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on June 9, 2012
I bought the Mongoose Impasse because it fit my budget for a full suspension 29'er mountain bike. I felt the bike was a bit of a gamble, because detail specs and reviews are just not available. But I was feeling adventurous and ordered one.

First, the bike was rather poorly packed in the Mongoose factory box. No Styrofoam 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. Just a little bubble wrap, and a few plastic protectors for the hubs that were broken and laying in the bottom of the box. As a result, the rear derailleur and mounting point were badly bent in shipping by Fed Ex. So I removed the derailleur, straightened it out, and also straightened the mounting point (near the axle drop outs). Took about an hour to get the parts back in proper alignment.

Second, the Owners Manual covers ALL Mongoose "department store" bikes, so be patient to find the section specific to the feature on your model (aka Threadless stem vs classic Quill Stem adjustment). I would have liked a shorter owners manual with more info specific to this model.

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 disk is centered in the caliper. I also had to spend a little time making adjustments to the rear derailleur to make it shift properly (although this was probably a result of the shipping damage). 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.

Now the riding. It rides well. The 29'er tires make riding on rough surfaces easier. Even riding grassy fields is easier than with my 26" wheel mountain bike. The seat is surprisingly comfortable. The bike is not too heavy, especially considering its size. Weight is kept down with the use of alloy parts. 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, and that is just junk I will replace with a quality all alloy set of levers. Levers are cheap, so it surprising that they would cut corners on the levers.

The front fork absorbs bumps, but has no hydraulic or pneumatic dampening, its basically a simple spring tube that is adequate for light off roading. The rear shock feels to be just a spring with no dampening also. Although it is easily adjusted to stiffen or lighten the spring pre-load (I stiffened it up). All in all, the suspension works well to smooth out ruts and pot holes in rural and country roads, as well as gravel and dirt roads. This is what I use it for and it works well for this sort of riding. Much nicer ride than my hard tail mountain bike. Suspension is rather stiff at first, but after a few hours of riding, it gets smoother and the fork gets less "sticky".

The SRAM shifters are acceptable. Do wish a better shifter by Shimano had been used.

I was surprised at how well the disk brakes work. They really pull hard and are not even broken in yet!

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.

Wheel hubs are by Wheel Master, model Quando (I believe they have sealed bearings). Didn't find any name or label on the rims, but the spec sheet I got from Mongoose lists it as a no-name Chinese manufacturer. The rims are a double wall rim, so they should take some pounding. Spokes are painted steel.

The Crank is by ProWheel. Alloy arms, square taper B.B. and riveted steel chain rings. Probably model MA-A443+ painted all black. Prowheel makes quality budget priced parts that are competition for Shimano parts. With the square taper Bottom Bracket, its easy to upgrade or change the chain rings to other sizes.

Didn't care for all the stickers and labels all over the frame. The frame is busy enough as it is with its suspension design, and cables run all over. I removed all decals. Now its nice and clean, and doesn't look like it came from a department store.

Bottom line is its a competent light to medium duty full suspension 29'er mountain bike. It has many features that can not be had for even a few hundred dollars more on other brands. The nice parts are the full suspension, disk brakes, and 29'er wheels/tires. The down side is the poor factory packing, and time to adjust/set up/fine tune the shifters and brakes, and a few cheap parts. But when its setup right, its loads of fun to ride.

Update 6/20/2012. Have about 50 miles on the bike now. Its great for riding the bike/horse trails in my town. I don't beat on it, just ride it easy on dirt trails, along the abandoned train tracks, etc. The brakes are holding up OK, but I have to admit the brake shoes are about the size of a dime! How they stop the bike is beyond me. Had problems with front brake, ended up calling support and they were GREAT! sent a new rotor (old one was bent and wobbled causing problems adjusting brake). So don't even worry about getting parts, as support is really fantastic. No arguments, just tell them the problem, and they send you a new part, no questions asked.

I noticed that putting the tire pressure up to about 50 psi makes the bike roll easier, and cuts down on the tire drag. The max pressure listed on the tire sidewall is 65 psi, with a recommended pressure of 40 psi. I think 40 is too low, and my 180 lbs body needs a little more pressure make them firmer. Let the suspension absorb the bumps, not the tire.

Last ride was about 2 hours. Bike did well, only real complaint is I can't figure out where to mount a water bottle holder. LOL!

I see the price just dropped about 20 bucks. Buy one before they are gone.

BTW, the bike uses all metric fasteners. A set of metric Allen wrenches will let you adjust and replace most parts on the bike like brakes, handlebars, etc.

UPDATE 09/11/2012.
Have been riding the Impasse for hours at a time a few times a week and realized that a few upgrades would make for a really great 29'er. Two weak spots are the fork and rear shock. This is common for suspension bikes in this price range. Both are just spring units with no dampening, and at slow speeds, this is fine. As I started riding faster and longer, the bouncy nature of the suspension was a determent and uncomfortable. So a RockShox XC 28 fork w/oil dampening, preload and rebound adjustments, and lockout was added. Also added a Kind Shock KS291 rear shock with oil dampening, rebound and preload adjustments. These two items made a huge difference in the way the bike rides. Its smoother, and I feel in more control in rough conditions. And my back really likes it! Combined cost of those two upgrades was about $190.

A nice inexpensive upgrade that makes a big difference is to replace the brake levers with Avid FR-5 Bicycle Brake Lever Set all alloy brake lever assemblies. Often available for under $10, so shop around. Then for less than $20, a 205mm front rotor and adapter can be added to maximize braking. I can ride an Endo for a few feet with this brake setup, and its using the original Zoom caliper!

Making all these upgrades will cut about 5 lbs off the bike.

May 01, 2016 Update.
After using and modifying this bike for 3 years, I find myself in a situation where I can no longer do off road riding. Physical considerations prevent me from riding the rough stuff, and now I stay strictly to the street. So I am sorry to say I sold the Mongoose the other day. The buyer was a nice late 20's guy and his wife who both knew they were getting a bargain. I got back my purchase price, but you never get back the cost of upgrades and labor of love you put into it. That plus it IS used.
Thank you all for so many interesting questions about the mods and your situations. I am currently working a 27" wheel bike I bought new back in the '70's when I was 14. Gotta love those tall 27" rims. Stripped to the bare frame, it will get all new alloy rims with stainless spokes, gum wall tires, new shifters, cables, levers, handlebars, seat post, seat, 3 piece retro fit aluminum crank and chain rings, etc. The only parts of the bike that will be steel are the frame and the spokes! Should be a great ride. BTW, I am now 58 years old. Keep riding!
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on May 3, 2015
I've had this bike for a little over three years and I am very impressed. Prior to this I had many high-end bikes because I would always fall for the sales pitch from my local bike shops. I am 6' and used to weigh 265lbs but riding this bike (solely) made me shed the extra poundage quickly! I now ride between 5 and 15miles almost everyday of the weak and have never had a major problem. This bike is so reasonably priced and well made that it hurts bike businesses in selling EXPENSIVE high end bikes. I put this bike through torture sometimes and it always comes out with a clean bill of health. I've owned expensive bikes that usually get STOLEN when left unattended and I won't bother to state their names because they were all 100% rip-offs that would get flats every other block or the frame would damage easily when dropped or in a crash... The Mongoose Impasse is like a tank and I highly recommend it! Bike shops hate my bike and never fail to tell me how disgusted they are with it, but I know it's because their business suffers from a bike that costs well under $400, esp when they have products that costs over 10G's which can't even survive a little fender bender. Whenever I walk my bike through the malls, I always get people asking me where I got it... The negative reviews are usually from the people that wasted big money and trying to get you to make the same mistake they did... My Mongoose Impasse probably has thousands of miles on it and I have ZERO complaints. Don't take my word for it, research on youtube the history of Mongoose for yourself. After you do that, bike shops will try to convince you that it's not the same bike, but those head games don't work on me these days... 5 Stars and I wish I could give it 10!
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on May 24, 2012
I just recieved my new Mongoose Impasse 29" mountain bike.

I haven't riden it yet due to illnes but I'm anxious. It was easy to assemble for someone handy with a few tools. It required a metric wrench, metric hex "allen" wrench and a screwdriver.

There was no recomended rider height for this bike so I took a chance. If your jeans are over 32" long you'll be OK, I'm a little short but I'm keeping it. All the faux componants are there for a $1000+ bike and they look good.

I'm a little sensitive to false advertising so when I noticed the "ALUMINUM MONGOOSE" sticker attached to the "STEEL" rear suspension fork it set off my BS detector. The front fork is also steel which might be understandable for strength. The steel kickstand should have been aluminum even though it's not part of the frame. The seatpost,rims, stem and handlebars are aluminum. Overall my bike and I could stand to loose a few pounds but we'll work on that together. One of the plastic brake lever adjusting screw holes is striped out and I'm in the process of trying to get them to send me a replacement. So far no responce. I'm not sending the bike back for a minor defect.

I'll let you know how it works as soon as I get back on the road.

Carl

Update
After a few miles on the Mongoose Impasse I'm satisfied with the value. Everything works as advertised.It has a very soft smooth ride and at the same time it feels tight and responsive. My previous suspension bike had a tendancy to bounce and jiggle around a little. This one just absorbs the bump and dosen't oscillate. I didn't even try the seat it came with. I bought a split gel padded one while I was waiting for shipping. Customer service at Mongoose was very good to deal with. They are sending me a replacement brake lever no charge and offered to take the bike back if I felt it was too tall. I declined. The frame it self isn't a tall frame but the 29" tires make it stand high. With that in mind I'm changing the steering stem to a adjustable one that will help my riding position. Also the kick stand is just wrong for the bike, It's too short and easily bent backwards alowing the bike to fall over if it's bumped or not parked just right. I understand "REAL" mountain bikes don't use kickstands and they are just thrown down anyplace by "REAL" mountain bikers. For the rest of us civilized city folks who eat with a knife and fork the kickstand is a usefull accessory. I may call Mongoose and ask for a replacement.
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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!!!
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on March 20, 2013
I'm: Height 5'7", weight 154 pounds
I Use it for: commute to work around 10 miles each day, 3 or 4 times a week,
My previous bike: 26" no suspension, steel frame, very heavy no aluminum parts.

Packing: Ok, NO broken parts.
First adjustments: brakes.
Wheels: Ok, but they begun to loosing pressure after 2 weeks of use.
Paint and stickers: regular quality.
Suspension: front and rear are low quality but for soft use are Ok.
Seat: looks nice but too cheap. It was tore with the first 4 miles.
Doesn't work for me: seat tube is too short and I must buy other one and the seat is not confortable at all.
Frame: great.

General: The biker is nice but have some low quality parts, that justify the price. Check out there are a sticker that said "This Bicycle is not designed for competition, stunting jumping or off-road use...."

Driving: Since this is a 29", you're going to apply more force to go on, this could be discourage. Beside that I have increase my Max speed from 24mph to 31mph, Avg speed from 15mph to 18mph. Of course it depends of the route.

Recommendations:
Beginners don't buy this bike, try for 26" and cheap one, after you turn in an amateur cyclists you will be ready to try it, and feel the difference.
Amateurs and occasional riders try it.
Semipro and pro don't waste your time with this bike.
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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.

UPDATE:

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.

Update 2:
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...
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on March 12, 2013
I am 6'4" and about 200 lbs. I bought this bike because from what I have read a 29" bike is a better fit for taller guys like me. The problem is, there are not a lot of 29" mountain bikes out there that don't have you spending $500+ for them, and all I really needed it for was to go back and forth to my college campus and around it. Another reviewer said that the frame was too short for the wheels and I certainly agree with that. The frame almost seems like it was from a smaller 26" bike and they just slapped bigger tires on it. This is even more apparent when you try to turn anywhere near 45 degrees and the peddles (or your feet ) hit the front tire. The major thing I was upset about was the quality of crank shaft that the peddle arms are on. My peddle arm kept falling off repeatedly and I even had to order a new one from the manufacturer (which was free thankfully). On a side-note if you do need to get a hold of the manufacturer, you need to call them or else they will never respond to you it seems. So what I needed to do is go to my local-bike shop and have them replace the entire crank shaft (which cost about $55 ) and then put the new pedal arms on. The gears on the bike came poorly adjusted too, and unless you are familiar with adjusting a 21-speed bike ( I wasn't ) you will need to take it to a shop to get those adjusted as well. Even though, all that work left a bitter taste in my mouth about the bike, and the frame is still too short, I am still moderately satisfied with it (especially now that the pedals don't come flying off ). In the end I still spent under $400 for the bike as well, which is still cheaper than the $500+ that I would have to pay for a bike of anywhere near a better quality. So unless something else comes out, you might have to settle with going in the $500+ range for a 29" mountain bike, or settle on this one and be prepared to do some work on it.
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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.

**UPDATE**

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.
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on May 13, 2015
I'm going on 67 and not an actual mountain or off road riding person, I wanted a soft ride for the bike paths and such, wanted a 29 inch to help with that ride, and wanted 3 speeds. Well, 21 speeds are okay too, I just use what I need. I keep the front sprocket in 2 and that gives me 7 or 8 speeds for the rear sprocket. If I go into 3rd on the front sprocket, I can take my speed up to the vanishing point, or back to the future. :D

The bike arrived well packaged and in factory fresh condition. This bike needs it's own users manual, but the Mongoose generic instructions were adequate. I installed the front wheel using the quick hub skewer and installed the handlebars with no problems. I finally got my seat adjusted properly and that fine tuning changed the bike from a nice riding bike to a perfect riding bike for me. I also found that when riding, the front sprocket and rear sprocket made faint clicking sounds as the chain ran. I made slight adjustments at the handlebar adjustments and those noises went away. The adjustment I used is the small black hub or nut (that the cable runs through) on the shifting cables where the cable enters the handle shifter. These can be adjusted with fingers at slow speed while steering with one hand and rotating the black nut in or out. It would be safer to make these adjustments while sitting still, but it was fairly easy for me to do this on a deserted street in a lower gear to keep the peddles and chain moving. Seat height is important to prevent incurring knee pain.

Before my final seat adjustment, my wife on her 3 speed was continuing to pull away from me and made me apply more force to keep up. After the adjustment, the bike goes faster with less effort. I love the bike. It is high quality and the best bike I have ever owned. The full suspension makes root humps in the bike path fun now, rather than jarring butt busters. I backed off on the rear suspension tension to make it even smoother. I might have to tighten that back off before hopping off cliffs and over boulders.
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on June 7, 2014
got this bike about a year ago.here are the upgrades I have done to make it a much better ride and more reliable.1 rockshox XC30TK crown adjust 100mm / 29 inch...(2) DNM mountain bike air rear shock with lock out.165 mm.(3) shimano EF-51 shifter/brake lever combo (3x7 speed) (4) ABR DRAGON 6 aluminum 6061 adjustable handle bar stem. 25.4/31.8 mm. all work really well.more to come happy rides.
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