Mongoose Canaan Elite review

We’re talking about a range of superb kit for the cash here, but is this year’s Canaan Elite really light enough for the elite?

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
USD $1,999.99

Our review

Well specced and controlled competition ride, but a bit on the heavy side
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Although it may not be quite as light as last year’s model, the 2008 Elite is still smooth, responsive and seriously traction-rich. Most impressively, this is a bike with an XT package at a price where LX is generally a highlight.


The facts

Strengthening gussets have been added to ensure the frame meets tough new CEN standards, but otherwise there are no significant changes over last year’s bike.

The long low front end is mated to the mirror-image low rear subframe to create a sleek chassis. Even the interlinked, multi-pivot knot of the Freedrive suspension system looks pretty neat. The short shock lies horizontally in an open cradle for easy Pro Pedal lever access, while the rear end is straddled by the forged and windowed base of the seat tube.

The feel

Mongoose has done a neat job of downsizing the Freedrive system without losing any of its obvious characteristics. Basically, the bottom bracket hangs between the mainframe and rear subframe, effectively halving the influence either end of the bike has on its action. The result is consistent ground connection even with only 100mm of travel, and the bike finds traction in almost any situation.

There’s very little interruption of pedal rhythm when it takes a hit, leaving you completely free to keep the power down across rocks, roots and cobbles. A low bottom bracket means you’ll have to back off over the big stuff or risk busting your pedals, though. You’ll also have to get used to a slight ‘elastic’ chain feel from the Freedrive as payback for the plush. It’s particularly noticeable on smoother surfaces, but flicking the Pro Pedal damping on adds a sharper top note for sprinting if it really bothers you.

Mongoose targets this bike at marathon racers, and the long top tube stretch and relaxed geometry really come into their own as the day goes on. It’s not the fastest tree weaver or most incisive line cutter, but it doesn’t need constant control corrections when you’d rather be conserving energy. The stable feel, low-slung weight and sturdy fork give it a reassuringly planted on fast descents, too.

Like we said at the start of this review, though, the Canaan isn’t the lightest bike in this test, but you do get a hell of a lot of bike for the weight that it is.

Kit notes

Although most of the excess weight is in the frame, the hefty Recon fork doesn’t help matters. It’s stiff enough to tackle stuff head-on though, and overall manners are controlled and complementary to the planted bike feel.

The full suite of XT kit you get fitted is remarkably good value, with impressively powerful Servo Wave braking and outstanding hub life among many highlights. Easton finishing kit is a bonus too, although you’ll need to include a set of more wintery/all-round tyres in your budget for year-round use.


Smooth, well shaped and balanced for longer, faster rides – and remarkably well equipped for stopand- go riding – the Canaan sounds a mean marathon competitor. Excess weight stilts both its ultimate speed and upgrade potential, though.


© BikeRadar 2007

Product Specifications


Name Canaan Elite (08) (US)
Brand Mongoose

Spokes Brand DT Swiss
Weight (kg) 13.02
Seat Angle 72
Seatpost EA50
Seat Tube (in) 18
Shifters Deore XT Rapidfire
Stem EA50
Top Tube (in) 23.5
Available Colours White
Rims SpeedDisc XC
Available Sizes L M S XL
Front Tyre Small Block Eight
Front Tyre Size 26x2.1
Rear Tyre Small Block Eight
Rear Tyre Size 26x2.1
Year 2008
Saddle Silverado Race
Rear Shock RP2
Bottom Bracket Height (in) 12.9
Frame Material Butted Alloy
Bottom Bracket External Bearing
Brakes XT Hydraulic Discs
Chain HG-73
Chainstays (in) 16.7
Cranks XT
Fork Recon Race RL100
Front Derailleur Deore XT
Rear Hub XT Disc
Front Hub XT Disc
Grips/Tape Lock-On
Handlebar EA50
Head Angle 69.5
Pedals Smarty
Rear Derailleur Deore XT
Handlebar Type Low Rise