So what made you decide to update the Funn Python Pedal?
To talk about that we have to go back to the original Funn Python MK 1 pedal.
Since Python’s inception in 2017, we’ve sold a large number of MK 1s but along the way, we had some issues with quality. As a result of a few (not all that many) breakages at the thinnest point of the pedals, we decided that we needed to discontinue the pedals. This happened in mid-2018 when the pedals were sold out.
However, we have been asked several times over the last few years if we are going to relaunch Python as a lot of riders like the thin profile of the Python MK.1. So after much feedback from customers and constant requests from our Slopestyle Riders like Jakub Vencl and Elof Lind who refused to ride anything but the Python, we started working on some designs in 2020.
Jakub and Elof were trying to keep the Python MK1 on their bike from being destroyed with all the spare parts they could get their hands on just so that they could transition into the Python MK2. Both riders were instrumental in the development together with our Test Pilot, Kiwi World Cup Downhill Rider Bryn Dickerson.
Once you’ve made that decision, what happened next?
It took some time for Daniel, our Chief Designer, to work on it because it is not just about the drawing. It’s about ensuring all the boxes are ticked before we get things going.
Next is also about deciding the axle type that we want to design the pedals around. It did take us some time to overcome the inertia of developing the pedals.
And then Covid struck.
The manufacturing factories that we worked with were too busy to do the development phase with us. It was a very difficult time as no one had time for us. Not long after that, the war in Ukraine happened and this drove the cost of aluminium sky-high. Eventually, it halted the development work a bit and we just had to focus more on the current production of existing products.
What we did not stop was continuing to work on the drawings together with other products. At the same time, we were putting it into the software to spot the stress points, contact points and potential breakage points.
How many people are involved, and what do they do?
In total, there has been quite a lot of people on the project, but for the in-house team that works on it, about 6 to 7 individual between designing, brainstorming, conceptualising, sourcing, and managing the project.
How did you know what you did, and didn’t, want to do with this set of pedals?
We have two main objectives in developing the Funn Python Mk2 pedal – the first, to enhance their strength and the second to enhance their aesthetics.
We sought to improve the pedals’ durability significantly. We’d had an issue with failures on Mk1 at a specific point and we worked hard to correct that.
At the same time, we refreshed the pedal visually, leading us to embrace the forging process. This technique bolstered the strength and created a smoother and more appealing profile.
As we explored various options, we did consider implementing pins that attach from the opposite side of the pedals. However, this approach would have entailed multiple holes, potentially undermining the pedals’ overall strength, which ultimately led us to discard this idea.
Did you have materials in mind before you started?
When approaching pedal development, our consistent choice of material has been 6061 alloy for our metal pedals. This strikes an ideal balance, offering exceptional strength, low weight, and cost-effectiveness.
How many prototypes did you go through before getting to the production model(s)?
The initial stage involves creating a 3D printed model to assess the overall size and aesthetics before moving on to crafting a metal prototype.
The second stage sees the fabrication of a prototype that focuses on checking functionality and rigorously testing structural strength and durability. Through various testing equipment, we subjected these prototypes to an array of tests to assess the resilience of the body and the axle system.
In the final prototype phase, pre-production samples were distributed to riders to gather valuable feedback. This input guided us in making refinements, including adjustments to the placement of pins. Each of these stages played an essential role in refining the pedal’s design and performance, ensuring the result met the highest standards of quality and functionality.
Can you talk us through that prototype stage?
We did a couple of prototypes with our in-house 3D printer to look at the actual profile of the pedals after establishing the final design on Solid Works.
Then, we proceeded with making a CNC version and after some minor tweaking, we committed to a mould for the forging process.
How important are your athletes to product development and at what stage do they become involved?
They are very important to us.
At the end of the day, they will be the ones who need to agree to be happy to ride the pedals during competition.
We start working with the athletes early on in the process. They give us their feature ‘wishlist’ and tell us exactly what they think needs to be improved over the previous version.
And then, when we have rideable, pre-production samples, we will send them to our athletes to test them out – even if it means destroying them in the process.
When we finally saw the first batch of pre-production samples and they looked fantastic. When they arrived, they were better than we imagined.
Not exactly a disaster but when we were prototyping and testing the prototypes, the axle specification was incorrect. So we had to send updated axles to the testers and faced some delays. But, that’s why we test and it was a valuable step in the process.
Where next for Funn?
We already launched some other products together with the Python MK2 at Eurobike. We have a High Rise Handlebar call Upturn in R40 and R55 versions. And the neutralised Equalizer (the original version was a +/-10mm rise).
In 2024, there will be more pedals updates and perhaps saddles updates.
You can check out the Funn Python Mk.2 on our News page here.
Read our Wise Words interview with Dominic Loh on our Features page here.