Our "Rider Review" article series features the honest reviews from verified purchasers of Worldwide Cyclery. They contain the photos, thoughts, feedback & overall review you are looking for.
As someone who has his roots in BMX and dirt jumping as a kid, the ability to ditch the bike at any moment was essential. The only thing worse than falling to the dirt was falling with about 20 extra pounds of bicycle attached. Not only that, but my bike was my lifeline and the only real source of independent transportation I had. I needed to be able to get off the bike and be able to walk around without potentially digging clipped shoes into a friend’s new hardwood floors.
My BMX career ended abruptly around age 16, as most kids “upgrade” to automobiles in the states, leaving our pedal bikes behind. It was not until recently that I decided I wanted to get back into some form of cycling to not only stay in shape but also have some fun! I ultimately found mountain-biking and had to give it a go. With my background in cycling, I obviously went for a flat pedal to begin my journey. I chose Race Face Chesters, and who could blame me? They’re fantastic pedals, really! I still have two sets! However, I have since gotten into enduro and downhill riding at bike parks, and I immediately noticed that the meta of the racing scene is predominantly migrating towards clipless setups. Even downhill – a discipline known for needing to ditch the bike in a jiffy – is seeing more riders in the top 30 running clipless pedals! At this point, I knew I had to give this whole clipless “craze” a shot.
The day my Crank Brothers Mallet Enduro Pedals and shoes arrived, I was so excited, not only was it new riding shoe day, but also new bike parts! For clarity, I am running Five Ten Hellcats but any clipless shoe will work. Initial impressions were how great these pedals look and feel. The bearings allow for free-spinning, the finish on the machining and polishing were impeccable, and even the black anodizing was a nice deep color. I had watched WC's video about setting up Crank Brothers Pedals, which I HIGHLY recommend, I read the instructions but at the end of the day, a new rider has no reference for whether they want 15 or 20 degrees of release angle?! After the quick install and setting them up based on intuition and the advice from Jeff, I mounted my saddle and fiddled around until I was clipped in for the first time. It. Was. Terrifying.
It is such a foreign experience to be so locked to piece of machinery. I immediately lowered my studs in the pedals to allow me to unclip easier. After a few times clipping in and clipping out, I felt that I was ready to venture out and do a test ride around the block. I was starting to think I was getting the hang of it, but I felt my shoes were biting too hard to the pedals. I lowered my studs again and it feels great now. I am blown away by the amount of power I can generate. It is not natural yet, however, I was feeling on top of the world. That was until I had to abruptly stop. Let me tell you, nothing is more embarrassing than toppling over on a mountain bike going 2mph like a dingus! I did not yet have the muscle memory to turn my foot to the side before pulling my foot off the pedal. The worst damage was to my ego but I went home immediately to avoid anyone who saw that train-wreck ask me if I’m okay.
I decided I needed to head up to my local trails to really get the hang of clipless pedals, so I did a trial-by-fire and they felt great. Still constantly reminding myself that I needed to drop a foot I had to “twist before release.” Where I really fell in love was the first climb. I have never been able to climb up such steep angles with such constant and smooth power. I’m not necessarily smashing any rock gardens yet, mostly just XC trails and gravel roads as they generally require fewer foot drops. I’m still quite wary of a situation where I need to release my shoes from the pedals but my confidence is growing.
By my third day, I felt great. Unclipping was becoming instinctual and I was beginning to understand this craze in the world of cycling. I feel better, faster, and stronger in the climbs able to spin tires due to too much power. I could really feel a difference and the setup did not feel nearly as foreign. I tried my first real descent that day. I was shocked. I was so planted on the bike. Errors that resulted in the rear end bucking did not reposition my shoes or force me to drop a pedal like flats often did! I stayed planted in my favorite shoe-to-pedal position, and I was faster! We’ve all had a bump knock us just enough to make you spend the next 200 feet of descent trying to find that spot on the pedals you always use. It is so confidence-inspiring to be locked to the bike in these situations. This improved downhill control combined with climbing ability had me hooked.
"I have over 100 miles on these pedals and they are exactly what I was looking for in my next set. They look great which appeals to my vanity(sorry egg-beaters)! The Crank Brothers Mallet Enduro Pedals has so many benefits to my riding style and the studded platforms allow me to adjust for how much grip I want in this setup. Anything from an icy and slidey feeling to more grip than possible to remove the shoes! I find these pedals extremely well built and they look great! They’ve been through dust, mud, and everything in between and they still clean up great even after a few pedal-whacks off some rocks. The quality is top-notch, and they are from a fantastic company that stands behind their products. They have absolutely converted a “flats fo’ life!’ rider into someone who has a hard time riding a bike without clipless pedals! These clipless pedals are quite literally the most impactful upgrade I have ever installed on my MTB, I even have Strava times to prove it, but no KOMs (yet)!" - Joey Rutledge