Are Mullet Bikes Faster? | Is Mixed Wheel Size Better For MTB?

By | February 22, 2020

– Welcome back you beautiful people. And today is an experimental day. Yes, we’re are going to
get a lot of numbers. I’m going to go super technical for myself where I’m going to be switching out my 29 inch
wheel on the rear to a 27.5, turning it into a mullet
bike to find out… – Hey, did you say mullet Blake? – No mullet Blake, I said mullet bike. We’re out here at BikePark Wales and we’re going to find
out which one’s quicker. (upbeat music) Bust my ass there. (upbeat music) Big gap coming up, big gap. Big gap.
(screams) Okay, for some of you
that don’t understand what a mullet bike is all about, well it’s two different wheel sizes and it’s basically a 29 inch wheel on the front and 27.5 on the rear. Okay for some of you racers out there, you’re probably asking is this legal? Well back in 2019, the UCI pretty much said mix wheel sizes are allowed throughout the event so you can be racing downhill or enduro. Now Specialized and Canyon are doing this already
on the downhill bikes, which is pretty cool. Now you’re probably
wondering, why mullet bikes? Well having a 27.5 wheel on the rear, it makes that bike a lot more nimble when it comes to moving
around on the trail. It means you can have a shorter chainstay, means you got a lot more wheel clearance. You don’t bust your ass that much if you had a 29 inch wheel. And the best thing about having a 29 on the front is because it can roll over a lot
of obstacles quicker. And when you’re going at
high speed down the trail, it makes that bike a
lot more stable as well. (upbeat guitar music) Earlier, I did say we’re
going to talk tech. Yes, I’ve got my tech head on and numbers are going to be
changing quite significantly. And changing from a 29er to 27.5, the characteristics of this rig are going to change dramatically. So I’ve chosen my Canyon Strive CF 9.0. Now from factory standard, this bike comes with 29 inch wheels front and rear. Now the unique thing about this bike is it has a shape-shift system and what is is you can change it from click to clack. And clack is the descent mode which I’ll be riding in today, and where I got all these
numbers from as well. Head angle on this bike at standard comes in at 66 degrees. Now mullet setting comes in at 64 degrees. So it’s changed quite dramatically. The seat angle on this as
standard is 73.5 degrees. Now mullet setting is 71.5, another dramatic change. Bottom bracket height, standard is 37 cm. Now, obviously with the
mullet setting on this it’s going to drop it to 33 cm. The reach on this bike,
standard is 440 mm. Now mullet setting, this is 420. The wheel diameter or width tire, standard 29 inch wheel is 74.5 cm. Mullet with 27.5, this is 71 cm. So it’s another dramatic change. So what do all these
numbers mean in real life? Well, I’m going to put down a base time with 29 inch wheels front
and rear down a trail, that one over there, and I use that as a base then I’m going to go down the same trail again on a 27.5 and find out
what it’s all about. (upbeat music) Before we start putting in race times, let me explain the route I’ll be riding to compare the two
different styles of bike. It’s a combination of three trails. A blue, a red, and a black. This would give me a vast
variety of rough and steep, fast wide open, and a
mixture of both in one. At the top, we have a black trail. Rough, steep, tight and techy. One called Dai Hard. Then it’s a quick fire road sprint into a blue trail called Willy Waver. Then tight switch back from blue to a red trail called Rim
Dinger to finish it off. Course set, let’s race. (upbeat music) Okay, set a base time on the 29er. In three, two, one, go. (upbeat music) (groans) Bust my ass there. (upbeat music) This is super rough and steep. (upbeat music) 29, 29. I feel like way better at pedaling still in descent mode. Blue run. (upbeat music) Woo. Time for mullet Blake. Mullet Blake good luck. Oh my gosh. That was hard work, that was hard work. (upbeat music) – Dude. It’s time for the mullet man. Totally give that guy a run for his money. In three, two, one, go. (upbeat music) Aw, I didn’t even bust my seat dude. (upbeat music) Feels a bit boggy. Big gap coming up, big gap. Big gap, oh! Big hip, ah. (laughs) (upbeat music) Oh yeah! Man, this kind of Blake for the times man. – I’m super surprised. I’m super excited as well ’cause flipping the times. I don’t have to go back to the shed, work it all out to the exact second just to show you which one’s quicker. Back to Blake in the shed. I’m going to break down the route I rode into three different segments. We’ve got the black, we’ve got the blue, and we’ve got the red to finish. Now, obviously we
started off on the black. Dai Hard trails. You know how like I said
it’s rough and steep and tight and techy. Let me give you the times that I put in. Okay, I’m going to
start off with the 29er. I did it in one minute 54. The mullet bike, I did
it in one minute 50. Hands down I thought the 29 was going to be way quicker through there. Obviously because it’s a big wheeled bike, it’s going to float over
all that rough stuff. But I was wrong, and it
felt totally different. So the 29er, I was quite
neutral on the bike. I know how that bike rides. I’ve ridden it for a long
time and quite used to it. So, what I mean by neutral on the bike is I couldn’t really get
back over the wheel enough when it came to those steep descents. Those tight, techy steps. I couldn’t get far enough. And plus riding the mullet bike, it filled me with so much confidence. Now with anything that
fills you with confidence, you’re definitely going to be riding a little bit more aggressive. You’re going to be riding a little bit more faster because you’re comfortable riding a bike that suits you. Now moving down onto the blue trail. So it was a little sprint
down the fire road, up the fire road and then into
the blue called Willy Waver. Now this is a flat out trail. This trail is fast,
it’s flowy, it’s jumpy. You want to keep your speed
maintained down this trail. Now, the times. The 29er, two minutes 22. Which, yeah it’s a long trail ish. Mullet bike, two minutes 21. Definitely thought the 29er
was going to be quicker because it’s big wheels. And when it came to the 27.5 on the rear of the mullet bike setup, I felt like it was a little bit boggy. I was pumping through the trails, I was like oh man it’s boggy. And I thought that would
be slowing me down. Obviously not, ’cause
the times say different. Now the red trail. Now this was a bit of both. So it was rough, it was techy, it was fast flowing and there was a nice big hip on it which I quite enjoyed to hit. Now the times for this on the 29er was one minute point zero four. The mullet bike, one
minute point zero two. Again, I felt super comfortable riding that mullet bike down that trail. After all of that, all of those three segments combined, the overall time that I’ve put in on the 29er was four minutes 37 seconds. Mullet bike was four minutes 33 seconds. That’s a lot quicker. Now, if you were racing you’d win that. And it shows in the times
that mullet bikes are fast. That was a big surprise ’cause I’ve never done a mullet bike switch. I’ve done the reverse
mullet just to be hilarious and see how horrible it is and
it was amazing on climbing. Now talk about climbing when
it comes to mullet bike, I climbed from the bottom
of that trail to the uplift. It was the worst thing ever. Even when I switched
it from clack to click, which is my shape-shifter
on the Canyon Strive, I went into climb mode and it still felt like I was sat like that. It was terrible so I think the overall thing is
if I was going to race, I think this would be
the best way to do it. For me, I would definitely
go to mullet bike. Now that’s why all those downhill dudes are going to mullet bikes. (upbeat music) Big hip, ah. (laughs) Yes it is because the ECU. The UCI. It is because the UCI
dibbed demmed it as… My mouth’s cold.

100 thoughts on “Are Mullet Bikes Faster? | Is Mixed Wheel Size Better For MTB?

  1. Nils - Post author

    Doesnt that crazy flat headangle ride like chewinggum around corners, like really unreactiv and hard to play with or is it compensated by the small backwheel? Cause the chainstay isnt shorter.
    I think mullet bikes are the future for sure but i think you need the factorywise so the geometry fits the mullet style

  2. Nathan Forrest Post author

    Hold on here; reducing your wheel diameter form 74.5cm to 71cm (3.5cm reduction in diameter, or 1.75cm reduction in radius) reduces your bottom bracket height 4cm (from 37 to 33)? Where does the other 2.25cm come from? That's not even accounting for the fact that the BB is 435mm forward of the rear axle, so the change in BB height is actually 1.1cm, not 4cm.
    Also, reducing the radius of the rear wheel by 1.75cm on a bike with a 119.6cm wheelbase changes the headtube angle and seat tube angle by 0.84 degrees, not 2 degrees.
    Accordingly, the rest of the geometry pronouncements are equally as flawed.

  3. Groove Seeker Post author

    Yo, I think almost all benefits you experienced comes from the slacker head angle. Those trails weren't as twisty and tight as you would nide to enjoy the benefits. Also, I have the impresion that or the bike frame is made specifically for the wheel size combo or the geomrtry ends up being funny. I mean, to enjoy the shorter chainstais that 27'5 wheels have, the chainstais have to be shortened, otherwise, wheelbase will maintane itself almost constant

  4. asad asd Post author

    Would like to see if the 26" on the rear would be even better. There are some tests that shows 26" are slighty superior to the 27,5" so it would be really interesting.

  5. Marcus Lofjord Post author

    So is it Wheel size (mullet) or Geometry that makes the biggest difference in the ride? Next episode? 🙂

  6. Buck Roger Post author

    Never get tired of watching Blake shred. Also mullet Blake FTW

  7. Gelie M Post author

    I think you should do that 3 times not just one. You get better every ride..

  8. My Frequencies Post author

    So Penny Farthings are the quickest downhill bikes out there.

  9. Thim Post author

    Put aside racing and put in rear world tech and talk to me son. I'm not a racer just thinking of doing this to a 27.5 bike I have in hope that roll over at slower speeds will help with otb.

  10. Gregd351 Post author

    Throw a 27.5 on the front and you would go even faster? 🤔

  11. Jose Fuentes Post author

    it would be more noticeable if you put 29" forks and front wheel on a 27.5 bike??

  12. Billy Annis Post author

    I'd be careful to say that mullet bikes are faster. It would be better to say that the Canyon strive's geometry can benefit using the mullet style wheels, depending on what kind of rider you are. Just saying, gotta take the scientific approach on this one.

  13. Casey Robert Giblin Post author

    This is the opposite of a mullet. A mullet is short in the front and long in the back. On this bike the wheels are larger in the front and smaller in the back.

  14. Nick Dionne Post author

    I feel like mountain bikers are slowly starting to learn that they should be riding dirt bikes instead….

  15. Matthew Hodges Post author

    27.5 vs mullet vs 29
    also can you put 29" fork&wheel on a 27.5" frame to make a mullet bike?

  16. Oliver Lim Post author

    Blake, u should make a video where u have 27.5 at front and 26 in rear

  17. Jay J Post author

    so basically there was no difference and he did better on a bike he's more favored of …. so no revelations here.. a taller rider wouldn't graze the tire and would ride 29 without apprehension like he did herer

  18. tmo164 Post author you already did this vid a year ago.

  19. Oz Belton Post author

    So what exactly is a proper mullet bike? I see you went with a 29er frame in this video using a 27.5 in the rear. What if you tried a 27.5 frame with a 29er fork and wheel out front with slightly less travel. Making sure the geo is the same from crown to axle. To level out the odds do four bikes. 29er front and rear, 27.5 front and rear, then 29er frame with 27.5 rear wheel and lastly 27.5 frame with 29er front. I wonder which bike would come up faster?

  20. Jack Buster Post author

    Blake what if you did 4 test runs, 1st 27.5 front and rear, 2nd 29 front and rear, 3rd 29 front 27.5 rear, 4th 27.5front 29rear?

  21. Jeff Jackson Post author

    Math: Both the geometry changes and the total times are wrong.

  22. James Paul Post author

    Mullet Blake …..ROFL……………………… yall rock awesome and thanks for the laugh

  23. Fogas Post author

    Why did the reach change? The smaller wheel changed the size of the frame or what?! 😂
    And the overall time was different..
    29er: 5:20 (1:54+2:22+1:04)
    Mullet: 5:13 (1:50+2:21+1:02)
    It was 7 second faster, not 4

  24. Matthew Fox Post author

    Mullet Blake vs Sam pilgrims surfer neighbor for an epic game of b.i.k.e. on mullet bikes of course.

  25. Jeffrey Potter Post author

    I have a 90's rigid Specialized Rockhopper. Could there be a 27.5 wheel/fork that would fit that headtube?

  26. Aden Warrington Post author

    Can you do this with 27.5 in the front and 26 in the rear?

  27. Luke Post author

    Since buying my strive id been waiting to see this analysis, i buzz my ass constantly and no longer have the same ability to get over the rear. Its made me adjust my riding style to suit the bike. It would have been good to see the times on the ups as well as the downs though.

  28. Fabien Dussere Post author

    Can I put a 29" front on my 27.5" DH bike? is it the same way around than putting a 27.5" on a 29er?

  29. Jason Watt Post author

    May have bee. said before but surely the doing the second run when you’re more familiar with the conditions and obstacles means you are confident to go faster?

  30. ojanpohja Post author

    Now take truly modern geo bike with 29ers, long reach and 64 degree head angle: say a Pole or the new Enduro and I bet it’s faster. It’s not the mullet that making you faster, but the lower and slacker geometry.

  31. David Wales Post author

    bikes need to be designed around the mixed wheelsize.. chucking a different sized wheel on just stuffs the geometry

  32. 19redmiata94 Post author

    What a missed oppertuinity for an apperance by Sam Pilgrim's surfer guy.

  33. rojors Post author

    Not so much difference on the speed (aint question about speed though. But i think it's all about the comfort that you are riding a mullet

  34. Scott Martin Post author

    69er is still the tits- put a 29" fork on your old low bb 26er and wail.

  35. C. Armando Barrios Post author

    it would've been nice to see a rider outline of how body/riding position changes due to the new geometry of the bike mullet bike compared to the standard 29". Maybe a future add on to geometry videos?

  36. Schrute-Farms- Post author

    The issue I have wiith tests like these, is you're doing one run, then another, so you're more familiar the second time around (but I assume you've ridden these trails before). A better test would be doing maybe 3 runs on each wheel size and taking the averages.

  37. Happy Cow Post author

    Uhhh, these times are statistically identical and useless for comparison. The only way to draw a conclusion from this comparison would be to make multiple runs with each bike and compare the mean times.

  38. r0c1nant3 Post author

    This seems almost as much of a geometry comparison. I would be more interested in the difference that put the most emphasis on the wheel size. Run the 29 setup in clack, run the mullet setup in click – where the geometry between the setups would have been more similar.

  39. Liam Broomfield Post author

    Mullet Blake and Surfer guy from Sam Pilgrims channel need to do a video together. Would be totally EPIC

  40. Alexander Flieger Post author

    I would say to be very accurate you would have to run it four times. Because the second time you will also be more relax because you’ve don’t it once. Now if you changed it up to four times. It would be consistent with comfortability. But over all that is a huge number distance which proves it’s fast. Great video guys best bike content on the web.

  41. Kerry Owen Post author

    The bigger the wheel the faster it will roll, 29 on back 27.5 on front 👍

  42. Henry Post author

    I'm pretty sure it was the mullet on your head that made you faster. I'm just gonna buy one of those

  43. Gergő Ollé Post author

    What about climbing? For example 26 on the rear and 27,5 on the front? Anyone thoughts?

  44. 3d Reproductions Post author

    Should have included a 27.5" front and rear time for further comparison!

  45. bonky wonky Post author

    Yeah but this can also be because of the more aggressive geometry..

  46. Dustin Southworth Post author

    Now what about a bike that is made for 27.5 with a 29er fork and wheel? What’s the tech on that and comparison times?

  47. Matty R Post author

    Sam pilgrim needs to do this with the skate boarder that he always knocks off haha

  48. Alfie Brown Post author

    Racing motocross for all my life I’ve always thought about this as the front wheel is Bigger than the back and how it would effect a mountain bike. Mint video 👍🏽

  49. TreaHuggs Post author

    Wheres Sam Pilgrim!? Needed his Cali friend that leaves up the street to help with this video.

  50. FretGuru Post author

    This is interesting – and relatively useless at the same time.

    WAY too many other variables are being changed along with the wheel size, and far too many compromises are created in those other areas.

    And do you really want a 64 degree head angle on your trail, or even enduro bike? How about that relaxed seat angle?!

    But I do have to ask what is the effective seat angle on the Canyon? This is not how modern bikes with kinked seat tubes (or ones that aren't aligned with the bottom bracket center) are measured.

    Seems the only correct (or worthwhile) way to do this is with a bike that's conducive to different wheel sizes / has a flip chip – i.e. the Scott Ransom.

    I'm building one now, and starting out as a mullet. All of the geometry numbers look great, or I wouldn't do it.

  51. Whitehawkvisionfilms Post author

    My new buzz phrase is “Mullet Setting’” any time I want to colorful Im going to announce “Everyone step back Im about to switch my setting to Mullet Mode!

  52. sapinva Post author

    It was the hair. Sorry, but guys with hair are simply faster.

  53. santi uribe Post author

    I think your mullet bike is not done correctly, what you should really do to make a real mullet bike is to take a 650B bike and change your fork and front wheel to 29er… That way you will have the short chainstay of a 650B and the rolling power of a 29er, and obviously all the differences you found on the mullet bike you did…

  54. Jordan Post author

    die hard willy waving rim dinger is what my highschool girlfriend used to call me

  55. William AK Vitkovitch Post author

    Nice video! But surely this is a 'Reverse Mullet bike'? You know, cos a mullet is longer at the back? A 'Mullet bike'' should have the 29" at the back and the 27,5" at the front, reflecting the physical aspects of the haircut (not that that would work). Looks sick though! Maybe I'd call this an 'EMO Fringe Bike' as the larger wheel is the front wheel. : )

  56. Barney Clifton Post author

    Hey, when are you guys gonna make a video about how to film cool edits?

  57. David Emery Post author

    It’s nothing new, remember specialised big hit! But, it’s good to see the numbers

  58. Ricky Downhill - RDH Post author

    Oh these Mullet bikes take me back to my old Santa Cruz Super 8 with the 24" on the rear and 26" on the front. That tiny back wheel with a single pivot didn't make for a happy bike going down fast and into braking bumps!! This gave me PTSD.

  59. Tom Chilcott Post author

    Great video….this is really making me want to go smash dai hard at BPW, ain't been there in ages

  60. Sergiu Tigu Post author

    Is there a front fork that can take a 148mm boost back wheel? I live near a mountaion and i own a boost bikew. i want to ride with both back wheels 27.5 and 29. and swap them front and back between climbing and downhill.

  61. Bikeable Post author

    The Canyon Strive is not a good bike to test this on as it has a stupid steep 66 degree head angle so when you slacken it of course the bikes faster

  62. Samuel Toro Del Toro Post author

    What's old is new again…

    Gotta love the sport. From the original rigid single speed clunkers, to hardtails, then full suspenders, balloon tires, to skinny, up a rim size or two, or mix and match 'em.

    Then rigid single speeds come back, momentarily fixies get in there, later we fatten up the tires, and back to hardtails, which give way to fat full suspenders, but somehow gravel bikes shove their way in, and now 69ers are renamed as mullets.

    I'm gonna dig out my coaster brake Schwinn from the shed; she might just be the next big thing…

  63. George Sak Post author

    So even just starting this video, the whole point of a mullet bike is the short rear chainstay and higher travel.
    Aside from the lower polar of movement of a 27.5 I don't think this geo is being fully utilized

  64. joses box Post author

    I remember specialized had the big hit. I think it was 26/24.

  65. Leon Grimaldi Post author

    benefits of having wider rear wheel compered to the front wheel ?


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