One of the first real gear purchases many aspiring triathletes make is a set of clip on aero bars. Provided that they are set up correctly to fit the bike, clip ons transform your average road bike to your average road bike with an aero position. However the geometry doesn’t change along with them creating a less than ideal set up before getting into replacement seatposts and saddles.
Along those lines, something like the Ceepo Mamba could be considered the next step to Tri-dom. Finishing up the review on the 2014/2015 Mamba, it turns out to be an interesting bike that may or may not take you to your next transition…
For a company that makes some wild tri-specific bikes, the Mamba is almost tame in comparison. That doesn’t mean it’s a boring looking bike though – the endless compliments it received out on the road make that clear. Using a series of aero shaped tubes with truncated ends, the Mamba certainly has an aero flair that may help out on the course. The quirky addition of the geometry numbers to the finish has gone away for 2016, moving to a cleaner more subdued look (new colors shown below).
What makes the Mamba an excellent choice for the beginning triathlete is the relaxed frame geometry coupled with a reversible seat post. Built with a slightly steeper seat tube angle and slightly slacker head tube angle than your average road bike, the Mamba is geared towards stability and comfort for long periods of time in the aero position. The reversible post allows for an aggressive position for competing in a triathlon, but maintains a position comfortable for drop bar use when training or simply using it like a road bike.
Out on the road this made for a very stable, fast, and comfortable bike when traveling in a straight line. The concessions towards tri-comfort do make the bike less agile than a typical road race bike which is noticeable in the turns and while sprinting up climbs. Like most things in life, the 2-in-1 design seems to mean sacrifices at one end or the other. In this case it’s the road feel when built with drop bars. That doesn’t mean the Mamba is a bad bike. In fact, for someone who plans to ride mostly shorter distance triathlons and gran fondo type events where all day stability and comfort are priorities, the Mamba is actually quite good. Just don’t expect it to handle like a race bike when you take it out for your local group ride.
Regarding the build, the internal cable routing system is one area the Mamba could stand some improvement. In addition to using a few specialized and small parts for the housing stops (which caused a bit of confusion when they didn’t show up with the frame), the frame employs the plastic-straw-inside-a-giant-carbon-tube routing system. It isn’t a total disaster, but push-the-cable-through-one-end-only-to-pop-out-the-other-end, it’s not. For 2016 the frame is electronic shifting ready, though the routing for mechanical cables appears to be the same. On the plus side, the PF30 bottom bracket hasn’t uttered a peep since the install with the SRAM RED 22 cranks.
Ridden mostly in the road configuration during the review, the Mamba was relatively unsurprising. On paper it should be a comfortable, fast bike in a straight line, and that’s exactly what it is. With a design skewed more to the tri-side, the Mamba seems like a worthy choice for anyone toeing the start line to shorter distance events, or simply someone who wants more versatility out of their bike (and doesn’t subscribe to the n+1 theory).
For complete weights and build notes, check out our first post here.