Bike Check: Neko Mulally's Intense M29: Downhill Southeast - Windrock 2020

Jun 6, 2020
by Daniel Sapp  



With racing put on hold seemingly indefinitely in March due to COVID-19, it's been a very different season for riders this year. Neko Mulally is no exception. After a flight out of Portugal from testing with Fox as the pandemic spread, he's been staying close to home in Western North Carolina but closely monitoring the situation in the region.

Being one of the more opportunistic racers out there, he's kept busy working to get racing going in any way possible and has been one of the driving forces behind the race this weekend at Windrock and the entire DHSE series being able to be rescheduled by observing recommended safety protocols.

Neko is onboard Intense Factory racing for another season and racing the M29 frame. With the time off from racing, he's switched his training and preparation over to what he would typically be doing late in the year to get ready for the season starting towards the end of summer which includes a lot of preventative training in the gym and riding motocross.

In his spare time, Neko has been working on some trails near his house that will be open to the public late this summer. His mechanic Sam Yates also lives nearby which has been convenient in getting everything on his bike set up and dialed in as well as it possibly can be.
Rider Name Neko Mulally
Age: 27
Height / Weight: 185 lbs / 84 kg; 6' / 182cm
Hometown: Brevard, NC
Instagram: @nekomulally

When asked what he's missed most about racing, he says that seeing friends abroad is at the top of the list and that he's looking forward to all of the tracks on the schedule this year and is thinking and hoping that at least a few of the races will be wet, due to seasonal rains.

Lastly, Neko wants to thank his sponsors and team for supporting him through the strange times and hopes that we can all adapt and keep the sport growing!



Intense M29 Details
Frame: Intense M29, 29" wheels, XL size
Fork: Fox 49 - 200mm travel
Shock: Fox DHX2 - 208mm travel
Wheels: e.13 LG1 DH
Tires: Kenda Pinner 2.4"
Drivetrain: TRP 7-speed
Brakes: TRP Evo DH
Cockpit: Renthal Fatbar 31.8, 40mm rise, 790mm wide; 50mm Renthal stem

A Works Components headset holds the front end together.

TRP's new Evo DH brakes provide stopping. ODI grips for hand traction.

223mm rotors provide extra power.

The Fox 40 has 102 PSI, 5 volume spacers, and a 52mm offset crown. Prototype decals are still on the fork from before it recently launched.

Rear suspension duties are left to the Fox DHX2 with a 550lb spring and BVL tune.

SDG seat and seatpost, Crankbrothers Pedals

e.13 cranks and chainguide help with chain retention while Chris Kovarik's STFU drivetrain unit silences chain slap.


Kenda's Pinner tires with 25 psi up front and 30 in the back along with Flat Tire Defender inserts.






64 Comments

  • 72 6
 Yep, just a stunning bike.
  • 11 1
 It is a very good looking bike. Weird that Aaron, Neko and Jack have all somewhat struggled with it though.
  • 7 0
 @jwdenver: Jack had some good results when the aluminium prototype (but different team, suspensions, brakes,...)
  • 24 0
 Neko is a well spoken individual with keen insight into the future of DH in the US. He is wise beyond his years and has confidence to back it up. Shuttle talk at the rock gets philosophical
  • 22 2
 Neko kinda come across as a bit of a dad of downhill. Even though he's only 27. I say this in an endearing way.
  • 19 0
 that makes Gee and Sam Hill granpas.
  • 9 1
 Thanks to Neko and family for getting this race series up and running.
  • 7 0
 north cakalak in the house
  • 2 0
 I currently still ride a 2014 Intense M9 and I love it. And earlier this year I bought a 2020 Intense Primer 29. And I ride the Primer almost everyday. I was never a huge Intense fan. But riding there bikes have changed my outlook on that. I like how the M16 and the M29 look. But after seeing how well the 29" wheels carry speed on Primer. I'm definitely purchasing an M29 for my next DH rig. I'm just not a big fan of the grey paint on the current model.
  • 2 0
 Dude try 27.5's on your M9! If you have a 40 up front you don't even need a new fork. I did the conversion last summer and it's awesome to breathe some more life into a still awesome frame!
  • 4 1
 Those TRP brakes are a thing of beauty tho.. makes me wanna strip my Codes and polish them up. Wonder if they did that to the post mounts..?
  • 4 0
 What about the no-pedalkickback device? O-chain?
  • 3 0
 Probably just running 1 pawl in his freehub!! Randow stabbing through the pedals here we come!
  • 4 3
 One of the best looking bikes out there. As a Gwin fanboy it bothers me that he's on that prototype instead of one of these with modified links to get a mullet setup
  • 47 45
 I just don't see it as a good looking bike... the frame shape isn't aesthetically pleasing. Each to their own i suppose!
  • 14 12
 Agreed. It doesn't flow.
  • 11 0
 Too many crossing lines, maybe it's the break in the downtub? I think of it as a bit of a minimalist industrial design aesthetic. Something equivalent to new Volvo or Polestar. I like it, but can definitely see it's polarizing.
  • 6 2
 Same here. I thinks that is because the down-tube has a downwards bend in it. but it's a badass bike
  • 30 3
 No objection to the bike, but I hate the white Fox RAD lowers that they seem to be giving to all their sponsored riders this year. Everyone: “Damn nothing could clash with the rest of the bike more than that bright orange” Fox: “Hold my beer.”
  • 1 0
 @cinco: I see it more like a new BMW or Audi it has a bit too much of sharp crossing lines. Raaw is more like a Volvo.
  • 30 1
 To each their own sir, I think its one of the best looking bikes out right now. I hate swoopy s bent tubes, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. A lot of straight lines on this bad boy.
  • 7 1
 Raw carbon would be a much better color
  • 8 2
 The Ali prototype Intense showcased in 2017/2018 was far far better looking
  • 5 2
 @Drew-O: I respectfully disagree. The colours of white and black cannot clash with anything. I very much wish I could get a 38 with white lowers.
  • 4 4
 Agreed, its A hideous design. To bad too because the M6 and the M9 are gorgeous, timeless.
  • 2 1
 I definitely think the same. From a professional design point of view it still does JUST barely pull aesthetic details from the M line throughout the years, but this evolution misses a few things imo. And none of them have been this straight since the M1.

The M3 Through M16 all had curves and the signature negative space curved triangle behind the head tube area of the front triangle. This one morphed into a hockey stick negative space with really straight lines. The silhouette of the front triangle no longer really reads as a triangle. It's reads as a thin rectangle with a small triangle stuck on the top for the seat tube gusset. Another detail that is an Intense staple is the concave surface on the top tube right behind the head tube. They started to walk away from that in the M16 Carbon (alum had it) . But I think it's something that could have brought a bit more interest to the headtube junction. I know with CF you probably don't need it, but even some sort of graphic to allude to it would make this bike look better IMO.

The rear triangle though still reads very M series and I think they nailed it there.

Just overall the bike reads much more "engineered" than "engineered AND beautiful" like the M3 through M16.
  • 3 1
 What do you guys think looks good? I feel like this bike looks fast and dead sexy not moving. I’m not even a fan of Intense bikes.

Also if you don’t like the white Fox lowers let’s put some orange ones on there, that will really clash. Personally I wish more pro riders would paint the fork to match the bike, that looks factory. All these signature colors for forks now days is a little over the top.
  • 1 3
 @dThass: I'm sure Intense would like it to look good but feel that "function over fashion" might win races.

Did you hear Aaron Twin hasn't podiumed all season?
No, but his bike looks great! ????
  • 1 2
 @thejake: The M6, M9 and the alloy M16, which looks like the M6 Evo. The new Specialized Demo, The Gt Force and the Scott. There are lots of good looking bikes but this M29 is displeasing to my eyes.
  • 4 1
 @NorCalNomad: I think the departure from the classic Intense design aesthetic might have something to do with the fact that this frame was designed in conjunction with CERO designs (see www.wearecero.com/projects/intense-m29). It takes a few design cues from the Unno Ever which Cesar Rojo spent several years designing, racing and refining.

Personally, I think it's a stunning bike!
  • 3 1
 lol thats bs. This is probably one of the best looking frames of DH bikes in the world cup now. Much better looking than the M16 and SC v10 (almost same bike). Graphics could be way better i agree, in terms of colors and lines but thats a different thing.
  • 1 0
 @ydopen: I hope no one though that I didn't think it was a good design, cause CERO can definitely design! I just wanted to put my opinions on it in a very clear way instead of just, "i no like" and hopefully help some people understand why or why not they like it. If that's the direction Intense wanted to go in that's on them to guide their brand visuals. Successful design should evoke people's reaction and this one does. I just have always liked the intersection of curves but still reading as geometric forms that was Intense's aesthetic over the years.

None of this is to say it's not a good bike. I'm sure it rides AMAZING, I have yet to hop on an intense that wasn't awesome.
  • 2 0
 The lower linkage looks like it surrounds the bottom bracket. That is interesting.
  • 1 0
 Interesting but also over complicated and means the triangle hangs down below the bottom bracket. Catching the front of that chainstay on a square edged rock would end real freaking badly.
  • 2 2
 @friendlyfoe: The only rock that should ever come into contact at that point would be one kicked up by the front tire. If your hitting rocks at the bottom bracket area something is wrong like the rider or suspension sag set at 50%. Also the low pivot location is different when compressed by the rider sitting on the bike due to the path of movement of the linkage.
  • 2 0
 @likeittacky: The second part makes good sense. Definitely going to be a bit higher up on sag.

Not sure I agree that it's impossible to hit the bottom bracket area off a rock though lol.
  • 1 0
 @friendlyfoe: Not that its impossible, rather very unlikely do to location. If you careen into any rock large enough whether landing a jump or attempting to lunge over or onto one, the result would likely be catastrophic based on velocity and other factors regardless of what bike your riding. That area of the wheel tucked just below and behind the bottom bracket is not a place anyone would ever want a heavy rock strike.
  • 2 0
 @friendlyfoe: Likely a rock would never hit the front of the chainstay because the rock would hit the chainring first. Also, the compressed suspension would move the linkage further out of the way.
  • 3 0
 @tacklingdummy: Unless the rock is a Medieval spear shaped point put their by a cataclysmic event strategically situated in order to barbarically destroy your ride and reclaim its ground.
  • 2 0
 @likeittacky: Good point. Very valid concern.
  • 3 0
 @friendlyfoe: Intense has had their lower VPP link end up bellow the BB like that for over a decade (SC even did it on the V10 back in the day)...doesn't seem to stop people from going REALLY fast and winning WC races on them Wink
  • 2 0
 He building more trails... awesome. Seems like he's getting the reputation as the best DH track designer in the states.
  • 1 0
 Look at that chain slap arrester... seat stay and chainstay in harms way safe to say!
  • 1 0
 It's probably me and my early onset presbyopia, but them 40s look a lil bit spindly
  • 1 0
 super sick bike for a badass national champ. and just ordered me a slap silencer! had no idea those things existed!
  • 1 0
 is anyone going to mention the custom lower link with adjustable shock mount?
  • 2 0
 Funny but that's the first thing I saw and no mention of it in the article. Don't own the bike, won't own the bike, but always interested in the R&D enginerding.
  • 3 2
 i like it, anyway if its ugly and wins, its not ugly
  • 3 1
 It hasn't been doing a lot of winning. It actually nearly killed Gwin.
  • 1 0
 I'd love to see an E-M29.
  • 1 0
 What's up with the front mudguard? Looks like there's no clearance at all.
  • 1 0
 So how come he is not on the prototype like Gwin is on?
  • 1 0
 I would ride this bike.
  • 1 0
 rock on NEKO!!!!
  • 4 5
 No water bottle mounts. I'm out.
  • 1 2
 No room for a water bottle, fail.
  • 1 4
 Not a fan, nice colourway but the lines don’t flow and it’s not pretty
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