on August 30, 2015
I bought the Mongoose Impasse because it fit my budget for a full suspension 29'er mountain bike that I could grow with. I felt the bike was a bit of a gamble, because detail specs and reviews are all over the place. From extremely good to don't buy this, it's garbage. I know from life long experience that some people expect way too much for what they are paying for.I also think the reviewer should specify a little background of what they want to use an item for and their expectations. I know, again from experience, that you can't get a $1000 dollar anything for $300. I also know that through research and patience, and SALES, you can get a $1000 something for $650. I am 63 years old, 6'2" tall, and weigh 220 lbs. I ride Rails to Trails conversions, city parks, greenbelt rides, gravel roads, and occasionally some light, through the woods trails with some downhills and small drop-offs. No extreme, bite your lip, 3o mph, downhill competition. I wanted to try a 29" bike and more importantly, one with disc brakes front and rear to replace my 26" bike that is some 8 years old (Mongoose XR75) with v-brakes. Cheapest full suspension bike you can buy from Wally is about $130 without disc brakes. With front disc brakes only, you get up to $180 to $220. That's about the top of the line at wally except sometimes in the spring of the year, you can find a full suspension bike with disc brakes front and rear for $280. Anyone expecting a $1000 bike for $300 is just not realistic. $500 bike, close, maybe. With some ($250+/-) upgrades, you can approach a $900-$1000 bike easily. One of the reasons I am upgrading to this bike over my existing 26" is that the tires needed to be replaced. The CHEAPEST I could find for tires and tubes was $70 delivered. The CHEAPEST. Sky is the limit. Choice is to spend $70+ for tires and tubes for an 8 year old bike, or buy a new bike with new technology. Enter the Mongoose Impasse.
About the packaging and delivery. The bike was rather poorly packed in the Mongoose factory box. No packing was in the box to protect delicate pieces like the rear derailleur, or the wheel hubs. The bike came partially assembled with the front wheel tie wrapped to the frame, as well as the handlebars strapped to the front forks. Just a little bubble wrap, foam around the frame in key places, and a few plastic protectors for the hubs that were broken and laying in the bottom of the box. As a result, there were some scratches and rubs on the bike from shipping. I have found no other way to get this bicycle except through mail order so you are at the mercy of how the shipping company handles it. Better packaging and protection by the manufacturer would increase the bottom line cost of the bicycle, but I dare say, it would avoid some returns of this bike because of poor packaging resulting in scratches, buffs, bent or lost parts etc. More cost for packaging would result in less returns, so the bike price could be the same. By the way, my bike was manufactured on April 2015 as found on the down-tube or seat-post at the bottom near the crank. You need this as well as the model number R2780 if you need to call for warranty work.
Next, the Owners Manual covers ALL Mongoose "department store" bikes, so be patient to find the section specific to the features on your model (aka Threadless stem vs classic Quill Stem adjustment)(V-brakes vs disc brakes). I would have liked a shorter owners manual with more info specific to this model, but again, this would increase cost and inventory problems with the manufacturer. This ALL-IN-ONE manual helps to keep cost down, so please don't complain!
After assembly (which is not really difficult assuming there are no damaged parts), be prepared to adjust the disk brakes. They should not drag, and are easy to adjust if you follow the manual. Just be sure to spin the wheels and ensure that the disc is centered in the caliper. I also had to spend a little time making adjustments to the rear derailleur to make it shift properly which was expected. If you are unsure about being able to do this sort of work, just take it to a local bike shop and they will set it up properly for you (for a fee +/- $50). That is one difference between buying your own (savings) versus buying from a bike shop that will set-up and check the bike before it is sold to you. Even after riding this or ANY bike, you either learn how to maintain and adjust it yourself, or take it back to the shop and spend some more money. True whether you buy a $200 bike or a $2000 or more bike.
The element front fork absorbs bumps, but has no hydraulic or pneumatic dampening, its basically a simple spring tube that is adequate for light off roading. It uses the new technology of threadless headset. Might replace this in the future with a RockShox XC 28 fork w/oil dampening ($109) just because I have never owned such an expense on any bike I have owned. Would like to know what that feels like. The rear shock is just a spring with pre-load only. It is easily adjusted to stiffen or loosen your ride. I have found NO direct replacement for this shock/spring. The closest thing I can find is a DMN Mountain Bike Air Rear Shock With Lockout 165mm ($85). It features air adjustable ride or stiffness, plus a lockout. The lockout permits you to make the bike essentially a hard tail which means you can ride UP a hill without the bounciness. I get off my old 26 and crank done the spring to get this done. Again, something I have never had, but would like to try. The problem with this upgrade is that the STOCK Shock is 150mm or 6" long. The DMN shock is 160mm or 6'5" long. This will change the geometry of the bike, maybe better, maybe worse, I'll let you know later if I upgrade this! All of the upgrades so far, ($26+$109+$85=Total $220) This added to the cost of the bike $280+$220=$500 bike cost. Close to a $900 bike value. The big thing is you can do it a little at a time, while riding, instead of dishing our $500 right now. You may never even want to upgrade this bike and ride it like it is till she drops. Again, I might upgrade the shock and fork in the future just because I have never had one. All in all, the suspension works well to smooth out ruts and pot holes in rural and country roads, as well as gravel/dirt roads, and wooded area trails. This is what I use it for and it works well for this sort of riding. Suspension is rather stiff at first, but gets smoother the longer you ride. The Mongoose Impasse feels like and looks like a decently sturdy bike for taking on some dirt/gravel roads, light trails, and commuting. I wouldn't take it on any hardcore downhill paths or do jumps with it, that's what a $1000+ bike is for, but it can go over roots/rocks and things very well as is.
The ZOOM disc brakes works surprisingly well. They are about one half to one third the cost of more premium brakes, but this is another reason the bike is only $280. I may upgrade these with Shimano BR-M416A or Avid BB7's when the pads wear out. Replace pads for about $15 or get all new brakes for $50 to $60. Again, approaching that $500 cost or better bicycle. The Shimano rear derailleur changes the gears quickly and once adjusted, is nice and quiet (no clicking). It is the Shamano Tourney TX (RD-TX 35). A nice entry level derailleur, made from aluminum castings and steel stampings. The Wheel hubs look like WheelMaster 'Quando' (sealed bearings). This bike is built in China so the aluminum hubs and wheels are, well, Chinese. The rims are a double wall rim, so they should take some pounding. Spokes are painted steel. The tires are NO-NAME brand. Inflate from 35 PSI, recommended 40 PSI, and a maximum of 65 PSI. 198 lbs MAX load. That's 396 pound person if you were sitting equally on both wheels/tires or 198 lbs MAX if you are on one tire. Well, let's see, I weigh 220 lbs. Hummmm......is that going to be a problem. Not so far. Wonder what the rims are rated for???
The Crank is a ProWheel with 175mm long Alloy arms, square taper BB (Bottom Bracket) and riveted steel chain rings, all painted black. With the square taper Bottom Bracket, its easy to upgrade or change the chain rings to other sizes. For my height, I actually need 180mm arms, not sure about the gear sizing yet, just sayin.
AS for the SIZE of this bike? Because of it's geometry nature and tires, I would say this is a MEDIUM frame. (see below)
The wheel base, front wheel axle to rear wheel axle is 42-3/8" (Old 26 is 41-3/8")
From ground to top of seat post quick release is 29-3/4" (Old 26 is 30-3/4")
From center of crank to top of seat post quick release is 17-1/2" (Old 26 is 19-3/4") [Note: This is usually the FRAME size].
From ground to lowest part of frame at seat post is 28-1/4" (Old 26 is 28-1/4")
From ground to hightest part frame at handlebar headset 35-3/4" (Old 26 is 32-3/4")
From back of handlebar headset to center of seat post is 20-7/8" (Old 26 is 20-3/4")
From Rear axle to the center of the pedal crank is 18-1/4" (Old 26 is 17-1/4")
From center of the pedals to the center of the crank is 6-3/4" (Old 26 is 6-3/4")
NOTE: It is roughly recommended that when you stand with the bike between your legs, you should have at least 2" clearance between your crotch and the bike frame. My inseam is 32" and when standing just in front of the seat comfortably the ground to top of tube height is 30". Perfect for me. My (Old 26 is 28-1/2"). The seatpost is too short for me, it's 9-7/8" long and I need at least 13-3/4" for peddling uphill. Going down hill, you will usually lower your seatpost by 2-4". So for going downhill, this seat height would be quite acceptable. However, I do go both uphill and downhill as well.
Now for the riding. It rides well. The 29'er tires make riding on rough surfaces easier. Riding through grassy fields, the woods trails, gravel roads, is easier than with my Old 26" wheel mountain bike. The seat is surprisingly comfortable, although at my age, I will be replacing it with a wider gel seat. The bike is not too heavy, especially considering it's size. Roughly 47 lbs, versues 46-52 lbs for the competion. Some of the cost difference of high-priced bikes in keeping the weight down around 36-38 lbs is using more costly components like carbon fiber, better aluminum, etc. Ride this or any bike for a month or two, loose 10-15 lbs and save yourself some money, not to mention, BETTER HEALTH. Besides the frame being aluminum (not including the 'chain stay' aka rear fork which are steel), the handle bars, thread-less stem, seat post, crank arms, yoke of the front fork, and calipers are all aluminum too. The brake levers are aluminum and plastic, as are the SRAM shifters. typical of bikes in this price range. A pre-planned upgrade to Shimano EF-51 Shifter/Brake Lever Combo (3 x 7 Speed) for $26 will make the bike perform closer to that $500 price range bike. Again, this is not a MUST upgrade, I have used the SRAM SureGrip Max shifters for years with success. I would just like to try the trigger shifters one time. To have the shifters and brake levers in combo should free up the handlebar space too and make it look (BE) more like that $500 bike.
People have complained about where to mount a water bottle holder. If you look at any other PURE mountain bike, most do NOT have a place for water bottles. They us a backpack hydration system.The bike uses all metric fasteners so a compact, take it with you, tool kit like the ones made by Topeak would be a wise decision/purchase to have for ANY bike owner.
With another $250 or so upgrades mentioned, this bike will easily be right up there with a $1000 bike. If you are concerned about weight, carbon fiber seatpost, handlebars, new shock/fork supsension, etc. upgrades can bring the weight down to a respectable 36-38 lbs. Yes, you will have a total of a little more than $500, but one step at a time if want to, instead of $500 or higher, all at once. Bottom line is the Mongoose Impasse is a competent light to medium duty full suspension 29" mountain bike as it sits for $280 and its loads of fun to ride.
IF this review was helpful to you, please leave a commend below, if nothing more than Thank You, so I will know whether I have waisted my time and or yours and so I will know whether to ever take the time to write another review or not. If you have any questions, just ask, I would be happy to help you any way I can! I wish I had this help before I purchased mine. Although it WAS still a good decision. Happy Trails!!!
on January 12, 2013
I went from an old entry-level GT (Aggressor 2.0) with aluminum hard tail frame, caliper brakes, etc. Gears were getting worn. This was on sale around Black Friday so I sprung for it rather than having a new gear set installed. WOOPSE!
The old bike has a LOT of mileage and a LOT of thrashing on it. Warp in the front wheel, bull bars, scratches, dirt, everything is worn. Last couple of years I've primarily just used it for taking the kids for rides in a trailer. But it's an old trooper.
This Mongoose is just an embarrassment to itself. Let me enumerate the unfortunately lengthy list of things that are wrong right out of the box, and some inherent design flaws:
1. One of the tire tubes (rear, as it turns out) was leaky from new. A 3-mile ride and the tire is down when I pumped it up just before I left. (Fixable, but should not be the case.)
2. The front brake caliper's inner brake pad rubs against the rotor when the axle is properly seated in the fork. (Fixable, but should not be the case.) (Update: Adjusted the inner brake pad, cable tension, but it appears the front rotor is warped as well, it squeals in cycle with the front wheel rotation while riding.)
3. The crank shaft squeaks and creaks, sounds like dry or just bad bearings.
4. The derailleur is either mismatched or improperly adjusted; the chain derailed three times during my inaugural ride. (Update: further riding indicates that the gears just don't shift quickly/smoothly relative to better sets. Adjusting cable tension helped only incrementally but still could no solidly land a gear, especially when moving across several sprockets quickly.)
5. The gears are either misadjusted or mismatched and could not be shifted when under load; the chain could not slip even when the derailleur was tugging at it. Only shiftable under light load or freewheeling. If you either do any real riding or have to haul along 80+ pounds of trailer and children, don't plan on shifting while climbing.
6. Gears are mismatched to bike/wheel size. The climbing gear (first) is clearly in a ratio designed for a 24" or at most 26" bike. It's utterly useless. Of course, on my old (26") bike I could go up seriously steep climbs with the trailer attached, this thing was just utterly hopeless. I would not even attempt to take a real ride (i.e., trail or mountain) with this thing. Overall, please understand the gearing is a total mess, a colossal catastrophe on this bike. It's not "designed"; it's a set of mismatched, cheap components welded/bolted together without any overall rhyme or reason.
7. This is a mere matter of preference / performance, but the bike is VERY heavy. At 46 pounds, it's a full 10 pounds heavier than my Aggressor, even though it's supposed to also have a welded aluminum frame. I'd not be surprised if the frame only has one aluminum pipe and the rest is made out of chro-moly (and filled with lead?).
In general, if you're a light/occasional, casual rider, you could order this, take it to a bike shop for a full tune-up, and be OK. Even as a casual rider, you won't want this thing if you're in an area with a lot of hills/mountains. As a serious or semi-serious rider, this thing is a pretender. It LOOKS cool and the feature list SOUNDS good, but in practice, it's just... well, it's what you'd expect for <$300. Garbage. It's a mess of low-quality frame and assembly and mis-matched components that end up in a disastrous riding experience.
I will readily admit, I probably had too high hopes/expectations. GT bikes (as with many other high-end manufacturers) are high quality, great bikes. I've had three GTs and loved them all so for my purposes, I'll likely just fork out what I have to to either replace the complete gear set on my old frame or just get a new GT. As I said, if you aren't a 'serious' rider and live in a relatively flat area, this bike may be OK for you with some adjustments. But for anyone who puts any real load on the bike, really rides, what you pay is what you get. Just take my review as a cautionary tale - caveat emptor - for folks who might, as I was, think: maybe you really CAN get a steal, get all the features and functions of a high-end bike for an entry-level price!
No. You cannot.
After a couple more rides it is clear that this thing is just very heavy and geared improperly. I can't get nearly as much torque in first gear with this thing - maybe half as much.
Also, the frame ends up being about 16" (center of crankshaft to top of seat tube). I have the seat extended to its absolute maximum height and it's still about an inch and a half shorter than it should be for proper posture. I'm only 5'11 and with the seat at maximum height, my knee is still bent when the pedal is fully extended. You can see how downward-sloped the top tube is. If you're 5'10 or shorter this should be fine but it's simply not big enough for anyone my height or taller.
The lack of lockout on the front and rear suspension is a killer. With 29" tires and spongy suspension it obviously soaks up rocks and roots really nicely as long as the trail is relatively flat. But when you need to climb a hill, the efficiency on this bike is just abysmal. True torture! No need to put yourself through it. Rather than upgrading all of the components as an earlier reviewer recommended, you could just buy an entry-level hardtail Specialized or GT for $100 more.
Note that the frame has a 16" (small) seat tube and that there are no size options available. I am 5' 11" and cannot get the seat high enough for a proper riding posture. This bike is not made for riders over 5' 9" or so unless you don't mind a very inefficient posture (I.e., seat is too low relative to handle bar, leg is not fully extended on power stroke, have about 4-5" of stand-over room). Just another way it has proven an ill match for me...
on July 20, 2013
I bought this bike off amazon for $250. I have been a downhill racer for 17 years so I feel pretty confident when saying I know what I'm talking about. My downhill bike is a Cannondale Super V Carbon 700 Missy Signature Edition with aftermarket goodies. I bought this bike for just something to play with. However, I was pleasantly surprised at what it can do. I can't say much about the packaging because, there is NO packaging. It's literally a bike in a box, so expect some sort of damage. Unless you do the work yourself, don't plan on taking it out the day you get it. I do some very serious mountain biking on single track trails on this thing all day once a week at Jiminy Peak, MA. Have been out 6 times now. The terain is very steep, technical, and rugged. Full face and gear required. The 29" wheels are a bonus. The bike handles very well. The pedals are metal and nice and grippy. The ride is pretty nice. The rear shock is actually pretty decent. The fork is a little soft. I bottom it out all the time. I can't say much about the shifting and components cause it's downhill. I never really shift. As long as I have 8th or 9th gear I'm all good. The bike can really take a beating too. I've spilled it probably a dozen times. I bent the handle bar which I just hammered back in place. I also broke the crappy plastic chain ring guard. That's pretty much it other than the expected scratches and cosmetic damage. No damage to the wheels or hubs, the suspension is fine, and the seat has not one tear. All shifting and brake cables are all good. I do tune the shifting and brakes after every run. It's just cable discs but oh well. I am on my second set of brake pads, as they are very small and not made for this, and my second rear tire, but the bike is still 100% factory. Anyone who says this bike is only good for the driveway or riding to work is seriously underestimating it. It will never stack up to my Super V, but when considering what I get for the cost ($4K less than my Super V), this easily gets 5 stars from me. Tough, cheap, and it gets the job done.
So I've had this bike for some time now and it has continued to impress me. So I increased the amount of times I ride it from once a week to twice a week. I have no problem keeping up with my buddies on expert rated downhill courses. They all have different downhill bikes such as my Super V that all have a camma in the price tag. Pads and tires are literally the only thing I've had to replace so far on this bike. The parts are cheap, and I order them right from Mongoose so the bike stays 100% factory. This bike has taken a beating and some pretty hard hits, and I have no damage other than the expected scrapes on the frame and handle bars. My buddies have actually nicknamed the bike "the death wish" lol. They say I must have one for riding a bike the way I do with them that you can get for $250 at your local Walmart. However, with what it's been through so far, I don't see it going anywhere any time soon. I inspect the entire bike before and after going out for the day, and I have not found anything wrong. I have removed all of the front shifting components. I just don't need them and they were just getting in the way. It's not that there was anything wrong with them. Also a couple tips if you do some serious riding with this bike: Check the hubs before and after you go out. Especially the front. They have a tendancy to loosen up. Also you may have to lube the fork every now and then or it will become rigid and stiff. Other than that, I say purchase and enjoy.