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AASQ #90: Funn answer your questions on flat and clipless MTB pedal options

funn aasq callout flats versus clipless pedals for mtb
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We know, there’s no such thing as a stupid question. But there are some questions you might not want to ask your local shop or riding buddies. AASQ is our weekly series where we get to the bottom of your questions – serious or otherwise. This time it’s all about MTB pedals with Funn! Hit the link at the bottom of the post to submit your own question.

MTB Pedals: Clipless or Flats?

funn mtb mamba ripper funndamental

What is pedal float?

Funn: A certain degree of free movement before the clip disengages.

Why is pedal float important?

funn ripper clipless pedal tension screw adjust ease of clip in out

Funn: The best amount of pedal float is a matter of personal preference. Some like to have huge float to allow more freedom of movement before becoming unclipped. Meanwhile, some like to have a firm pedal connection to have better control. It may require some trial and error to find the optimal amount of float for you.

Can I adjust the ease of entry/exit into the Ripper clip? I am new to clipless pedals and I want to be able to unclip really quickly and easily.

Funn: You can loosen the tension screw at the rear end of the clip mechanism. Please be sure to retain enough tension to stay clipped-in and avoid losing the screw.

Is it true that clipless pedals, with their stiffer shoes, have better energy transfer/efficiency than flat pedals, and if so, how big is the gap?

funn ripper clipless pedal mtb orange

Funn: From our riding experience, we would say yes. Even a stiffer sole would help on the flat pedals. We can’t really say how much the difference is. You can just feel it when switching between different setups.

What is the “spring loaded angular engagement system”? How does it differ to a standard Shimano SPD mechanism?

funn mtb clipless pedals mtb 15 degree angular engagement spd

Funn: The engagement system is still SPD compatible. It has an additional spring loaded mechanism and will tilt upward for easy clip-in.

What’s the longevity of the Ripper clip mechanism? How many riding hours will I get out of them?

Funn: It will depend on the style of riding and the conditions that you are riding in. We do have an axle replacement kit for servicing.

I see the axle protrudes a little inboard of the pedal platform before the threads for the crank arm begin. This will surely produce quite a wide Q-Factor which won’t suit many riders. Do you have any plans to offer a narrower Q-Factor option in the future?

funn ripper clipless pedal dimensions q-factor profile platform body size
The Funn Ripper clipless MTB pedal has a Q-Factor of 55mm and a profile of 21mm

Funn: Yes, we are designing a smaller and narrower Q-factor pedal called the Mamba S which is scheduled to come out in the first quarter of 2021.

Why are the outboard and inboard pins a different design to the pins that sit at the front and rear of the pedal body?

funn funndamental pedal pin type outboard versus front rear

Funn: On the Funndamental pedals, we want to have the ability to adjust pin height with washers and pins protruding from the bottom. However, there’s no bottom entry around the pedal axles. We have to use a different kind of pin in this location.

For a pedal like the Ripper or the Shimano Saint M820, do the pins actually do anything when you are clipped in? Or are they just there to give you some grip if you cannot get clipped in?

pedal pins removable funn ripper clipless
Four pins on the Ripper clipless pedal are removable

Funn: The Funn Ripper is designed to be ridden clipped in. Some shoes with an upward curved tip do have problems contacting those pins. On the contrary, some riders find it is hard to unclip with those pins installed. You can remove or keep those pins depending on your shoes and how much grip you need.

What shoes do you recommend for use with the Funn Ripper clipless pedal?

Funn: There are a variety of flat pedal style clip-in shoes that are compatible with the Ripper pedal. Some of the examples are:

Five Ten Hellcat, Five Ten Kestrel, Ride Concepts Transition Clipless, Afton Vectal, Specialized 2FO clipless and many others from Leatt and Giro.

I use clipless pedals during the race season and flat pedals in the off-season. In my flat pedals (across three brands), I see a lot of variation in pin placement and pin type. Some pins are straight/smooth metal while others just look like long screw threads protruding out the opposite side. What is the benchmark for the type and number of pins used for the different flat pedals?

11 pins funn flat mtb pedal
The Funndamental platform features 11 pins per side – each comes with 1 washer for height adjustment of 1mm

Funn: Every brand has a different take on the design of the platform and the pin placement. Most of the time it is to deal with the contact point issue between the sole of the footwear and the pedal itself. Funn designed pin placement to ensure an optimized contact point without making riders feel trapped on the pedal.

Is there any grip advantage to be gained from using pedal pins that are threaded at an angle offset to 90 degrees? I see the pins at the front of Yoshimura’s Chilao pedal face rearward for claimed improved traction.

Funn: We are not in any position to comment on other brands’ products. From our point of view, the rearward facing pins could have an advantage. Since the front end of shoes is usually curved upward, the rearward facing pins allows the shoes to have more vertical contact. However, the manufacturing cost is higher to drill the non-vertical holes.

Can you explain the differences between the Funndamental, Python and Black Magic flat pedals? The price varies massively. What benefits am I getting when I pay more for the Funndamental?

funn black magic composite mtb pedal 360g per pair
The Funn Black Magic nylon composite pedals weigh 360g per pair

Funn: The Python is for people who is looking for a low profile kind of pedal, whereas the Black Magic is a budget choice. Its nylon composite body is cost effective, yet still robust enough for daily abuse. The Funndamental is really to address the needs of some of the riders that we work with who have a long wishlist of features that they like to have in the pedals – we produced it to their design requirements.

Why is the Funndamental MTB pedal only offered in one platform size? I see many other brands now offering two platform sizes for some of their flat pedals, matching them up with shoe size. Is there an optimal shoe size range for the Funndamental pedal or do you think it will work well with all sizes, including a UK 4?

funn funndamental flat pedal for mountain biking black
The Funndamental pedal has a 105mm x 110mm platform size with a 17mm profile

Funn: Funndamental is designed for the average male rider’s shoes. The UK 4 is probably too small to have a good grip. We will work on a smaller Funndamental.

Are the pins on your flat MTB pedals replaceable?

Funn: Yes

Can I adjust the height of the pedal pins?

Funn: On the Funndamental model, you can reduce the pin height by 1mm with the washers supplied with the pedals.

What’s the best way to remove a bent pedal pin without destroying the threads of the pedal body?

Funn: There is no best way as the condition of the pins are different in every case. Sometimes a good pair of pliers will do the job of turning the pin. However, the best way is still prevention. A regular check on the condition pre-ride is still the best solution to this.

Are the bearings and bushings on your MTB pedal axles replaceable, and if so, do I need any special tools?

funn pedal axle replacement service parts

Funn: Bearings and bushings are replaceable. The bearing can be removed with a screw and washers. The bushing would require a special puller and presser.

Flat pedals are great. The pins digging into shins is not. While pins offer traction, the next revolution of pedal has to be pins done safely, or a pedal that provides traction without the pins. That would be the winning pedal. We all crash, even the pros. Simply ignoring the shin scrapes seems to be the easy way out. What is Funn’s opinion on this?

blue anodized funndamental flat mtb pedal 11 pins per side
The Funndamental pedal weighs a claimed 415g per pair and is available in 7 colors

Funn: We did notice this problem with pins. We had a project that uses sand paper to replace pins for generating traction. However, the sand paper cannot provide the same level of grip. We will continue to search for an alternative solution.

Thanks to Dominic Loh for helping us get all the answers above! Got a question of your own? Click here to use the AASQ form to submit questions on any cycling-related topic of your choice, and we’ll get the experts to answer them for you!


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3 years ago

Utter uninformed rubbish to say that clipless pedals have better energy transfer/efficiency than flats. This has been discussed numerous times and every single scientific or anecdotal study has failed to show this. For very short efforts you can put out more power but at a very high efficiency cost, in all other cases just push harder on the pedals to get more power. Anytime anyone talks about improved power transfer you know someone is trying to sell you snake oil.

3 years ago
Reply to  carlos

I was the one who answered that question, and found their response unsatisfying- basically it was “we can feel that”. To you Carlos- if clipless pedals are no more efficient than flat ones, then why are they not used on professional road bikes? Is it just the weight?

3 years ago
Reply to  carlos

Carlos, those are some strong words. First, by your own admission, short efforts benefit from clipless. Are you suggesting short (5 sec) efforts aren’t important on the MTB? Because where I ride on the east coast, they are very important if you want to get up that huge rock, etc. Second, for 1-2 minute efforts, they are also better, as you can actually generate some uplift on the back of the pedal stroke. Maybe it’s only worth 20-30 watts, but that’s something. I’d suggest you fit a power meter to your bike, and compare results between the two. While we’re waiting, can you cite a top 20 UCI cross country racer using flats instead of clipless?

3 years ago
Reply to  Tom

Tom, Sorry that my words appear so strong. My comments were about efficiency. There are plenty of good reasons to use clipless pedals and you’ve correctly pointed them out. Short sharp efforts and any situation where you don’t want to risk slipping off the pedal. There is no way they improve power transfer. I ride both clipless and flats and choose between them depending on the type of riding I’m doing. As you know, every pro XC rider uses clipless for good reason – it suits their style of riding.

3 years ago
Reply to  carlos

I don’t know your cycling background, but I come from road cycling. I’ve ridden extensively with a power meter, and I’ve worked on my ability to generate uplift on the back stroke via one leg pedaling drills. It’s not huge, but I can reliably pick up 20-30 watts with no change in perceived level of effort over a short period, say two minutes. For long intervals, let’s say 5 min plus, there is no difference. Pedaling rounder strokes, not chopping away, also helps maintain traction. But clipless are not full proof, and I’ve blown out on some landings, platforms would have been better there.

William Robinson
William Robinson
3 years ago

The improved power transfer, the way I have always understood it, comes from being able to “pull” up with the back foot while pedaling. . . Pushing down and pulling up. It definitely works and is true when you are on a road bike. I have never ridden clipless on mountain because I am always worried about not getting my foot out in time. Anyway

3 years ago

Nonsense. The muscle that “pulls up” is tiny.

3 years ago

The transfer of force is real, you get so used to pedaling in the round, that if you don’t use the pedal clips uphill, with non-hooked pedals my foot slips off the pedal.

I have never had problems with disengagement in ascents or falls, practically the shoe disengages itself from the pedal.

In my cycling life on MTB I have only had two pairs of pedal clips, some VP that I lost in an armed robbery and some mid-range Wellgo, the last ones I used for twenty years and of which I still keep and use those clips in my new Xpedo, since again I was elected as a contributor to the cause of crime protected by the legislators of my country. Greetings from Chilezuela.

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