Most helpful critical review
95 of 115 people found the following review helpful
Completely unusable for real riding.
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...