Mongoose rocked up at the Mega Avalanche in Alpe D'Huez in July to launch the Khyber for one good reason. While enduro DH events are still in their infancy outside France, Mongoose see them as a potential 'next big thing', and bikes that can haul uphill before hammering pro level downhill are a lot of fun, as the new Khyber proves.
The new frame is somewhere between the Teocali trail bike and the Black Diamond freeride bike. Oversized hydroformed tubes kink for plenty of standover, while the multiple pivots of the Freedrive system sit in a tight knot underneath. Length is the now classic 'not quite XC' stretch that makes it easy to throw your weight around.
On the kit front, Mongoose have chosen Marzocchi's latest 'All Mountain' duo, the 55 fork and Roco piggyback. They might be air sprung, but like most Marzocchi kit they're super succulent ground suckers. Apart from that it's a beefier spec than most all-rounder machines, with a chain roller-equipped double chainset and a proper DH cockpit from Funn. Broad WTB rims mean you've got the choice to skin up with relatively light tyres like those here, or go proper wide if it's a rocky DH day.
The Khyber really gets its groove on with gravity behind it. Angles are backed off towards high speed, impact-shrugging stability, encouraging you to just let go and let it roll, however evil the trail. When it does get tight it'll happily roll your shoulder in and out of the switchbacks or sit back and launch longer drops with an easy shrug.
There's very little pedal kickback to put you off your stride, and it's less inclined to hang up under braking than other floating drivetrain bikes we've ridden.
We'll have to wait until we've ridden the production suspension and found out pricing details (though Mongoose never disappoint on value) to draw proper conclusions but here are our initial thoughts...
The Khyber feels utterly secure and controlled over the most technical terrain, whether you're heading up or down. Handling is a great easy/lazy balance that'll keep you relaxed and rubber side down and make the sketchiest lines feel totally doable.
It's packing a bit more weight (36.2lb) than some competitors, but with full DH cockpit and transmission, it steps up several rungs on the strength ladder. The high traction Freedrive action won't stop til you're at the top of your chosen summit, either.