The Mullet hairstyle: business at the back, party in the front.

And the inspiration for a new, mixed wheel sized model from innovative, Rotorua-based bike designers, Zerode.

The Taniwha Mulét features the same 27.5" wheel size at the rear as their other offerings, but with a 29" wheel at the front – and still with the 160 or 140mm suspension travel options and Pinion internal gearbox.

"The Mulét combines all the poppy playfulness of the 27.5 wheel and shorter chainstays at the rear with the benefits of a larger wheel where they count the most including an ultra-stable front end," says Rob Metz, Zerode Bikes founder, designer and engineer.


"29ers roll over obstacles more easily and raise the bike's front end for more control on the steepest descents. Some riders don't want to compromise the playfulness of shorter chainstays and we want to provide a Taniwha for every type of rider."

By mixing wheel sizes and retaining the existing frame dimensions, the Zerode test team discovered a Taniwha that bombs big mountain descents and rock gardens with the confidence of a 29er while retaining a snappy rear end that makes the Mulét a breeze to manual.

"Set up as a 140mm travel bike, it retains the same geometry as the 27.5-only enduro model and it's one hell of a rowdy party machine out in the trail," Rob continues with a grin.

"Riders looking for a more planted and stable ride feel can opt for the 160mm travel version, which raises the bottom bracket and further slackens the head angle for an even more confidence-inspiring ride ideal for the roughest courses."

He sees distinct advantages in terms of traction and overall ride feel.

"I've been riding the mixed wheel setup on my personal bike for three years," he says. "For me, it's about biasing grip towards the front end to ensure oversteer when pushing the limits of grip."

My own Zerode is an original 27.5 wheel, 160mm travel Taniwha, now over two years old, still a keeper, and my favourite bike of all time. A test ride on a Mulét may change my mind.

Both bikes share the Pinion internal gearboxes that make Zerodes such brilliant machines.


Rob: "The Pinion offers superior durability, enhanced suspension performance and opens up new lines not available lines without worrying about snagging the rear derailleur on an errant rock or other debris."

My riding style and intermediate abilities don't include much in the way of new lines. However, the weight distribution of the gearbox in the heart of my Taniwha, between the pedals and cranks, and the lack of sprung weight at the rear axle, makes it more flickable and nimble than other bikes I've experienced in its class - wheel size, carbon frame and travel, but with rear derailleurs - and even at my speed.

The Taniwha is a fun bike to ride on any grade of trail and inspires a tonne of confidence. The numbers tell the tale – my Strava times on a variety of favourite loops are definitely quicker without really trying.

Learn more about the Zerode range, all on sale now: