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

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

– 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 comments on “Are Mullet Bikes Faster? | Is Mixed Wheel Size Better For MTB?

  1. Wow – I just installed installed a 29 fr on my 27.5+ this evening. Going to the mullet has several advantages: 1) raise BB 2) slacker geo 3) lighter tire/wheels. We'll see how it goes tomorrow am.

  2. I am Mr S Pilgrim's legal representative. Mr Pilgrim will be instigating breach of intellectual property rights court proceedings against Play Sports, GMBN and Mr Zimblake. Mr Pilgrim will be seeking exemplary damages.

  3. I did the same experiment a few months ago. It is good. More DHish because it is slacker, stack height is higher in relation to BB (again more DHish), tighter turning, and less tire butt buzz. The not so good is climbing is tougher and BB is lower (more pedal strikes).

  4. I was kinda expecting such results. The advantages and disadvantages looked so obvious.

    By the way, I loved the way you blazed past those trails with the wig!!!

  5. Great video and comparison !!! You've talked about 29 against mullet bike, but what about 27.5 against mullet bike ?

  6. What about a mullet hardtail? I's 6ft and I find my "large" 29er keeps me really high up, almost like the bike is too big for me. I wonder if having the 27.5 on the rear would give me the feeling of being lower and more stable going over the really gnarly slow techy stuff I ride.

  7. Blake challenge. How small can you go on the rear wheel and it actually be ride-able, trick-able?, practical. 26’, 24’, 20’??
    Might be a fun video.

  8. Oh cummon Blake. Been waiting for this test. Thought you would do your Scout 27.5 and whack a 29" front on it. Building a scout 275 at the moment and wondering whether to go mullet or not.
    How about testing dropping a 29er back wheel down to 27 VS putting a 29er wheel on a 275.
    Use hardtails to make the test more technically perfect.

  9. The Mullet hair style is short at the front and long at the back. So if everyone insists on using this terminology the 29" wheel should be at the rear and the 27.5 at the front

  10. Yes mullet bikes are the way to go! 😍👍
    I recommend an 18" in the rear and 55" or 56" in the front for optimum effect 🤘💪

  11. This test has to be done with a bike that has a correct geometry. These results (good for descents, bad for climbing), the reverse of the "reverse mullet" experiments (bad for descents, great for climbing) can be explained just because of "tilt".
    Also, I think the numbers doesn't add up in this video. By just swapping the back wheel you couldn't have got 3cm lower BB. You in fact show a smaller decrease in the radius of the wheel so how come the BB gets lower? Also run times doesn't add.
    I have always liked your techie videos but this is exactly the opposite of science xD.

  12. Im curious as to why you used a 29er and then under-wheeled it, it seems like most people have agreed that it seems to work better with a 27.5 bike and then adding the larger wheel up front. Better yet, i would have loved to have see a 29er and a 27.5 frame tested as stock and then tested as a mullet and then analyze THOSE results to see what the differences are.

    Also, stoked to see you running vittorias this year, really awesome tires!

  13. Great video….. Although the conclusion is pretty much in line with the Pro's/bike industry's thoughts we must remember that we don't watch Mr Blake for his mathematical prowess…… those timings seem to be a bit off; it must be based on entertaining outcome and not indeed on a factual basis – If you require anything anally accurate there is always Doddy and Henry.

  14. I think u cannot fully trust those times… Blake rode the trails only once and there are so many factors that impact the time…
    U ll need to do the same route 1000times and then calculate the average time

  15. Yeah but why wouldn't you take a 27.5 bike and change the fork to 29 minus a little travel so the geometry essentially stays the same?

  16. You're not getting the short chain stay advantages here so the nimbleness bit u mentioned at the start not really in the equation. Probably should have put a 29er fork on on a 27.5 bike and then put a 29 wheel on that

  17. Please don’t look like Boris Johnson again please hahahahah that wig made my day and your favourite wheel size is 27.5 end of story

  18. And now use a cane creek angleset and offset bushings to make the 29“ have the same geo as the mullet version, to get comparable results. Still loved the video 🙂

  19. So how can mullet bb be 4cm lower than on 29" when overall diameter difference between 29" and 27.5" is only 3.5cm = rear axle is 1.75cm lower on 27,5.. no way that BB is 4cm lower. That doesnt make any sense.

  20. Everyone is a troll- sorry but I’m not going to accept that the science behind being 1.5% faster has anything to do with the bike configuration until one takes into account that the faster run is the second traverse of the day and your consequent familiarity with the course.

  21. Lol….that cold mouth. Altlantic ocean winter UK 3ft plus 2.5 hour session shuts most men up….don’t know about Alan Carr though, he is always a Chatty person.

  22. You should compare a mullet bike vs non mullet with the same geo… that 2deg of head angle is a huge advantage imo which make the comparison not really fair.

  23. do 5 times with 1 and other 5 times with other… 1 only could do a diference but its not ez to compare with just 1 set of time imo

  24. 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

  25. 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.

  26. 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

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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

  32. 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?

  33. 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?

  34. 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

  35. 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.

  36. 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?

  37. 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.

  38. 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

  39. 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?

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