At Interbike this year, Foes Racing had one of the most unique bikes on the show floor. Actually, they had two. The Foes Mixer is a “mixed wheel size” bike that is available in two flavors. The Mixer Enduro has 6.5-7″ of travel and the Mixer Trail has 5.5-6″ of travel and the bikes features a 29″ wheel in the front and a 27.5″ wheel in the back.
We had a chance to chat with Brent Foes in person and here is what he said.
Mtbr: What is the idea of the big in front and small in back mixed wheel bike?
Brent Foes: The idea behind it is that with the bigger wheel in the front, your axle is higher up than in the rear. So your approach on everything allows the front to be picked up a lot easier. Plus when you are going into a corner and leaning, you can get over the front end of the bike easier. With the smaller wheel in the back, it wants to follow the front a lot easier since the two wheels of a bicycle naturally swing in two different arcs. So we took this idea and decided where we wanted to be at with the bottom bracket height and the head angle, and then built the bike around these two wheel sizes.
Mtbr: Where did they idea for this come from?
Brent Foes: One of my long time dealers from Colorado Springs actually approached me about the idea first. Now, the Mixer is what he sells almost exclusively and the shop is sponsoring a kid who is racing this bike and has done really well in the Colorado State Championships. The shop is Timberline Cycles and the owner is Mike Vidovich.
At this point in my conversation with Brent, Timberline Cycles owner Mike V. actually showed up and was able to tell me a bit more about how the idea became a project, and the project became a reality.
Mtbr: Mike, obviously this isn’t the first time a mixed wheel design has been tried. What makes this different from what others have tried (and failed) in the past?
Mike V.: Other brands have tried big/small wheel combinations with 26/24 and it failed because the wheels were too small and the handling suffered. A few years after that, with the advent of the 29″ wheel, another big brand tried the 26″/29″ combination but it was too hard to synchronize. The contact patches were so different that a lot of riders felt that difference and didn’t like it. Now, with the popularity of 650b (27.5″), we have a tire combination that is closer in size to each other, is bigger not smaller and it works.
Mtbr: How did you decide to work with Foes on this project?
Mike V.: I sell and own many brands of bikes with many different suspension designs. Brent has evolved his iteration of the simple, single pivot design to the point where it is rock solid with no twisting, no brake jack and because we knew it was U.S. welded, we knew Foes could bring it to the table today.
Long story short, we built it, manipulated it, raced it and tested it on the retail floor and the performance advantages are amazing. Some people claim that 29ers have to be symmetrical to carry 29er speed, that’s not true. The Foes Mixer carries 29er speed, even with the 27.5″ in the rear. What we accomplished with the Mixer is that we put the handling back into a 29er. This bike handles like a 650B (27.5″) with the tighter, shorter rear end.
One of my sponsored riders won the Pro Junior DH class for his age group racing on the Foes Mixer. His race bike comes in at 29.5 lbs. with a single crown fork and he crushed it. He’s running 66.5 degree head angle on his bike he’s just crushing it. He got 4th in the state against everyone which is amazing because the local DH scene in Colorado is hyper competitive just like California.
Check out Timberline Cycle’s highlight video below of the Foes Mixer in action.
Mtbr: Anything else you’d like the mountain biking world to know about the Mixer?
Mike V.: Yes, for sure. Our conversation wouldn’t be complete without a few words about the Mixer’s geometry. We call it CAP geometry which stands for Constant Attack Position. 29er hubs from the ground up are 15″. A 650B is 14″ and a 26″ wheel is 13″. By having the front hub higher than the rear hub and nominal to the bottom bracket placement, you can charge rock gardens with reckless abandon. Our racers are carrying crazy speed through rock gardens even on their first run. The front hub is always going to go up, not auger in. You’re driving forward under the hub. This is mixed wheel done right.
The Foes Mixer Enduro and Mixer Trail are available with complete bike builds starting at $4000.00 and they go up from there. With a decent parts spec, the Mixer can be built up with a bike weight of 28.5 lbs with no pedals and no dropper.
We applaud Mike and Brent for taking a new idea and bringing it to light. Will the mixed wheel be the next big thing in mountain biking? Not likely. But for certain riders and racers out there, there are some distinct benefits and characteristics that have some appeal. Both Brent and Mike have a good, real-world grasp of this bike’s popularity and for those that so choose, they have models available now.
To learn more about mixed wheel bikes, visit https://www.timberlinecycles.com/mixed-wheel-bikes.html.
The Foes Racing website has not yet been updated with these new bikes, but to learn more about Foes other models, visit www.foesracing.com.
This article is part of Mtbr’s coverage of the 2015 Interbike trade show in Las Vegas. For more from Interbike CLICK HERE.