CrankBrothers have yet to officially announce changes to their harder-hitting Mallet and 5050 pedals — or even mention a saddle — but we spotted some keen-looking prototypes on Independent Fabrication bikes at this year's North American Handmade Bicycle Show in Austin, Texas.
Not surprisingly, the new Mallets and 5050s look to use the same bolted-together bodies as the new Candy and Eggbeater models. Big Torx-head bolts are fed in from the inner side of the pedals for not only a clean look but also some protection from impact. Assuming CrankBrothers have carried over the same improvements in sealing, too, we expect the updated Mallets and 5050s to offer the same warranty as the redesigned Eggbeater and Candy pedals.
The clip-in Mallet retains CrankBrothers' trademark retention system but the extruded aluminum body is a touch sleeker and squared-off than before. A trio of traction pins are positioned at the front and rear edges as before but the center section now has some grippy appliqués for a more secure feel – hard to say at this point how well they'll hold up over time, though. The replaceable kick plates on the current Mallet go away but the two-piece body now opens up possibilities for more creative color combinations.
Changes to the 5050 flat pedal are more radical: the body is notably thinner, the traction pins have been redistributed to the periphery, the center of the platform is more open for better mud evacuation, and the traction pins now revert to more traditional set screws instead of the reverse-access ones of the original model. The center of the body now has much more texturing than the previous model, as well.
New CrankBrothers saddles, manufactured by sister brand Fi’zi:k
Curiously, the new CrankBrothers saddle that we spotted bore remarkable resemblance – at least in terms of overall shape and profile – to some WTB models. Made for CrankBrothers by Fi'zi:k, the new saddle is slightly hammock-shaped from front to rear but sports a nearly flat profile left-to-right and a broad rear section with a slight central depression to help alleviate soft tissue pressure. The rounded tail and slightly dropped nose should make for mostly snag-free movement in technical terrain while strategically placed cutouts in the shell add some extra squish.
We weren't able to confirm this last piece of information, but it looks like it may be possible to replace the rails should they be bent in a crash. By our eyes, the aluminum plug under the nose is easily removable and should allow the rear of the rails to then easily pop out of the shell. Unfortunately, we have no official word from CrankBrothers on weights, pricing or availability just yet, but based on their current numbering scheme and markings on each of the items we saw at NAHBS, there should be multiple performance and cost levels for each range just as before.