Evol mullet design enduro mountain bike

Evol mullet blends agility, speed and control on and off the ground

By Kenny Stocker>

The redesigned Sonder Evol has taken a significant leap forward by adopting a mullet design featuring a 29-inch front wheel and a 27.5-inch rear wheel, catering specifically to the demands of modern enduro riding. This innovative configuration offers a blend of agility, speed, and enhanced control, positioning the Evol as a standout choice for riders seeking a high-performance mountain bike.

What's a mullet bike?

In short a mullet is where you have a 29 inch front wheel and a 27.5 rear wheel. This gives the bike the benefits of both wheel sizes. You get the control, grip and stability from the 29inch front wheel. But you also get the extra space of the 27.5 inch rear wheel which allows you to move your weight around the bike better giving you more confidence on steep terrain.

The mullet design's inception was driven by a need for improved manoeuvrability and comfort on steep, technical trails. The project was led by Sonder designer Neil who summed up his issue - riding a lot of steep technical tracks where you're always hanging off the back of the bike, being a medium-sized rider, I was finding that pretty much every run down I would buzz my bum on the rear tyre of the old 29er Evol.

The smaller 27.5-inch rear wheel on the new Evol addresses these issues by reducing instances of tyre buzz and significantly enhancing the bike's agility. This change not only benefits shorter riders by providing a more accommodating fit, and saving them cash on cycling shorts, but also elevates the bike's performance across varied terrains.

It just felt crazy, like the speed you could take into corners, carry through corners, and just the speed of the direction change and how much you could lean on it. It's a big step forward.

Advantages of the mullet setup include superior traction, stability, and efficiency in overcoming obstacles thanks to the larger front wheel. The smaller rear wheel contributes to the bike's nimbleness, facilitating quicker directional changes and tighter cornering. Additionally, this configuration supports a lighter overall bike weight, promoting more effortless acceleration and transport. The mullet design thus offers a versatile solution, blending the best characteristics of both wheel sizes to meet the specific needs of enduro riders.

Sonder Evol enduro bike

How have mullet bikes come about?

Enduro and downhill riders have been mixing and matching their own set ups for years. More experienced riders may be thinking didn't we already have this with 69ers back in the day, or even 26/24 and does this mean Penny Farthings are coming back? Well, no, these early adaptations often resulted in compromised balance and performance.

The modern mullet bike has emerged from evolving bike technology and rider experimentation. The industry has now settled on 29er as the wheel size of choice for mountain bikes, and there's a huge benefit in a 29er front and 27.5 rear for the more aggressive rider. It is a configuration that strikes a balance between overcoming obstacles and maintaining agility and speed on the trail.

29er or mullet?

Here, we have focussed on just one part of the Evols redesign, the mullet wheelset, a configuration that has allowed us to turbocharge its playfulness. But we couldn't simply swap out the rear wheel of a large enduro bike for a smaller one without upsetting its handling. We have had to optimise the frame, geometry and suspension to maintain balanced handling, peddling position, and overall bike feel to do this.

If you are a rider who appreciates the potential of 29” wheels for their speed, grip and confidence-inspiring geometry, and the size of 27.5" for their agility, quick acceleration, and ease of manoeuvring, then the Evol mullet could be the dream machine you have been waiting for.

  • If you're a rider who enjoys a mix of steep technical trails, values agility, and often faces varied terrain, a Mullet bike could be the right choice. Its design aims to offer the best of both worlds regarding stability and manoeuvrability.
  • For those prioritising consistent handling, stability over rough terrain, and simplicity in bike design, a full 29” bike may be more suitable. This option is great for riders who tackle long distances, prefer high-speed stability, and enjoy a straightforward riding experience.

Evol enduro bike

What's special about the Sonder Evol

We've designed the frame specfically around a mixed sized wheelset to give a great ride, agility and the ability to carry speed. You get the control, grip and stability from the 29 inch front wheel. But you also get the extra space of the 27.5 inch rear wheel, which allows you to move your weight around the bike better giving you more confidence on steep terrain. The mixed wheel size and increased travel makes the bike a lot more comfortable riding harsh downhill terrain. In short, it's more playful and a lot more fun to ride. The UDH compactivity is a great addition as it gives you piece of mind that your Evol is future proof, you won't need to buy a new frame when the latest and great drive chain components come out.

Sonder Evol

160mm aggressive trail bike
  • SRAM SX Eagle 12-speed groupset
  • Rockshox 35 Gold R fork
  • Rockshox Deluxe Select+ shock
  • Sonder Nova UK Made | 27.5" Rear | 29" Front wheelset

£2,499.00 or from £43 /month
Buy Now. Deliveries from 17 June.
160mm aggressive trail bike
  • Shimano Deore M6100 12-speed groupset
  • Rockshox 35 Gold R fork
  • Rockshox Deluxe Select+ shock
  • Sonder Nova UK Made | 27.5" Rear | 29" Front wheelset

£2,549.00 or from £44 /month
Buy Now. Deliveries from 17 June.
160mm aggressive trail bike
  • SRAM NX Eagle 12-speed groupset
  • Rockshox 35 Gold R fork
  • Rockshox Deluxe Select+ shock
  • Sonder Nova UK Made | 27.5" Rear | 29" Front wheelset

£2,749.00 or from £47 /month
Buy Now. Deliveries from 17 June.
160mm aggressive trail bike
  • Shimano SLX M7100 12-speed groupset
  • Rockshox 35 Gold R fork
  • Rockshox Deluxe Select+ shock
  • Sonder Nova UK Made | 27.5" Rear | 29" Front wheelset

£2,749.00 or from £47 /month
Buy Now. Deliveries from 17 June.
160mm aggressive trail bike
  • Shimano XT M8100 12-speed groupset
  • Rockshox Lyrik Select fork
  • Rockshox Deluxe Select+ shock
  • Sonder Alpha UK Made | 27.5" Rear | 29" Front wheelset

£3,249.00 or from £56 /month
Buy Now. Deliveries from 17 June.
160mm aggressive trail bike
  • SRAM GX Eagle 12-speed groupset
  • Rockshox Lyrik Select fork
  • Rockshox Deluxe Select+ shock
  • Sonder Alpha UK Made | 27.5" Rear | 29" Front wheelset

£3,399.00 or from £59 /month
Buy Now. Deliveries from 17 June.
160mm aggressive trail bike
  • SRAM GX Eagle Transmission 12 Speed wireless groupset
  • Rockshox Lyrik Select fork
  • Rockshox Deluxe Select+ shock
  • Sonder Alpha UK Made | 27.5" Rear | 29" Front wheelset

£3,749.00 or from £65 /month
Buy Now. Deliveries from 17 June.
160mm aggressive trail bike
  • SRAM XO Eagle Transmission 12 Speed wireless groupset
  • Rockshox Lyrik Ultimate fork
  • Rockshox Super Deluxe Ultimate shock
  • Sonder Alpha UK Made | 27.5" Rear | 29" Front wheelset

£4,899.00 or from £84 /month
Buy Now. Deliveries from 6 May.
160mm aggressive mullet trail bike frameset
£1,849.00 or from £32 /month
Buy Now. Deliveries from 17 June.

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