Funn adds a second clip-in gravity pedal to its range with the debut of the Ripper. Billed as a downhill pedal, it should cross over to all-mountain riders as well, because it has a smaller, scaled down platform, similar to their original Mamba. Rippers feature optional pins, and a mud-shedding profile. Funn designed it to accept Shimano-style SPD cleats, which means that replacements can be found worldwide.
The Ripper's major claim to fame is its angular engagement. The spring-loaded clip-in mechanism isn't a new trick, but Funn's execution of the concept works beautifully. Ripper pedals are sold in six anodized colors and weigh a claimed, 570 grams for the pair. MSRP is $140 USD.
• Aluminum platform, 4130 steel shaft. • DU bushing inside, cartridge bearing outside. • Platform: Width - 93mm, length - 102mm, thickness - 21mm • Cleat: SPD (Shimano compatible) • Four replaceable pins, each side • Red / Orange / Blue / Green / Black / Grey • Weight (actual): 560 grams • MSRP: $140 USD • Contact: Funn
Features and Performance
Funn chose the tried and true combination of a thin, DU bushing on the inside end of the pedal axle, paired with a small cartridge bearing at the outer end. As delivered, there was a considerable amount of friction in the DU bushing. Some gravity riders prefer that, especially flat-pedal types. I think the friction was excessive and, while it's commonplace for similarly equipped pedals to spin poorly, the better explanation is that designers set the tolerances tight as a hedge against accelerated wear. Put a few months of riding on them and most DU pedals will spin acceptably well, but why wait? I simulated the break-in period by chucking up the pedal axles in my drill press and spinning them at 3,000 rpm for a few minutes. Worked great.
Ripper pedals are drilled to accept four pins (one at each corner) on each side of the platform. The pins are sturdy and are threaded into place with a special socket wrench that is included with the kit. The height cannot be adjusted and the pins are quite aggressive, so the choice is "either/or." With the pins in, I had issues unclipping, so they disappeared shortly after the beginning of our first ride together and I never reinstalled them. Funn does not include spare pins. They do offer a full range of replacement parts, but if you shear one off, removing the stub will be a chore, because the hex part will be long gone.
Optional pins are installed with a small socket wrench.
As mentioned, the joy of the Ripper pedal is its angular engagement. I usually ride Shimano SPD trail pedals, which work best when I center my foot over the pedal and let the cleat find its own way to engage. It's hassle-free, but it requires some faith. Funn's engagement snaps in with a quick forward thrust. I quickly learned that I could trust the engagement, and never gave the pedals a thought from then on. The spring keeps the catch mechanism at the ready, and if you miss it, the tension of the spring is not going to be noticeable - just like Shimano - if your foot is near centered, your cleat will find its way into position.
I found that Funn's tension adjustment is quite soft, and even when I ran the set-screws most of the way in, the release tension was noticeably less than that of my Shimano pedals. I'd estimate the Rippers' release tension in the final third of the adjustment range is on par with Crankbrothers Mallets. Lighter-than-I'd-like release tension was never an issue, however, because the platforms did much to keep my feet in position.
Overall, I liked the Rippers more than I anticipated. I rarely fumbled an entry and never an exit. The thickness is a little more (21mm compared to 16mm for Shimano 9020 pedals, and the width was much wider (93mm compared to 63mm for Shimano) The difference was dramatic in the rocks and while pedaling out of corners. I experienced a number of pedal strikes due to the Funn pedal's extra width and squared-off profile.
We have not had much rain, but the mud tends to glob up on everything when it does. The one opportunity I had to test the clearing ability of Funn's new DH pedal demonstrated that the Rippers do clear well - a bit better than my Shimano XTR pedals do. The moving clip-in mechanism seems to assist that process too.
The Ripper's engagement and axle centerlines are the same as Shimano's SPD trail pedals. The platform, however, is much larger.
The Ripper's wider, thicker profile is much more prone to pedal strikes, but the angular engagement is easier to find in most cases.
Bash all you want, however, because the Rippers are built to take the punishment. I was sure I had hit rocks that bent the shafts, but they still run true. Finally, Funn's inboard axle width and cleat location are the same as XTR, which is narrower than some DH pedals (The position is also similar to a Crankbrothers Mallet with the short axle option if you are not an SPD fan.)
Funn's new DH pedal is a strong addition to its range. The Ripper offers easier engagement, and an intelligently sized platform that is wide enough to give the rider an easy target to find in a pinch, and tough enough to survive in the rocks. It should be popular with gravity riders searching for a more compact option, as well as all-mountain riders who may want a platform that offers a little more security.—RC