New Crankbrothers Mallet Trail Pedals: Flat Pedal Feel for Clipless Riding [Review]

The new Crankbrothers Mallet Trail pedals offer a medium-size platform for clipless riders who prefer a more flat shoe feel.
Crankbrothers Mallet Trail pedals

The Crankbrothers Mallet Trail pedals are the latest addition to the brand’s lineup, fitting in between the larger platform Mallet E pedals and more compact Candy pedals. Like all the pedals Crankbrothers peddles, the new Mallet Trails feature four-sided entry designed to shed mud better than a Husky sheds fur ahead of the summer. I began long-term testing of these in September, and here’s what I’ve found.

Crankbrothers Mallet Trail pedal specs

Clearly Crankbrothers is going for a Goldilocks platform size with the Mallet Trails; not too big, and not too small. The roughly hexagonal body measures 78x64mm and features two replaceable pins at the front. There are also two rubber-like pads centered on the sides for extra traction.

At the center of the pedal there’s a four-sided, Eggbeater-style clip mechanism. Crankbrothers notes the Mallet Trail pedals feature an elongated spindle with a 57mm Q factor, 5mm longer than the Candy pedals and the same as the Mallet Es. Compared to a pair of Shimano XTR pedals I have on another bike, the center of the pedal sits roughly 5% farther away from the crank arm. It’s not a huge difference, but for those who wear shoes with thicker ankle padding or for riders who can benefit from a slightly wider stance, it’s a nice touch.

There’s no way to adjust the release tension on the Mallet Trail pedals, and both float and the release angle are dictated by cleat choice. My test pedals shipped with Crankbrothers’ Standard Release cleats with 6° of float and a 15° release angle.

According to the brand, the Mallet Trail pedals feature premium, double-sealed bearings, use the same refresh kit as other Crankbrothers pedals, and come with a 5-year warranty. The Crankbrothers Mallet Trail pedals weigh 178g each on my kitchen scale.

Crankbrothers Mallet Trail pedals in profile

On the trail with the Mallet Trails

I’m very familiar with Crankbrothers pedals, particularly the Eggbeater and Candy versions, which I have used for many years. As always, the pedals are easy to get clipped into and stayed crud-free through some of the worst of winter riding conditions.

The Standard Release cleats give the Mallet Trail pedals a distinctively flat pedal feel compared to other systems, offering a generous amount of float. That makes it easier to steer into turns with your feet, and for some it’s also easier on the knees.

The pins and pads on the Mallet Trail pedals are a helpful touch for those times when you drop into a descent but you’re not quite ready or willing to clip in. Coupled with the 6° float cleats, the pins and pads give the pedal a hybrid feel which new clipless converts will likely fit familiar and reassuring.

I struggled to get comfortable with the 15° release angle on the Standard Release cleats. Crankbrothers sells an Easy Release kit separately, and that’s likely what I would prefer, even though it’s marketed for “novice riders or those new to clip-in pedals.” I mean, I’ve only been riding with clipless pedals for the last 25 years, so I guess that makes me new. That being said, muscle memory is a real thing and the pedals and cleats I’m most familiar with disengage earlier than what Crankbrothers considers to be standard.

The cleat release tension on the Crankbrothers Mallet Trail pedals feels a bit lower than average; that is, it doesn’t take a lot of force to clip and unclip. Getting clipped in doesn’t take much pressure, and it’s possible to vertically yank out of the pedals in an emergency. Just don’t pull up too hard when cranking up a steep hill.

I tested the Mallet Trail pedals with Five Ten Hellcat shoes and found the two mate well together. Of course Crankbrothers has their own line of shoes now that promises even better integration, though I can’t personally vouch for this claim.

The purple finish on the pedal body really pops, and I was worried it would scratch off easily after noticing some minor nicks very early on. To give an idea of how the finish wears over time, the photos with the green background were taken after my first ride, while those on the slate background were taken months later. Overall the finish seems to be quite durable, though obviously it will scratch off if and when you drag it over a rock.

I experienced a few pedal strikes with the Mallet Trail pedals early on in my testing so I decided to investigate why this might be the case. The pedals aren’t any taller than others I’m used to; in fact the top of the clip is slightly lower than the XTRs, at least when oriented perpendicular to the body.

The only thing I can think is that, depending on the angle of my foot, the four-sided clip mechanism gets rotated at an angle to the body, causing it to protrude by an extra millimeter or so. It’s also possible that slightly wider stance is allowing the pedal to contact the ground a bit sooner in corners. Again, this is likely one of those muscle memory things that can and does disappear over time. It just goes to show how finely tuned we become at riding our bikes!

The pedals are still spinning very smoothly after months of testing across a range of conditions from wet to dry.

Pros and cons of the Crankbrothers Mallet Trail clipless pedals


  • Good size platform with extra shoe grip
  • Slightly wider than average stance
  • Doesn’t get gummed up in loose conditions


  • Some may find the release tension is too loose for their preferences
  • Standard cleat release angle and float may take some getting used to

Bottom line

The Crankbrothers Mallet Trail pedals offer a good, mid-size platform for clipless pedal riders and delivers a flat pedal feel with the 6° float cleats.