Crank Brothers is a brand well known for its ingenuity and beautiful industrial design aesthetic. For many riders, the name is synonymous with the innovative Eggbeater pedal and the company’s broad range of innovative multi-tools. Crank Brothers has also produced some highly polarising products over the years, including their radical twin-spoke wheels that people seem to either love or hate. The company has also copped it’s fare share of flack for product flops like
the Kronolog dropper seatpost, which proved about as durable as a slice of cheese.
Since last year’s Eurobike show, it appears that Crank Brothers is putting all of that behind them, and is continuing to steam ahead doing what they do best; producing innovative bike accessories and excellent pedals. With their sites firmly set on the future, Crank Brothers debuted a new F-Tool at Eurobike, as well as some additions to their pedal line.
The F-Tool is a new option in the Crank Brothers range, and it offers a very slim and minimalist aesthetic for those riders who prefer less bulk. There will be three F-Tools, including the tool on its own (left), the tool with the case (middle), and the tool with the case and an added chain breaker (right).
An integrated alloy case keeps all of the tool bits at bay, and stops them from rubbing on other precious cargo such as inner tubes or your mobile phone.
You can load the multi-tool into the case, and utilise it for additional grip and leverage when undoing stubborn pedals or tightening up stem bolts.
The top model features a tiny chain breaker that is compatible with 8/9/10/11/12 speed chains.
Here’s where it gets clever: the F-Tool case features integrated magnets that help to suck the tool into its alloy sheath.
The best part about magnets? They’ll hold onto your beer cap after you’ve lifted the lid on your post-ride refreshment thanks to the integrated bottle opener. Radness!
Modern bike pumps are so much better these days, and Crank Brother’s new Click mini-pump is a good example. This guy provides a lovely tactile feel in your hands, with lots of audible ‘clicks’ and ‘clunks’ as you open it up to use.
There will be several Click pumps available, and some will include an in-line pressure gauge in the hose. Probably more useful for the high-pressure tyres on a road bike though.
More magnets! The hose attaches to the head of the pump via the magic of magnetic technology, and there’s a satisfying ‘click’ as it settles into place.
The Mallet E pedals continue on for 2017, and for good reason. They’ve become a popular option for trail riders thanks to their slightly smaller platform than the regular Mallet pedals.
A new option for 2017 however, is the new Long Spindle option in the Mallet E pedal. This broadens the stance of the pedal for more stability, but it also allows for less crank rub when using more heavily padded shoes.
Note the interchangeable plastic traction pads on either side of the Eggbeater mechanism. If you’ve got too much wiggle between your shoe and the pedal body, you can fit a thicker traction pad to take up the slack for a more snug fit.
Another new option for 2017 will be the Mallet E 11 pedals. Whenever you see a Crank Brothers with the number ’11’ next to it, you know it’s been…err…well, turned up to 11.
Same lightweight machined alloy body as the regular Mallet E pedal, but with the addition of Titanium to help drop weight. It’s only about 60 grams, but it does mean you can get a large platform clipless pedal for well under 400 grams for the pair. Oh, AND THEY’RE GOLD.
Being a Mallet E platform, the Mallet E 11 pedals get adjustable/removable pins and the interchangeable traction pads for plenty of adjustability.
The Double Shot isn’t a super new pedal, but it’s interesting nonetheless, as it is unlike Crank Brothers have ever done before. It’s a double-sided pedal, with a platform on one side, and a clip on the other. This makes it ideal for beginner riders and those who simply want the ability to remain on their pedals without having to be clipped in for technical sections.
The Double Shot uses the same Eggbeater mechanism as other Crank Brothers clipless pedals, but only has two wings rather than the four wings. It uses an alloy platform, a chromoly steel spindle and the same guts as all of Crank Brothers’ pedals.
The Double Shot 3 is a new addition to the line however, and was first shown at Eurobike. The difference? Adjustable pins on the flat side of the pedal, which allows you to increase traction between your shoe and the pedal body.
Crank Brothers is also adding some refinements to its wheel range, but those changes haven’t quite been implemented into production as of yet.
Rims are growing wider again, though they still use the solid rim bed design that offers easy tubeless setup without any need for tape. Hubs are also being updated, with faster engagement in the rear mechanism.
We’ve actually got one of these on test, so expect to see a full-blown review soon. It’s the new Highline dropper post from Crank Brothers, and it claims to be 100% designed from the ground-up, and shares nothing (read; NOTHING) in common with the old Kronolog dropper post.
There’s a self contained hydraulic cartridge inside, along with premium sealing from Trelleborg, along with IGUS glide bearings to keep it all tight and smooth. Those brands listed above are some of the same suppliers that Thomson uses for its Elite dropper seatpost, so Crank Brothers appears to be spending the coin on getting the best parts for the Highline dropper.
No more funky saddle rail clamp. In place of the old single-bolt design that was prone to slipping is a simpler twin-bolt design that should offer more security. Also of note is that the Crank Brothers dropper comes with a 3-year warranty, which is possibly the longest of any droppers currently available?
And a new remote that offers heaps of adjustability thanks to a spherical mount that can be loosened and rotated into nearly any direction, before being tightened down in place. Nice large paddle too. The question remains though; will the Highline be able to repair Crank Brothers’ reputation in the dropper seatpost world? We’ll just have to wait to find out…