Thursday, December 16, 2010

Don't be deceived by the 'Goose 29er

I think it's a good beginner bike,

with the proper upgrades it's a great trail bike..I've rode mine plenty hard..

Anon 9:07 pm

Disclaimer:  Originally this post was a review of the Mongoose Deception but how can it be called a review if I have never owned one or even ridden one? As one commenter recently pointed out, you were right and I am sorry I deleted your comment.  I think what I was trying to do with my original post was to show my readers that 29ers have finally hit the mass produced, low quality bike manufacturing line sold by the big box retailer.  Posted here are merely my observations of a bike that I saw in a bike rack at the office one day and it surprised me to see that 29ers finally (in 2009) hit that point.  You can also now get a Fixie at the big box retailer but that is a different story.   

Read the comments to this post if you want a real review of the bike.
If you have one, share your experiences!

Mongoose was a great brand of bikes but in today's market, the decision to build and sell cheap quality bikes in order to diversify your product line in order to meet all market demands at the same time sacrificing quality and craftsmanship is a shame.  If that makes me a Bike Snob, so be it, but one has to stick to his principles and my feeling is that your reputation as a bike manufacturer is relies solely on the quality of your product.  No amount of Red Bull Sensationalism and an experienced rider, in my opinion, is going to help sell an inferior product.

Also, just so that you know, I have never purchased one of these bikes, nor do I plan to.  This post is merely based on observations and correlation of facts accessible through the interwebs.  Should I ever come into possession of one of these bikes, I would thoroughly and rigorously test it on rail trails, bikes paths and commutes.  For the individual wanting to get into the sport as cheaply as possible, and drink the 29er kool aid along the way,  I would not recommend this bike.  Buyer Beware!

Take my advice, spend a little extra money at a local bike shop and start building that relationship with them so that over time you get outstanding service and a shop that is going to take care of you.  The big box retailer will refund your money or, from what I hear, give you another bike.  Supporting your local bike shop (LBS) supports your local economy.

Original Post:

It appears the 29er has finally hit critical mass in popularity if it's now being sold in a big box store as seen by this very low end entrant to the 29er family, the Mongoose Deception 29.  The naming of this bike is cliche because looks can be deceptive.

Basically, for a fraction of the price you can get all the features of a real 29er!  That's great isn't?  Or is it?  Reviews that I have read about the bike, range from great to as soon as I started riding this POS it broke. Of course it would be a great bike for commuting or riding bike paths or rail trails but many folks on that review site mention how they have had to replace parts.  Even if you purchased the cheapest bike at an LBS you would not be replacing parts right out of the gate, in my experience of buying bikes from bike shops.

There is an interesting thread on MTBR that might be worth reading, if you haven't already.  While the 29er riders at MTBR may sound elitist they do know their stuff.  All you folks thinking you are getting over on those that spend more money on their bikes, you may be saving some money in the near term but later down the road, if you ride this thing on trails, you will be wishing you went to your Local Bike Shop and spent a little more money.  I am always looking for a bargain, but buyer beware, don't be deceived by the Mongoose Deception!

Men's Health mentioned an earlier version of the Mongoose 29er, the Impasse (who comes up with these names?) that states:
It’s got no suspension, and the components won’t last long. (Grip shifters? Really?) But the Mongoose Impasse is a blast on rolling trail thanks to those meaty 29-inch wheels. Oh, yeah — and it only costs $199. Truth is, a worthwhile mountain bike with any suspension starts at $2,000, so if you’re just looking to dip your toes in the sport or try the 29er experience on the cheap, you can’t go wrong with the Walmart special.
UPDATE: The Impasse has since sold out at Walmart, and has been replaced by the Mongoose Deception, also a $199 29er.
While I would disagree with the statement that any worthwhile mountain bike with suspension starts at $2,000 because I think it's more like $1000, Men's Health is saying that if you really want a good mountain bike, you will need to drop anywhere from $2,000 to $6,000, but if you want a sniff, head on down to the nearest big box store and get yourself a 'Goose!  Ahonk!

Actually, the name is fitting, just like the Impasse, any one purchasing this bike is automatically being deceived that they are getting 29er, especially if you read the description by a famous big box store not known for selling quality biking merchandise:

The Men's All-Terrain Bike Mongoose Deception model features 29" wheels that roll over rocks, stumps and roots easier than standard-size wheels. That means more fun and less wipeouts. With details you expect such as disc brakes, front suspension and a tough, alloy frame, the Men's All-Terrain Bike by Mongoose delivers a great riding experience, for less.
More fun and less wipeouts?  Is that meant to mean because you roll over things better with the bigger wheels you are less likely go OTB?  Regardless of the wheel size, it's the skills not the bike that will keep you safe.

Most of the bikes made to look like they are made for riding on trails that I have seen sold at these stores all have disclaimers warning the new owner that the bike is not made for off road use.  And then there is the fact that they are calling it an All-Terrain Bike and not a Mountain Bike.  Is this the distinction for a bike made to be ridden on single track (e.g. Mountain Bike) and one that you can ride on trails as long as they are not really technical and challenging?  Call it what you will but anyone walking into the store will think they are buying a Mountain Bike.

The other funny thing is that there is no mention of this bike on the Mongoose Website.  I couldn't find it listed in Canada either but the frame is very similar to the 2010 Tyax Sport.  Is there a website for sub par bikes of questionable manufacture?  Or does the company not want to be associated with this bike, because it's not a Mountain Bike in the purest sense of the word, but they still tout their commuter bikes on the website.  No, I think the answer is, and I forget where I heard this, but bikes of this quality are made exclusively to be sold in the low end market for the big box stores.  Similarly, another brand that recently went under, Iron Horse, I have heard will be back exclusively at Costco.  

Nice welds, not!

The parts spec is especially deceptive:

Men's All-Terrain Bike Mongoose Deception Model (29"):

Riding Style: All-terrain
Frame Material: Alloy 6061
Handlebars: Alloy Riser bars
Gearing: 21 speed
Seat: MTB saddle
Brakes: Lee Chi DSK-400 disc brakes
Brake Levers: Lee Chi levers with alloy lever
Wheels/Tires: 29" x 2.1" tires with 36H wheels
Rims: alloy
Pedals: alloy VP pedal
Assembly required
Weight: 38 lbs.

The weight of this bike is unbelievable!  Almost 40 lbs.  While 6061 aluminum is cheaper than 7005 it is a bit softer, and that's a plus. Still, Men's Health doesn't feel that the stock componentry would last very long.

I have never seen a stem reversed on a mountain bike before, granted the rider of this bike doesn't strike me as someone who is planning to ride it off road.  This is being used as a commuter.

There is a good thread on MTBR written by a new owner of one of these bikes and how the fork already failed him.  This bike doesn't sound like it could handle being ridden too hard but if you were looking for something for rail trails, dirt roads, or maybe even fire roads and didn't have a lot of coin, this might do the trick.  I would not recommend this bike if you were looking for a cheaper entry point into the 29er riding world because by the time you finish upgrading all the parts that would be broken you might as well buy something a little better and not from big box shop.
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