Reviewed by Tobe GX Syndicate
I’ve been riding flats, the venerable DMR Vaults to be exact, for many years. If I’m being entirely honest, being clipped in has always made me nervous. Nervous on shale, nervous on big drops (or maybe more-so the landings), nervous on techy climbs where I might want to put my foot down quickly as my rear washes out on a slippy rock face and, nervous hitting corners at speed. DMR Vaults, paired with some equally respected, and stickier than chewing gum on a hot pavement, Five Tens have always suited my “better than your average guy on the trail but not really fast” level of riding skill but the thing is, when you ride with far quicker people, you eventually find yourself wanting to go quicker. After much contemplation (and numerous post ride beers) I realised that the place I lost the most confidence with flats, and where most of my speed seems to be lost, is on those really bumpy flats or downs where you still need to get the power down but need to be planted (whilst being rattled around like a $5 shake).
Que the Mamba One sided Clip pedals by the often overlooked but rather good Funn MTB. Funn have been on the scene for circa 22 years and have some rather nice products across their range and since 2018, their own factory racing team.
The pedal itself is, as the name suggests, a single sided clipless pedal. These are wide, very wide. 10cm square, give or take a few mm, which gives a very reassuring feel when riding and allows for a very comfortable transfer of power through the foot without feeling every single vibration, as sometimes is the case with those tiny, eggbeater, type pedals. You know the ones. One side of the pedal has a standard SPD fitting, the other is a flat platform with some rather colourful, aggressive and very efficient, pins to keep you planted when you need to be (but don’t want to be as attached to your bike). I have to admit, I was a little unsure of these pedals, as a concept, but have really taken to them within just a couple of rides. In fact, my biggest issue has been finding a pair of SPD compatible shoes to pair up with them (I’m a UK size 10 and stock is low in anything with a half decent review). That’s another review though so keep an eye out for the upcoming one on my new Shimano AM901’s.
The pedals required little, if no, adjustment on arrival and the [included] cleats engage/disengage with ease out of the box. It’s almost too easy. As for riding them, I have found them really easy to adjust to. In fact, I’ve hardly used the flat platforms this far and have taken to the SPD face like I’ve been riding clipped for years. Just knowing that the flat face is there when needed ironically inspires enough confidence in the pedal to not need the flat platform in most circumstances. On those sketchy downhill sections that I have elected to go “flats”, the grip from the pins and the feeling of overall contact with the pedal has been outstanding. Every time I instinctively slam a foot down the Mamba’s feel secure, a feeling that has kept me on that Vault / FiveTen combo for so long.
Interestingly, and one for the Strava worshippers, my climbing times on regular sections have improved. It seems that the extra power gained on the up stroke of the pedal whilst being clipped-in is paying dividend. This is one of those “unexpected consequences” and one that I’m rather enjoying. The better times provide a sense of better fitness which, in turn, has driven me to push harder on those climbs which in turn gets better times and so forth and so on…. See how such a little change (new pedals, new grips etc) can make a big difference to your riding!
So far, the Funn Mamba’s are a resounding success and a welcome addition to my set-up. I still have everything I had with my flats set-up with a very small loss in connection due to the cleats when on the flat platform. This is, without a doubt, compensated for by the gains achieved by having the option to be clipped-in on those moments when things get rough and the confidence to pedal hard is required.
I’m going to stick with these for the summer season and am looking forwards to fully testing them at the likes of Ardrock.
The techy stuff:
Around 10cm x 10cm of useable platform (so big, very big)
Shimano SPD cleat compatible
A variety of lovely colours
Comes with cleats and a tool to install them
Around 500gms per pair
Comes with spare pins and a lovely little tool to fit them with.
Runs on bushes and bearings (easily serviceable)
Grease port to keep them running sweet