Video: Neko Mulally Tests the Prototype Intense Mullet DH Bike

Oct 3, 2020
by Ed Spratt  


bigquotesToday we are back at windrock riding the proto intense mullet dh rig! I was able to get my hands on one at home before worlds to help get the set up dialed and get the bike ready to race in a few weeks! Neko Mulally



75 Comments

  • 42 1
 What I love about Intense is aluminium proto bikes. Their carbon bikes are bit meh. The alloy ones in raw just look rude as hell.
  • 9 4
 I still ride an Intense Tracer 29 in alloy, there's no reason to upgrade that bike, was so ahead of it's time
@Intensecyclesusa make alloy great again!
  • 7 1
 I miss the days whenever a new magazine came out and all these total freakshow Intense prototype mules were shown. Super raw and industrial. Now everything is in service of a carbon final product which we are then stuck with for three years. I liked it better when we were always in motion.
  • 2 0
 @alexsin: well said. The fantastic plastic is all a bit samey isn't it?
  • 1 0
 @phdotd: yes a great bike indeed
  • 9 5
 Possibly the most boring video of all time, Neko can you arrange for those 5 mins of my life I lost to come back that would be great.
  • 2 0
 My Tracer VP was one of the best looking and best riding bikes I have owned. Sadly was stolen a few years ago.
  • 3 0
 @alexsin: interesting that Mondraker and Specialized have both gone back to aluminium for their dh bikes.
  • 1 0
 @MonEddy: it just makes more sense doesn't it? Easier to make running changes between production runs. A little bit heavier but 400g is not a big thing on a downhill bike. Plus there is the talk of carbon being compromised when hitting rocks, and talk of it being too stiff etc. I have never owned a dh bike but if I did I would buy a used aluminium one, spending time to get the suspension and brakes spot on.
  • 18 1
 Mullet is the future, I had always thought it 'might' be - until I could test my theory extensively back to back on same trails / conditions. Experiment has concluded -> Mullet wins in almost every category (outright speed, maneuverability, acceleration, fun).
  • 3 0
 And how tall are you and where do you live?
  • 3 0
 Smashed a 27.5 wheel and only had a 26 spare. Best thing I ever did to that bike, didn't change that setup even when I could go back, the bike rode so much better! Just wish my new bike could mullet but the BB is just too low for it, I wondered why it wasn't a thing at the time but of course UCI haha
  • 28 0
 Not sure how this would help but I will start telling the barber to stop cutting the hair on the back of my head. I may be 6 to 9 months out before I am experiencing the speed, maneuverability, acceleration, and fun you speak of.
  • 3 0
 Interested as to whether mullet is just a function of rider height or what, there are plenty of guys like Danny and Laurie going on them who aren't the tallest which makes sense. Greg is still on a full 29, keen to see what the taller guys settle on over the next few years, my feeling is it'll be 29 if you can accommodate it, mullet if not. A lot of people saying mullet is just 'better' all round, if that was the case you'd expect everyone to end up on it.
  • 1 1
 29er wheel up front is just better for downhills. Climbing not so much.
  • 3 1
 @GrandMasterOrge: 29 rear, 32 front for >6ft.
  • 3 0
 @alexsin: Also, what was the name of your first pet?
  • 1 0
 Eureka
  • 3 1
 @alexsin: 5'10", regular proportions, XC to DH riding, including park, BC Vancouver Island... I don't think I am an outlier in any way; ergo I feel the mullet set up might be superior for a heck of a lot of riders out there - the single biggest detractor is a low BB resulting in increased pedal strikes - but that is resultant of mulletting a bike that wasn't designed to accept that format.
  • 2 0
 @CDT77: True. If you're starting with a proper 27.5 frame or at least rear triangle, it shouldn't drop the BB that much. When Intense came out with that mullet bike (Primer S), they f*cked up because they used a 29er frame for it. The BB was way too low and the chain stays too long.
  • 3 0
 @mybaben: It is better to mullet a 27.5 rather than 29er. The BB is much higher,
  • 3 0
 @tacklingdummy: better still to design a frame specifically for the two different wheel sizes Wink
  • 3 0
 @tacklingdummy: Yes, that is correct.
  • 2 0
 @ProperPushIrons: Yeah, totally agree. If there is a flip chip that can change geo for mullet or two same sized wheels. Just wait it is coming.
  • 2 0
 @tacklingdummy: would really like to see more flexibility in wheel sizes in the future. It's the reason I bought my frame with sliding dropouts - can run any combo of 27.5 / 29. The pedals are low to the ground even with a 165mm crank but no worse than other bikes nowadays.
I think the trickiest bit for manufacturers will be getting equally good performance from different wheel configurations.
  • 1 0
 I mean tricky for designers, not so much manufacturers.
  • 2 0
 @tremeer023: Options and variety in one bike is what I have been wanting for long time. Then you can change ride characteristics based on trails, conditions, or riding style. Some companies tried to do some stuff, but it hasn't caught on much.
  • 2 0
 @tacklingdummy: I think it may be what the consumer wants (more of a 'quiver killer'), and in turn, not so much motivation from bike Co's. Demand will prevail though.
  • 15 1
 Dear Intense, I think that now is the perfect time to work on a modern geometry enduro bike. 500+ reach, 450ish chainstays on an XL or XXL. 29" wheels. 'Uzzi' is still floating around out there...unused, needing a new home.
  • 3 0
 Uzzi should be reserved for >175mm of travel ; )
  • 4 0
 They are currently developing what should be the next gen Carbine (there was an alu prototype of that bike raced in the last few EWS races last year). Apparently they're already in the carbon stage of developing, I really hope they get the geometry right on this one.
  • 19 11
 I used to love Intense, but they are a hot mess right now. It says a lot when they are one of the only brands with inventory after this Covid fiasco. They finally straightened out their 4 overlapping trail bikes, but with a model sporting mediocre geometry and a $3,000 - $3,300 frame price tag... from a consumer direct brand. The geometry on their Enduro bike is even worse. They discontinued their Uzzi when all the other major brands starting releasing similar bikes w/ Fox & RS even releasing forks to match. They’ve had this mixed wheel size DH bike in development for way too long and overall DH team results are terrible. They have basically relied on distress marketing / deep sales to sell inventory while brands like YT & Transition absolutely eat their lunch and sell out instantly. TBH, after multiple “restructurings” I am just waiting for the PB article announcing their closure at this point. Not what I hope, just what I see.
  • 4 3
 @ninjatarian: I agree. They need to do something because their bikes all seem a little outdated to me and their website looks like it was designed by a high school student. Their 2021 enduro bike is sporting pretty old geometry. I want to like them being a USA brand so hopefully things change.
  • 4 4
 They’ve totally lost it. Maybe they’ll get back to being awesome one day but I’m not gunna hold my breath. They don’t even stock bikes. It’s all done by a 3rd party logistics company now. Intense is nothing but a middle man with meh bikes (the m29 is sick but boy does it have poor quality manufacturing) @ninjatarian:
  • 1 4
 @andyelliott3: their 2021 enduro bikes are their 2018 enduro bikes. And Isabeau seemed to do OK on them
  • 4 0
 @andyelliott3: @ninjatarian Yes to all the above. They were supposed to (should've) release new enduro bikes this year and they couldn't get their shit together. Now their enduro bikes are super outdated!! 1207mm wheelbase on a Large 27.5? NOT good. Not sure what is happening over there but, it's a bummer. I had a 2015 Tracer and wanted another Intense but, I'm certainly not spending that kind of money on an enduro bike that is that dated... Ended up going with a different brand now.
  • 13 1
 Starting posts with “Athlete Name tests...” is a real emotional roller coaster these days.
  • 3 0
 Its the cornering that sells the mullet setup. Way back i had a Trek 69er, and then moved to a Remedy (2013, 26er) that i put a 27.5 front wheel and fork on. To date those stay in my mind as the best cornering bikes i've ridden. I still as a rule put a bigger volume front tire on everything, and current Evil rig is fantastic and light years ahead of anything from 10 years ago, but the superior cornering on a mullet is undeniable. Only reason i don't run it is my whole stable is 27.5 and i dont feel like having two tire/wheel sizes kicking around.
  • 3 1
 The proof that makes me personally unsure of the advantage of mixed wheels is seeing Bruni on a mullet and Pierron on 29ers slugging it out for the last few years. Both have had truly magic and unbeatable runs . Maybe if you are a short arse but Neko defo ain’t
  • 2 2
 I think a full 29 will definitely be faster, if you have a bigger rider so the clearance isn't an issue, and they can push the bike over. Especially true on a DH bike with 200mm travel. I think for people under 6ft a mullet bike is better than full 29. Or the industry is lying to us and wheelsize really only makes negligence differences
  • 2 0
 I have this sort of theory for slope style bikes where we saw full sus bikes come in and almost totally disappear again - my feeling is that your run has to be so dialled now that if you need to rely on the squish to save a landing your runs done anyway. Better to keep the lighter, more specialised hardtail bike. But for the mortals going big and getting loose regularly those fs jump bikes might be pretty good idea.
I have a similar feeling with dh race bikes. The racers know the track like the back of their hand and it has to be perfect, if they get loose enough to the point they’d need the extra clearance of a smaller wheel to wrestle the bike back onto line they’ve already lost a shit load of time - may as well go with the faster rolling, more specialised machine cus again - if you f*ck it up you’re done anyway. But for us guys who aren’t racing and regularly need to regain control lol the mullet is a great option.
Obviously there is more at play with rider height, riding style etc but I think it’s a solid theory.
I’ve also found that because of the different axle heights (and BB drop between the two) you can create a bike that has a great mix of agility and stability.
To come back to the original point, I think it’s interesting that the two different riding styles somewhat align with the different bikes. Pierron to my eye is 110% focussed, precision speed, Bruni is more aggressive (less so than in the past) and rides just as fast but his style is looser. To set aside the height difference for a moment I think the two setups suit their styles very well.
  • 2 0
 @jimoxbox: really think it comes down to rider preference. In the end its always what your most confident on.

For me spending most of my life on 20's the mullet is easier and more natural for me in corners and I still feel like i can throw the bike where I want (and for me the 29 feels like it wants to stay perpendicular to the ground alot more).

Theres not a if your short/tall rationale for it. Its just feel & riding styles.
  • 2 0
 full 29 in DH can work if you're over 6'2 IMO. pirron would be on the mullet this year if he hasn't crashed out.
  • 1 0
 @ProperPushIrons: I also think it has to do with course builders getting much better too. I remember watching slopestyle a few years ago and some of the old courses on the tour were janky as f*ck and the riders were complaining. When the competition requires them to trick a jump that isn't as good, they want a bigger margin for error so they grab the fully. Nowadays the course building seems very professional and dialed so if the jump is super predictable every time, they can pick up the hardtail.
  • 1 0
 @j-t-g: I agree, definitely a factor. But detracts from my theory so don’t tell anyone Wink
  • 1 0
 I think a lot has to do with your physical characteristics. For me, downhills are just better with mullet. I'm shorter and have a lot of weight in my shoulders. With same sized wheels in some trail situations, I'm always trying adjust my body position to not get too nose heavy. However, with the mullet setup my body position is much more natural and neutral. Traction is better for me because I can equalize the weight/force on both wheels more evenly.
  • 6 0
 I’d like to see a new Socom
  • 2 0
 I recall Neko was one of the first in this current roster of WC DH riders to test a mullet setup (this was on a YT Tues roughly 2 years ago). I wonder if his opinion has changed.
  • 2 0
 It was actually his Scott during the off-season before YT. But yeah, same timeframe
  • 2 0
 @querent: you're right, thanks for pointing that out. If that's the case, then this new Intense should be a huge leap in performance.
  • 4 0
 Raw video, raw aluminum, and Neko's chill attitude made this pair perfectly with my morning coffee.
  • 3 3
 unless you are racing none of this means shit,26,27.5 or 29 ,ill ride whats fun and i can get parts for. too many people worry about having the latest this and that ..ride what you got when its shagged ride something else simples.
  • 2 0
 Lets hope this isnt another Primer S situation and that they actually design it around a mullet setup not just change wheel sizes and let it be a terrible bike
  • 3 0
 This frame has 100% been designed for a true 29/27.5" set-up.
  • 2 0
 I love intense bikes, they pedal so well, also support super nice, however i do not like that brand behind the curve with geometry and move out of alu option
  • 3 0
 Did Intense ever have production Bikes? I always just see proto after proto after proto... Big Grin
  • 3 0
 im confused with the VonTriersque cinematography @ 1.58...
  • 2 0
 29er in the front is just better. I'm being a dick when I say that. Smile
  • 2 0
 I like photos. I hate that everything is in video now.
  • 1 1
 follow Juan Hall on instagram for more photos of the M29 proto
  • 1 0
 That seat angle looks steep for a downhill bike. Good candidate for some "downduro" action.
  • 1 0
 Longer, lower, slacker, Neko
  • 1 0
 Conclusion? Faster or not?
  • 1 0
 Terrain is ez on my eyes!
  • 1 0
 It reminds me the Intense 951.
  • 1 0
 WTB alloy Big Grin Looks pretty sweet
  • 1 0
 Good looking machine
  • 1 0
 south american style?
  • 3 4
 Gwin could win riding a shopping cart downhill but not an intense
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