Mullet regrets


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    • #653954

      I can use some independent advice from the community. I’ve been MTB’ing for over 30 years, and have had multiple bikes. Most recent one was a Kona Hei Hei Supreme 29er that I bought in 2014. In April this year, I wanted a new bike and decided on a Stumpy mullet build (29 front, 27.5 back) based on recommendation from the local Specialized shop. While the bike is very fun on downhill single tracks, it seems that I had to sacrifice uphill power to an extent I didn’t expect. I’m not liking this bike. My rides are about 10-15% longer, I assume because of this power loss.

      Have other riders out there had a similar experience with these mullet bikes? I’m tempted just to sell it at a loss and get another 29er from a different manufacturer. For background, I’m age 62 and ride a couple times a week in the Los Angeles area – about 90% fire roads, 10% single track. The links to my old and new bikes are below. Appreciate any advice I can get.

      2014 Kona Hei Hei Supreme Bike – Reviews, Comparisons, Specs – Bikes – Vital MTB

      S-Works Stumpjumper LTD (


    • #654526

      Rollover matters!  You probably won’t see XC racers riding mullets anytime in the near future.  Full 29 is just faster and a 29er XC bike is the fastest, which is what you were riding before.  A mullet trailbike is not the fastest.  Mullets are best for people with shorter legs and for tight twisty turns, not for going fast.  However, before you trade in your Stumpy, try putting on some lighter faster-rolling XC-ish tires.  I ride the Stumpy EVO which came with the same tires you are riding and I found them rather draggy and I’ve never liked 2.3 wide tires.  I use the 2.6 Maxxis Rekon front and 2.6 Ikon rear or 2.4 Rekon rear.  If you want to stick with Specialized, get a set of 2.35 Ground Controls.  Maybe a set of Schwalbe Wicked Wills would do.  Tires made a huge difference for me.  I easily ride 10-15% faster than with the stock tires.

      Also, spend some time making sure you’ve got the rear shock set correctly.  Multiple reviewers complained the rear suspension on the Stumpy is difficult to set up.  Too firm and the bike didn’t descend well.  Too soft and the bike didn’t climb well. The Stumpy has a very narrow sweet spot.   Some felt that they were never able to get it quite right.

      If you do sell your bike, you sound like the ideal candidate for a Transition Spur, Ibis Ripley, or Rocky Mountain Element.  Something a little more sporty.  You could also convert your Stumpy back to full 29.

    • #654884

      Bike Nerd – thanks for the excellent and helpful reply. I’ve considered just converting it to full 29″, but I’m feeling a little misled by Specialized on how the bike would perform. I may just cave and convert it, but part of me wants to throw in the towel and get an Ibis or maybe a Santa Cruz. Another local shop sells both. I thought it was just me having an issue with setting the rear shock; I’ll keep playing with that adjustment to see if I can find that sweet spot. Appreciate the input.

    • #655244


      The thing with mullet is, it is not for everyone. Of people I know that are on them, similar build to my own (Lanky 6′ beanpole) have all said similar things on their experiences. Gearing needs to be done according to the rear wheel’s diameter. That does affect the ratio of the drive train. They also mention tuning their riding habits to the mullet.

      My experience in being on the trail with them is that they do everything with no issue. They haul ass, they go full send, just like everyone else. While I ride an RSD Middlechild with a one speed automatic transmission, sure, I keep up or leave em here and there. I get trialsy if I am on knobbies so, there is that however, we get in many awesome adventures with no issue.  The collection of bikes in my stable is 18 strong.

      There have been a couple peeps that didn’t get on with a mullet. They were keen to try it  and did a rent with option to buy so they could do a proper shakedown. Good thing for the gents that didn’t find it a good fit.

      Frankly, before tossin the towel… Borrow a 29 rear and give it a try. A bona fide shakedown!! A bike purchase can be silly expensive. Put in a few rides and see if the change makes the cut.


    • #655478


      Thank you for the additional input. I agree with you that buying a new bike is silly expensive, and therefore an unnecessary step at this point. I think for the near term I’m going to swap out the tire set and maybe upgrade the chainring to help my gear ratio, then ride it for a while and see how it goes. My next step, if I’m still not satisfied, is convert it to full 29er and see how that feels. The thing is, I love this mullet build on the flat and the downhill single track. It’s so playful compared to the 29er.

      The issue mentioned above by Bike Nerd, about dialing in the rear suspension, is something I have to mess around with. I’ve never paid a lot of attention to this setting, so it’s hard for me to know good from bad.

    • #655567


      Suspension settings can be a rabbit hole since it is more subjective than seats and tire pressures!

      Frankly, a mullet does require tuning riding style to it. Rollover is often humorous since some folks aren’t adept at trials! Hell, I can roll over things that 29’ers have difficulty with, on my 26″ wheeled trials bike, but that’s a seperate topic.

      I am of the experiment with things that are easy tweaks, like wheels. Then it also gets on to practice makes progress, to borrow a phrase from SuperRider on ewww tewb. Give each experiment enough trail time to acclimate and take away a solid answer. Sometimes it doesn’t require the acclimation phase since it seems horrible right off. Needless to say, play with it and get an idea of what works for you and not a crash test dummy. Borrow wheels if need be.


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