As we gathered during our sneak peek at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show, CrankBrothers have infused their new Mallet and 5050 pedals with much of the same DNA as their revamped Candy and Eggbeater models. In particular, both ranges benefit from new slimmer, two-piece press-fit bodies and greatly improved sealing – in fact, CrankBrothers are so confident of the latter that the warranty period is now a generous five years on most models.
The top-end Mallet 3 gets a two-piece aluminum and polycarbonate body with adjustable 8mm traction pins, investment cast wings, forged chromoly spindles, and a combination of needle and cartridge bearings for a silky smooth spin. Claimed weight is a competitive 435g for the pair and pricing is very reasonable at US$120. The $90 Mallet 2 downgrades to stamped steel wings and an inboard bushing while the entry-level Mallet 1 uses a polycarbonate body for just $60.
All-new from CrankBrothers for 2012 are three redesigned Mallets
Differences between the 5050 3 ($100, 433g) and 5050 2 ($80, 428g) flat pedals are similarly small. Both use two-piece aluminum and polycarbonate bodies, forged chromoly spindles, 10mm adjustable traction pins and outboard cartridge bearings. The 5050 3 uses a smoother-spinning inboard needle bearing, though, while the 5050 2 makes do with a bushing.
New freehub bodies for all wheels plus all-new carbon-rimmed cross-country model
CrankBrothers' new Cobalt 11 flagship wheelset retains the unique paired spoking and rim attachment method found on the company's other wheels but upgrades to 19mm-wide (internal width) tubeless-compatible carbon fiber rims that drop the complete claimed wheelset weight down to just 1,380g – assuming you can stomach the $2,200 pricetag (and the love-it-or-hate-it anodized black and gold finish).
The new Cobalt 11 wheels use tubeless-compatible carbon rims to hit an impressive 1,380g claimed weight
CrankBrothers have also taken weight out of the second-tier $950 Cobalt 3 thanks in part to more aggressive rim machining. The 26in versions now weigh 1,550g (a loss of 40g from the 2011 model) while the 29er variant boasts a claimed weight of 1,670g (a drop of 89g). New for 2012 is the entry-level 1,690g Cobalt 2 (1,773g for the 29er version), which we first saw at the UK's Core Bike show, with less rim machining and cheaper hubs for $650.
The Iodine 3 all-mountain and Opium 3 downhill wheelsets have also been put on diets, dropping 138g and 127g of mass, respectively – claimed weights are now 1,765g and 1,935g. All CrankBrothers wheels get much-needed freehub body changes, too, with all-new designs that are said to withstand over 10 times the static load of previous models.
The CrankBrothers Opium 3 downhill wheelset drops 127g off of last year's model
Cobalt and Iodine models also feature convertible 9/15mm front hubs and 135/142mm rear hubs, though the latter comes with a caveat: only 142mm through-axle wheels can be converted to quick-release as the 135mm models get extra internal machining that saves an extra 35g but prevents the use of an oversized axle.
New saddles, multi-tools and bags, too
CrankBrothers move into yet another product category with the introduction of two new saddles for 2012: the Iodine 11 and Iodine 3, both made in Italy by Fi'zi:k and featuring relatively flat upper profiles, genuine leather covers, and slight central channels to help alleviate pressure. The $170, 239g 11 gets tough-and-light K:ium rails while the $110, 283g 3 substitutes hollow chromoly rails instead.
CrankBrothers add two saddles to their range for 2012, both made in Italy by Fi'zi:k
Both sets of rails are replaceable, too, via clever aluminum wedges that are bolted into the front end of the saddle. According to CrankBrothers, this will make for easier (and cheaper) saddle repairs in the event of a bad crash – just unbolt the wedge, slide the damaged rails out, insert the new ones and bolt the wedge back into the shell.
The company move a bit further upscale in the tool department with the new Pica+, Pica, and Pixl, all with sleek 6061-T6 aluminum bodies, keen styling with rounded edges and sculpted lines, and detented investment cast stainless steel bits that conveniently hold their positions during use. Prices range from $60-70.
The new Pica+ multi-tool includes 8mm and 10mm sockets
Finally, CrankBrothers are even moving into the soft goods arena, with two hydration packs, two messenger-style bags, a saddle pack and even a big gear bag. Check out our image gallery for more pictures of the whole range.