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They're all solid pieces of kit, nothing flimsy or waffery about them. But on the colour, well, I wasn't sure that an anodised red and polished stem would go well with a champagne (named Cappuccino) handlebar. Add on a pair of white Combat II grips and you have quite the bold cockpit and a statement of note. Not really the accents-only style I'm usually after. They also gave me a pair of Bigfoot pedals - black with metallic blue pins. Perhaps a bit more understated in colour, but not lacking in presence whatsoever.

Since you may have already seen that I have reviewed both the Combat II grips and the Bigfoot pedals, I'm focusing on the Strippa stem and Fatboy handlebar combo here, doing them at the same time on the idea that they make up the cockpit together.

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Initial impressions: FUNN Fatboy handlebar

I'm not a stranger to wide bars and have an overwhelming preference to them, but when I first held the Fatboy bars I couldn't help but think that they resembled motocross handlebars. And, sure enough, when I compared their 785mm width to my brother's KTM Adventure's Renthal handlebars, they were almost identical. They are downhill bars, for sure, but FUNN wasn't messing about like some other brands, they went the whole 9 yards. They do also come in 750mm and an enormous 810mm for the leveragely challenged.

The 'Cappuccino' coloured Fatboy I've got here is part of the limited edition range called Color Version. Should that not be 'Easter Version'? The Color Version options are Acid Green, Pink Champagne, Maui Blue and Cappuccino, while the normal colour options include red, blue, orange, silver and black. Anyway, they look pretty cool and it's bold of FUNN to go so far out with their colours. The rise options are 15mm, 30mm and a possible 7mm for the 810mm version.

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Bolted on

Possibly the most striking thing about the Fatboy bars, even more so than the colour, is the bead blast finish for the centre of the bars and the mirror polish finish for the outer parts. It's beautifully executed and the only place where it wore away a bit was under the clamps of the brakes, shifter and lock-on grips.

The centre graphics made centring the bars easy. Once set it was also easy to get a feel of how far forward or back you wanted the bars to sit. I set them a little more forward than centre and if I tried something different, I always came back to that position - it just seemed the most natural.

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And that was a continuous feeling I got from the Fatboys. From the get go they immediately felt more comfortable than my Nukeproof Warhead bars. While you could feel how the 760mm Nukeproofs would be a bit wide, the FUNNs sat so naturally in your hands that I never once wanted to cut them down. The 5.5º degree upsweep and 8º backsweep were near perfect for me.

Specifications

FUNN Fatboy handlebar

Colour: Cappuccino with bead blast and mirror polish finish

Material: AL7050-T73 Triple Butted

Width: 785mm

Clamp Diameter: 31.8mm

Backsweep:

Upsweep: 5.5º

Rise: 15mm

Weight: 340g (claimed)

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Initial impressions: FUNN Strippa stem

The Strippa's two-toned red and polished look is clean and stylish but has serious purpose to it. Its full CNC construction is clean and makes for a strong yet relatively light stem at 173g. I did like the shape of the Strippa, the fact that it wasn't a plain block, but tapered vertically to accommodate the bigger 31.8 diameter clamp and horizontally to increase the wide clamp for increased distribution on the bars. It doesn't clamp vertically either, like most stems, but is around a 45º angle which is supposed to reduce the pressure placed on the bolts and displace forces better around the rest of the stem.

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It's full of little details, like the clean CNC lines, the beveled edges and the lips protruding a couple of millimetres from the split steering clamp. In fact, almost all the edges have at least a slight bevelling to them, so nothing is sharp to touch. It's great to see right through to the steering tube, and even right through to the other side. The braces connecting the split steering clamps are a nice touch and the weight saving's method of cutting away unneeded material lends a bit of a scaffolding look to it. Everything about this stem shouts purpose, even down to the decals deeply engraved into the front and the lightly engraved max torque indicators. The Strippa only comes in a 45mm length but is available in a choice of red, blue, orange, solid black or silver.

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Bolted on

OK, yes the combination of the 'Cappuccino' Fatboy bar and the red Strippa stem was a bit gawdy. It literally grabbed at attention but neither of them looked cheap and when something is as flashy as these items and can still look the part then you know they look good.

Not only that, but the Strippa stem felt great too. It was solid, damn solid, and connected up to the Fatboy the increased responsiveness it gave was immediately noticeable. Where other stems would flex from the leverage forces placed on them from wide bars, the Strippa was unfazed. It is a downhill /freeride spec stem after all, and this is what you would expect from it.

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It does have a variety of applications, though it may not be obvious to everyone. It is light enough for trail or all mountain use and is certainly lighter than many of the dirt jumping stems I've come across and can be happily used for that too. A few of the test bikes we have had in the office found the Strippa being installed onto them, usually transforming them into more agile bikes. Short stems equal quicker steering and a stiffer front end, especially in the case of the FUNN Strippa.

Specifications

FUNN Strippa stem

Colour: Anodised red and silver

Material: AL6061-T6 full CNC

Length: 45mm

Clamp Diameter 31.8

Rise: 0mm

Weight: 173g (claimed)

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In the end

For someone looking for a product that lasts, then the two FUNN items here are definitely worth considering. They are not the lightest products out there, but nor are they heavy by any means. And at a general retail price of R540 for the Strippa stem and R490 for the Fatboy handlebar, they sit around the mid mark there too. But in terms of performance they far outweigh their prices.

That the Fatboy comes in three popular sizes up to a huge 810mm should be very tempting for some - that length usually being a difficult one to come across. And if it's too big, then the cutting it down is easy thanks to the marks on the ends of the bar.

For enduro racing, perhaps you would want to look for something lighter, but then again, how light would you happily go for durability? I mean, Trek used the Fatboy on their DH bikes in 2013, so they must be worthy of your bike, no? Also, for the colour coding enthusiasts, FUNN is definitely something to look at.