Reviews / Wheels
For years FUNN components were the go-to product, the classic Fatboy/Rippa bar and stem combo was at every turn, and the (sometimes risqué) branding was part of many a riders sticker collection. They, however, never went away, producing solid kit at an affordable price point, but I must admit when I was asked to review some new wheels, FUNN was not the brand I was expecting to be getting from the Test Editor.
First impressions were good, a fresh looking set of wheels taking on this year's flavour with the raw edges on the gloss black flanges on the hub body as well as a raw internal race. This style teamed up with the cut-out sections on the front, and non-drive side flange and with tidy wrap around graphics on the centre of the hub give one attractive piece of aluminium.
First things first, I had to switch drivers to the Shimano one, FUNN were nice enough to provide both with the wheels to avoid that awkward non-compatibility moment. This gave me the perfect opportunity to have a better look at the pawl system and have a gander at the 102T, six pawl engagement. A simple unthreading of the axle and the nicely machined internals are revealed. Each pawl carries three hooks as their point of engagement, hence giving you the increased contact points.
Classic J hook black spokes attach the hub to the FUNN Fantom branded rims. A reasonable depth to the rim looks tidy but is perhaps let down a little by, what these days would be considered a quite narrow width at 23mm internal and a 28mm external. The centre hub graphics are mirrored onto the rim too, tying the whole package together well.
Something I was seriously impressed with and happy to see on the Fantom’s was a true meaning of the term tubeless ready. The wheels came with a solid feeling and well fitted bright blue rim tape, and pre-fitted tubeless valves. I popped on some tyres, poured in some sealant, added air and was ready to roll. I don't know if this seems arbitrary to some, but I have had experiences in the past of “tubeless ready” wheels that have needed the works. Out of the box, to just add tyres, sealant and air was a satisfying experience.
On the bike, the Fantom made a good first impression. There was no creaking or initial flexing on their maiden outing and a couple of rides in they only took a small amount of tensioning to keep them trucking on. The thin profile of the rims, although not giving the biggest body on the tyre, has held strong throughout, with no burping and a secure hold on the tyre. They seem to run fast and smooth, and the hubs run tight, so they have great feedback. The 120 engagement points make a seriously noticeable difference as well, just sitting on the bike, not having that moment of pick up feels great and makes the whole bike feel a whole lot more solid.
The Trail model that I was riding comes in at 785g front and 940g at the rear, which is slightly below the average weight for a set of alloy wheels. I assume they have trimmed away some excess metal and structure in the process, but they held up to my abuse no problems. If you were worried about the finesse of your riding leaving a little to be desired, or your rock gardens of choice being heftier than average, I assume the extra weight in the Enduro or DH models will bring with it a more substantial finish.
I’ve been riding these wheels for two months now, without issue, on my usual range of terrain, from flat-out rutted and rooted, to hard hitting technical rocky sections. I do tend to run relatively hard pressures after cutting my teeth on Hardtails, but saying that, I've been running these on my 160mm trail bike, and after putting a small ding in the rear I’ve put a couple of extra PSI in now. When I look back at where I did the damage, I'm more than happy to take responsibility for poor line choice over wheel strength.
The fast pick up on the driver makes the wheels a dream over technical terrain, allowing the inner trials rider to come out. It also benefits on the rough sprints, as you get the feeling all the power is getting right to the drive chain. This may all be a bit of a mental gain, but every little counts, right?
When pushed hard they're not the stiffest of wheels, this could be partially down to the narrow rim, allowing a certain flex in the tyre, but as I previously mentioned, the wheels took virtually no maintenance from new and are still running strong and true.
For the price, these wheels are a great purchase; they do everything you’d want from a set of wheels at a quality level including a rapid engaging hub, trail riding strength and properly tubeless ready. Get them on, get them tubeless and have some Funn (yeah, I went there).
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Dan, Joe and Edgar