The US$140 crankbrothers Mallet 2 platform clipless pedals mimic the lastest all-mountain craze: burly looking but lightweight, and ready for heaps of punishment from weekend warriors and gnarly dirt devotees alike.
In fact, the 472g/pair Mallets seemed a bit too light out of the box at first, but my fears of breakage were waylayed after the first few rides through Saratoga Gap, where rock gardens typically wreak havoc on equipment.
The aluminum platform includes 8mm traction pins for grip in the wet, and houses the familiar crankbrothers four-sided stainless steel spring. Really cool carbon steel wings finish the package, which connects to your shoes with crankbrothers-specific brass cleats.
Some ankles will like the 15- or 20-degree release angle of the Mallet 2. After 16 years of using nearly everything else on the market, I found it quite easy to engage and click out of these pedals, even in sand and mud. The wider platform also works nicely with those with bigger/wider feet or those using a less lugged shoe. I tried using standard mountain bike shoes without cleats once, which worked, but I missed the ability to connect directly to the pedals.
The reliable crankbrothers spring tension is a blessing in most conditions; if you're wanting something lighter and narrower than the Mallet 2s, check out the Candy SLs. Either way, crankbrothers does it right.
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