Mullet 29 / 275 In Bikes: Splitting The Difference
A mullet bike is just what you may have imagined: A bike with a 29-inch wheel in the front but smaller, 27.5-inch wheel in the back. Mixing wheel sizes isnt a new idea, but this setup has been gaining interest lately, as elite World Cup and Enduro World Series riders have started winning races on bikes with the big-wheel-in-the-front, small-wheel-in-the-back formula. The idea is to combine the speed, traction, and rollover ability of a 29er with the agility and light weight of a 27.5-inch wheel. But is a mullet bike good for those who arent racing? That may come down to riding style, rider size, and trail preference.
Specialized Rockhopper Comp 29 2x Ride Impressions
In a world of 1x drivetrains, the double crankset feels clunky. Because of the large jump between the two chainrings, changing from the big ring to the smaller one and vice versa requires multiple shifts on the cassette to maintain a comfortable pedalling cadence.
This interrupts flow on undulating climbs, and left me spinning out at times. However, keeping the chain on the 24t ring and only using the rear shifter creates too much chain slap and noise, so its preferable to shift between the chainrings instead where possible. Happily, the chain didnt drop at all during the entire test period.
Ian Linton / Immediate MediaIan Linton / Immediate MediaIan Linton / Immediate MediaIan Linton / Immediate MediaIan Linton / Immediate MediaIan Linton / Immediate Media
I only experienced limited front-wheel lift or wander on steeper ascents, helped by the traditional XC riding position that the bike put me in I was fairly low down and stretched forward when seated. The own-brand Bridge Sport saddle proved to be pleasantly comfortable, due in part to its flat profile.
When standing up and pedalling, the bike feels quite short due to its diminutive reach .
Ian Linton / Immediate MediaIan Linton / Immediate MediaIan Linton / Immediate Media
On hardpack trail-centre surfaces, the Ground Control tyres provide plenty of predictable traction and roll impressively fast, but when pushed through turns, the Sport carcass struggles to hold its shape, especially at lower pressures.
Why Are Specialized Mountain Bikes So Popular
Specialized Mountain Bikes are known as one of the best brands of bikes among riders. Procyclingstats.com reported that riders who use Specialized bikes acquired more competitive wins than any other brand in early 2021. The evidence is undeniable that these bikes are among the highest performers with competitive handling and geometry when it comes to quality, lightweight frames, endurance, durability, and performance in trail riding.
Their proprietary state-of-the-art suspension system ensures a comfortable ride with enhanced kinematics when taking the jumps and bumps on a mountain bike trail while also optimizing the overall control the rider has over their experience. Youll see this referred to as the Future Shock Rear or FSR, which isolates brake loads and chain loads reducing one, compromising the performance of the other. The result is a dynamic ride, optimizing power and efficiency.
They offer generous warranty terms and conditions, and we love a brand that stands behind its products. Specialized Mountain Bikes are no exception.
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Why You Should Trust Us
Our team has been testing mountain bikes since 2017. Trail bikes, enduro bikes, hardtails, fat bikes, electric mountain bikes, mountain bikes under $2500, you name it and we’ve tested them. Over the past 5 years, we’ve spent over $100,000 purchasing the mountain bikes that we review to remain as objective and unbiased as possible. Recent bike availability challenges brought on by mountain biking’s recent explosion in popularity coupled with global supply chain issues have made it more challenging to buy bikes for testing. In 2020 and 2021, it occasionally became necessary for us to rent demo bikes from local shops, or to acquire media demo bikes direct from manufacturers to continue to test and review the latest mountain bikes. In the case of media demo bikes, we insisted on paying for the use of the bikes or making an in-kind donation to a trail advocacy organization to compensate for its use and maintain our objectivity.
Our test team is led by our Senior Mountain Bike Review Editor, Jeremy Benson. Benson has been mountain biking since the early ’90s and has seen and experienced the evolution of mountain bikes firsthand. The 20 year Lake Tahoe resident is an obsessive rider and competitive mountain bike and gravel racer who spends an inordinate amount of time training, testing, and simply riding bikes just for the fun of it. Benson is also a local trail expert and the author of Mountain Bike Tahoe, published by Mountaineers Books.
Choosing A Complete Bike Build
- Frame. Aluminum vs. Carbon is your first big decision point. Choosing an aluminum frame typically involves substantial cost savings. It’s typically slightly heavier, flexes more easily, and is somewhat weaker than carbon. If you’re just trying to get out on your bike, aluminum is great. Carbon fiber is more expensive, lighter weight, and stiffer than aluminum as a frame material. Consider carbon fiber if investing in your bike is a priority, and you plan on having it for an extended period. Carbon fiber ages better than aluminum.
- Fork and Rear Shock. Suspension components come in a huge range of price points. The differences between low-end and high-end suspension componentry is significant, though it may not be apparent to riders who are just starting out. A higher-end fork and rear shock will be more adjustable to your weight, riding style, and personal preference.
- Drivetrain. It’s important to note if the drivetrain has one or two chainrings. Two chainrings require a front derailleur, meaning you have shifters on both sides of your handlebars. We like 1x better. It’s simpler, easier to shift, leaves more room for a dropper seat post control, and is less to destroy. Most modern mountain bikes come with 1x drivetrains which typically have 11 or 12 total gears.
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How To Buy A Mountain Bike
Purchasing a mountain bike is an expensive endeavor and can be downright scary. Slapping down the credit card for a large purchase requires serious research. All of this research can bring to light loads of jargon and terms. Terms like mid-travel, short-travel, and enduro are thrown around all the time. OutdoorGearLab is here to make sense of it all.
We will explain the different types of mountain bikes and what they are designed for. Once you settle on a category of bike, you will need to consider wheel and tire size. 29-inch, 27.5-inch, plus-sized, they all have strengths and weaknesses. Female riders have to decide if they need a women’s bike or if they can tweak a unisex bike to fit them better. We will walk you through all of these decisions.
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Specialized Rockhopper Comp 29 2x Geometry
Specialized claims that the Rockhoppers geometry enables the rider to tackle sharp, twisty trails with ease, while inspiring confidence on the descents.
Its given the large size 29er a 445mm reach, 68.5-degree head angle, which could make it feel short when standing on the pedals, and 1,152mm wheelbase, while the top tube is 630mm.
None of these figures are particularly daring and, bar the pretty steep head angle, all are similar to the other bikes I had on test, but the Rockhopper looks like a solid performer.
Specialized Rockhopper Comp 29 2x Review
Do size-specific features make this Spesh a winner?
May 14, 2021 at 6:00 pm
Although the Specialized Rockhopper Comp has a 2x drivetrain and no dropper post, it does at least have cable routing for the latter.
It has a host of other features, too, including internal routing for the gear cables and rear brake hose, giving neater lines, plus a unique RxTune for the Suntour fork, which varies according to frame size. The XS to M bikes roll on 650b wheels, while the M to XXL are 29ers.
Built from Speshs A1 aluminium, designed to be lightweight but strong, the Rockhopper frame features butted tubing and clean lines.
The 9×135mm quick-release rear axle rules out a future upgrade to Boost wheels. Inside the front triangle are two bottle cage mounts.
Ian Linton / Immediate Media
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Tire Size And Rim Width
Normal tire widths have slowly been getting wider over time. It used to be that 2.35-inch tires were considered relatively standard, but at the moment they tend to run in the 2.4-2.5-inch range on most trail bikes, or even 2.6-inch versions on wider rims. Wider tires have more air volume and a larger contact patch that offers tons of traction and a little softer ride, although they may provide more resistance when heading uphill. Then, there are your plus-sized, or mid-fat, tires. These run from 2.8-inches to 3-inches. We like the 2.8-inch versions as they offer traction and often give you defined cornering knobs to dig into turns. Three-inch tires provide you with plenty of grip but often a more vague cornering feel due to smaller, more uniform knobs. To get geeky about tires, check out our MTB tire review.
Tires are easy to switch out and are among the most cost-effective ways to upgrade the performance of your bike. Rims are a much pricier and time-consuming fix. Anything less than a 25mm rim is now considered narrow for an aggressive trail or enduro bike. We recommend trying to find something in the range of 28mm to 35mm with the sweet spot right around 30mm. For less aggressive bikes it’s less critical, but traction is traction. We like it on all of our bikes. It’s a good idea to ask manufacturers or dealers what range of tires you can run on their rims.
Tips For Buying And Using 29 Mountain Bikes
A mountain bike is used on rough terrain, including trails, hills, and other off-road areas. It is a bike constructed to handle rough, thrill-providing areas. Of course, you can ride on country roads and city streets as well, but choosing a mountain bike means you want a bike specifically designed for non-street riding.
A mountain bike operates basically the same as other bikes, so you will consider similar criteria when purchasing. These include fit, size, and weight . The 29 of a 29 mountain bike is the wheel size. This is the measurement of the inner diameter of the wheel or the spoke area, which in this case is 29 inches.
This size is based on the frame size: x-small, small, medium, large, x-large or xx-large. The frame size in turn is based on the following procedure: stand with your legs six to eight inches apart, shoes off, and measure from the ground to where your legs come together. After you have this measurement, refer to thischart. Most mountain bikes support an average-sized person. But if you have any questions whether the mountain bike you are purchasing is the right one for your weight, check with the manufacturer or distributor.
- Make sure you want a mountain bike as opposed to a road bike, BMX, or hybrid.
- Determine the size of mountain bike you need.
- Make sure the mountain bike will support your weight.
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Types Of Mountain Bikes
The three basic types of mountain bikes are: full-suspension, hardtail, and rigid. Full-suspension bikes provide the most ability to absorb bumps and the effects of rough terrain. Hardtail bikes have a suspension mechanism in the front only, while rigid-type bikes have no suspension mechanism. Each of these types serve a purpose and have negative and positive attributes.
Average Weight For Crosscountry Bikes
On a deeper look, we notice that the average weight of a Crosscountry bike is 12.31 kg . An easier bike will give you a big advantage in climbs. However, a heavier bike can gain speed when you descend.
Weighing 12.1 kg , the 29 inch Hardtail Mountain Bike XC 100 Shimano 1×11 model is slightly lighter than average. In short, the average Crosscountry bike weight is 1.74% higher than this one.
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Learn About 29 Inch Mountain Bikes With Jensonusa
Mountain bikes with 29 wheels have become increasingly popular over recent years but are no new invention and were first introduced back in 1999 on race bikes. Today, 29 tires are found on bikes across all of the mountain riding disciplines and are still renowned for their rolling efficiency, speed, and control. 29-Inch mountain bikes have more roll-over capability and traction than 27.5-inch mountain bikes, yet sacrifice agility and turning radius.
Performance Benefits And Drawbacks
27.5-inch wheels are typically quicker to accelerate when compared to 29ers, which is mainly a result of their lower weight that requires less effort to spin. This can be great if your local trails include a lot of slowing down and accelerating through tight turns and short uphill sections. As touched on above, 27.5 bikes will also perform well on winding trails where space is minimal. That said, 27.5-inch wheels will generally be slower in straightaways where 29ers are able to build and maintain momentum more easily.
In terms of climbing, there are a lot of variables to consider. We find that 27.5-inch wheels tend to be better for short and punchy climbs that require quick turns and technical maneuvers. They will also be a bit lighter on climbs and deliver better acceleration overall. However, if youre looking to instead ascend gravel roads or smooth, straight singletrack, then we give the nod to the 29er for its ability to maintain speed better.
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What Are Some Must
When it comes to kitting out Specialized Mountain Bikes with accessories, were going to stick with some of the basics to get you started, but the skys the limit when it comes to accessorizing your ride.
Helmet. This is used to protect your head when you inevitably take a tumble it happens to the best of us, and you want to protect your head.
Multi-tool and patch kit. You never know when youll need to do a quick patch job.
Spare tube. Spare tubes will get you out of a pinch and back on the trails.
Right apparel including shoes and gloves. Invest in decent bike shorts with cushioning, a comfortable shirt, appropriate shoes, and gloves.
Body armor and pads. If youre planning a rough ride or just getting started, these will protect your boney bits.
Eye protection. Youll be surprised how mud can fly or how many insects you encounter when youre careening through nature. Protect your eyes.
Hydration and packs. A hydration pack in addition to a water bottle will come in handy, and we recommend a quality pack that you can stash your essentials in.
Lube, degreaser, and pump for the tires. These are used to maintain your bike between rides.
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Salsa Timberjack Nx Eagle 29
- Copious mounts and adjustable dropouts
- 12-speed SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain climbs like a goat
The Timberjack is a fun, adventure-ready aluminum hardtail thatll run 29-inch or plus-sized 27.5-inch wheels. Short chainstays keep it nimble in tight situations, while a longer top tube provides stability. For the NX build, Salsa gives you a RockShox Sektor RL fork with 130mm of travelenough for most trail rides. SRAMs NX drivetrain components provide crisp shifting, and the bike comes with SRAMs powerful Level hydraulic brakes. The Timberjack has internal cable routing and mounts for a rear rack for light bikepacking or whatever adventures you plan. Salsas Alternator dropouts make it possible to run the Timberjack as a singlespeed, too.
- Bontrager Kovee Elite 23 Carbon, tubeless-ready wheels
- Lightweight carbon frame with IsoSpeed decoupler
- 100mm RockShox Reba RL fork with remote lockout
- 720mm handlebar is on the narrow side
- Dropper post
- 130mm fork
- Lightweight and tubeless ready XC race tires
- Some may want tires wider than 2.25-inches
FOR BIKEPACKING AND RIPPING THE PUMP TRACK
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Consumer Direct Vs Local Bike Shop
Consumer direct is a major buzzword in the mountain bike industry. More and more brands are now selling their bikes directly to the consumer. This cuts out the middle man, which is the local bike shop. With the middle man cut out of the sales chain, companies can sell their bikes at extremely attractive prices. Brands like YT, Commencal, and Canyon are the biggest consumer-direct brands in the USA.
Convenience and savings often come at a cost, and buying consumer-direct is no different. Purchasing a mountain bike at a bike shop buys you a relationship with a shop and maybe some small complimentary services. Quick repairs and warranty services may often be conducted for free.