Neko Mulally to Race Self Designed Bikes at World Cups in 2022

Jan 1, 2022 at 3:30
by James Smurthwaite  
Photos: Zach Faulkner

Neko Mulally has revealed he will be riding on bikes he has designed himself at World Cups and US races in 2022.

Neko has previously ridden for some of downhill’s biggest teams including Trek, YT and Intense, and has frequently experimented with his race bikes to add his own spin on the designs. Now he is taking all of that experience and applying it to his own creations for his 2022 race program with the help of Martin Whiteley. Neko has specified the geometry and kinematics and the legendary Frank the Welder has helped him fabricate his designs.

Frank the Welder helped Neko choose the right tubes and do the welding.

bigquotesRight now I have 2 frames- a standard pivot height frame and a high pivot (not too high pivot) that I'm riding and testing. I designed these bikes to be as simple as possible to prove the concept, and will decide which route I want to go and refine a design before the first race. I chose the Horst link 4 bar rocker design because it was the simplest way to get what I wanted out of the bike. I also put together my own program where I'll be racing all the World Cups and big US races with support from sponsors within the industry.Neko Mulally

Neko will be testing two designs before the race season - a high(ish) pivot and a more regular design. He's hoping to settle on one direction before the first round in Lourdes in March.

Neko’s sponsor list now includes: Ride Kanuga, WorldWide Cyclery, Maxxis, Fox, Reserve, Fox, Kogel, WD-40, ODI, Factor, WTB, HandUp, Spank and GoPro.

Both bikes are running a Horst Link that gives Neko the characteristics he wants as simply as possible.

That’s all the information we have on Neko’s new project for now but we’re working on a bike check and in-depth interview to talk about this decision and unique direction. Stay tuned for more.

We'll have more on Neko's ambitious plans soon.



309 Comments

  • 442 2
 Badass. Good luck Neko! Beautiful bikes!
  • 123 1
 Welded by FTW is such a warm welcome,awesome collab between Neko & FTW!.
  • 56 2
 Yeah - respect to all involved!
If there's a crowdfunder - I'm in for $50
  • 14 1
 @thingswelike: I'm in for $50
  • 33 1
 @pimpjitsu:
ABSOLUTELY! Neko set up a crowdfunder - East Coast DH - time to buck up and support this man!!

What a kick ass project!
  • 7 0
 @thingswelike: I'll kick in too. Well played Neko!
  • 14 5
 @fantaman: yea at first you could cringe a little when reading about someone designing and riding their own bike. That could go a lot of ways. But then you read FTW is making the bikes and realize it will be legit.
  • 15 0
 Boss move!
  • 14 0
 been a long time since i've heard of FTW, cool to see he is still at it! Ive got an old sinister dna frame hanging on my wall built by the man himself.
  • 5 0
 @fantaman: No need for a fancy jig, just clamp down the BB in the Vise!
  • 7 0
 Privateer spirit!
  • 5 0
 I love this!!
  • 2 0
 @sinister-dna: always wanted a sinister
Frame
  • 16 0
 For anyone that’s impatient head head over to www.vitalmtb.com/news/news/Neko-Mulally-Will-Race-Handmade-Alloy-DH-Frames-by-Frank-the-Welder,1407 and listen to the interview
  • 8 1
 Sick Bikes!

Ehem….
  • 2 1
 @sino428: you cringed when you heard neko was going to race his own bike? Lol…
  • 4 1
 @sino428: really?? Because I'm sure a large majority of people here haven't been riding long enough to know who he is.... And even if they have been, they likely don't fully comprehend his impact on the mtb scene. He's up there with Digger.
  • 2 0
 Neko needs to get a beer sponsor back on the race helmet! Best of luck - great guy!!
  • 2 0
 @sinister-dna: I am currently riding a sinister DNA for jumps
  • 173 6
 Ok, I’ll bite. Looks like a Session.
  • 18 1
 It's definitely a session
  • 10 4
 @wellbastardfast: Looks like a Rune V3 Wink
  • 6 1
 came here to say that.
  • 7 2
 looks like it'll give the session a run for its money!!
  • 11 1
 I heard he was jealous of the Van Steenburgens and wanted to ride a Hyper but when he found out they were fake bikes he had two commissioned.
  • 2 0
 Thing is, it does too
  • 4 0
 or a super slack stinky Wink
  • 4 0
 @nrloewen: looks nothin like a rune … unless you consider they’re both aluminumWink
  • 2 0
 More like Raaw
  • 1 15
flag ctd07 (Jan 1, 2022 at 16:47) (Below Threshold)
 Its an alloy clone of the Cube Dh bike, if you cant ride for the team then just build your own version of their bike!?
  • 2 1
 Looks like a RAAW DH bike.
  • 1 0
 Hoping to return to this 2014 chainless form on the Session?
  • 143 0
 Neko riding a FTW custom frame in 2022 is exactly what no one but those two expected. I haven’t been this giddy since masks were for doctors
  • 2 24
flag taskmgr (Jan 1, 2022 at 13:48) (Below Threshold)
 I knew
  • 129 0
 Neko heard he had to wait until March 2023 for his new bike,so he decided to make one himself!
  • 10 5
 This is an underrated comment. Haha
  • 74 0
 What a breath of fresh air to see. For all the component OEMs that are sponsoring him, thanks.
  • 8 5
 Can we get Wyn Masters to give the Privateer award to Neko? Seems like a worthy candidate.
  • 38 2
 This is that energy we need in 2022.

Love that it just looks like a BMX frame with the highest end Fox gear on it. Gussets look wicked.

I've seen quite a few steel and titanium hardtails, but could somebody explain why it's almost never seen on suspension frames? Aside from price and the 'boutique' nature of expensive metals. Is there a structural reason you wouldn't be wanting those on an enduro/DH rig?
  • 8 0
 While I may be wrong, I remember stories of early Ti suspension frames being flexy as hell, leading to many issues, including the rear end binding as it cycled through the suspension due to the flex. Steel is used still, but it's much heavier to get the same stiffness out of it that some people like. And heavy bikes are a hard sell on the general public who want to have those extra ounces, so larger company's shy away from them and are usually only available from smaller builders.
  • 5 2
 Check out Ferrum Bikes they make some nice steeel FS
  • 1 0
 @kiddlivid: Interesting. I've been wondering about MTB materials because in BMX it was 4130 or don't even make it. But there's so much quality carbon products in MTB I've always wondered what the ride feel is like. In between the intense stiffness and the potential for catastrophic cracks, I couldn't imagine justifying the price tag, even with weight savings.
  • 1 3
 @Crankhed: ferrumbikes.com/product/lvn160-160mm-rear-travel-chromoly-steel-full-suspension-mtb-frame

this rear axle is melting my brain. so it nearly has BMX dropouts and then a separate 'thru axle' piece slots into the drop outs? and then your thru axle goes through those pieces and the wheel to secure it? one of the images looks so cursed... looks like the thru axle is half way north of center of the cassette lol
  • 6 0
 @lepigpen: Paragon Machine Works dropouts, I think
  • 9 8
 Because it's heavier. If you take two identical designs and make one out of steel, one out of aluminum, and one out of titanium...and let's also say they've been maximized for their respective application so that they don't twist or bind under load. The aluminum bike, even with hydroformed panels is cheaper to produce than both the steel and titanium bikes. The titanium bike is lighter than the steel bike, but the aluminum one is still lighter. Not to mention since it can use thicker wall tubing, it's a bit more resistant to dents than the beercan thickness needed for the steel and titanium to not be bricks.

Steel and titanium are perfect for road bikes and hard tails because your weight penalty isn't as dramatic and you're able to get the supple feel of the material, as opposed to it being deadened by suspension. If you're taking away all the attirbutes, it doesn't make sense financially or design wise if aluminum is cheaper, more durable, AND lighter.

Why would you get a Ti or steel FS bike then? Bragging rights...simply to have a bike most people don't have. Maybe you adore titanium, so that's why...you want all your bikes to be ti. Put it this way, if Moots stopped making full suspension bikes and their clientele is $$$$$, often owning multiple $10k Moots, there's a valid reason they don't offer them from a manufacturing standpoint as well.
  • 1 6
flag Crankhed (Jan 1, 2022 at 7:41) (Below Threshold)
 @lepigpen: it does look kinda janky but at the same time having an adjustable chain stay would be pretty interesting to play with especially considering they’re willing to work w/customers wanting custom Geo if I remember correctly. They’re made in the US and priced pretty reasonable. If I wasn’t saving 4 an eeb I’d be looking into a Ferrum 4sure they do custom colors too and the raw Chromoly looks ace
  • 4 2
 @lepigpen: Ti is definitely flexier than Alu of the same mass. Additionally, Ti is not available in nearly as many tube dimensions as Alu or Steel, resulting in more mass to achieve the same strength. A well designed Ti or Steel frame might weigh 25%+ more than an equivalent Alu frame and the tube set will cost more.
  • 2 0
 Also, Ti and steel are much more difficult to machine than aluminum. When you need to make a bunch of fiddly bits to get pivots to work correctly it’s SO much less time and tool wear to do it in aluminum. Plus forging and extrusion are on the table to get near-net shapes with Al. Not so much with the harder metals.

That all said, front triangles are sexy as hell. Cotic had a thumb on the scale in that regard, at least with me.
  • 4 2
 Ti is flexy, expensive, harder to weld. Aluminum is less expensive, stuff, and easier to weld. Steel is heavy.
  • 3 2
 @lepigpen: yeah, horizontal dropouts for rear centre/wheelbase adjustment, the axle just sits below the horizontal slider.
Lots of steel full sus frames out there, just not by the big mtb players. It’s a fairly significant industry in other parts of the world.
Cotic (FlareMax currently on my shortlist)
Pipedream
Curtis
Starling
Project 12 (this looks unreal for a prototype)
Marino will make you a full custom.

Not to mention the custom builders that come to mind in the US
FTW
Walt Works
  • 2 0
 @onawalk: Yeah but are they good? Or rather, are they better than the now conventional alu or carbon?
  • 6 9
 @nurseben: ti is stiffer than aluminium...
  • 7 0
 @Tambo: this is the PB comments. Only bro science is permitted here. Young’s Modulus is a 4 letter word in these parts.

Kidding of course. Apples for apples, ti is stiffer.

It’s all a trade off. Ignoring manufacturability/cost/challenges associated with ti, of which there are many, if you compare an aluminum part and a ti part designed to do the same task, optimized for weight with no concerns about modal analysis (these are bikes, not airframes), say a linkage rocker plate or even just a straight non-butted tube loaded at one end, the ti version will be significantly lighter and have much thinner walls/cross sections. However, these thinner walls/x-sections make the overall part much more flexible than the aluminum part.
  • 3 0
 @Tambo: I’m not sure what you mean by “are they good” or better than alu or carbon. I guess that depends on the person who’s riding it really.
To say that all carbon bikes or alu bikes are good, or even better than one another is fairly difficult to do. As far as my personal preferences go, carbon adds no discernible benefit to me. It’s cost prohibitive, doesn’t offer any outstanding characteristics, and requires me to be more careful when handling it. Even at the same cost, I’d go alu or steel over carbon. Again, my personal preference, maybe not everyone’s.
As far as steel over alu, I’ll let you know when I add a FlareMax to the the quiver to compare…
  • 1 1
 @surfhard987: one day, when I have an abundance of free time (never), I'll have to look into that.
  • 2 1
 @onawalk: gonna be tricky with its alu chainstay. Not sure how these steel frames apply, as none have the desired travel.

@Tambo @surfhard987: you are correct, at least in for 6/4 ti: material-properties.org/aluminium-alloys-vs-titanium-alloys-comparison-pros-and-cons. On the other hand, steel has a much higher modulus than ti: www.thomasnet.com/articles/metals-metal-products/steel-vs-titanium-strength-properties-and-uses

@melanthius: prop. Possible explanation for Cotic chainstay
  • 2 0
 @onawalk: Yeah, I think I'd choose alu over the others, for various reasons. The cotic still has alu chain stays, right?
  • 2 0
 @ceecee: yeah, steel and ti have similar strength, but steel is almost twice as stiff and twice as dense. It's a fun game!
  • 1 0
 @ceecee: I see what you’re saying about the alu rear end, in reality I’m sure it’ll be a great intro to a steel full sus bikes. I rode steel hard tails for years, (DMR, Brodie, DeKerf, and .243) they were all very different, likely more based on their design, and geo rather than frame material.

Not sure I understand your comment on frame sus travel, the original comment was more generalized about steel or Ti materials on full sus bikes, not just long travel versions.
  • 1 0
 www.instagram.com/zoceli_bikes/?hl=es

Check this,it is almost a steel Megatower. Anything is possible. Even you could buy a Magnesium bike,check Vaast bikes.
  • 2 1
 @onawalk: article is on a race DH bike and original commenter wonders if there's a structural reason for not finding steel or ti there. Short answer: steel is heavier and more difficult to machine; ti is more difficult to weld and more difficult to machine. The swing link on your Cotic would be aluminum--thank you again, Melanthius.

It doesn't mean much, since it's from '97 and says execution as much as material is key, but here's some fatigue data from road frame torture tests: www.sheldonbrown.com/rinard/frame_fatigue_test.htm. I bet steel and ti weld failures are more common as they require better eyesight on the welder's part--is that structural?

@homerjm: www.shredwear.cz/zoceli?lang=en. I'm telling anyone who'll listen I have a Zoceli Naosm even if it's not true
  • 1 0
 @kiddlivid: You are correct Sir! Smile
  • 5 0
 @rupintart: I designed and manufactured a few ti full suspension frames. A size large, 480mm reach, 150/170mm, weighs 3kg without rear shock. I'm unaware of a comparable aluminum frame that light.

pinkbike.com/photo/20805694
  • 2 0
 @hamncheez: How much does a comparable Orange weigh?
  • 3 0
 @hamncheez: very nice bike,it is beautiful!
  • 1 5
flag ceecee (Jan 2, 2022 at 10:16) (Below Threshold)
 @hamncheez: so you're doubling down on bragging rights? You 'manufactured' a few--is that one or two?--single-pivot ti frames that are not dual-crown compatible. Inexpensive advertising tho
  • 3 0
 @ceecee: yes, two upvotes in the comment section is the marketing foundation to build a company on
  • 2 0
 @Tambo: idk the conversion rate from kg to stone is
  • 1 0
 @hamncheez: you know the weight of an orange in stone??
  • 2 4
 @hamncheez: I'm not seeing a frame hanging on a scale in your profile photos or website. Warranty period?

www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1-e&q=kg+to+stone
  • 3 1
 @ceecee: can you take a joke?
  • 6 0
 @hamncheez: @ceecee can yall drop trou and just start having at each other already, my notifications are gettin bogged down. i'll bring the camera and the leather whips...
  • 1 0
 @lepigpen: your question is a lot more popular than its answer.

@hamncheez: I'm relieved to learn that you're joking
  • 1 0
 @ceecee: joking about the stone-KG. I have no idea what an Orange bike weighs.

I did design several ti frames. I broke one of them, but after some revisions I think I have a 3kg size L 29er in titanium that is as robust as any aluminum frame out there, and I haven't heard of an aluminum frame at this weight with comparable travel.
  • 1 0
 @hamncheez: so you're one for two, and the revisions are fresh. I look forward to what the scale of an objective third party says about what you think
  • 4 2
 @ceecee: Your mom said it rides really well, and balances climbing with descending as good as any other she's tried.
  • 1 3
 @hamncheez: your Mom had a sense of humor: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivanhoe
  • 1 0
 @ceecee: Yes, she still laughs 30 years later. It was 100% intentional (shes a retired English professor)
  • 1 0
 On the Ferrum website it says the frames are made w/ chromoly steel ? How does chromoly diff than just reg steel?kinda more like stainless? easier to fab? @melanthius:
  • 1 0
 @Crankhed: added chromium and molybdenum for better strength and fabrication
  • 1 0
 @Crankhed: I think the key in steel is the kind of welding you are doing. Some steel alloys are better suit to traditional welding (flame&filler rods) and some others perform better with Tig or Mig. Even with brass or Silver some tubes better suit to one of them.
  • 1 0
 @kiddlivid:
I have an older titanium xc hardtail and can confirm that it is flexy as hell. Still fun though.
  • 25 5
 Here’s the link to Neko’s interview with vital. There’s also a video on YouTube.

podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-inside-line-podcast-vital-mtb/id1193681611?i=1000546645994
  • 24 3
 Nice to shed kenda as well
  • 17 3
 I'll be interested to see if his results improve. I have a theory about Kenda causing anyone who uses them to shit the bed and end up getting hurt if you're racing with them.
  • 4 4
 @kiddlivid: I could be wrong, but wasn't Intense one of those teams that put on Maxxis anyways and just blacked out the logos?
  • 9 0
 @MrMentallo: could be right, but I think Gwin was big on running sponsors stuff. I'd be interested in finding out as to me, there was a dramatic drop in Gwin and Neko's performance between YT and Intense. Jack's did as well on a bike he designed. I know the team health may have affected Jack a bit but Intense had a podium contender frame, the same rider who developed the bike on it and although a few things changed, everyone was crashing and blowing up tires. The thing that changed for everyone was tires from Onza or maxxis to Kenda.
  • 21 1
 Weld done, Neko!!
  • 14 0
 Vital - Well played on reposting the FTW Inside Line podcast yesterday... resurfaced Frank's story just in time for people to be able to understand this a bit more!
  • 16 4
 "Neko’s sponsor list now includes: Ride Kanuga, WorldWide Cyclery, Maxxis, Fox, Reserve, Fox, Kogel, WD-40, ODI, Factor, WTB, HandUp and GoPro"

Love that Fox liked him so much, they decided to sponsor him twice
  • 12 8
 Fox Clothing and Fox Suspension are different entities.
  • 27 6
 @dirtmcleod: I know, but don't spoil the joke Wink
  • 5 2
 @Mac1987: Sorry, hilarious.
  • 8 0
 It's Fox in the front and Fox in the back
  • 2 0
 Dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge
  • 13 0
 Podcast episode going into all the details is out now if anyone fancies a listen... www.downtimepodcast.com/nekobike
  • 3 0
 Good stuff and a great pod all around.
  • 12 1
 really cool! good luck!
But isn't there any kind of UCI rule that "forbids" racing with non commercial equipment? I hope not or else this project is going down a dead end road Frown
  • 12 0
 Shouldn't be a problem. Cannondale ran their prototype DH program for the 2019 season, Isak Leivsson ran his homebrew bike at the 2021 Snowshoe doubleheader, etc.
  • 5 1
 Hope there isn't an issue. This is one of the best things I've seen for ages. Bring on the 2022 season.
  • 6 0
 That’s a good point…. I thought the rule was you had to make a half straight faced argument that the bike was ‘planned for production’ or something but I can’t find it in the regs.

Good look @worldwidecyclery!
  • 5 0
 Frank the welder has had commercial lines of bikes before including dh bike and trail bikes back in the mid 2000s. Can't see it being a hard sell that they are prototyping for a small production line don't think they have minimum sales they have to hit otherwise some of the uci track bikes would be screwed
  • 7 1
 There's a one year grace period for prototypes essentially. Then it needs to be made available for sale or discontinued from racing (although there is a clause that allows for an extension a second year).
  • 5 2
 @captainderp: Scott has already sold thousands of these.
  • 2 0
 Perhaps he will bring his bikes to the masses like John Tomac (Neko Cycles)?
  • 1 0
 Commencal was also running prototype bikes under some rider last year so it must be okay.
  • 4 1
 Not in DH Definitely on the road and CX Not sure about XC
  • 3 1
 Rule is for road racing. Mtb does not have this rule, so they have always been more free to experiment.
  • 5 1
 @ryan303: Exactly.....we never sold one Honda in 4 years....there is no such rule in MTB
  • 2 2
 @ryan303: the rule does in fact also apply to mtb. Big surprise the UCI doesn't really enforce it given how much they care about DH.

Also worth noting, Cannondale's most recent DH program (which turned into the new Jekyll) lasted just two seasons.
  • 1 0
 @captain23: the rule wasn't added until after the Honda team folded.
  • 1 1
 @BenPea: zing. Just add letters and you've a WCDH-tested privateer frame: PISCOTT; BESCOTTED; INSCOTTABLE; SCOTTISH
  • 2 0
 @ceecee: don't Bogart dude
  • 5 0
 @captainderp: I believe that this is open to interpretation as the entire section of innovation is prefaced by the sentence: "Except in mountain bike racing, no technical innovation regarding anything used...." and I know that the UCI sees MTB as a testing ground for new product innovation, hence no Commissaire or UCI staff has ever asked us if our bikes are prototypes or on sale publicly. All of this is pretty beside the point as Neko's frames will be for sale once he settles on the final design though, so we can end this speculation about whether it's legal under UCI rules or not.
  • 1 0
 @captain23: "Neko's frames will be for sale once he settles on the final design though"

Amazing news just got even better! Did he drop this in the Vital interview and I missed it? Doesn't matter, that's pretty sick.
  • 2 0
 @captain23: my take is that the technical innovations clause (rule 1.3.004) exemption for MTB just means that they (MTB racers, regardless of discipline) don't need prior approval from the UCI to run a given piece of equipment if it's a prototype. for other cycling disciplines (eg road) they do require approval by the UCI prior to being used in competition. this why road bikes & components have the "UCI Approved" sticker on them, but not mountain bikes.

The rule regarding commercialization (1.3.006) which concerns prototypes doesn't make exemptions by cycling discipline. it does make an exemption for "onboard technology" - things like telemetry, helmet cams, and rider biometrics. it could be argued that the mtb exemption from 1.3.004 carries over to 1.3.006, but if that's the intent it could be made more clear.

sorry, i'm a bit of a nerd and have spent entirely too much time reading the rulebook (and I read a lot of technical standards and government regulations in my line of work). and yes you're absolutely correct that since it sounds like the bike (whatever its final form may be) will be offered for sale it's a moot point.

very pumped to see how this is coming together. it also sounds like with his mini documentary series it'll give a cool behind the scenes look at not just racing but bike / team development.
  • 13 0
 Vital had all the geometry numbers on their article
  • 32 0
 Because he gave the interview to Vital, sloppy seconds for the pink site.
  • 9 0
 @pisgahgnar: vital cares.
  • 51 1
 Was that on Vital+? Or just normal, inside vital?
  • 2 2
 @initforthedonuts: Under-rated Comment
  • 12 0
 Neko already won 2022
  • 9 1
 This is absolutely fantastic. Two of the finest minds, incredible work ethics and just genuinely good people in mountain biking. Can't wait to see were this project leads!
  • 8 0
 Holy crap.. its freaking Frank Wadelton! Hope everyone's 2022 starts off as good as mine just did. This is amazing. Two legends of American cycling Smile
  • 5 0
 This is rad. I often wonder how many riders would be faster if they rode a bike they truly believed in. I guarantee some riders probably settle for more bucks even if it’s on a bike that’s not quite for them. Yes, all bikes are fast and rad, but not are all the same as we know. Makes you wonder what the DH World Cup would be like if everyone rode the SAME bike (just different sizes) or a bike they truely designed themselves like the above article. Anyways, good on ya! Cool looking rig
  • 7 0
 I'd say that's probably the issue at Intense. Bike is f*cking changing every 5 minutes which leads you to believe noone has really been 100% happy. But hey if yah getting paid, you getting paid.
  • 24 2
 So good Fox sponsored him twice!
  • 14 4
 @savloyalc: A sponsorship for the fork, and another for the shock
  • 7 3
 @c-radicallis:lol
fox head = protection/clothing
Fox tail = suspension etc
  • 8 3
 @gcrider: No, it's a sponsorship for shirts, and another for pants
  • 6 1
 @c-radicallis: no no no. One per glove
  • 2 0
 @DHhack: uh uh... One for the pants that double as a waist tourniquet and the other one for all the other gear
  • 4 0
 I've seen frank the welder mentioned so much over so many years I just assumed he had retired from frame building at some point. Do people still have frames being built by frank today, or is it one of those situations where you have to be inside to have him produce a frame.
  • 5 1
 He's still building and selling frames. The master!
  • 6 0
 Frank still builds for anybody who requests it.
  • 1 0
 Sure he's still building frames, he never stopped.
  • 7 0
 His part selection tells you all you need to know about what he thought about his previous sponsored parts.
  • 7 0
 I AM SO ALL ABOUT THIS WE NEED MORE OF THIS
  • 10 0
 Quit yelling at me.
  • 4 0
 Though I was a bit sad to see him off Intense, this is actually the most RAD thing I’ve seen in months! I hope we see more of a shift to stuff like this in the future, but I doubt that will happen.
  • 8 2
 I think it was close call, when I said he was going to ride Isaks frames
  • 7 1
 Is SPOOKY making a comeback???
  • 2 0
 Spooky (version 3) are already out there just that they only do road frames these days.
  • 2 0
 Such a great pairing. Good luck Neko. I first heard of FTW in the early years of Yeti (under John Parker). I later had a Norco STS-1 as my downhill race bike welded by Frank. The weld
quality was incredible. Man I wish I’d held onto that frame. We had fun
  • 4 0
 Neko: I could design something better than this bike.
Jeff Staber: Go on then.
Neko: (quits and designs his own bike rather than stay on Intense)

  • 6 0
 This just in, AARON GWIN leaving Intense to ride for Neko"s team
  • 3 0
 Hell yeah Neko! I used to love FTW frames back in the day. This is awesome. Good luck brother you have a ton of people rooting for you
  • 4 0
 That’s the coolest move of the year for sure. Frank the welder! So sick, go Neko!
  • 2 0
 This is awesome! Also double Dissectors on a downhill bike? I wonder if he will race on those or is just using them for training and/or testing. I love the combo on my trail bike.
  • 5 0
 I’ve seen him testing the bike at Kanuga and pretty much everything there is relatively smooth and hard pack so a big spike tire isn’t a really necessary thing.
  • 2 1
 Can we at least get a Grim Donut sponsorship mini-program? It doesn't have to be the same bike... just awareness for weird homemade fringe bikes (which pinkbike is eventually going to commercialize).

Dear PB - thinkaboutit

Maybe Frank is just the guy to help PB bring limited runs of the Grimmy to market. *thinks-emoji
  • 1 1
 I'd love to see Neko on the Grim Donut - or similar!! Way to go Neko, enjoy the ride. must be on top of the world to ride the Elite DH on your own bikes, crazy
  • 1 0
 Very interesting,it would had a ton of time in the screen and more people watching the bike and the rider than any other athlete.
I would build a 3 option with the main pivot like in the Demo&Enduro,forward relative to the BB with a longer chain stay!
  • 3 0
 Wishing you a healthy season Neko! It's been a while since you've raced without some type of injury. And, most importantly, you now have tires that grip!
  • 3 0
 Maybe Neko just didn't like the new Intense Thor fashion line modeled by Aaron Gwin and being owned by the Le Mans corporation
  • 2 0
 I think this is something that should make World Cup history. I can't think of anyone else that has raced a bike in the world cups that they designed full themselves. Very unique and I hope it goes well!
  • 2 0
 James Dodds from Zerode riding the Zerode G1 comes to mind.
  • 2 0
 Isak Leivsson raced on a bike that he both designed and built himself. He tested a good bit at Kanuga having also built Southeast Style and being there a months, they were cool to watch develop, he even made Neko a trail bike.
  • 3 0
 Nicolas Vouilloz won races on his own V-Process design....that's the main precedent...
  • 3 0
 Atherton Racing, as well.
  • 1 0
 Mr Big Racing in the 90's with Steve Barker racing on the frames his dad put together. Tom Barker is an English race scene old school legend!

Oh yeah, another Newcastle-upon-Tyne based builder from the early to mid 90s, Bombproof, under Rob Fuquarson (I've spelled his surname wrong and no doubt he'll be giving me a bollocking for it in a DM shortly, sorry Rob x)

All went out onto the World Cup scene.
  • 8 3
 looks like a gambler
  • 2 0
 I wonder what he's trying to achieve with the bikes? Or why he's doing it, other than a damn cool project? Best of luck to him!
  • 8 0
 Not being told what's best but actually being paid to dive into what is potentially best is probably a nice feeling.
  • 5 1
 Iron Horse Sunday. Sam Hill to manage team!
  • 2 0
 Undoubtedly one of the best builders in the biz, FTW's are just wonderful, absolute gems. Here's hoping to a brilliant 2022, for both him & Neko!
  • 2 0
 Cable housing and brake hoses on the outside? That bike is not going to be rideable. He says with as much sarcasm as possible. How all bikes should be.
  • 1 1
 Ok engineer speak - Weld the back end of the two HT gussets like this frame (around the circumference), or not weld. I would have not welded so not to cause a stress riser to the tube, but don’t know enough about heat treatment strengthening post welding.
  • 3 0
 I thought it was weird they were welded closed as well, prevailing method is to leave the bottom open for that exact reason. But it’s FTW, so perhaps there’s more to it.
  • 2 0
 Could be his way of hiding the start/stop... Agreed it's a bit odd. It's probably not an issue though
  • 1 1
 It is a big step out of the bike industry and become a free agent privateer. He is not getting paid to ride by bike manufacturers, likely paying for his bike expenses out of his own pocket, and not going to have team support at races. Perhaps he didn't pick up a bike sponsor or Intense dropped him when they knew he was in the works building his own bike (deep state stuff Wink ).
  • 19 0
 Actually, the team has a solid budget thanks to Neko's sponsors, and he has staff working with him at the races, so full support, with an experienced mechanic, a physiotherapist, his brother Logan as the videographer/photogapher capturing all the goods for the fans and sponsors, and me as Team Manager behind the scenes, so he's looking pretty sorted....and he wasn't dropped, I can assure you.
  • 1 0
 Ride Kanuga is doing so incredibly well. I doubt Neko is hurting for cash.
  • 2 9
flag tacklingdummy (Jan 2, 2022 at 10:04) (Below Threshold)
 @captain23: Interesting. What team? His other sponsors agreed to fund a full support team at races? Just curious how you know all this when PB just posted that Mually just split with Intense a few days ago.
  • 16 0
 @tacklingdummy: Because he is Martin Whiteley
  • 4 0
 @tacklingdummy: yep. @captain23 is the one and only Martin Whiteley. 23 Degrees Sports owner.

He is kind enough to respond in the comments from time to time, typically when there is speculation that is errant. Beer

Also, @captain23 ... You said you were looking forward to down time in 2022. Hah
  • 3 0
 @pisgahgnar: Thanks for clarifying. I wasn't debating his information. I was genuinely interested in the information and was curious how the pros would be supported without a bike manufacturer sponsor.
  • 2 0
 @tacklingdummy: Yeah, it's a legitimate question based on how programs are typically structured with a "Title Sponsor" and then Gold, Silver, Bronze level as it is used to be called below the main money donating company.

When you look at the sponsors he lists, what we picture in our heads financially from each company doesn't add up to enough funding from each of those companies to be able to travel internationally.

Apparently he's structured it in some manner that puts him on a lot of planes, trains & automobiles & pays for a full on paid staff.

My guess is that his elaboration of where the most money comes from will be the size of the logos and placement on his kit when it rolls out.
  • 2 0
 @pisgahgnar: I wish they would allow parking lot camping :'(
  • 3 2
 @ream720: I'm glad they don't. There are a million miles of wandering vans, buses and wagons milling about the world as is. I'd prefer my day at the bike park not have that "squatters in paradise" feel of a KOA Campground.
  • 2 0
 @blowmyfuse: cool story bro
  • 1 0
 @blowmyfuse: excuse those of us who have to pay to travel lol. Why don't you rent me a night at the Berm Peak Ranger station, it's affordable right? And there are definitely an abundance of public lands available for use too... smh
  • 2 0
 @ream720: Just find a spot in Pisgah dude. There are countless spots off the gravel roads for you to park your sprinter.
  • 1 0
 @pisgahgnar: wish I had a sprinter
  • 1 0
 @ream720: plenty of room for camping on roadside designated sites if you can run off the tarp city special squatters that have decided rules don't apply to them.
  • 2 0
 "@ream720: wish I had a sprinter"

My mom would always say....if you wish in one hand and shit in the other, guess which one's gonna fill up first. Now do your chores. Beer


Hated it...every single time. Just passing on that bitter wisdom. You probably won't think it's any funnier than I did.
  • 3 0
 A new Spooky Mothership with Neko at the helm is proof that there is a divine plan for mtb.
  • 2 0
 Excellent idea, simple project, low cost and affordable prices to reach a larger audience that already runs and who wants to start.
  • 4 1
 looks like a mix of cube and a session
  • 2 0
 This is really cool. Way to go Neko! I'm excited to watch the season and project unfold for him.
  • 2 0
 TMW you get so sick of being given crap bikes to race that you end up designing your own.
  • 4 2
 Nice one. Neko seems to go from strength to strength in the awesomeness rankings
  • 2 0
 Sweet!! Neko teaming up with FTW brilliant. Two legends right here right now. 2022 is already looking good.
  • 2 0
 Best news I’ve heard all year! Gave it Hell Yeah out loud!

Good luck to Neko and Frank!!!
  • 2 0
 Looks like the high pivot Gambler prototype that was tried out. Was posted in Pb article while back
  • 4 0
 The R9 lives on
  • 2 0
 Stoked on all the upcoming footage! Much respect and best of luck with the project and the upcoming season!!
  • 4 0
 FTW FTW.
  • 2 0
 You follow FTW on Instagram, he has been showing this bike being made. Very interesting the rest of the story.
  • 3 0
 Made in USA, Sponsored by trails he helped build, Frank.
  • 1 0
 Neko cannot go wrong with Frank the Welder on hand. Love the highish pivot bike, it looks soo sexy, imagine with some fox orange paint.
  • 2 0
 This is so awesome all the way around. Love the top and down gussets! Love the industry sponsors! Go go go!
  • 2 0
 I really enjoy Neko's video content. The testing & what-not. Good stuff.
  • 2 0
 NEKOOOooooo!!!

Can’t wait to watch him rip this rig down the Snowshoe WC course!!
  • 3 0
 FtW! Legend.
  • 2 0
 This is a really interesting thing for a pro to be doing. Good luck Neko
  • 3 0
 looks like a gambler?
  • 2 0
 Respect and best of luck.
  • 2 0
 When your former teamrider shows up with a nicer looking bike...
  • 2 0
 This looks RAD. Can't wait to watch the progress throughout the year!
  • 1 0
 So cool. Would love to see a video series with updates on changes made throughout the season
  • 1 0
 In his interview, he states that his brother will be putting together a video series for them to release. This is not surprising since his brother has steadily been improving his video skills over the years.
  • 1 0
 Very Awesome indeed. I have a classic old FTW built Spooky Bandwagon frame in the basement. Cant let it go.
  • 2 0
 Frig’in Awesome! All the best to Neko!
  • 3 5
 470mm chainstay mullet with what seems like 62 degree HA and 1300+ wheelbase? Lots of insight on what a racer wants vs what a corporate designer deems "sellable".

170~240% AS is a bit high but LR curve and AR curve are better than most on market. Very interesting!
  • 3 1
 Yeah this is it, seeing bikes built for riders without the marketing departments input on what will entice people to shed their existing frame. The front triangle/reach looks pretty short too, especially considering he’s standing behind it. It’ll be interesting to see what the frame numbers look like compared to what the athertons are riding.
  • 1 0
 It is 450 and 455 chainstay, 63 ha
  • 1 0
 ??? You just made up those numbers.
  • 1 1
 My apologies, I used a photo to analyze the suspension and the only solid number I had was the shock i2i which I guessed is 250mm.

Indeed, the HA is 63 despite my software saying 61.5 degrees; chainstay is 450/455 while my software said 470.1mm; BB is 345/350 despite my software saying 338

I am curious as to what the intended/designed/actual AS values are
  • 1 0
 @skimgosu: Very interesting, it's what difference a project than a execution maybe?.
  • 1 0
 @GBlanco: That is possible. Photographic distortion might also be a factor.

I am puzzled as to why the BB height and chainstay in the photo is so different from official specification. I can understand the headangle estimate being unreliable as it is further from the center of the photo.
  • 1 0
 @skimgosu: Maybe you could check the 182cm tall of neko on picture just to know how close you are, because the numbers are very different.
m.pinkbike.com/news/bike-check-neko-mulallys-intense-m29-downhill-southeast-windrock-2020.html
  • 2 0
 There's this rad new material for Mountain Bikes, it's called Alewminium
  • 2 0
 What!? Best news I will hear all year! Go get em Neko
  • 2 0
 Frame looks great! Hope to see some production versions.
  • 3 0
 I hope he crushes it!!!
  • 2 0
 Brand and Model name: Mulally Mulle't xD
  • 2 0
 Neko needs to grow out a mullet to match the bike
  • 1 0
 "Ok Frank, now do the required grinding some metal pic to look like you are working" "put the frame in front"
  • 1 0
 Chain made of mandalorian armor?
  • 1 2
 I wonder what the long term plan is here? Neko as design consultant for multiple brands? Own bike brand? Just goofing about? Who knows?
  • 15 0
 Team Kanuga/Waffle House developing the young Southeast USA talent.
  • 1 0
 No more tweaks allowed with Intense? Good luck Neko!
  • 4 4
 Second photo looks staged. If that's an aluminum frame, why is there sparks?
  • 4 1
 Probably hacking some pivot hardware down to size...
  • 3 0
 Sparks look cool.
  • 2 0
 Totally staged dude. FTW would not grind something while attached to the frame, he has a shop full of machines !
  • 1 0
 So cool!! Definitely faster than intense’s
  • 1 1
 Most of his time on intense he was on a raw prototype bike, shouldn’t be to much of a change.
  • 2 0
 @BikesNRussets: a prototype designed by Jeff, not Neko. This is 100% Neko with input from Frank on the materials.
  • 1 0
 2022 is shaping up to be pretty rad
  • 2 1
 Fuck yeah this is so sick
  • 1 0
 Frank the Welder will also double as Frank the Mechanic in the pit…..
  • 1 0
 I bet he races a “Mule” or a “Mulet”
  • 1 0
 Very impressive work Frank!
  • 1 0
 this is the most kashima move i've ever seen
  • 1 0
 Mullaly is the new spelling of Atherton!
  • 1 0
 Frank Wadelton should have been mentioned in the title.
  • 2 0
 Neko FTW!
  • 1 0
 Rad, can’t wait to see em on the track
  • 2 1
 Mystery aluminum that sparks when you grind it :-0
  • 1 0
 Frank the Grinder. Sounds like a decent porn name..
  • 1 0
 Hope he makes a movie about it all and calls it Finding NeMu.
  • 1 0
 I wonder what Jeff Steber thinks about it?

I Think it's awesome!
  • 1 0
 This is good news. Anything to keep him riding.
  • 1 0
 FTW with a alloy frame in 2022. Can’t get any better than that kids
  • 2 0
 So sick Neko!
  • 1 0
 Announcements can get no cooler than this
  • 2 0
 Go Neko!
  • 1 0
 Neko Mulane keknye orang jawa nih.
  • 1 0
 Neko Bicycles. I like the ring of that.
  • 2 1
 So Glad Kona picked him up.
  • 2 0
 ItS dEfInItElY a SeSsIoN
  • 1 0
 Will this somehow affect his income or earnings?
  • 1 0
 It's an updated Sinister R9. I love it.
  • 1 0
 i love the renewed interest in alloy bikes
  • 2 0
 FTW >> FTW!!
  • 5 4
 So who’s gonna say it?
  • 1 0
 Say what?
  • 2 8
flag trainboy17 (Jan 1, 2022 at 5:17) (Below Threshold)
 @mandingo18: session?!
  • 5 1
 A bit of a gamble to just come out and say it.
  • 1 0
 Super cool! Git em!
  • 1 0
 Awesome
  • 1 0
 Do the welding.
  • 4 5
 90% of the Pinkbike crowd don’t even know who Frank the Welder is.

Good luck Neko!! Rad stuff!!
  • 1 0
 Sad but so true
  • 4 6
 True, never heard of him but I also don't really care. To much import taxes...
  • 1 0
 I looked it up, it looks like the lairdframe of MTB. Pretty RAD!
  • 1 0
 It's hilarious though...... jeez some of these comments!
  • 1 0
 Best of luck Neko!
  • 1 0
 So dope!
  • 1 0
 RAD..
  • 1 0
 Reserve wheels?
  • 6 1
 IDK....seems like an upgrade from what he was riding previously
  • 1 0
 So good!!!
  • 1 0
 This is awesome
  • 2 2
 So custom frame, zero engineering?
  • 1 0
 Sick mate,
  • 1 0
 Yes FTW my brotha!!
  • 1 0
 Sick looking bikes
  • 1 0
 FTW~FTW
  • 1 0
 Atherton bikes 2.0? :o
  • 6 6
 No bottle mounts.
  • 4 0
 We found the trail rider.
  • 1 0
 you can found on hot seat wkwkw
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