I'd thought bikes with two different sized wheels had disappeared with the Specialized Big Hit, but the advent of 29” downhill bikes seems to have breathed a little more life into the concept. For those who aren't familiar, proponents claim it's a best-of-both-worlds scenario, with a bigger wheel up front for better rollover, and a smaller wheel out back for quicker cornering, increased stiffness, and more clearance between rider and tire.
The mullet configuration has seen success on the DH World Cup and Enduro World Series circuits, although the “correlation does not imply causation” concept does need to be kept in mind. In some cases, riders were on mixed wheel sizes because their sponsor didn't have a dedicated 29” wheeled bike ready yet, and they wanted to at least benefit from some of the advantages that come with an increased wheel diameter. In other cases, it's the rider's height that steered them towards the mullet setup. Especially on a DH bike, when you have 190mm or more rear travel and a rider with short legs it can be difficult to avoid buzzing the rear tire. Anyone who's ever felt the 'bzzzt' of a mud spike at full speed knows it's not the best feeling in the world.
Multiple companies are now offering DH bikes in the mixed wheel configuration, but the trend hasn't really caught on to the same extent in the enduro / trail bike world. In many cases companies will offer a bike with 29” wheels for the large and extra-large sizes, and then include a 27.5” wheeled option for the smaller sizes. Having wheel size based more on a rider's height makes sense to me, and it's the premise for this week's poll.
Will mixed wheels will end up being the norm for medium and small bikes, with matching 29" wheels for taller riders, and matching 27.5" wheels for extra-small riders? Or is it just a flash-in-the-pan trend, doomed to disappear just as quickly as Plus bikes?
Either way, I'm curious where the interest in mixed wheel sizes lies – are shorter riders more likely to gravitate towards the concept? Find your height below and cast your vote in the appropriate poll. Would you rather have 29" wheels or a 27.5" / 29" setup?
For riders 5'3" (160cm) and below.
For riders 5'4" - 5'6" (161 - 168cm)
For riders 5'7" - 5'9" (169 - 175cm)
For riders 5'10" - 6'1" (176 - 185cm)
For riders 6'2" and taller (186cm and up)