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Best Mullet Mountain Bikes in 2023: Mixed-Wheel Bikes

By Sam Millers   /  Last updated - June 15, 2023   /  Electric Bikes, Mountain Bikes, Mullet MTB, Reviews

mullet mountain bike explained

A mullet mountain bike is one with mixed wheel sizes. Most often this is a 27.5″ wheel on the back and a 29″ in the front, however, this can also be a mix with 26″. Companies who sell and riders who use mulleted mountain bikes claim that they provide the advantages of each wheel size.

Due to their popularity, many big-name brands now carry a mullet model. This includes companies like Specialized, Santa Cruz Bicycles, and Orange Mountain Bikes.

What are the benefits of a mullet MTB?

“The best of both worlds” is a common response to the question posed above. In practice, there are four distinct benefits. That being said, some riders may not consider these things beneficial to their particular riding style.

  • A bigger 29″ wheel controls more smoothly in very rocky terrain. The larger the wheel, the more easily it rolls over big hits and hangs up less so that you can control the bike better.
  • For riders who want more clearance with a smaller 27.5″ in the rear because their 29″ wheel kicks up over steep drops.
  • A smaller 27.5″ wheel in the rear allows more movement and thus improves cornering giving riders the ability to take corners at higher speeds
  • A larger wheel in the front compared to the rear will speed up your ride by creating a slacker geometry, improving stability, and reducing rolling resistance

A brief history of mullet bikes

A recent increase in the popularity of these bikes would make it seem like they are a new phenomenon. However, this increase is mostly due to their inclusion in professional spheres including EWS and downhill races because of recent changes to UCI regulations.

Mullet bikes have actually been around for over 15 years, as seen in Specialized’s BigHit in 2004 which mixed 24″ and 26″ wheels. Here are some of the reasons why they were invented.

29er PROS

  • Smoother roll over obstacles and rocks
  • Larger contact path due to larger wheel (Unless the rear tire is drastically wider)
  • Higher axle
  • More stability on higher speeds

27.5er PROS

  • Faster acceleration
  • Better cornering
  • Lower center gravity
  • Slacker geometry
  • Better clearance


Best Mullet Mountain Bikes


Giant Reign 2

Giant reign 2 mullet mtb

 

MSRP: $3,600

The Giant Reign 2 mullet mountain bike is a solid mid-range choice for any serious mountain goat out there.

With a classic mullet design featuring a 29″ front wheel and a 27.5″ rear wheel, this bike delivers maximum traction, excellent maneuverability, and ample clearance for the most difficult of trails.

The suspension on this bike stands out thanks to Giant’s high-end Maestro platform, used by World Championship-winning bikes. This model gets a 170mm RockShox Yari RC fork and 160mm RockShox Deluxe Select+ shock to ensure you can crush any downhill and spin to the top to do it all over again.

Finally, this e-bike performs alongside the best in this price category because of its high-quality ALUXX aluminum frame.

  • Frame: ALUXX aluminum
  • Fork: RockShox Yari RC 170mm
  • Rear shock: RockShox Deluxe Select+ 160mm
  • Weight: ~31lb
  • Maxxis Assegai 2.5″, Minion DHR II 2.4″
  • 12-speed Shimano SLX derailleur

Buy from Mike's Bikes


Santa Cruz Bicycles Chameleon R

Mullet ready – comes in either 27.5″ or 29er

santa cruz chameleon special edition MSRP: $2999

The Chameleon R carbon c model is a lightweight, speedy, and stylish mountain bike with compatibility for 27.5-inch, 29-inch, or mixed wheels.

This hardtail bike uses FOX Rhythm 34, 120mm travel fork suspension, and a large front wheel to provide great shock absorption and rollover ability on rocky trails. The carbon fiber frame ensures a high level of compliance and additional dampening effects.

This model of the Chameleon comes with a premium 12-speed SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain, high traction Maxxis Minion/Ardent Race tires, powerful SRAM Guide hydraulic disc brakes, and reliable SDG Tellis dropper post.

Finally, this versatile MTB has extra mounts for water bottles and a cargo cage for those extra-long adventures.

  • Frame: Carbon C
  • 12-Speed SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain
  • Brakes: SRAM Guide T
  • TLR rims
  • SDG Tellis dropper post
  • 29×2.3″ Maxxis Minion DHF front
  • 29×2.35″ Maxxis Ardent Race rear

Buy from Mike's Bikes


Santa Cruz – Bronson Carbon R

Santa Cruz Bicycles Carbon R Mountain Bike

MSRP: $5,049
Mike’s Bikes | Evo.com

The Bronson by Santa Cruz is a mid-range mullet MTB designed to ride comfortably on the harshest trail/enduro rides.

A large wheel in the front provides better rollover and stability while the rear 27.5″ wheel accelerates faster, is more agile, and corners better. This combo pairs with a 150mm travel FOX Float X Performance shock and 160mm RockShox Lyric Select fork, a lightweight Carbon R frame, and VPP suspension linkage for a more efficient and controlled ride.

Additionally, the Bronson has a slack head tube angle and steep seat tube angle to improve pedaling & descending further. Finally, tunable flip-chip geometry, Maxxis Minion 2.5/2.4″ tires, and an SDG Tellis Dropper round out a solid list of components. 

  • Carbon C
  • Fork: RockShox Lyrik Select 160mm
  • Shock: Fox Float X Performance 150mm
  • SRAM NX Eagle 12-speed
  • 29×2.5″ / 27.5×2.4″ Maxxis Minion 
  • SGT Tellis dropper seat post
  • SRAM G2R hydro disc brakes

Buy from Evo.comBuy from Mike's Bikes


Best Full Suspension Mullet Mountain Bikes


Juliana – Roubion C S

Juliana Roubion C S Mountain Bike

MSRP: $6,399

The Roubion by Juliana is a female-specific mullet bike designed for hard enduro races. This bike features a 160mm FIT GRIP 3-Position Lever fork suspension and 150mm shock in the back.

Perfectly suited to aggressive riders, the Roubion takes advantage of a large front wheel and small rear wheel to perform better in corners and roll over smoothly. Additionally, tuned geometry carefully aligns keyframe elements to provide a high-quality ride on all parts of the mountain.

This bike uses a lightweight monocoque Carbon frame with an integrated flip-chip and cable routing, and Santa Cruz’s famed VPP suspension Linkage platform. Other great components include 2.5/2.4″ Maxxis Minion tires, a 12-speed SRAM GX Eagle groupset, and SRAM Code R hydraulic disc brakes.

  • Carbon C frame
  • Fork: Fox 36 Float Performance 160mm
  • Rear shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Select+ 150mm
  • 12-speed SRAM GX Eagle
  • 29×2.5″ & 27.5×2.4″ Maxxis Minion 
  • SRAM Code R 200/180mm rotors
  • Rockshox Reverb Stealth dropper seatpost

Buy from Evo.com


Haibike – ALLMTN 3

Electric mullet enduro/trail bike

haibike allmtn 3

MSRP: $5,800

Haibike ALLMTN 3 is an electric mullet mountain bike optimized for speed on the most difficult terrain.

With this bike, Haibike has achieved a perfect blend of performance and versatility, loaded with premium Bosch electronics that make long days on the trials feel easy. 

The ALLMTN 3 allows riders to ride fast over obstacles while maintaining the ability to whip the tail around corners thanks to the mixed wheel sizes. 

A RockShox Yari 160mm fork and 150mm RockShox Deluxe RT shock provide a super smooth and controlled ride on rough enduro rides. To support the Bosch Gen4 Performance CX 250W/75Nm motor and 625Wh battery you have a 12-speed SRAM SX Eagle drivetrain. Finally, ride with perfect confidence with Shimano MT420 4-Piston hydraulic disc brakes and premium Maxxis Minion 2.5/2.8″ tires.

  • RockShox Yari 160mm fork
  • RockShox Deluxe RT 150mm shock
  • Brakes: Shimano MT420 hydraulic

Buy from REI.com


Cannondale – Moterra Neo 3

cannondale moterra neo 3 mullet electric bike

 

MSRP: $6,750

Cannondale’s Moterra Neo 3 is a high-quality electric mullet mountain bike designed for all-mountain or light enduro riding.

The Moterra Neo 3 is versatile with its 150mm of front and rear travel from RockShox suspension. Each frame size gets custom suspension kinematics so all riders enjoy the same performance. Cannondale’s geometry further contributes to a consistent ride experience with an unbeatable balance that makes the Moterra Neo 3 stand out from its competition.

This bike runs on Bosch’s premium Bosch Performance Line CX 250W, 85Nm motor and 750Wh battery combination that ensures you can spend all day on the trail and take on any incline you come across.

  • Frame: SmartForm C1 aluminum
  • Fork: RockShox Yari RC 150mm Travel
  • Rear Shock: RockShox Deluxe Select 150mm
  • Brakes: Shimano XT 203mm rotors
  • Drivetrain: Shimano XT 12-speed
  • Tires: Maxxis Minion DHF 29″x2.6″ + Maxxis Rekon 27.5″x2.6″
 

Best Electric Mullet Mountain Bikes


Niner – WFO e9

MSRP: $6,999

Niner’s WFO e9 is a bike designed to tackle the roughest trails and steepest hills you can find. This bike gives you the ability to skip the lift and take your mountain biking to the next level.

To do so, you have a Bosch Gen 4 performance CX mid-drive motor with torque-sensing power transfer and a huge 625Wh battery. This premium system delivers predictable, smooth pedal assistance for mile after mile in the harshest conditions.

Although this bike comes with a 6061 aluminum frame, the design makes up for it. Forged frame end links and dropouts boost frame strength and smartly integrated electronics ensure great stability.

The WFO e9 uses RockShox 180mm travel coil suspension which responds perfectly to pedal assistance with stable yet supple behavior. This paired with the mixed wheel setup further improves maneuverability and traction on technical trails.

  • 6061 aluminum frame
  • Motor: Bosch Gen 4 Performance CX 625Wh battery
  • Fork: RockShox ZEB R 180mm
  • Rear Shock: RockShox Super Delux Coil Select R 180mm
  • SRAM SX Eagle drivetrain 12-speed
  • SRAM Guide RE hydro brakes 200mm rotors
  • 29×2.4″ / 27.5×2.6″ Schwalbe Eddy Current Evo Super Gravity
  • Weight: 55.5 lbs
  • KS LEV SI dropper seat post

Buy from Jenson USA


Santa Cruz Bicycles – Heckler 9 MX C S

Santa Cruz Bicycles Bullit MX CC R E-Mountain BikeSanta Cruz Heckler 9 MX C S Mountain Bike MSRP: $10,399

Santa Cruz’s Heckler 9 is an industry-leading electric mountain bike from one of the world’s leading MTB brands.

This model features premium Shimano electronics with tons of torque and battery power that makes long days on the trail feel easy. Santa Cruz chose a SRAM groupset for the Heckler C S, which performs well but is slightly disappointing for a bike costing over $10,000.

The Heckler uses the championship-winning lower-link VPP suspension platform, which is tuned to suit the demands of aggressive trail and enduro-style riding. A 150mm RockShox shock, 160mm Fox fork, and a 29er front wheel ensure you can blast down lumpy downhill tracks without skipping a beat.

Overall, this is an e-bike for serious mountain bikers with large budgets who want to spend more time on the downhills and take the sting out of tough climbs.

  • Shimano EP8, 85Nm
  • Shimano 720Wh Integrated Battery. Largest capacity battery by Shimano!
  • Fox 36 Float Performance, 160mm
  • RockShox Super Deluxe Select+, 150mm
  • SRAM GX Eagle, 10-51t
  • SRAM Code R brakes
  • SDG Tellis dropper seat post
  • 29×2.5″ & 27.5×2.4″

Buy from evo.com


Marin – Alpine Trail E2

Enduro-spec eMTB for demanding trails

marin alpine trail e2 mullet mountain bike

MSRP: $6,299

The Alpine Trial E2 by Marin is a high-performance trail/enduro e-bike that has what it takes to climb and descend with the best.

The mixed wheel combination gives this bike great traction, better roll-over ability, and snappier handling in corners. Additionally, balanced 160/150mm Fox suspension means there is no trail out of reach.

The electronics on the Alpine Trail include Shimano’s punchy Shimano STEPS EP8 85Nm motor and juicy 630Wh battery. With this pair, you can expect ranges of up to 60 miles and the ability to get out of any situation, such as soft terrain or steep gradients

Other notable components include a Shimano XT/SLX 12-speed drivetrain, large-rotor Shimano SLX hydraulic disc brakes, and premium Maxxis Assegai 2.5″ and Minion DHR II 2.8″ tires.

  • 6061 aluminum frame
  • Fork – 160mm Fox 38 Performance Elite
  • Shock – 150mm Fox Float DHX2 Performance Elite
  • 12-speed Shimano XT, SLX shifters 10-51T
  • Shimano SLX hydro brakes 203mm rotors
  • Shimano EP8 250W, 85Nm mid-drive motor
  • 630Wh battery

Buy from JensonUSA.com


Cannondale – Moterra Neo 2 Carbon

cannondale moterra neo 2 carbon mullet ebike

MSRP: $7,500

Cannondale’s Moterra Neo 2 is the company’s first mullet-style e-bike. Featuring a 27.5″ rear wheel and 29″ front wheel along with 150mm travel full-suspension, this bike boasts unbeatable versatility.

Powerful electronics set the standard for this premium bike, starting with a super smooth and lightweight Bosch Performance Line CX mid-drive motor with 85Nm of torque. A large 750Wh battery will keep you going for long ranges and is removable, so you can charge it more conveniently.

The thoughtful Proportional Response design of the suspension system means overall better performance and consistent ride qualities across the size range. This is complemented by the high-end carbon fiber front triangle with premium ride characteristics.

Finally, the Moterra Neo 2 has top-end components in every other area of the bike to ensure high performance.

  • Carbon and aluminum
  • Fork: RockShox Lyrik Select+, 150mm travel
  • Rear shock: RockShox Deluxe Select+, 150mm travel
  • Maxxis Minion DHF, Rekon 2.6″ EXO
  • Shimano MT520 4-piston hydraulic disc 203mm rotors
  • Motor: Bosch Performance Line CX 250W, 85Nm

Buy from REI

4 thoughts on “Best Mullet Mountain Bikes in 2023: Mixed-Wheel Bikes

  1. Walker says:

    I’d like to see a more comprehensive list if all Enduro Mullets. I have 2023 Rocky Mountain Altitude in Mullet configuration, which is an option with the carbon frame. I’m not going back to full 29. But I’m curious to see what else is out there.

  2. Ben Schild says:

    “Mullet” is a trademark of Mullet Cycles and not a general term for mixed wheel mountain bikes.

    1. Editorial Team says:

      Thank you for your comment, Ben. You’re technically right, but the term “mullet” is widely in use as a general term for mixed-wheel mountain bikes.

      1. Bob Curry says:

        My first mountain bike, a 1987 Cannondale was a mullet: 26X24. Pepto Bismal pink.

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