So a friend of my son left his Mongoose bike here a couple of years ago and told us that we could have it. Well my son and I are heavy, too heavy for the bike, you can see just how low it sits when we sit on it so we never bothered fixing it. it just sat in the backyard.
Welll my buddy wants a bike but doesn't have much money. So I dug it out and brought it into the house to start fixing it.
Wow, what a piece of crap. Now I am not sure if the frame itself is bad or not, I'm basing my impressions on the external components.
First of all the rear rim is out of true. I don't mean that side to side wobble but rather that if you spin the rim, you can see how the hub isn't perfectly centered so the rim has a bit of a jump. Not good.
The excessive use of stickers and their placement. The bike is covered in stickers from the factory. Half of them aren't even properly placed. They just make the bike look like it was assembled by a child in China. Wait, that probably happened.
The grip shifters just feel cheap. The rear derailleur feels cheap but it seems functional. I really haven't looked at the front derailleur but I imagine its just a standard low end Shimano, probably serviceable enough.
Now onto the brakes. First impression is this: "Oh hey, look, they have the same design as my Specialized's brakes, that might be cool". When I grab the brake lever on my Specialized, I can feel the shoes hit the rim and the brake lever then stops its motion and it feels SOLID. Feels good, not squishy or loose. Now I grab the brake lever on the Mongoose. I can then feel the point where the shoes grab but the brake lever wants to keep moving. The resistance to the lever gets stronger but the lever keeps pulling. Wow, this isn't good. I keep pulling the lever until I can practically touch the tip of the lever to the handlebars. Mind you, the shoes grabbed when the lever was about halfway pulled. The cable sheaths seem to compress under load. Not good. Then I look at the brake levers. They are the cheapest pieces of crap that I have seen. My early '90s Huffy has brake levers that are FAR more solid and sturdy than these junkers. The brake levers and brake lever mounts are made of plastic. Not reinforced with metal underneath, they just are plastic. I then look at the cable adjuster nuts/barrels on the plastic brake lever mount. On the Huffy and my Specialized, they are decently made of aluminum or steel, not sure which. On this Mongoose, they are PLASTIC! The adjusters feel like junky toys. The brake lever mounts flex a ton but still that doesn't account for all the squishyness.
The front shocks have NO adjusters whatsoever. Whatever preload you have is all you get. That seemed odd to be considering everyone is different.
No wonder these chinese bikes get such crappy awful reputations. They are built like crap.
I don't have the knowledge to judge the actual quality of the other parts such as the crank.
Well today I am going to take this BSO to my local bike coop and fix it up enough to make it serviceable for my poor friend. I will run all new cables for the brakes and shifters. I will replace the brake levers with something decent and metal. Maybe then the bike might not be so bad. Later on I will remove all the cheesy looking stickers to make the bike look less like a toy. Hopefully at that point he will be able to ride it without having any serious issues. He isn't a big person so hopefully it should be okay.