Friday, January 4, 2013

The Mullet

The Squirrel Pelt. The Tennessee Top Hat. Hockey Hair. Call it what you will, no-one can possibly forget the mullet. The mission statement was simple but effective: Business in the front; party in the back.  It was the classic split-personality, Janus-faced (with emphasis on the “anus”) hairstyle of the 70s and 80s, adopted by rednecks, rock stars, and athletes alike. Think Macgyver or Paul McCartney (post-Beatles-breakup) or Jaromir Jagr. It may have fallen out of fashion of late and even been banned in the Islamic Republic of Iran, considered a dangerous and “decadent” Western hairstyle, but we all know the Camaro Cut will never completely die. It’s just too transgressive, too potent, too damn awesome.

I mention the mullet because the term has reared its wonderfully ugly head of hair in the context of the MB 2000 project my son Gil and I are working on this winter. In our effort to build an inexpensive mountain bike for twelve-year-old Gil, we decided to source our frame from the pile of discards at the Edmonton Bicycle Commuters, thus saving some coin that we can spend on other parts (e.g. sweet wheels). After poking around in the cycling equivalent of a charnel house for an hour, we found an old but solid BRC frame (which I think stands for Boyes and Rosser, a one-time Vancouver importer of Taiwanese bikes) that was just the right size for young Gil. At only $35, it was a deal.

The skeleton of the MB 2000
The only catch was that this BRC frame is so old that it’s not disc-brake compatible. Discs had been high on Gil’s wish list at the outset of our project, mainly, I think, because they were something new to him, something he associated with “nice bikes.” Yet our budget was tight and I worried that the disc brakes would eat up too big a chunk of our budget. But then Val, our special consultant on the MB2000 Project, persuaded Gil that discs weren’t a necessity after all, and that good old rim brakes would work just fine on the BRC frame. After some mulling over, Gil eventually saw the wisdom of forsaking the disc brake dream. Heck, with the coin he saved on brakes, he might just be able to get that gold chain he’s been dreaming of.

When we got the frame home, however, Val pointed out that we had a problem. Although we’d have to use rim brakes on the back end, the fancy forks we planned to use (courtesy of Val) would only work with disc brakes. What to do? Would we really have to choose between frame or forks? Not necessarily. For Val had a Eureka moment: Why not create a mullet bike? Disc-brake business on the front end; badass rim-brakes on the back. Call it the Macgyver of mountain bikes.

Gil going to town on the old paint job.
So that’s the current plan. At the outset, I wouldn’t have guessed that the MB in our project name might come to stand for Mullet Bike. But the more I think of it, the more I like the asymmetrical retro weirdness of the mullet-bike concept. Like the hairstyle that inspired it, the mullet bike suggests a certain sense of confidence, even cockiness. I think Gil is starting to like the idea of riding a unique machine. But I’ve told him that I wouldn’t recommend riding it across Iran.

And who knows, the mullet-aspect may even lend a certain character to the machine too. Perhaps it will naturally gravitate to trailer parks and Z-28’s. We haven’t yet decided on a new color for the frame, but I’m guessing the neck of the handlebar stem will exude a red sheen all its own.


  1. I would like to recommend that part of the new paint job include a lightning bold along the top tube to help bring it inline with some of the early 90's mullets.

    Nice choice going with an older frame and spending the bulk of the budget on nicer components. This way Gil can do a simple frame swap some day when his bank account is ready. All that would be needed is a new set of rear brakes.

  2. I like the bolt idea! I will pass it along to Gil. We will be painting soon.

    We're on the same page about the components too, BWJ. This old frame should work fine for a couple years.

    Thanks for dropping by.

  3. It's nice to know the mullet is still being talked about. With the NHL strike over, I'm looking forward to seeing some hockey hair on the screen. Gil's younger brother is sporting some long locks these days. Perhaps I'll encourage to trim 'er up and sport the mullet.


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