Mongoose Tyax Elite£280.00

Tyax is a mountain lake resort north of Vancouver, and while the Tyax Elite isn't a freeride bike for North Shore shennanigans, with its burlier tubing it's meant for more aggressive XC than the other bikes here.

BikeRadar score4.5/5

Tyax is a mountain lake resort north of Vancouver, and while the Tyax Elite isn't a freeride bike for North Shore shennanigans, with its burlier tubing it's meant for more aggressive XC than the other bikes here.

The top and down tubes are asymmetrical, becoming boxier and more oversized at the front end to add stiffness and strength - thanks to the chunky gusset - and it ought to survive any drop-off a £300 bike buyer will take it over. Its zero stack headset uses pressed-in cups, so the slop that can develop with fully integrated headsets shouldn't be an issue. Chainstays and seatstays are chunky and stiff, which all adds up to more weight.

Out of all four test bikes, the Tyax Elite feels most at home on man-made singletrack, and this is due to its fork. While it carries the letters XCM - like the Revolution's - this is a different beast. As well as the preload you'd expect, you get oil damping and adjustable rebound - which is something that you wouldn't. With the fork not rebounding manically over every trail ripple, you can descend faster and more sure-footedly. It even climbs easier, because the fork tracks bobbly surfaces better. And on technical sections the very wide bar and well-balanced feel make for great slow-speed stability.

Brakes and gears are only slightly more low-rent than its rivals, and the differences don't add up to anything you can feel through the seat of your pants. In fact, because it handles better on technical climbs, it feels as if its gears had a 34T bottom cog instead of a 32. The Kenda Komodo tyres are reasonable 'all condition' treads, a bit like a budget Fire XC Pro.

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