If you’re a more aggressive rider who’s after the feel of a traditional flat pedal, but want the security and power transfer of being clipped in, Crankbrothers’ Mallet E LS may be the pedal for you.
That feeling of support does come at a cost, however, not only in hard cash, but in the hassle of initial fitting.
Crankbrothers Mallet E LS clipless pedal setup
I suffered a number of false starts when testing this pedal, under the illusion I could simply fit them, bolt the cleats on and ride off into the sunset with the instructions gaily fluttering to the ground in their wake.
While this may hold true for most clipless pedals, the Mallets need a little more tuning, otherwise they either refuse to work or, possibly worse, don’t work at their best with the rider unaware they aren’t getting the most from their expensive investment.
The function is so dependent on the interface of shoe and pedal that you really need to carefully customise the setup with cleat shims and side platform bumpers to get it right.
Once done and the shoe contacted properly without fouling the mechanism or pins, they really came to life, with a beautifully light – if slightly vague at times – entry and exit and noticeably improved support.
Be prepared to put time in and, if you change your shoes, to do it all again. With a few of my shoes I had to wind the pins further into the pedal body too, to prevent a poor release because they were grabbing the outsole and preventing a clean twisting action.
It was good to have them there as an extra grip option for stamping onto in an emergency however.
Crankbrothers Mallet E LS clipless pedal customisation
An additional customisation option is the cleat. You can choose between 0- and 6-degree float, and a 10- or 15-degree release angle, mixing those numbers up as you see fit for your preferred action. I settled for 6 degrees of float and a 15 -degree release for maximum security with the most comfort and movement.
The E LS refers to a 5mm longer spindle version of the standard E, giving the rider a wider stance, which I felt added to stability compared to more standard pedal width.
Of course, it could set you on a collision course with more ruts and trail obstacles, but as with everything, you take your choices according to your riding profile and regular stomping grounds.