Mongoose have long been associated with BMX and dirt jump bikes, and the Fireball is their latest dirt demon. It comes in at a very reasonable price too.
Ride & handling: Stable and predictable in the air
The Fireball's frame geometry feels great, and the top tube allows plenty of room to manoeuvre in the air, while the 435mm chainstay length creates good stability. The aluminium frame is pretty stiff too.
Unfortunately the RST fork doesn’t have any kind of damping, meaning it’s a bit like riding a pogo stick, with harsh bottom-outs on take-offs and top-outs in the air, which doesn’t inspire confidence. It feels stiff when steering, considering it only uses a quick-release axle.
The good thing is that’s about the only hole we could pick in the Mongoose Fireball. Although the rest of the spec comprises relatively low-end components, it all did what it was there to do, and is still fighting.
The MRP chain device was flawless – though we did wonder why the MRP was mounted to the bottom bracket shell when the frame features ISCG tabs – and even the basic SRAM gears didn’t miss a beat. Even after a good few days of abuse, casing jumps and getting things wrong, the wheels are still running true, and the 36-hole rims have certainly proved their worth.
On the BMX track, the Fireball rides as well as many bikes that cost double the price simply because the frame geometry is great. It’s stable and predictable in the air, and rides as if it’s a lot lighter than its 15kg (33.1lb) weight. This is thanks in part to the low rolling resistance of the Kenda K-Rad tyres, which even made the journey to and from the jumps a breeze.
Frame & equipment: Simple chassis with solid parts pick
Mongoose’s 6061 aluminium frame is pretty simple, which gives it an easy-on-the-eye appearance. There are gussets where there should be, and it has a nice forged bottom bracket shell/chainstay yoke. The cables are routed under the top tube which keeps them out of the way – useful if there's any unfortunate contact between your nether regions and the tubing.
When it comes to vital statistics, the head angle comes in at 69.5 degrees, the top tube at 580mm (horizontal length), and chainstays at 435mm. Keeping to the 1.125in head tube size and usual 68mm bottom bracket means it’ll be cheap and easy to find replacement bearings too.
At a pound under £400, the Mongoose build kit isn’t highly desirable, but they’re all good components that'll do the job well. Suntour’s Duro cranks and SRAM X4 mech and X4 shifter all work fine, albeit at a weight penalty. Tektro mechanical disc brakes control the stopping and there are plenty of other great touches like the small flanges on the grips, a sensibly wide bar and short stem.
This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK