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Elitest thrill junkie
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Mullet will probably be my next AM/Enduro/all terrain bike. 29er F and R is too much of a drag at higher speeds in medium radius turns IME, with any kind of significant casing and tire width, they burn a lot of speed here that you have to make up for, but modern geometry has solved the tight technical handling issues and they'll keep speed better in sections and avoid wheel-catchers like mad. I think mullet would help to leverage these advantages and since the rear just follows the front, I think that's where I would like to see a 29er on such bike. The only issue is keeping reasonable geometry and not jacking the ST angle way rearward, which would be happening on a haphazardly designed "mullet".
 

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Your bike sucks
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As a guy who owned and rode quite a few 69ers (SS, FS, HT), I'm somewhat stoked that these bikes are getting a second chance. Back in the day, they really helped help bring that spark back into riding a large wheel platform (or I guess conversely - give some tooth back to a small wheel platform).

My bikes aged and became too dated without a respectable mixed wheel option replacement - until just recently that is. I hope this newly minted niche finds some champions, decent platforms and a user-base. As one of the original designers/champions friends of mine put it: "the front wheel and rear wheel of the bike do different things".

As others have put out there, a bike platform that is designed specifically for mixed wheelsize is going to have the best rewards with the least downsides...so I'd be targeting those. The GG option is also compelling as they have a 0 or 20mm headset frame cup that sort of spans the 27.5 & 29er front triangles and dedicated 27.5 or 29er rear triangles - basically, you can leave the front end 29er numbers in tact and bring the 27.5 rear wheel in as one would hope - both geo preserved.
 

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On 2 wheel vehicles a smaller wheel in the back tracks with the front or takes a smaller curve. One of the biggest complaints on 29ers is they dont turn as well unless the wheelbase is shorter than a smaller wheel bike.

At 5'6" I like this set up since I don't have to worry about where the rear wheel is when hanging off the back of the bike. But I prefer the tech climbing ability of the 29er rear wheel and the rear doesn't hangups as much.

Both are a compromise.
 

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Out spokin'
In cog? Neato!
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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Both are a compromise.
Precisely. As is every aspect of the bicycle -- from handlebar width to head angle to crank length -- everything.

Which is the very thing makes the mullet viable. Ideally the rider should be free to individually prioritize their compromises. Hell, some riders even still prefer 26" wheels.

I rest my case.
=sParty
 

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mbtr member
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I don't understand why you'd go for a mullet bike over a 29'er if you're >6' tall.
 

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Keep on Rockin...
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6,471 Posts
Tuned in. Neat thread. I'm a fan of both sizes and always wondered why mullets never became very popular. Way back when in the days of my rigid Surly 1x1 I put a 29" wheel up front and liked it a lot.

Different wheel sizes are just another tool/variable to play with, and both have their merits. Running a different one on each end of the bike designed for it could work well if it matches your style and conditions.

Not really much different that having different amounts travel front and rear.


The biggest opponents to the mullet seem to be riders who don't see as much value in a 275 in any form or function. For those who a 275 works well a mullet will make more sense. I think the 275 has its place and probably works better than a 29 in some applications.
 

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Wanna ride bikes?
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Precisely. As is every aspect of the bicycle -- from handlebar width to head angle to crank length -- everything.
=sParty
Wrong again. The Awesome Strap is awesome all the time, no compromise.
 

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Out spokin'
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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
The biggest opponents to the mullet seem to be riders who don't see as much value in a 275 in any form or function.
Busted. Which is why I'm asking the question. I've been a 29er guy all the way for a long time. Now I'm wondering if there might be something I'm missing.

That said, let me be clear. No way I'm going with a wheel smaller than 29" on the front.
=sParty
 

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29 all the way. been on 29 since start of 2007, purchased a great 650b bike (Turrner Burner w 150/140 f/r)...
...and I wish that I'd purchased a 29er instead (which would have been a Tallboy LT at the time).

The bike industry is great at pushing fads. How about 4" dually's?? How about 3" plus bikes? How about the 24" rear wheel about 15 years ago.

In my opinion, for the majority of riders, mullet bikes are a solution that's looking for a problem. They might be cool to try for the tinkerers, but in a few years they'll be rarer than rocking horse poop.

Have you read/seen Pinkbike's review of the Intense mullet bike? Yikes. Shoot it and put it out of it's misery.


if you want a paradigm shift...ponder this. Linkage forks are the future. There's stuff happening in EU as well as DW's Trust fork.

  • There's no need for a typical head tube with a linkage fork.
  • SO....
  • Imagine that the fork had it's own means of rotating (maybe some nice needle roller bearing?)
  • Imagine that the fork bolted directly & rigidly to the frame (and imagine how many effing standards that the industry could come up with for that...)
  • With this method of direct-mouning, clever engineering types could find ways to alter
    1. Reach
    2. Stack
    3. HA
    4. Trail (maybe?)
  • Conceptually think of some bikes allow the rear shock to be mounted in different positions e.g. Rocky Mountain's old Ride 9 system.
 

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Dirty Old Man
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1,073 Posts
Personally, I think mullet bikes are a great idea that won't reach their potential until a few major companies release a bike that was designed to be a mullet, rather than just throwing a 27.5+ tire on the back of a 29er. A bike that was engineered to run a 27.5x2.4 or 2.5 in the rear and a 29x2.6 out front, 150mm of travel front and rear. That's what I'm waiting for. These bikes that just have a different linkage are missing a trick.

As far as linkage forks, sure when they are made right they work and ride well, but maintenance becomes an issue. Tune-ability becomes and issue. With the Trust forks axle to crown is an issue. Linkage forks weren't the future 20yrs ago (I was running a Girvin from the start) and I don't see that changing too much now. A ton of money has been invested by people in the motorcycling world to make linkage front ends and yet it hasn't caught on. Part of the issue is the added complexity, but part of it is simply the change in front end feel.
 

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As far as linkage forks, sure when they are made right they work and ride well, but maintenance becomes an issue. Tune-ability becomes and issue. With the Trust forks axle to crown is an issue. Linkage forks weren't the future 20yrs ago (I was running a Girvin from the start) and I don't see that changing too much now. A ton of money has been invested by people in the motorcycling world to make linkage front ends and yet it hasn't caught on. Part of the issue is the added complexity, but part of it is simply the change in front end feel.

Hi Scatterbrained, this is the bike industry we're talking about, marketing BS rules. Selling more bikes rules.

Who said anything about "made right"?

Has RF figured out how to make good BB's yet? Do we have more BB standards than I've had hot dinners? Do Fox/RS over grease their forks from the factory? Do "pre-production" test frames break so commonly that it's a thing? Did Shimano introduce a combo brake shift lever that sunk like a lead baloon?

We're still in the Wild West days of pushbikes. Imaging if your car started creaking and you took it back to the dealer...and all they could say was...yeah, they do that, sorry.


Also, you missed my point about a re-design of the fork to frame interface, axle to crown won't exist any more, there won't be a crown :)

Imaging the fun the bike industry could have. It'd be like the switch from 26 to 650b. Within a year, your new frame will be out of date...then the industry will change the fork to frame interface, so your 1st linkage specific frame and fork will be out of date, etc. Kinda like 26" and 142mm. Hands up who's got premium 142mm hubs that can't use them because the bike industry as a whole, as we say in Australia, couldn't organise a pi55 up in a pub. To compare and contract, all mobile phones and wireles computing stuff works together because the big tech companies work years in advance to ensure that it's so - setting and sticking to real standards.


Happy New Year mate!
 

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Dirty Old Man
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Hi Scatterbrained, this is the bike industry we're talking about, marketing BS rules. Selling more bikes rules.

Who said anything about "made right"?

Has RF figured out how to make good BB's yet? Do we have more BB standards than I've had hot dinners? Do Fox/RS over grease their forks from the factory? Do "pre-production" test frames break so commonly that it's a thing? Did Shimano introduce a combo brake shift lever that sunk like a lead baloon?

We're still in the Wild West days of pushbikes. Imaging if your car started creaking and you took it back to the dealer...and all they could say was...yeah, they do that, sorry.


Also, you missed my point about a re-design of the fork to frame interface, axle to crown won't exist any more, there won't be a crown :)

Imaging the fun the bike industry could have. It'd be like the switch from 26 to 650b. Within a year, your new frame will be out of date...then the industry will change the fork to frame interface, so your 1st linkage specific frame and fork will be out of date, etc. Kinda like 26" and 142mm. Hands up who's got premium 142mm hubs that can't use them because the bike industry as a whole, as we say in Australia, couldn't organise a pi55 up in a pub. To compare and contract, all mobile phones and wireles computing stuff works together because the big tech companies work years in advance to ensure that it's so - setting and sticking to real standards.


Happy New Year mate!
Having grown up in the auto industry I see things a bit differently. I can remember when we reached the point where you couldn't be sure to get the right parts for your car without the VIN. It's pretty rare to find a part (other than tires, bulbs and batteries) that can be swapped from one car to a different kind of car. The fact that the bike industry even bothers to adopt standards at all is a blessing for everyone involved. Of course that's mostly because the bike companies are only making the frames. That said, I would imagine that if a large company like Trek were to introduce a new standard that was worthwhile others would adopt it. Boost comes to mind.
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I personally don't mind the ever evolving standards because they coincide with ever increasing performance from our bikes. As far as bikes or parts being "out of date". . . do you replace your car every time a new model comes out?
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If you think squeaking BBs is a joke I can tell you some stories from the automotive side that would make your head explode. I actually had a VW engineer tell me that our expectations were simply too high during a discussion about QC issues we were seeing. I won't get into specifics, but let's just say I'll never own a VW product. . . . . .
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I'd love to get my hands on a Structure. The tuning capabilities of a bike that runs a standard shock in the font is exciting. The downside is that if they don't get something right (geometry for example) then where else do you go?
 

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XC iconoclast
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2,005 Posts
[/LIST]
Disadvantages...
  • I'm thinking...
  • Still thinking...
  • Okay, here's one. Until mullet is fully embraced by mountain bikers everywhere, you'll be considered an outlier.
  • Wait, is that a disadvantage?
I'll bet others will add to either/both lists.

=sParty

I'm wondering if this is really just for more talented riders. Personally I'd want the rear tire to break free before the front. It's a lot easier to rein in the back than the front once the front starts slipping. So I'm doing the opposite, 1/2 plus or something wider in front than back. 26 x 2.8 or 27.5 x 2.6 or 27.5 x 2.8 front and then 26 x 2.7 or 27.5 x 2.4 back. If I wanted to experience a mini-mullet I'll later try 27.5 x 2.4 front (actual width 2.30) and 26 x 2.7 back (actual width 2.45). I really doubt it will be of any advantage at my skill level. Stable front tire seems best for now.
 

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I don't understand why you'd go for a mullet bike over a 29'er if you're >6' tall.
If where you ride you aren't struggling with turns or have to slow way down to make them. No need IMHO
I don't follow you. The rear wheel doesn't have any negative impact on making turns, in my experience. Frame geo can be the same between wheel sizes, and the rear wheel tracks along behind the front one, but in a smaller arc.

Do you suppose you're picking up on something that becomes irrelevant when you're taller?
 

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I don't follow you. The rear wheel doesn't have any negative impact on making turns, in my experience. Frame geo can be the same between wheel sizes, and the rear wheel tracks along behind the front one, but in a smaller arc.

Do you suppose you're picking up on something that becomes irrelevant when you're taller?
With a smaller rear wheel the rear will track in a smaller arch than the front. So it will take turns sharper than if both wheels are the same size. One of the biggest complaints is 29ers take a larger arch to the turn. This requires you to slow down more before a turn. The mullet will make this more manageable. Taller people can handle a long travel 29er easier. So if if you dont feel you need to slow down much for a turn on your trails. Or most of you trails are open. I would not switch to a mullet since the rear will hang up more in chunk
 

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With a smaller rear wheel the rear will track in a smaller arch than the front. So it will take turns sharper than if both wheels are the same size. One of the biggest complaints is 29ers take a larger arch to the turn. This requires you to slow down more before a turn. The mullet will make this more manageable. Taller people can handle a long travel 29er easier. So if if you dont feel you need to slow down much for a turn on your trails. Or most of you trails are open. I would not switch to a mullet since the rear will hang up more in chunk
I'm still not following. Not saying you're wrong, just that i can't make what you're saying work in my head.

Isn't the path of the rear wheel determined by wheelbase and the radius of the turn? Like, we could be using shopping cart wheels and they're going to take the same path.
 

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I'm still not following. Not saying you're wrong, just that i can't make what you're saying work in my head.

Isn't the path of the rear wheel determined by wheelbase and the radius of the turn? Like, we could be using shopping cart wheels and they're going to take the same path.
Wheel base determines most of it, and on 4 wheel vehicles like a shoppingcart its easy to figure out turning ratios. 2 wheel vehicles are a little different. A longer contact patch ( taller wheels have a longer contract patch )will track wider. So will the gyroscopic effect of a taller wheel. So in a fast turn the rear feels like it wants to push out and track slightly more than the front wheel. This is lessened by a smaller wheel since it will track just inside of the front.
 

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Here's my old home-built F69er hard-tail. It's a Cannondale F600 with a 1" travel 700c Silk Path Headshok in the front, clearanced for 29x2.0 tires.

Bicycle tire Bicycle frame Wheel Bicycle wheel Bicycle wheel rim .

I loved this setup, but sold it to upgrade to disc brakes. I now have a 50mm travel Fatty 29er Headshok waiting for the right 26" F-series frame to come around.


I also recently picked up a Lefty Max 130 to set up for a 29" front wheel on my 26" Cannondale Rush.
 
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