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  1. #1
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    Mongoose bikes any good?

    Are bikes made by Mongoose any good? I never rode a bike before and I'm planning to buy a cheap but decent mountain bike. I mainly see "Jeep" and "Mongoose" brand mountain bikes. Which one is probably best for a beginner?

  2. #2
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Originally posted by nelson103
    Are bikes made by Mongoose any good? I never rode a bike before and I'm planning to buy a cheap but decent mountain bike. I mainly see "Jeep" and "Mongoose" brand mountain bikes. Which one is probably best for a beginner?
    Mongoose was good before it entered department stores. Go to a bike shop. That's where the great bikes are!

    :thumbup:
    No worries

  3. #3
    GT enthusiast midwestmntnbkr's Avatar
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    Mongoose builds some "ok" bikes for a beginner and if you don't plan on doing alot of hard trail riding. I have 2 nephews that have Xmart mongooses and they are holding up relatively well, especially if you consider the cost. I am not an advocate of buying these types of bikes, but if it helps to get another person in the sport, I say go for it. If you decide you like cycling and want to continue, you can always upgrade to a better steed later. I would check around though, some models are better than others, and have better spec'd components.

    Good Luck and welcome to the forums....(ha... the first time I got to say that before someone else)
    "if you're not living on the edge...
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    "Life is too short to drink cheap beer"

  4. #4
    suitcase of courage VegasCyclist's Avatar
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    way back when, mongoose used to make good bmx bikes... but then again that was a while ago... not sure what they make now
    -VegasCyclist
    "Daddy made whiskey and he made it well.... cost two dollars and it burned like hell...."
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  5. #5
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    I work in a bike shop that stocks Mongoose .. my tip , skip Mongoose !! , BTW , I'm not in sales ..I'm the mechanic !!!!, 'nuff said ..........
    Velosophy#1: It is better to have a bicycle and no money , than money and no bicycle ! Velosophy # 2 : "Winning is simple, but not easy." #3: "Give a man a fish and he shall eat for a day , teach him how to fish and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day"

  6. #6
    Beyond caring. . . goose's Avatar
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    I am a beginner as well, and can understand both sides of the argument. If you can go to a bike shop, it is probably best. If you have to buy a dept. store bike, then there is nothing wrong with that. Just check the bike out as good as you can before you buy. Make them get it off of the rack for you so you can see how it feels as best you can. Check everything on the bike (assume that it was put together by someone who didn't really care). As long as you read the owner's manual you should be OK. As far as durability goes, if it should break (and you survive) there shouldn't be any problem returning it. The customer may not always be right, but the customer is always the customer.

    Welcome aboard and have fun.

  7. #7
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    The problem with department store bikes are these:
    Firstly, a department store will often hire just any idiot to assemble the things. As a result, bearings are sent out dry, wheels are improperly mounted, brakes are not adjusted, etc., etc.
    Secondly, since depatment store bikes are cheap, they use many inferior and non-standard components. When the bike breaks in about 1 year (and they all do), it will be nearly impossible to repair it. These bikes are throw-away.
    I've seen Mongoose bikes before, and I would tell you to avoid any that are sold in sporting-goods chains and department stores. In fact, any bikes sold in these kinds of stores should be avoided like the plague. A few dollars more spent at a bike shop will get you something much better.
    Je vais à vélo, donc je suis!

  8. #8
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    I agree with D*Alex. This is a case of wastefully "saving money."

    The weird thing is, I've seen x-mart bikes costing up to $300.
    No worries

  9. #9
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    I've got one of those dual suspension mongoose bikes that I use just for riding around the college campus I live on. I purchased it almost 2 years ago for about $90. The bike is still working beautifully. The only items replaced have been the bearings in the bottom bracket (Assembled incorrectly and I did not check it after purchase), the pedals (plastic pedals stink), and the back tire (not the tube, just the tire). I believe that if you don't use it for really hard mountain biking and you take care of it, a mongoose bike can last for a decent amount of time.

  10. #10
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Originally posted by D*Alex
    The problem with department store bikes are these:
    Firstly, a department store will often hire just any idiot to assemble the things. Secondly, since depatment store bikes are cheap, they use many inferior and non-standard components. A few dollars more spent at a bike shop will get you something much better.
    Agreed. You are much better off with a high-quality used bike than anything new from generic-Mart. Wheel bearings, pedals, brakes, and frames are only a few of the critical weak spots on department store bikes.

    Unfortunately, I can now speak from hands-on experience. In a bizarre incident several months ago at a nearby elementary school and public park, someone stole my son's juvenile-sized, semi-decent Peugeot mountain bike and left a Magna Glacier Point quasi-mountain bike in its place. Although I have built up a better bike which I plan to give him eventually, I have been making him ride the Magna as penance for his carelessness. He and his elder brother both comment about how balky and klunky it is, and when I regreased the front hub, I was appalled by its cheap construction. In its defense, I can say that the Magna makes a great beater for errand-running; if anyone is dumb enough to steal it, I will have trouble feigning grief.

    With a little training and experience, the average person can easily determine why so many Forum regulars deride *-Mart bikes. Unfortunately, most people walk naively into *-Mart and walk out with a Magna/whatever, never learning that a bicycle does not have to be cheaply built, hard-to-ride toy, but can be an efficient, long-lasting, reliable, pleasurable vehicle for adult transportation, fitness, and recreation. I ride a full-Reynolds 1959 Austrian road bike several times per week; how many people in A.D. 2045 will be riding today's Magnas?
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
    Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
    Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
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  11. #11
    Donating member Richard D's Avatar
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    What amazes me are companies like Saracen who produce reasonably spec'd bikes higher up the range but also sell tank like plain steel full-bouncers for under £175. The sad thing is kids are buying the full-bouncers in droves...

    Richard
    Currently riding an MTB with a split personality - commuting, touring, riding for the sake of riding, on or off road :)

  12. #12
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Originally posted by John E

    ...someone stole my son's juvenile-sized, semi-decent Peugeot mountain bike and left a Magna Glacier Point quasi-mountain bike in its place. Although I have built up a better bike which I plan to give him eventually, I have been making him ride the Magna as penance for his carelessness.


    I will immediately report you to the Dept. of Family and Children's services for extreme cruelty to children.



    Actually, as a conciliatory note to our friends who ride these bikes,
    I have one in my garage. I have actually ridden it from downtown Atlanta to Stone Mountain on a few occasions. But, I have to speak the WHOLE TRUTH: if you're riding around a college campus, it's probably ok. If your mixing with rush-hour traffic on a 30 - 60 minute commute, your money is better spent towards a fine bike, even if it takes lots of saving and scrimping before you have all the cash.
    No worries

  13. #13
    Beyond caring. . . goose's Avatar
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    At the risk of starting WW3- the parts that I see on many dept. store bikes are at the very least carrying a lot of the same names as accessories that I see mentioned in posts from time to time from "real" cyclists. I recall seeing various posts with people praising the same name pedals, tires, derailleurs, etc. Perhaps not the same model, but shouldn't a decent company be able to build a decent low end product? I know you can't compare apples and oranges, and the $7000 dollar bike is going to be built better, but I don't follow the logic behind a company destroying their reputation just to move inferior goods. It HAS to catch up with them eventually.

    Do all of these companies (Shimano etc.) deliberately make cheap parts to sell to dept. stores just for an extra buck, and if so, doesn't that seem like economic suicide?

  14. #14
    GT enthusiast midwestmntnbkr's Avatar
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    I would like to add a bit of text to my earlier post.

    I mentioned that I have a couple of nephews that own Mongoose bikes and have had no problem with them. This is true, the youngest is 14. About a year ago he got interested in cycling, mostly because he knew I did it and he went to a race or two and watched me. I borrowed a bike from a friend and took him riding a few times to see if it was going to be "his" thing or not. He fell in love with it and wanted to do more. His dad bought him a X-store Mongoose (after having me go look at it) and he started riding...everywhere! It didn't take long before he wanted to try off road trails so I took him a few times for some mild off roading. He was still very interested and excited about it. He rode that bike several hundred miles last year on and off road. This year he wants to try racing. Currently we are building him a VERY nicely spec'd GT i-drive complete with discs and air suspension.

    The moral of this story...if you are not sure you will take to cycling, or are on a tight budget, buy what you can take care of it and ride it. If you like it you can always upgrade to a better steed and continue enjoying cycling. I would never tell him or anyone to "race" an X-mart bike, but riding one is not generally a problem. The advice I have seen here on this I agree with mostly, especially the parts about having the bike checked out for proper assembly. What I don't agree with is the "don't buy one for any reason" attitudes. That type on opinion may just keep a potential rider out of the sport.

    Please no one take any of this personally, once again just my opinion.
    "if you're not living on the edge...
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    "Life is too short to drink cheap beer"

  15. #15
    Beyond caring. . . goose's Avatar
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    What I don't agree with is the "don't buy one for any reason" attitudes. That type on opinion may just keep a potential rider out of the sport.
    Thank you.

  16. #16
    Beyond caring. . . goose's Avatar
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    At the risk of starting WW3- the parts that I see on many dept. store bikes are at the very least carrying a lot of the same names as accessories that I see mentioned in posts from time to time from "real" cyclists. I recall seeing various posts with people praising the same name pedals, tires, derailleurs, etc. Perhaps not the same model, but shouldn't a decent company be able to build a decent low end product? I know you can't compare apples and oranges, and the $7000 dollar bike is going to be built better, but I don't follow the logic behind a company destroying their reputation just to move inferior goods. It HAS to catch up with them eventually.
    From my previous post... Can no one give me some enlightenment on this particular marketing strategy?

    Are the ______________ (fill in the blank with Shimano or whatever) components off-quality or what? Again- I am not trying to stir up trouble, I am just confused...

  17. #17
    human velocipedio's Avatar
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    Originally posted by 'goose
    From my previous post... Can no one give me some enlightenment on this particular marketing strategy?
    It's a channel thing. The sales channels for Shimano are so distinct that the twain almost never meet.

    For one thing, the people who buy Shimano's better-quality stuff in bike shops have no idea about how low Shimano's low-end, XMart components really are. Conversely, the people who buy bikes in XMarts and sporting goods stores are usually just buying the coomodity BIKE -- they're not really aware that the bike is composed of comonents from different manufacturers. Consequently, when a Shimano component fails on one of these bikes, the consumer will be far more inclined to blame the BIKE manufacturer rather than the component manufacturer.

    So Shimano is basically shielded by the different types of consumers in the different channels. It's also such a dominant company that it's not like you have much of a choice with MTBs and hybrids, anyway...
    when walking, just walk. when sitting, just sit. when riding, just ride. above all, don't wobble.

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  18. #18
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    thanks for the help!! Time to go bike shopping =)
    Anyways I don't plan to buy a mongoose bike. I'm going to try to search for bikes made at a bike shop. Hopefully something from Trk, Raleigh, or Giant. I heard lots of good things about bike shops like: they know how to build it properly, they can repair it for you, they can adjust the bike, they can tune it up, etc.
    Thanks again!

  19. #19
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    I do not wish to make owners of dept. store bikes feel defensive. But I will never recommend such a bike. The reason is simple:
    I want them to have the best!

    Would you buy a car from a dept. store if you knew it was assembled in the store by the same employees that stock shelves, run cash registers and sweep floors at about $7.00 per hour? No way!

    Why would you settle for a bike assembled that way, when you can get one for as little as $300, assembled by bike mechanics, that comes with a proper warranty and a service contract that offers free maintenance on things like brake and derailleur adjustments?

    No, I consider I am doing people I care about a favor by steering them towards the best deal! Remember, "low, low prices" are not always the best way to save money in the long run.
    No worries

  20. #20
    Beyond caring. . . goose's Avatar
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    At this point, I don't guess it really matters what I say, because it will still seem like I am trying to pick a fight.

    I still cannot understand the idea of condemning a man to walking simply because he cannot afford the best bike on the market. If someone came to me and said, "I need a car, but can only spend $300 dollars" it would be a slap in the face to send them to the local BMW dealer. Why send a man who knows nothing about bikes to buy a used one that he probably won't know how to inspect anyway? I know that is not the case in this particular incident, but I am just trying to make a point.

    I personally have been in the situation of having to "make do" with what I have available. Its not fun, its not prestigious, but it IS life. Somewhere some kid whose mom and dad are strung out on crack would think he had hit a gold mine if someone threw him an old Huffy, Mongoose or whatever. So what if he has to work on the derailleur or whatever else. Do people on real bikes never have to PM them?

    For what it's worth- I am NOT mad or upset. Just making conversation.

  21. #21
    GT enthusiast midwestmntnbkr's Avatar
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    Originally posted by 'goose
    At this point, I don't guess it really matters what I say, because it will still seem like I am trying to pick a fight.

    I still cannot understand the idea of condemning a man to walking simply because he cannot afford the best bike on the market.

    I personally have been in the situation of having to "make do" with what I have available. Its not fun, its not prestigious, but it IS life.

    I am right there with you Goose, I feel as you do in this situation. I personally ride pretty expensive bikes, BUT my first one wasn't. It was a $500 low end, cheaply spec'd GT hartail. I rode it for a year and then upgraded. I now own 4.5 bikes ( 1 is still just a frame) and they are all very nicely spec'd. The thing is, you have to start somewhere even if it IS near the bottom.

    No conflict here either, just going on with the conversation.
    "if you're not living on the edge...
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    "Life is too short to drink cheap beer"

  22. #22
    human velocipedio's Avatar
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    Well. 'goose. you don't seem upset to me...

    I think what you're seeing here is the dividing line between cycling as as an activity or pastime and cycling as a sport. It probably goes without saying that those who see cycling as a sport -- competitive or not -- are pretty focused on the performance characteristics of their bikes. The simple fact is that a $300 department store bike is going to be sadly lacking in performance. The problem is that we expect everyone who's into bike to be into bike the same way and with the same motivations as us. It's sometimes hard to remember that there are plenty of people who just want to tool around town.

    I play the guitar, and I've seen the same sort of thing in that world. Few serious musicians will look twice at the bargain brands -- Squier, Samick, Jay Turser, etc. -- unless they're really hard-up for cash. A bargain brand instrument simply doesn't sound as good or as rich as a Fender or a Gibson to the experienced ear; it will probably go out of tune more frequently, and the neck will be more likely to warp; the workmanship will be poor. None of this means that you can't play a brilliant solo on a Samick, only that, at some point, the shortcomings of the instrument will probably get in the way of playing your best. It might be just as good as a Gibson for an average guy who only plays on weekends when he jams with the boys, but it will be inadequate for the serious musician.

    Personally, I think you can get a decent starter bike or a utility bike at a department store, but anyone shopping for bikes in department stores should bear these things in mind:

    1. The build quality will suck. Department store bikes are almost always assembled by people who know nothing about bikes. And they offer very little after-sales support.

    2. The top-end of the department store bike range is the bottom-end of the bike store range -- in quality, though not always price.

    3. Department store bikes are ALWAYS overpriced for what they offer. $300 will go much farther at a bike shop than at a department store -- even if you buy new.

    4. Bike shops almost always have sticker policies, while department stores do not. You can save 15-20% on accessories at a bike store, allowing you to get more bang and bike for your buck. If you have $375 to spend, at a deparment store, that can be $300 for the bike, $35 for the helmet, $15 for the pump, $10 for the gloves, $15 for the rack; at a bike shop, they might throw in the rack for free, sell you the helmet for $20, the pump for $10 and the gloves for $5, leaving you with $340 for the bike.

    The nottom line is that, while you can get a rideable bike at a department store, it isn't the best you can do. None of us look down on inexpensive bikes, it's the cheap bike that cost too much that annoys us.
    when walking, just walk. when sitting, just sit. when riding, just ride. above all, don't wobble.

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    Cycling irregularly since 2002

  23. #23
    sandcruiser thbirks's Avatar
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    Well 'goose this reminds me of a friend of mine. Let me tell you a little story. One day my friend Pete comes to me and wants to know all about shoes. You see Pete, although a grown man, has never worn shoes. "Th" he says "I've been thinking about getting some shoes."

    Being a big fan of shoes, I jump at the chance of helping my friend get his first pair of shoes. We head down to the local shoe store. Pete sees plenty of shoes he likes, he tries some on, gives them a little walk-a-round and then finally pulls me aside. "Th, I like the shoes" Pete confides "but I've only got $20 to spend." "Well, you can get a pair of shoes for $20 but they won't be very nice" I say. "There's a good pair on sale here for $30 could you swing that?" "No, $20 is all I can spend, I don't even know that i'll like wearing shoes" Pete says " I don't want to spend more than $20 on something I may not like." "All right" I say " I've got an idea, I've got to get going, but tomorrow we can go to the Thrift store. You can get any shoe they've got for less than $20." "okay, but I was hoping on getting shoes today." Pete says "maybe I'll head down to the Malwart to look around."

    The next day I spot Pete sitting on a bench in the park. "Are you ready to hit the Thrift shop?" I say. With that Pete points to his feet and cries "Look, I got shoes, What do you think?" The shoes look cheap and uncomfortable but I tell Pete they're great as I see how proud of his new shoes he is.

    A week later I run into Pete at a concert. "Where's your shoes?" I yell over the loudspeakers. "I stopped wearing them" Pete shouts back "they gave me blisters and the stitching was coming apart. I don't know how people wear shoes all the time. I guess I'm just not cut out for shoes." "We'll have to talk about shoes later" I yell "I can barely hear you."
    Last edited by thbirks; 03-17-02 at 09:00 AM.
    "only on a BIKE"

  24. #24
    Beyond caring. . . goose's Avatar
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    I play the guitar, and I've seen the same sort of thing in that world. Few serious musicians will look twice at the bargain brands -- Squier, Samick, Jay Turser, etc. -- unless they're really hard-up for cash. A bargain brand instrument simply doesn't sound as good or as rich as a Fender or a Gibson to the experienced ear; it will probably go out of tune more frequently, and the neck will be more likely to warp; the workmanship will be poor. None of this means that you can't play a brilliant solo on a Samick, only that, at some point, the shortcomings of the instrument will probably get in the way of playing your best. It might be just as good as a Gibson for an average guy who only plays on weekends when he jams with the boys, but it will be inadequate for the serious musician.
    Interesting thought... I have played a bit in my time as well. At one time I had a Fender Precision (a '69 I think it was). I also had a US made Strat (the only real Strats ever made), these in addition to several others, some expensive, some cheap. I can appreciate quality as much as anyone, but lets face it... a real musician can play ANYTHING and still sound good (i.e. EVH and his Kramer. NO ONE should be able to do the things he did with a Kramer). I think it is more the person than the tool, though the right tools will certainly help.

    I now have an inexpensive guitar, and to be frank with you, I was amazed at how well it played. I was expecting little, and got a whole lot more than I bargained for.

    When I first started playing bass, I had an el cheapo no name piece of junk, but it played. I met a fellow at a show who ended up being one of the best musicians I have ever personally known. When we were introduced, he naturally asked me what I played. I was ashamed, but told him anyway. You know what he said? "Cool."

    He was/is a much better player than me. But he would play with anyone who loved the music, regardless of their equipment. It was then that I realized that a person can be in a slightly better position than someone else w/o looking down on them. You know, that actually was more of an encouragement to me than a deterent.

    Boy. I have single-handedly managed to shred this thread, huh?
    Last edited by goose; 03-17-02 at 07:24 PM.

  25. #25
    Beyond caring. . . goose's Avatar
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    A week later I run into Pete at a concert. "Where's your shoes?" I yell over the loudspeakers. "I stopped wearing them" Pete shouts back "they gave me blisters and the stitching was coming apart. I don't know how people wear shoes all the time. I guess I'm just not cut out for shoes." "We'll have to talk about shoes later" I yell "I can barely hear you."
    So there is no way humanly possible for Pete to say, "Yeah, I bought some shoes that aren't as nice as yours, but they still fit fine"?

    Inexpensive DOES NOT have to mean TRASH.

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