The Mallet E shares a similar overall profile to the classic Mallet DH, albeit pared down to provide a lighter body with better clearance for pedalling and cornering. The Mallet E’s aluminium platform has six adjustable pins per side and also uses Traction Pad Technology. This consists of two replaceable plastic plates that sit either side of the clip mechanism and help to provide a solid interface with the shoe.
Two thicknesses are supplied, switching between them is a case of sliding one out and swapping over. Setting them up took a little more time thanks to the low profile of the brass cleat. The Specialized 2FO test shoes wouldn’t engage with the mechanism without adding a spacer between the cleat and the sole and reducing the height of the pins.
While we’re on the subject, not all of the forward pins can be fully wound into the pedal thanks to the shallow body. Once set up though, the Mallet E provided one of the easiest engagements, and unlike Crank Brothers pedals of the past, this was accompanied by a nice clear snap. Thanks to the four bar, rotating mechanism you can pretty much engage in any direction, even straight down.
Plus, the open design makes the Mallet the best performing pedal in bad weather, as the action of engagement seems to squeeze any mud away from the cleat. But it’s the shaping of the Mallet E that hinders its performance — the chamfered edges, combined with the added play of the mechanism, leaves the foot feeling less supported even than the much smaller XT Trail.