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Mongoose Impasse Dual Full Suspension Bicycle (29-Inch)
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- Aluminum suspension frame maximizes comfort & performance
- Element Suspension fork smoothes the bumps and increases control
- 21 speed Shimano rear derailleur with SRAM twist shifters changes gears easily
- Alloy wheels with quick release front
- Alloy front & rear disc brakes
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From the manufacturer
Break away on the Impasse
Mongoose gives you permission to leave it all behind, the work, the commuting, the hassles, the TPS reports! Leave it all behind and throw yourself down some hills on a Mongoose, that will surely relive your stress. The dirt under your nails and the dust in your nose after a day of riding will liberate you from the cubical. Since 1974 Mongoose has been the brand for people like you.
There is nothing you can't do on a Mongoose!
The Mongoose Impasse is the ultimate 29er at an affordable price. Equipped with an aluminum full-suspension frame, this trail-capable bike offers a smooth and controlled ride featuring an Element front fork, Shimano gearing, SRAM twist shifters, and front & rear disc brakes.
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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!!!
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.
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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