal and shoe?

Crankbrothers: In testing the latest mallet and working with a wide range of World Cup DH racers, we wanted to make sure the pedal and cleat interface worked well with both traditional cycling shoes, as well as wider DH style shoes. The mallet dh/race was designed as a purpose built DH pedal. With that, it’s important to realize that riders and DH racers use both traditional shoes and the wider lace-up style shoes, depending on their riding style. Product development did a lot of research on shoe tread depths and variances to make sure the pedals were compatible with a wide variety of shoe styles. We work on different levels with many shoe companies to make sure we are all aware of the specifications each other’s product requires to perform at its best.

Founder Carl Wineforder showing off his favorite toy, the 3D printer

Mtbr: Any weight, pricing, color options in the future?

Crankbrothers: The mallet dh/race is currently available in red only at one weight (479g) and pricepoint ($140), with no immediate plans to add to the line. Our product development department keeps very busy though, so you never know what might come down the line!

Mtbr: Why is high Q-Factor good when we were trained in the past to think low Q-Factor is preferred?

Crankbrothers: The narrower q-factor is definitely preferred for XC riders, but in working with the World Cup DH racers, we’ve learned that a wider q-factor is better for dh riding and racing. The wider q-factor allows for a wider stance, which provides more stability. It also improves crank/shoe clearance, which is important for riders who are using wider, lace-up style shoes. With the current mallet 1/2/3, riders who used DH style shoes would have problems with crank clearance, so a wider q-factor accommodates a wider range of shoes, in addition to providing the added stability. The additional clearance also lends to more adjustability options.

About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.

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  • Steve Rogers says:

    I’ve used two pairs of the old Mallets. Performance was excellent, durability was not. I hope the old ones work as well and are a whole lot harder to break!

  • JimmyDee says:

    “Crankbrothers revamped the Mallet with several new features merge modern day technology with the original vision for the Mallet.”

    -article ends-

    So the new features that make it so great are…?

    Looks like a pretty average pedal to my eye.

  • Rob says:

    I received my new pedals a few weeks ago. First impressions were great, however on the second ride I ventured off road again onto fire roads. I know these are DH pedals, but I still recovering from a knee injury. Half way round the bearings were loose. Not by much, but they had lost the initial robust feel and you could feel lateral movement when rocking them by hand.

    Contacted CB´s straight away. The guy there was responsive and pleasant, but as I live in Spain suggested I return them to the Spanish distrubutor for “inspection and if possible repair”. Am now a week into the process and the supplier have not even responded to the shop. Due to this the shop are considering replacing them off their own back. I know this is a short time, but initial impressions on the product and the “5 year” afterservice warrantee are dissapointing. When you pay top dollar you expect that the company should react to resolve the problem ASAP. In this case there has been a lot of talk and no action.

  • wade says:

    Wow! got these pedals 12 weeks ago and they’ve been awesome. Come last weekend, one fell off. Yep, bearing crapped itself and the pedal actually fell off. I’m sure it would have been a pleasant experience if I was in mid flight, but luckily I was on the flat telling my mates how great they were…. What a joke these are and we all had to laugh… Top price, worst quality part I have bought in 15 years. Took back to shop who said water damaged!! What, so you can’t ride with these if it’s wet? Pedals had done less than 40hrs and although used in wet conditions, never was it raining or the pedals submerged… Look cool but anyone who can actually ride should stay well clear of any crank brothers product. Hadn’t used a product of theirs for 10 years before giving another go…..12 weeks later $260 New Zealand dollars gone – you can buy a whole bike for that much!

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