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REVIEW: FUNN Mamba S Clipless Pedal 11

With an SPD-style mechanism and a large platform, the Mamba S could be the perfect option for descent-focused riders looking for a new clipless pedal.

REVIEW: FUNN Mamba S Clipless Pedal

FUNN is out to prove they are a contender in the clipless market with their Mamba S pedal. Sporting a large aluminum platform that shares more design parallels with a flat pedal than its clipless counterparts, the Mamba S stands out as an aggressive option for trail or enduro riders. Featuring an easy-to-service spindle, tall pins, and a familiar Shimano SPD mechanism, we were curious if the Mamba S would provide a clip experience uniquely its own.

Highlights 

  • CNC’d from durable and lightweight AL6061
  • Available in double or single-sided options (double tested)
  • Four replaceable pins per side
  • Compatible with SPD cleats
  • GRS system (Grease Renew System) for easy maintenance
  • CrMo axle w/ DU and cartridge bearing
  • Platform size: 83mm x 98mm 
  • Thickness: 13.4mm
  • Spare parts available
  • Weight: 465 grams (pair, double-sided clip) 
  • Colors: Red / Orange / Blue / Green / Black / Grey
  • MSRP: $125 (single sided) / $135 (double sided)

Strengths

Weaknesses

  • Audible, crips engagement 
  • Liberal amount of float that allows for fine-tuned adjustment 
  • Pedal body provides great support for aggressive riding
  • Easy to service
  • The size of the pedal platform can make it challenging to place the cleat in the center of the pedal
  • Provided cleats hang up on SPD mechanism when new
  • Pins felt more like a disturbance than a benefit when clipping in and out

Overview

FUNN recently celebrated its 25th year in business and, during that time, has produced components ranging from wheels to handlebars and just about everything in between. With deep roots in racing at the World Cup level, most will likely remember the FUNN logo blasted across the handlebars of riders like Sam Hill (MadCatz Iron Horse era), Greg Minnaar (Honda G-Cross era), and Aaron Gwin (Trek World Racing era). With no shortage of talent to lean on during product development, we have spent the last few months getting familiar with their race-ready Mamba S clipless pedal.

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FUNN’s clipless pedal range consists of three models, and the Mamba S is their mid-sized option geared towards trail and enduro riding. The sheer size of the pedals is still impressive, along with the vivid anodizing. The pedal spins on a CrMo axle with a DU bushing and cartridge bearing to increase longevity while under load. For quick and easy servicing, the Mamba uses FUNN’s GRS (Grease Retention System), allowing riders to inject grease into their pedal without pulling it apart. Lastly, each side of the pedal has four replaceable pins that can be removed with the included tool. Replaceable pins are not included with the pedals but can be purchased separately along with other spare parts. 

On The Trail

The aggressive nature of the Mamba S clipless pedals makes them ideal for enduro or gravity riding. Over the past couple of months, we logged plenty of miles pedaling, rode chair lifts, and tested the pedals in various conditions to get a broad impression of their performance. The bulk of the trails ridden were enduro or downhill trails with hefty amounts of rocks, ripping corners, and jumps. For the most part, we stayed in dry, dusty Southern California, plus one excursion up to the San Francisco area, which gifted us some revitalizing rain and mud.

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The Mamba S pedals seemed to prosper in dry conditions and held up well to pedal strikes and direct rock hits. During our time in San Francisco, we noticed the SPD mechanism packed with mud easily. After trying the tried and true “stomp and kick” technique that seems to work with eggbeater-style pedals, we resorted to cleaning them out with a trusty trailside stick. As for performance, the Mamba S pedals succeeded at keeping our feet secure through gnarly, chunky sections. We felt locked in and connected to our bike without worrying about our feet blowing out of the pedals unexpectedly. 

Things That Could Be Improved

The first of two issues we had with the Mamba S clipless pedals pertained to their size. The large platform made the clip mechanism difficult to locate when clipping in, especially with all of the pins installed. Instead of the cleat guiding our foot into the mechanism, our shoe would often get stuck on the pins or catch on the pedal body, making it tough to identify if we were placing our foot correctly. Compared to similar models we've ridden from Crankbrothers and Shimano, it took us longer to acclimate to the feel of clipping into the Mamba S.

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The second issue we had was unclipping from the pedals. On our first ride, we immediately noticed the Mamba’s provided a secure engagement but with a liberal amount of float. While this might be ideal for some riders, the ‘out of the box’ setup caused our feet to feel unsettled on the pedals. We prefer our clipless pedals to feel tight, so we dialed in the float by adjusting the mechanism two turns out from fully tight. With our feet comfortably snug in the pedals with some side-to-side movement, disengaging from the pedals only took a few degrees of twisting. However, even though getting the pedals to release felt normal, we struggled to fully disconnect our shoes from the Mambas. 

We were quite perplexed by this phenomenon, having ridden SDP-style clipless pedals for years without encountering such a problem. To understand what we could not easily explain, we decided to lean on the scientific method. Prepare yourself. 

Observation:

The Mamba S felt similar to Shimano pedals when clipping in, with a hint of float like HT pedals while riding. By this, we mean they had a secure and prominent engagement like Shimano pedals but offered more float once clipped in like HT pedals. However, we struggled to unclip from the pedal. 

Hypothesis:

Our shoes get caught on the pedal body or clip mechanism, causing our shoes to get stuck in the pedals.

Experimentation:

1. First, we inspected the provided FUNN cleats and ensured they were seated correctly on the shoes, appropriately torqued, and not moving around. 

2. Second, we removed the pins from the pedal body to eliminate any friction or conflict between the pedal platform and shoe sole. 

3. We then tried three different pairs of gravity-oriented shoes and a gravel shoe. Shoes tested include Afton Vectal, Afton Vectal 2.0, Crankbrother Mallets, and Specialized Recon Lace Gravel shoes without the toe spikes to reduce any contact with the pedal body or mechanism. After trying each shoe model, we settled on the Afton Vectals because the sole interacted the smoothest with the Mamba pedals. 

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4. Next, we installed a cleat spacer on the Afton Vectal shoes to limit just about all contact between the shoe sole and pedal platform to isolate the interaction of the cleat and SPD mechanism.

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5. Finally, we tried Shimano SPD cleats on the Specialized Recon shoes and the Afton Vectals without a cleat spacer.

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Analysis:

After trying multiple shoes, a second set of cleats, and a cleat spacer, the issue was not the sole of any shoe getting caught on the platform of the Mamba S pedals. Instead, the stock FUNN cleats would snag on the SPD mechanism after it had released the cleat. We struggled with this issue the most during our initial rides. On a few occasions, we tipped over trying to put a foot down because we would feel the mechanism disengage, but our foot would remain stuck to the pedal. The only change that resolved the problem was using Shimano cleats. However, after about five rides with the FUNN cleats, they did start wearing down and caught less often on the mechanism. Now a few months into riding the pedals, the issue rarely happens when unclipping.

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Long Term Durability

The Mamba S pedals feel solid and durable, and we have not noticed any abnormal wear or play develop during testing. We have put about 150 trail miles on the pedals and have acquired a fair amount of scratches from your typical pedal strikes. But the pedals have not failed in any way or bent from impacts. After a few months of riding, we decided to pull out the axle to see how the DU bushing and bearing were holding up. Unsurprisingly, there was no dirt or water inside the pedal, and the bearing spun freely. We tested out the GRS system, which was straightforward to use; however, it did not seem much faster or easier than just pulling the pedal apart and applying grease directly to the axle.

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What's The Bottom Line?

FUNN’s Mamba S clipless pedals offer enduro and gravity-focused riders a durable SPD-style pedal with a large, supportive platform and plenty of cleat float and adjustability. The engagement and clipped-in feel bridge the gap between Shimano and HT’s clipless offerings, providing security and foot mobility that lets you focus on the trail ahead. The platform size might take some adjusting if you are used to smaller clipless pedals, and we encountered issues with the provided cleats snagging on the SPD mechanism. However, the issue faded as the cleats wore down over the first few rides, becoming less problematic. With a competitive price point and easily serviceable and durable internals, the Mamba S should be a real consideration for clipless riders in the market for new pedals. 

For more information, please visit www.funnmtb.com

Photos: Sean Galusha


About The Tester

Tanner Stephens - Age: 28 // Years Riding MTB: 16 // Height: 5’10” (178 cm) // Weight: 145-pounds (65.8kg)

Most known for winning a Pro US Downhill National on an old spray-painted bike, Tanner chased the dream of racing at the World Cup level for several years. Now working within corporate America, he keeps his hands in the bike industry through various creative outlets. He has developed a strong affection for suffering on long road and mixed terrain rides and getting sketchy on an XC bike; however, he hasn’t lost his love for smashing rocks, railing corners, and flowing jumps. A true student of mountain biking, Tanner has a strong love for downhill history and can be heard chatting about racing on Vital’s B Practice Podcast. 

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