Mongoose Tyax Elite £280

Grown-up geometry and tidy chassis features

BikeRadar score 3.5/5

Mongoose has been quietly offering some surprisingly well thought-out, competitively priced rides for a few years. The Tyax Elite, despite the aspirations implicit in its name, sits towards the lower end of the Mongoose hardtail hierarchy - but it's no budget clone. A roomier rider cockpit gives the Mongoose a feel that instantly sets it apart.

Longer top tubes tend to be reserved for costlier bikes aimed at more experienced riders, for whom the initially weird feeling of being 'stretched' across the bike has long since been forgotten under the influence of its handling benefits: better weight distribution, more room to move around over the bike, more stable descending and easier climbing. Wide, wide bars simply add to the feeling of easy control.

Tube profiles mimic the Tyax Elite's more expensive counterparts further up the Mongoose hierarchy, with chunky round-to-square section main pipes and rectangular section stays providing a pedalling platform that's rigid enough to be hammered, but compliant enough not to rattle the rider's fillings loose from their teeth through the first unexpected rock garden.

An adjustable hydraulic lockout nudges the Mongoose's Suntour fork to the top of this XCM pile and seems to cure this unit's tendency to a harsh top-out, albeit at the expense of the loss of some small bump suppleness. Simple block tread patterns on the tyres give plenty of wet-and-dry grip with a moderate degree of cushioning from trail shock.

A full Shimano transmission provides effortless shifting at the expense of non-replaceable chainring, while the Mongoose - along with the GT - is the only bike here to feature shifter barrel adjusters both front and rear for tweaking gear shifting on the fly. A heavy and soggyish lever feel makes the specced Promax cable discs one of the less impressive of this batch. Despite this blot on its report card, the Tyax's overall riding experience is pleasantly confidence-inspiring.

Budget bikes are always a compromise, but by giving the Tyax Elite the kind of geometry normally reserved for more expensive bikes and not making any glaring specrelated cock-ups, Mongoose has created a machine that'll allow any rider's skills to grow and flourish.

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