Home Forums Bike Forum 2024 MX vs 29er

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  • 2024 MX vs 29er
  • prettygreenparrot
    Full Member

    Looking for a ‘skill compensation’ bike to take over from my current Canyon Spectral AL 650B. something like 29er 150+R/160+F.

    More interested since seeing the Atherton bikes IRL at Bespoked. So cool. The S170 looked lovely. But MX vs the A150 29er all round.

    MX/Mullet/650B+29er seems a bit weird to me. Same wheel size (29er) both ends seems neater.

    Question is: what difference does MX vs 29er all round make in real life for regular/lame riders?

    Though I’ve ridden with friends in the alps, and had the terror of Madeira*, most riding is in the Peaks and Lakes. What I’m after is the bike that can compensate for lack of practice, age, and general lack of skill.

    Is an all round 29er or MX really going to be something I should care about?

    edit When the travel is at least 150mm rear and 160mm front. Current bike is 650B 140mm rear and 150mm front.

    *more me than anything there. Freeride Madeira folks were AWESOME.

    pembo6
    Free Member

    my experience of MX vs 29er (Stumpy Evo 150rear / 160 front):

    Full 29: Faster. Smoother. Slightly better grip. I’m 174cm and tend to arse buzz a lot on the full 29!

    Mullet: WAY more confident in rowdy, steep or techy stuff. Corners a little better. Rear wheel does get hung up a little more on slow techy sections (climbs or flat). I’ve never noticed it hanging up when decending.

    Personally I’ll take the confidence any day. I feel I ride better and crash less when confident.

    joebristol
    Full Member

    I’ve only had a quick go on an MX wheeled bike on a short tech section – so I’m not really qualified to comment on that option too much.

    175cm / 5’9 and have longer legs vs a shorter body. On a full 29er Transition Sentinel carbon running a 210 dropper post. I very occasionally buzz the back wheel but it’s so rare it doesn’t really bother me. Compared to other bikes this is by far my favourite (all the rest have been 650b and I thought I’d never go 29er). I find it so confidence inspiring and it’s amazing what you can blast through and survive in one piece.

    I like the look of the Atherton bikes but the alloy one is super heavy and the carbon one has a kink in the seat tube that will limit how long a dropper you can run. For me having a full 210mm drop gives so much confidence as you can get low in the centre of the bike on steep tech. Rather than retreating backwards and losing front wheel grip you can get low in the middle of the bike ensuring you keep the front wheel gripping but without feeling like you’re going over the bars. Nice slack headangle also helps with that.

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    Onzadog
    Free Member

    Had a similar dilemma recently but after test riding a few, found there’s more than enough variables for the size of the rear wheel to not matter much at all

    I ended up with an Airdrop Edit MX which replaced my Ibis Mojo HD3, both of which are used for day rides around the Peak

    If I had to sum up the Airdrop in one word, it would be “silly”. Let go of the brakes and it very quickly disappears into the distance.

    Good friend I ride with who is a similar height and ability level has an Atherton 130 and loves it, but has mentioned buzzing his butt a couple of times. Not something I’ve ever done in the Edit.

    Definitely add the Airdrop to your list if bikes to test ride.

    sharkattack
    Full Member

    I haven’t ridden a mullet yet but I’m going to look at an Edit MX tomorrow.

    I’m 6’2″ so for me a 29er works everywhere. It’s fast, comfortable and you can monster truck rough stuff.

    I do like tight, twisty trails and steep stuff. I find the rear wheel hits me in the arse at just the wrong moment like tipping into a big chute. I also find it a bit cumbersome when you’re trying to change direction quickly in tight stuff.

    When I’ve got both I’ll let you know more!

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    5lab
    Full Member

    Having ridden a bike that’s switchable, there’s almost no difference solely due to 2cm more rear wheel and if someone set it up one way or the other I’d not be able to tell. I think a lot of the perceived difference is because someone knows “this is meant to be x” placebo effect.

    If you’ve got enough butt clearance for a 29 rear (smaller riders may not), get whatever you like

    1
    Tracey
    Full Member

    I have a 29 Enduro and the latest Turbo Levo which is MX as do others in the family. Cant say I’ve noticed the difference once out on the trails. I’m of the opinion that for most riders its just the industry hype to get us to buy something.

    1
    Scienceofficer
    Free Member

    My MX is on an ebike, where I’ve noticed its more ready to turn in and manoeuvre in the tight awkward stuff than the previous full 29 eeb. Its also easier to balance/stabilise. I suspect I’ve not noticed any down side in roll over composure at speed because of the motor and weight.

    My experience of this has made me more ambivalent about rear wheel size than I was.

    My analogue FS does feel a little ‘big in the back’ and require a little more management by comparison, but we are talking about nuance of ride characteristics here, not some deal-breaking binary factor on which to make decisions.

    That said, unlike say, south Wales valleys or FOD off-piste, the majority of the tech in the lakes is of the open variety and I’d take the dual 29 if that was my home ground, because in that kind of terrain the MX isn’t really going to offer you much that you can use, but the extra roll over and stability at speed of the dual 29 is likely too.

    3
    sharkattack
    Full Member

     I’m of the opinion that for most riders its just the industry hype to get us to buy something.

    Or you’re not riding it in a way that would help you notice the difference.

    prettygreenparrot
    Full Member

    Thanks.

    Seems like I’ll just have to try some and then make up my mind :)

    1
    kimbers
    Full Member

    theres a good comparison here

    1
    chestrockwell
    Full Member

    Good thread and had wondered the same. Seems to be loads of mx available to buy, as if it’s a good idea but very few out on the trails?

    1
    Tracey
    Full Member

    Another comparison from Emily

    1
    seriousrikk
    Full Member

    So while I’m not fully qualified to answer, because my bike was not designed around a mullet, I do have thoughts.

    I stuck a 27.5 rear wheel in my Vitus Escarpe (150f/140r) trail bike. I set the flip chip thing to the high position which raised the BB by just under 1cm. Then put a 27.5 rear in which dropped the bb by just over 1cm.

    As it stands the only drawback I have found is the slightly lower bottom bracket – but that isn’t an issue on bikes designed for it.

    On an XC type ride it just feels identical. The gearing was a bit different but that can be fixed with a bigger chainring otherwise I feel little or no change. On the build trails I ride it also feels pretty much the same too.

    Where it feels nicer is in the twisty nadgery stuff I ride in the woods. It may be placebo, it may not, but it just felt like it changes direction a bit quicker. I also find having a bit more room at the back has made some of the tighter twisty stuff a bit more fun. Finally, and the main reason I did it, it is much easier to chuck it now. Popping the front wheel is easier and it moves differently in the air.

    My rides are more fun now. Placebo or not, I find the bike now just encourages a bit more silliness.

    What it didn’t do was stop me eyeing up the Airdrop Edit MX. In fact it probably took me the other way.

    2
    sharkattack
    Full Member

    Where it feels nicer is in the twisty nadgery stuff I ride in the woods. It may be placebo, it may not, but it just felt like it changes direction a bit quicker. I also find having a bit more room at the back has made some of the tighter twisty stuff a bit more fun. Finally, and the main reason I did it, it is much easier to chuck it now. Popping the front wheel is easier and it moves differently in the air.

    That’s exactly why I want one. I don’t need it to be faster. I need it to flop side to side easier when I’m stuck in some steep switchbacks and not hit me in the chuff on big drops. I really wish I’d had a mullet in Malaga in January.

    What it didn’t do was stop me eyeing up the Airdrop Edit MX.

    Guess which frame I’m going to look at tomorrow morning.

    Scienceofficer
    Free Member

    I don’t think Emily’s test track is anywhere near tight enough, nor is it especially rough enough, the really accentuate the differences tbh.

    radbikebro
    Full Member

    I did similar to Seriousrikk, swapped out the 29er rear wheel on my Mondraker Crafty for a 27.5 and used an offset bushing to raise the BB – no flip chips on that bike. I’ll caveat this here by saying I’m a short arse – long torso, tiny legs standing at a massive 168cm. 29ers for me are great on XC stuff, but when it gets steep and rowdy I always have interference with the back wheel.

    Before going MX I didn’t really like the Crafty, it felt slow and slugging and living in South Wales, I was struggling on the steep corners and trails where my 27.5 trail bike absolutely flies.

    It made a world of difference as soon as I went MX, I could get around the bike more, fling it through corners faster and generally not get caught or buzzed by the tyre. However, it’s definitely slower in a straight line than it is as a full 29er.

    So, in summary, it depends on you and the trails you ride.

    desperatebicycle
    Free Member

    I don’t think Emily’s test track is anywhere near tight enough, nor is it especially rough enough, the really accentuate the differences tbh

    Watched the Les Gets DH on the weekend and the full 29er was quite noticeable, most of them were on MX. But they are DHers! The op, doesn’t describe himself as such (“what difference does MX vs 29er all round make in real life for regular/lame riders?”), so what difference would it really make for him. Is there a downside to him going MX? Back tyres will be cheaper ? ( <– that wasn’t a question, it was a smiley)

    jedi
    Full Member

    Mulleted my firebird 2 yrs ago and thought the shuttle lt would ride tje same. Hated it in mullet ?

    Scienceofficer
    Free Member

    so what difference would it really make for him.

    Valid point, if the OP is never going to the ends of the bell curve, it won’t matter!

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    munkyboy
    Free Member

    Have both. Swap between them a lot. It is quite noticeable, prefer MX for fun/janky stuff, 29 for all out speed and insulation from what’s happening. If I had to pick it would be MX but I am that annoying 5 10ish height that sits in the middle. Horses for courses as they say.

    1
    Northwind
    Full Member

    I think it’s tricky to compare tbh, some bikes are clearly still designed as one but sold as both, even with fliplinks you’re still realistically deisgning a 29er that can be 650b or vice versa. So how can you fairly compare?

    That aside I reckon it’s close enough to be a matter of taste. Literally the only time I’ve ever felt restrained or held back by the 29er rear wheel was doing the mega, where it’s a definite disadvantage for cowardly glacier wheel-sitting, 650b would be considerably better. Otherwise I think I overlal prefer full 29. But then I like the thing where extra stability and composure takes away a little bit of agility but lets you ride it harder, because you feel more comfortable and in charge in the first place. I think that’s less a thing, the better you get!

    Meanwhile on some really unsettling terrain, blown out holes, hollowed out roots in steeps, I think 29er is really clearly better and tbf that sort of stuff is where I’ll take the best performance, whereas other’n snow I’ve only really felt much advantage from 650b rear on pretty simple but fast stuff, where tbf it’s not that valuable. But again this is a rider taste and ability thing.

    1

    Mulleted my 650b Kenevo with a 29 front end – totally transformed the bike

    My only other experience of 29″ wheels is my full 29 Big Al. It’s super confidence inspiring and I’ve not buzzed my arse on any steeps yet.

    I’m not sure I would really know what size rear wheel I’d be running in a blind test, but I do know I doubt I’ll ever run anything other than 29 up front on any future bike

    chiefgrooveguru
    Full Member

    I haven’t ridden a mullet but being prone to reading (and seemingly remembering) far too much about this, almost everyone says the same – full 29” is better at fast or rough, mullet is better at tight and twisty, and also better at steep if your legs are shorter.

    oikeith
    Full Member

    I’ve a Spesh Enduro and have gotten curious enough to pick up the needed mullet link and thought getting a cheap 650b rear wheel would be easy…it is not…seems like everyone is doing the same and price of second hand wheels isnt far off a new wheel!

    Hopefully pick one up soon and can report back once tried.

    stanley
    Full Member

    I’m not convinced that the perceived benefit of a MX set-up is anything other than placebo (for us non-professional riders). I’ve spoken to a few “fans” of the MX set-up, riders that I know are experienced and skilled, yet they all give different reasons why the MX set-up is better. Most only give one firm reason and none seem to agree.

    Feels like we’ve been here before: Specialized Demo, Carver 96, Trek 69er, etc… Yes, I know everything else has moved on by  long way, and it’s ace that there is so much choice of great bikes these days :-)

    1
    sharkattack
    Full Member

    Well, I’m committed to my first mullet now. This time next week I’ll be in Morzine with 2 bikes so I’ll report back and let you know if it’s a placebo or not.

    BadlyWiredDog
    Full Member

    I mulleted – if that’s the word – a 2017 Levo, which was originally as ‘six-fattie’, ie 650b 3″ plus tyres. When I first got the bike it was in full 29er mode and felt a little giraffe like, I fitted 650b+ wheels and tyres again and it was great over Peak rubble, but felt slightly sluggish, despite being a full-fat e-mtb.

    Then I went mullet with a 29×6″ on the front and a 650b 2.6 at the back. Bike feels less tank like than it did with plus tyres and a bit more nimble and ‘quicker’ than it did as a full 29er and slightly less of a giraffe. That said, the original b+ format means that the geometry sort of works with all these options.

    I think it’s going to depend on the bike’s angles, but presumably anything modern and designed to work as a mullet will be optimised to work that way or have enough adjustment to cope with different wheel configurations.

    What I’m after is the bike that can compensate for lack of practice, age, and general lack of skill.

    I don’t think mullet or not is going to have any massive impact on that. I seem to have a full 29er, a b+ hardtail, the aforementioned mulleted – or sometimes not – Levo and while they all feel different in character, none of them has any meaningful impact on my skill/comfort/fear levels. Personally I’d test ride some bikes in whatever configurations you fancy and buy the one you enjoy riding most.

    j.bro
    Free Member

    I’ve just ordered a 27.5 wheel to be built up so a can run my 29er Santa Cruz Chamelon in MX. The way this thread is going it sounds like I’ve wasted £400.

    I wanted to try MX for the poppy, playfulness people mention with 27.5 or MX. Probably a skill issue too, but I don’t find it easy to bunny hop etc on 29. 5’8” 174cm on a medium. Small Chameleon is for somewhere 165-168cm

    jfab
    Full Member

    @j.bro even if it’s partially psychological that doesn’t mean it’s any less worthwhile!

    I’ve just built up a full 27.5″ Hardtail and I was expecting to not really notice that much difference going back from 29ers on everything else but it’s an absolute riot and changes direction so quickly. Might not be purely the wheel size vs me just expecting it to be more agile but it’s great and I find it far easier to chuck around at the same height as you compared to similar bikes but full 29er.

    seriousrikk
    Full Member

    @j.bro you may be suprised.

    The chameleon has different dropouts for MX doesn’t it? If so, and assuming you have them, the combination of smaller wheel and shorter rear end will likely be quite noticeable.

    My theory is bikes that have been designed properly to take advantage of mulleting will always be better as you get the benefits from the shorter chainstays as well as the smaller wheel.

    chakaping
    Full Member

    I think the first response sums it up quite well.

    I’ve ridden the same and similar bikes (long travel and mid-travel) in mullet vs 29 and would agree 29in is generally quicker, rolls and climbs faster.

    Mullet often more fun, corners intuitively, makes steeps easier.

    My big bike can do both with a flip chip and that’s a feature I wouldn’t be without for a long-travel bike now.

    Maybe you could look at bikes which have that function too?

    j.bro
    Free Member

    @jfab No I suppose not. Even the extra clearance might be useful on the rear. I’ve put off doing it for a few months, after reading various threads over forums. There seems to be more in the way of not much difference. But maybe these responses are for taller people where they can’t feel much difference anyway. All the YouTube videos are “29 vs MX… Which is Faster” I’m not bothered about speed just which is more fun.


    @seriousrikk
    Yeah I have both sets of dropouts, and running around the mid chain stay length, about 430 at the moment. So I can always shorten it to 425 too which is the smallest. I probably would’ve gone MX straight away, but I ordered a pair of 29 wheels for my previous Whyte. Then decided to swap the frame soon after.

    Northwind
    Full Member

    <disgraceful stealth ad> if anyone wants to experiment I have a nice Mavic carbon wheel and a couple of tyres, can throw in a boostifier kit. It’ll be cheap, because it’s unboost and uncool. I got it for the same reason, to experiment with boost but none of my current bikes are very suitable so it’s just sat in the shed.

    lardman
    Free Member

    For someone, like myself, that has a long body but short legs, a Mullet set-up works much better. Purely for ass/wheel contact moments. Sure, thats only on steep or jumpy type terrain, but different is very clear to me.

    I also ‘think’ the bike moves around better in the twisty, rooty trails I normally ride. Ive tried both 27/29 and 29/29 in the same bike and can easily feel a difference.

    Wouldnt be without a front wheel in 29er now as the grip, cornering and braking are all superieor.

    In fact, ive recently bought a ‘unfashionable’ 27.5 frame and built it with a 29er fork. The extra head angle and BB height were barely noticable (and fely better IMO), but it was much cheaper than buying a 29er and dropping a rear wheel size.

    bigfoot
    Free Member

    I did similar to Seriousrikk, swapped out the 29er rear wheel on my Mondraker Crafty for a 27.5 and used an offset bushing to raise the BB – no flip chips on that bike. I’ll caveat this here by saying I’m a short arse – long torso, tiny legs standing at a massive 168cm. 29ers for me are great on XC stuff, but when it gets steep and rowdy I always have interference with the back wheel.

    Before going MX I didn’t really like the Crafty, it felt slow and slugging and living in South Wales, I was struggling on the steep corners and trails where my 27.5 trail bike absolutely flies.

    i got a Crafty about 4 months ago and straight away it amazed me at how lively and flickable it wasd through the tight steep twisty stuff but unlike you i’m just over 6 foot with fairly long legs.

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