Video: Full 29er vs Mullet, The Syndicate Debates

Apr 28, 2020
by James Smurthwaite  

bigquotesThe mixed wheel debate enters The Syndicate realm, with Luca Shaw and Loris Vergier embarking on a 27.5 wheel in the rear, whilst Greg Minnaar sticks with his trusted setup of 29 front and rear. Does size matter? Does fun mean fast? Is Loris going to try a 26inch rear next? Find out more in this Mixed Wheel debate.Santa Cruz Syndicate

Want a more detailed debate? Watch Marshy and Tom hash it out below:

bigquotesJason Marsh vs Tom Duncan. Big vs Small. Old vs Young.

Who is right and who is wrong? Does it even matter? Does Jordi fly first class?

Find out some of the answers in this casual debate during pre-season Fox testing at Lousa, before things got weird.
Santa Cruz Syndicate

Regions in Article


  • 41 3
 26" is the future of mountain biking
  • 9 0
 Like skirt lenghts - they go up and down with fashion. You can only make a mini skirt so mini before it's a belt, so where do you go with that? You make them longer again.
  • 4 0
 Where Dougie?
  • 8 0
 Nah, it's full suspension BMXs.
  • 2 1
 Couple of years to go yet. But yep. Big tyres, modern geo, quick accelerating fun bikes for your local woods. Then 27.5 will be as dead as it is redundant. 29ers for racing, xc and tall lads, 26er for chucking around.
  • 19 0
 Still take my 26" out for twisty forest stuff sometimes. Surprising just how agile it is. The 27.5 bike is better in rough steep stuffs however.
  • 13 1
 Imagine your 26" bike with a 27.5" front wheel...
  • 27 0
 @n1ck: imagine your 26“ bike with a 24“ rear wheel. Would probably be a big hit in the freeride community.
  • 2 1
 @Upduro: wrong direction. But I see what you did there.
  • 1 0
 @n1ck: Aye, I did think about that Smile But its agile enough for my skills.
  • 20 6
 I road the same trail back to back with my enduro 29er once and then put a 27.5 on the rear with the hopes of a new experience with the lower BB, slacker HA, smaller nimbler wheel.....Nothing, i felt no difference, i was so disappointed
  • 6 0
 Really? I could instantly tell a very noticeable difference in a few different metrics.
  • 1 0
 Did yo girl say the same thing
  • 15 2
 any thoughts on whether its better to put a 29 front wheel on 27.5 bike or a 27.5 back wheel on a 29er?

here's my screwed up logic: put a 650b in the back end of a 29er and the BB will drop a touch. so whack 10mm more travel on the front (estimate, don't quote me on this) and that would pop the BB back to somewhere near where it was before (you do the math, einstein). all told, you slack out the bike a bit and have a nippy 650b rear wheel with a long chain stay for stability. perfect.

i've been indoors too long.
  • 2 0
 Your logic makes sense. I've only tried 29" bike with 27.5 rear. (Trek Slash). I run carbon wheels which are great, but occasionally break. I bought an aluminum rear 27.5 to run when waiting for warranty replacement and that's been a fun experiment to switch to the mullet setup and back (a couple times...)

I'm 187cm (close to 6'2") and am on size Large. I've also owned the XL in the same bike and tho it fits it's a touch large for my preference. The XL might be more stable but it definitely sacrificed playfulness. It's already a very long and stable bike.
For me, the L frame with both 29 wheels is the way to go. The mullet setup (on size L, didn't try in XL) didn't offer much advantage in cornering but definitely sacrificed speed in the plow scenarios.

That said, I'd like a park/shuttle bike and I'm considering a Session. Comes in 27.5 aluminum or 29" carbon. I'm definitely playing with the thought of an XL 27.5 Session aluminum and putting a 29 up front. My question I think at that point is how much travel up front to not raise and slacken it too much.
  • 6 1
 BB's are quite low already so the safe bet would be to put a 29'' front wheel on a 27.5'' frame. And if u feel like the BB ends up to high, u can just change your shock setup.
  • 4 0
 I wouldn't bump the travel up, your stack would increase and head angle slacken to what I would guess is no bueno. Theres an informative podcast with timing somewhere I think with the Cotic guys? Look through InsideLine or Downtime.
  • 2 0
 I tried a 27.5 wheel on a kona process 153 29 and I didn't really notice a significant difference with bb height. I think it works fine to just let the bb drop a bit, just make sure you have a bash guard. It felt really good with the smaller wheel.
  • 1 0
 @Jimmy0: why would the stack matter, unless you were already slammed at the stem?
  • 3 1
 27.5 on back of a 29er is better, as you're dropping the rear by only the change in radius and you can compensate this BB drop with longer fork (slacker), flip chip to raise BB and/or offset bushings. Just watch out for your reach measurement dropping if you overfork the bike and do nothing else!

If you put a 29er on the front of a 27.5 bike, you need a new fork with longer axle:crown, plus the change in radius of your tyre, so the front will be super high. The problem then is that you might struggle to drop the BB: less travel (no thanks!). Offset bushings might be your best option, but probably won't go far enough.
  • 1 0
 I liked how the hipsters did it on bike magazine when they built a mullet scout. Seemed to make sense and according to them worked pretty well too.....
  • 1 0
 @Jimmy0 @tobiusmaximum Was just going to say, Cy Turner from Cotic goes into this quite a bit, his testing thoughts and differences. It's not immediately obvious, but I think he found the dynamic sag and balance was better just throwing a 27.5 rear on a frame built around 29 wheels, vs throwing a 29 fork and wheel on a 27.5 frame. With the 27.5 frame, even with reducing the travel on the fork 20mm to compensate for the increased stack height from a 29 fork, the fork rode higher in its travel (didn't sag as many mm's) for an equivalent sag percentage and therefore didn't feel quite as balanced.

TLDR Cy thought if you were to do a mullet build, start with a 29er. It's also been a while since I've listened to that downtime episode, so please forgive me if I forgot something.
  • 2 0
 I put a 29er fork and wheel on my 27.5 dh bike and the headangle only changed 0.5° so I think the bb didn't go up a lot either so that worked really well.
  • 1 2
 I experimented with a mullet by putting a 27.5 wheel on the back of a 29er. It is good, but I think the BB was a little too low. To me since I don't like pedal strikes, I'd rather put a 29 wheel on a 27.5 because I think the geo numbers are better, but you have to get a new fork which is expensive.
  • 1 1
 @nathan999x: I did the same and did get some more pedal strikes but felt like I could initiate turns quicker and exit out faster too, but this was just how I felt- not timed.
  • 1 0
 Did it on a SC Hightower 2018 XL, bumped it up to 150mm travel up front, and was able to run a 200x57 shock instead of a 200x51 because of the increased clearence around the rear tire/seat tube. It was well fun, and worked really well in the steeps. Can recommend.
  • 8 0
 That was REALLY interesting. First Loris, who chooses mullet: "out of 10 runs my fastest overall would be on 29. But the Mullet would win 7" Big wheels are are fast, but they don't help with precision.

Then Jason spoke about him trying 29 for the first time and saying "No, didn't feel right, i hate it" but being consistently faster than on the 27.5

The first part makes sense, 29 is like a scalpel with a wrecking ball attached. If you get your line just right it's faster, but that doesn't mean it's easy to do
  • 11 0
 Pretty hard to understand the priest with the choir in the background
  • 8 1
 This is great content. I think that it's the kind of content that mtb needs to appeal a bigger audience. If people can do 24/7 shows of f*cking football imagine the possibilities for something as unique and complex as mountain biking.
  • 9 1
 "The 29 buzzes your balls, and tries to stand up in technical braking sections". So much desk jockey debate about exactly this. Yet in the first 5 minutes of trail these are the 2 glaringly obvious downsides to anyone.
  • 6 0
 I couldn't hear minaar over the music.
  • 3 1
 Testing bikes that are designed for a specific wheel sizes and mixing them to acquire the data and rider feedback, is a moot point. Designing the bike geometry and suspension kinematics around the mixed format, will render the results completely different, thus gaining far more accuracy in the acquisition.
  • 3 0
 Pinkbike needs make a mullet vs 29er video where riders are blinded to the size wheel in the back the stack adjusted for the difference in front end height. Which is faster and which feels faster.
  • 5 0
 minnaar is so smooth when he rides compared to most other riders.
  • 2 1
 Just built up an older 26/24 dj from spare parts. And I'm trying out 29+/27+ mullet as a rigid go fast bike on another. Mullet free to double mullet in a lil over a week. How many teeth I'm supposed to knock out to complete the look?!?
  • 1 0
 The mullet has merit. I experimented with it. Taller stack height in relation with the BB changes the body position. So slightly more upright, slightly slacker, and little more DH-ish. Descends better. Tighter turning. Less butt buzz, but I'm shorter. Climbing is a little worse on enduro or trail bike because of body position, but is insignificant on a DH bike. However, you can turn over the cranks a little easier on the smaller 27.5 wheel as well. There is some trade-offs.
  • 1 0
 I think the logic of having a bigger wheel on the straits being faster makes sense. But how much of that logic do you apply to the front wheel vs. the rear? Nobody would argue that a 27.5" front wheel is faster. And having less rolling mass in back during turns seems to trump any minor gains in rolling resistance of a larger wheel. Especially when you are talking about a rear wheel which is just bouncing around in the back half the time anyways. Having it smaller may be better for that reason alone on the straits.
  • 1 0
 With an actual legitimate v10 mullet being used it’s looking like this will become a real bike. I’m hoping this trend picks up and gets fully invested in because I think a mullet Bronson would be a really cool bike but if they (bike manufacturers in gen) just half ass it as they usually do with half measures (early 29ers and current mullets just being modded 29ers etc) then just like 29ers we will have 5-6 years of wasted development time on crappy riding mullets. This idea really makes sense to me as you gain the advantage of front wheel rolling without the negatives of the real wheel hitting you. I think even motorcycles are using mix wheels but I’m not sure if the overall dia is different.
  • 1 0
 I got a santa Cruz chameleon a few weeks back and have been experimenting. I had it set up mainly as 27.5x2.8. I put the 29x2.6 from my full suss on the front and took it for a little spin. Strava claimed I PRd 4 of the 6 segments I rode, segments I have dozens of rides on, and in these covid days I am not riding balls-out. I was pretty surprised. Second ride was similar, very good times compared to many other attempts on numerous other bikes, 29,27.5, full suspension and hardtail. Small sample set but for me there seems to be something to the mixed wheelsize, for sure. I have a long torso and short legs so I think I'm part it may be that it suits my body type.
  • 4 0
 Maybe it's time to trade my Super 8 in.
  • 7 0
 If you have still a Super 8 then you hold onto it till it's pried from your cold dead fingers.
  • 4 0
 Sad dougies not there anymore
  • 2 0
 Has he left Syndicate?
  • 2 1
 What I get from that 2nd video is guy on the left says my rider feels more comfortable and the guy on the right says I don't pay my guys to be comfortable, I pay them to be fast.
  • 2 0
 Anyone notice the green label on Loris’s tire at 3:25? Never seen that before.
  • 1 0
 Looks like the tires they made for Peatys bike for his last race in Vallnord
  • 2 0
 If you go over to Loam Wolf Greg was throwing shade (and truth) about how mullets came about lmao
  • 2 0
 Tom: It would be stupid not to try..
Jason: Let me think about reasons, why I do not need to convince Greg to try...
  • 1 0
 The industry totally screwed us over with 650B, just because of sh*t maths, 650B should have been bigger, its basicly the same size as 26.
  • 3 1
 Hot damn I need one of those WD40 hoodies
  • 1 0
 yeah! where the hell do we get'em?
  • 1 0
 My 29er is way faster with a 27.5 front wheel.
  • 2 0
 What happened to Doug?
  • 1 0
 Is that a proto tire on Loris' bike at the 4 minute mark??
  • 2 2
 I want one of this WD-40 jackets.
  • 1 0
 Mullet Nomad???

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