Tuesday, November 20, 2007 3.37pm
By Guy Kesteven
If it wasn't for the cheap bits around it, it would be hard to guess the price of the Mongoose Rockadile. A well-shaped reinforcing gusset supports the throat of the frame and all the welds are very neat.
To find out how much you can get from a bike at this price we raced the Rockadile at last summer's Bristol Bikefest a 12 hour event on one of the most technically demanding courses in the UK. With it's short, upright position, the Rockadile is set up for taking in the view, not hunting down the rider in front. However good tyres and low overall weight make it easy to lunge round at any overtaking opportunity. If you accept there's no room for a racing crouch, and sit up to get your breathing space, it actually climbs pretty well too.
This smirking cockiness did nearly kill us on the descents though, where the initially smooth fork response rapidly revealed its explosive rebound character. We were thrown completely off line several times, and with a lot of steering slur in the fork, we were damn lucky not to eat trail big time.
Obviously we were pushing the bike way beyond its intended limit though, and overall we really enjoyed each lap on the 'Goose. It's certainly more comfy and refined-feeling than we expected at this price, with the generously padded saddle offsetting the relatively narrow tyres.
The V brakes are a bit soft but stop sharply enough in the dry. Expect anchoring results to be a bit more random once the rims get wet or dirty, though. The Kenda tyres are loosely based on a classic IRC design and grip much better off-road than the centre ridge tyres common at this price.
Kickstanding proudly in the start field with its short, upright position, a lot of folk passed the Mongoose off as a joke. The number we passed not long after proved there's a proper bike at the heart of this friendly cruiser though. Lack of disc features is a pain upgrade wise and the fork isn't great, but it's comfy and surprisingly fast and responsive on the singletrack
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