Mongoose Boot’r review: Part 1
Mongoose has put a lot of weight behind gravity MTB in recent years both in SA and internationally. Locally they sponsor the Greg Minnar / Mongoose downhill series held in KZN, which forms the backbone of the DH racing calendar in that part of the country. Internationally they have been fielding teams in both the USA and Australia, as well as on the world cup circuit sponsoring local rider Andrew Neething’s campaign for the last 4 years. Along with this they have launched a strong line of gravity based bikes in 2009. These include the Nugget (slopestyle), Pinn’r (freeride), and the Boot’r (downhill), with the Pinn’r and Boot’r both being available in 2 price point models as well. We will be doing a long term review on the new downhill specific “Boot’r” model. In this first part of the review we will be giving you a run down of the bike and its spec, from there we will do monthly report backs filling you in on how it rides and holds up to everything we throw at it…
The Boot’r is sold in two models with the Boot’r being their base model, and the Boot’r Team being their top of the line machine. The bike we are testing is the Boot’r that shares the exact same frame as the “Team” but has been specked to keep the price down. This bike is the result of team riders like Eric carter, Steve Romaniuk, and Andrew Neething all putting their heads together to refine the old ECD model. The bike builds on the Mongoose “Freedrive” system that was used on the previous frames but that’s pretty much where the similarities end. Right out the box this DH rig looks much more purposeful and race ready then its predecessors, and its clear the guys at Mongoose have take a lot of the rider feedback into account. The bikes has been fine tuned and refined, cutting away a lot of the previous “cosmetic” elements that could be found on the ECD (logos punched out of gussets / weird down tube shapes) as well as simplifying and dialing in the frames geometry.
Mongoose has opted to keep the geometry set and not offer any adjustability on the Boot’r, and I think this is a great decision. Firstly the less nuts and bolts there are to rattle loose the better as far as I’m concerned, and lets face it, frames with adjustable geometry always have more nuts and bolts to come loose. The other reason I like this is that 9 out of 10 people with adjustable frames set up their geometry once and then never change it again. After its been set up by the rider (and usually completely wrong) it stays as is for the rest of the bikes life, leaving you to have to keep tightening all those bolts for no real benefit at all. By keeping the geometry fixed you know that the bike is pretty much bomb proof, and set up correctly from the get go. And while there are a few people who can set up an adjustable frame correctly, and put the benefits to use, for the vast majority of people having fixed geometry definitely makes the most sense.
When it comes to geometry the guys at Mongoose have also done their homework. The freedrive system allows for the 210mm suspension to work like a single pivot, but lets the BB move independently from the front and rear triangle. In doing so the bike pedals incredibly well without any compromise to the suspensions capabilities. The bike comes with a 65.5 degree head tube angle which provides plenty stability at high speeds but also gives you quick enough turning to get you through the technical sections with ease. The 1.5 inch head tube also gives you plenty options in terms of fork choice and headset options. The rear end features a 150mm rear end with Maxle dropouts, all of this is linked up to the front end with some beefy hardware and bigger sealed bearings then least years DH models. All the welds are clean and even, and the satin black paint finish really finishes the frame off well. All in all the Boot’r frame is really well thought out, and well finished machine.
Building on the redesigned frame Mongoose have specked the Boot’r with some well thought out and quality parts. Suspension duties are handled by Marzocchi with a 888 RCV fork and a Rocco R rear shock. The forks come with 200mm of travel, rebound, compression, and pre-load adjustment. The Rocco R shock features rebound and pre-load adjustment and comes stock with a 350lb spring. Both these shocks should provide plenty of adjustability and after setting them up will allow you to get the most out of the frame. After initially building up the bike I found the forks to be particularly hard, but after a little fiddling around we finally managed to get them soft enough to match the rear by letting almost all the air out of them. Once we have started riding the bike I will keep you updated on how we finally set it up, as we still have some way to go with the tuning of both the fork and rear shock.
The drivetrain features Truvativ Husselfelt cranks, Shimano HG chain, E thirteen chain guard, Sram cassette, and a set of Mongoose sealed bearing pedals. Let me start by saying that I am really fussy when it comes to pedals. I have a particular brand that I love and there are very few products I feel come close. I had initially planned on switching the stock pedals out for a set of my own as soon as I got the bike, but was suitably surprised when I saw the Mongoose pedals. They have a nice low profile shape and the platform is just the right size. The studs are removable and pretty much the perfect length, and the sealed bearings seem to run smooth as well. I have yet to ride them so cant comment on their durability just yet, but my first impressions are that they are a very decent set of pedals.
As for the other components in the drivetrain with names like Shimano, Truvativ, Sram, and E thirteen you know you are getting good stuff. The chain guide is the top of the line LG1 model, and is found on many a world cup racers machine so you know your chain isn’t coming off. The cranks and cassette may not be the top of the line components from their respective brands however they are certainly not the bottom of the range either, and are more then capable of taking care of the necessary duties.
Shifting duties are taken care of by a Shimano SLX shifter and the Saint short cage derailer. The Saint line is Shimano’s top of the line DH groupset and you couldn’t ask for a better derailer on a DH rig. This thing really is beautiful and shifts as good as it looks. SLX is also fast making a name for itself as one of the best value for money groupsets on the market, and is giving some of Shimano’s more expensive models a run for their money in the performance department. As far as shifting goes the kit on the Boot’r really is top quality stuff.
Braking duties are handled by a set of Hayes stroker trail stoppers. These are set up to a pair of 8′ rotors front and rear to make sure you stop in a hurry if you need to. The levers feature tool free reach adjust which is really helpful and makes setting up the brakes a breeze. The levers also feature clamps on the back of the levers so they can be removed without taking off the grips.
Up front the Boot’r is supplied with a Funn MZ2 direct mount stem and a set of Funn full on bars. By now Funn products should need no introduction, and are used by many of the worlds top racers. The direct mount step is a nice upgrade on a complete bike, and with the bars being 710mm wide they will no doubt provide plenty of control.
The rolling stock on the Boot’r also features some great products and well thought out items in the mix. Keeping you on the ground are a set of 2.5 Kenda Excavator tires. Having ridden Excavators before in a 2.35 size I am a big fan of these tires and look forward to trying out the larger 2.5’s. The compound is super soft on the sides giving you great grip and confidence in the corners, while the harder rubber in the centre ensures you have plenty grip when cranking. A set of sun ringle MTX 31 rims are then laced to a set of sealed bearing Mongoose hubs. the MTX rims were recently voted one of the top rims on the market by an international mag, and these 31mm wide versions should be the perfect mix of light weight and strength for DH racing. While the hubs are not a name brand they are both sealed bearing and feature a 20mm through axle up front, and a 150×12 Maxle at the back. All in all a nice set of wheels that should hold up great to whatever you throw at them.
Last but not least we come to the seating arrangements where Mongoose have specked the Boot’r with a custom SDG I beam seat and post. The I beam system has definitely made its mark on the industry and looks set to be here for a very long time. The mixture of lightweight and a wide range of adjustability make them a great seat / post choice, and this custom one looks the business on the Boot’r.
So looking back over the bike it is clear the Mongoose really have produced their best DH rig to date. The cosmetic elements of the previous EDC were one of the things that put me off the bike the most, and detracted from a bike that otherwise rode pretty well. In comparison the Boot’r clearly looks like a more purposeful machine in that the way it is designed appears to be focused more on performance then looks, and ironically that also makes the bike look a lot nicer as far as I’m concerned. The new frame and geometry is right up there with what current riders need, and to back it up Mongoose have specked the bike with a great range of components as well. Now that you have seen the bike in its “out the box” freshness its time for us to send it down a few hills, and we will keep you updated on its progress on a month to month basis.
Tags: 2009 Mongoose Boot'r