Mixed wheel bikes, AKA Mullets are blowing up right now. In the last few weeks alone, Transition, Evil, and Santa Cruz have released updated models specifically designed for mixed wheel use.
They join models from Specialized, Guerilla Gravity, Pivot, and Alchemy that were recently launched with factory-approved aftermarket kits that add mixed wheel compatibility to their platforms. There’s even a bike company startup that has defined themselves around the mixed wheel size, calling themselves “Mullet Cycles”.
In our series dedicated to Mixed-wheel love, we’re taking a look at a few of the new options introduced to the interwebs, as well as our first impressions of a few we’ve ridden, plus a look at some of the local crew’s rigs. First though, let’s check out some of the bikes you can buy now.
2021 Santa Cruz Mullet Bronson ($3,700 frame-only $5049+ for completes)
For 2021, the Santa Cruz Bronson becomes the first Santa Cruz trail bike to be designed to run a mixed wheel, mullet setup. Geometry-wise, the updated Bronson didn’t stray much from the moderate numbers Santa Cruz is known for. (though it works well for Bay Area riding) The head angle is relaxed slightly, and the wheelbase is a tad longer, as is the seat tube angle. The chainstays now scale with each frame size, which can make fit a challenge if you’re looking for a modern reach and a nimble back end. (which for us is the whole purpose of running a 27.5″ rear wheel) SC reach lengths are a bit shorter than other options, with the medium reach listed at 452/455mm (based on flip-chip settings).
Numbers at a glance:
- 64.7º HA
- 76.9º SA (large)
- 1249mm wheelbase, 475mm reach (large)
- 438m rear center/ chain stay (large)
2021 Evil Insurgent MX($3,300 frame, $6,000+)
The latest iteration of the Evil Insurgent is offered with both 27.5″ and mix wheel build kits, utilizing an adjustable . Featuring 168mm of rear-wheel travel paired to a 180mm (27.5″) or 170mm (MX 29) fork, the Insurgent keeps that short, 430mm chainstay length that makes Evil bikes so playful and jibby.
Riders transform the Evil from full 27.5 mode to mulleted “MX” mode by changing out the fork and front wheel, and moving the flip chip to the “low” position.
Geometry at a glance:
- Max rear tire: 27.5 x 2.6″
- Rear center/ chain stay length: 430/432mm
- HA: 64.2/63.5º
- SA: 76.9/76.2º
- Wheelbase (medium) 1236/1238mm
- Reach: 453/460mm (medium)
2021 Transition Mullet Patrol (Alloy – $2,300 frameset, $3,800+)
We’ve known a new Patrol was on the way for sometime, and suspected mullet options were coming. The latest iteration of the Patrol goes all in with the mixed wheels with the 2021 Mullet Patrol Alloy.
With the addition of the new long travel Spire (29″) covering the enduro territory and the Scout covering the 140mm/150mm 27.5″ trail smasher, the latest iteration of the Patrol is undeniably PNW flavored with its alloy chassis and dual crown fork compatibility. For the shuttle rider looking for a rig that’s ready to double as a park bike, a full 1.5″ head tube demonstrates that this bike is made for going big, and partying in the woods. On really, really big jumps.
Geometry at a glance:
- HA: 63/63.5º
- 1231/1233 wheelbase
- Reach: 455/450mm (medium)
- SA: 78.8/78.3º
There are just the latest crop of mullets that dropped. Earlier in the year, other mixed wheel friendly bikes were also released, including the 2021 Stumpjumper EVO, Pivot, and Alchemy.
2021 Specialized Stumpjumper EVO MulletLink ($5,000+)
The latest iteration of the Specialized Stumpjumper is now only available with 29″ wheels, but Specialized also created a link that allows the use of a 27.5″ rear wheel with a minimal effect on the geometry of the bike.
They even include it in their (very cool) interactive, dynamic geometry chart. Geometry at a glance: (with a 27.5 rear wheel, size S4, high BB, middle position HA)
- HA: 64.5º
- 1245 wheelbase
- Reach: 475mm
- Chainstay: 436mm
- SA: 76.9º
Pictured above is my personal 2021 EVO equipped with the MulletLink. Expect a detailed write-up shortly.
Alchemy Arktos Mullet ($5999 +)
The Alchemy Arktos is designed around three different travel configurations and two wheel sizes, all in one frame platform. Mixed wheel/ mullet can select from two travel options with the 27.5 rear wheel: a 135mm R/ 150mm front all arounder, and an enduro-slash-park friendly 150mm R/ 170mm F iteration.
Alchemy Bikes are sold to the rider/consumer directly from their website and the listed pricing includes shipping.
Geometry at a glance – (170/150mm travel, large)
- 475mm reach
- 63.5 HA
- 76.25 SA
- 437mm chainstay
- 1250mm wheelbase
150F/135mm R, size large
- 483mm reach
- 64.5 HA
- 75.5 SA
- 437mm chainstay
- 1242 wheelbase
Learn more at www.alchemybikes.com
Specialized Status ($2600 ?+)
Details on the budget-oriented Specialized Mullet freeride bike, AKA the Status, can be scarce as they were never officially released in the US, but we tracked one down and currently have it in our rotation, and can attest to this bike being fun as shit. Infused with DNA from the freestyle BMX realm, (ie durability and short chainstays)plus a modern front center with a wide range of reach options, a slack head angle, and climb-friendly 76º seat tube angle, the Status is aimed at riders coming into mountain biking from a freestyle biking or motorcycling background.
Interested in the geo and more details? Read our write up on the Status here.
Guerrilla Gravity “Secret Menu”
Guerrilla Gravity bikes are designed around their modular frame platform that utilizes their carbon front triangle, rocker link, and swing arm with a range of chainstays and rear shocks to customize the bike into a number of travel and wheel configurations. The bikes are marketed by riding style, and running a mixed wheel size is easily accomplished by ordering the right swing arm and sourcing a rear shock to match.
The downside? The geo charts are difficult to find and their site’s a bit confusing, with dead links — it’s almost impossible to find more information on mixed wheel size geometry and their platform. Given the availability issues the industry is currently experiencing, the brand doesn’t appear to need more help selling bikes, but they deserve credit for being one of the first to offer a versatile platform that many brands will no doubt be emulating in the future.
More info at RideGG.com
Pivot Trail 429 ($6,300 +)
The Trail 429 is a 120mm travel trail bike with a secret – it can run mixed wheel sizes. It can be ordered with either a 130mm Fox 34 or 140mm Fox 36 fork, and an adjustable bottom bracket height allows the use of a 27.5″ rear wheel.
To adjust the BB height, the Trail 429 comes with a flip-chip upper link mount with low and lower settings. Pivot also sells an optional 17mm lower headset cup that when used in conjunction with the high flip chip setting brings the bottom bracket back to the same height as when using 29er wheels in the low chip setting.
Like a lot of brands, info and geometry numbers of the mullet configuration are difficult to locate.
More at PivotCycles.com
We love riding mullets, especially considering our local trails feature a wide range of riding conditions that include double black diamond lines, steeps, and jumps. As a rider that loves riding flow trails and dirt jumps (in addition to a wide range of technical trails) I’ve found that 27.5″ wheels are often simply, more fun to ride. However, it can be annoying to try to keep up with the larger wheels — and rocking that mixed wheel set up can split the difference.
Is it really the best of both worlds? Have you ridden mullets? Love it, or think it’s just a lame fad? Is this list missng any models we should add?
Leave your thoughts below.