Meet The Riders & Their Rides: Neko Mulally
Neko (center) clinched USA Cycling’s 2018 downhill national championship, with Charlie Harrison (left) scoring second and Luca Shaw (right) taking third. Photo: @knowmaddevelopment
You probably remember when Aaron Gwin broke his chain at the start of a World Cup downhill race and still won. It may have been the most amazing World Cup win ever.
Do you remember when Neko Mulally snapped his chain and raced all the way down the course that way, and yet he still took fourth in the Elite Men’s downhill at the World Championships in 2014? That happened the year before Gwin scored his chain-less win, and Neko’s race was nearly as impressive as Gwin’s. That may be one of the reasons the two riders are team-mates today.
Neko at speed, Vallnord, Andorra. Photo: Isac Paddock
Do you remember when Neko won the Junior Men’s downhill title in the U.S. in 2011 and went faster than all the pros? Logan Binggeli won the Pro Men’s title, but Neko’s run was faster.
The UCI decided the next year that Neko deserved America’s Elite Men’s downhill title for 2011, so they had Neko wear a stars-and-stripes sleeve on his jersey in 2012 to show that he was the top Elite Men’s downhill rider in America. Whether we remember those things or not, it’s all history now. This summer Neko won the Pro Men’s downhill title at the USA Cycling National Championships in Snowshoe, West Virginia. It took him seven years to earn the stars-and-stripes jersey again, but now he has it until the summer of 2019.
Name: Neko Mulally
Nickname: Gnarly Mulally
Birthdate: February 19, 1993
Birthplace: Reading, Pennsylvania
Height: 6 feet
Weight: 185 pounds
Shoe size: 10.5
Helmet size: M
Waist: 32 inches
Marital status: Single
Current home: Pisgah Forest, North Carolina
Cars: 2001 Ford E350 7.3L Powerstroke, 1992 Ford Explorer
Started racing: 2005
Turned pro: 2009
Racing specialty: Downhill Favorite course (North America): Bromont
Favorite course (Europe): Val di Sole
Favorite food: Chicken/rice
Goals: World Cup podium
Heroes: Dale Earnhardt, Sam Hill
Favorite recording artist: Lynyrd Skynyrd
Favorite movie: Into the Wild
Favorite hobbies: Motocross
Jobs held (other than racer): Windrock Bike Park operator
Always takes on a trip: Foam roller
What you would be if you were not a racer: Diesel mechanic
Speed line, Val di Sole, 2018. Photo: Isac Paddock
INSIDE THE PROS’ BIKES
Neko Mulally’s YT Tues downhill bike
Bike weight: 35.15 pounds
Estimated value of bike: $5400
2. Fork: Fox Factory 40, Grip 2 damper, 27.5.
3. Tires: Onza Aquilla DH 2.4; 23-psi front, 29-psi rear.
4. Inner tubes or tubeless sys- tem: Flat Tire Defender foam inserts front and rear with Joe’s No Flats tubeless sealant.
5. Rims: E.13 LG1 Carbon.
6. Spokes: DT Swiss Competition 1.8-2.0.
7. Front hub: E.13 LG1 with Kogel ceramic bearings.
8. Rear hub: E.13 LG1 with Kogel ceramic bearings.
9. Brakes: TRP Quadiem G Spec, 203mm rotor.
10. Handlebars: Renthal Fatbar, aluminum, 800mm wide, 40mm rise, 7×9-degree sweep. “This bar has a really comfortable bend and is super compliant.”
11. Bottom bracket: Kogel ceramic.
12. Grips: ODI Elite.
13. Cranks: E.13 LG1 aluminum 170mm.
14. Chainring: E.13 LG1 direct- mount 34t.
Going big: Neko boosts some big air at the 2018 Leogang World Cup. Photo: Isac Paddock
15. Pedals: HT X2 aluminum.
16. Chain: SRAM XX1. “Changed every race.”
17. Rear derailleur: SRAM X01DH.
18. Front derailleur: None.
19. Shifters: SRAM X01DH.
20. Brake levers: TRP Quadium G Spec.
21. Rear cassette: E.13 LG1 9-21.
22. Saddle: SDG I FLY.
23. Seatpost: SDG I-Beam carbon.
24. Cables and housings: TRP.
25. Headset: Works Components, 6mm offset headset.
26. Stem: Renthal Integra, 0mm x 50mm.
27. Special touches: Ti springs bolt kit all around.
28. Extras: E.13 chainguide, Lit Pro computer.
29. Head angle: 63 degrees.
30. Bottom bracket height: 34.5cm.
Dodging boulders at Val di Sole, 2018. Photo: Isac Paddock
THE MBA Q&A:
MBA: Where did you grow up? Neko: Reading, Pennsylvania.
MBA: What kind of work do your father and mother do?
Neko: Mom, nurse; Dad, HVAC.
MBA: When did you first start riding a bicycle?
Neko: Age 5.
MBA: When did you first start racing?
Neko: Age 7, BMX
MBA: How did you finish?
Neko: I won my first race!
MBA: How long did you do that, and what made you switch to mountain bikes?
Neko: I raced BMX for five years, then switched to mountain bikes at age 13.
MBA: What were your best competi- tion results on non-mountain bikes?
Neko: I won the Gold Cup in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 2003 at age 10.
MBA: When did you start competing on mountain bikes?
MBA: How did you do in your first event?
Neko: I finished mid-pack.
MBA: What have been your best national and international results?
Neko: I finished second at the World Championships as a junior in Mont- Sainte-Anne in 2010.
First in the national champs in 2011.
Fifteenth overall in the World Cup in 2013.
Twelfth overall in the World Cup in 2014.
Fourth in the world champs in 2014.
Third at the Cairns World Cup in 2014.
First at the U.S. Open in 2017.
First at the national champs in 2018.
MBA: What other sports do you like to do?
Neko: I ride motocross recreationally and use it as cross-training in the off-season. I have never competed but would love to after mountain biking!
MBA: Can you tell us something interesting or unusual about yourself or your family that is not widely known.
Neko: I built my own house in Pisgah Forest, North Carolina. It’s the perfect spot to train for a mountain biker!
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