Sub-£1,000 full-sussers are rare offerings from mainstream bike brands, but the Salvo Comp isn’t even the cheapest dual suspension bike in the Mongoose family. That honour goes to the Salvo Sport, which costs £200 less. But the Comp benefits substantially from its higher pricetag, most notably by having a far better fork and an air shock.
Ride & handling: Weighty but fun and competent
Tipping the scales at 14,9kg (32.8lb), the Salvo Comp is never going to be an easy ride up the climbs, but its handling is good and the nicely controlled fork and shock ensure that it always feels confident and comfortable on rough terrain.
The performance of the rear suspension is relatively neutral in terms of pedal and weight-shift feedback, provided you pedal smoothly, or there’s a lockout lever on the shock that’s easy to flick while you’re riding – it doesn’t completely lock the shock but it does stifle it enough to allow stable climbing and steady road work.
This is a bike that promotes carefree fun when the terrain starts to point downwards, but it’s also not very suitable for rides to work, although the suspension lockouts help. Still, it’ll get you fit for the off-road blasts at the weekend.
Frame & equipment: Efficient suspension and decent own-brand kit
The Salvo’s single-pivot swingarm and rocker driven air shock configuration is a well proven design setup that’s well served by the chunky durability of the pivot bearings and multiplicity of tube shapes in the frame build.
There’s loads of strength where its needed, stiffness between the main frame and the back end is excellent and the basic frame heft is reasonable, although inevitably a coil-sprung fork and relatively hefty wheels conspire to nudge the overall bike weight up to nearly 15kg (33lb).
The good news is that the 120mm (4.7in) travel SR Suntour XCR fork offers silky plush compression and rebound, a good spring preload dial and a lockout lever – the lockout is a bit clunky if you hit a bump but, while occasional commuting is no big deal, this really isn’t a bike for long roadtrips – the 120mm of suspension travel is a strong hint at its intended usage.
Whatever price point you choose, full-sussers will almost always be specced with slightly downmarket parts compared to hardtails. The Salvo is a typical example of this.
A low budget SR Suntour crankset and Shimano Alivio 3×9 drivetrain provides an excellent range of gears that shift smoothly, but you’d be looking at classier setups on an £800 hardtail.
The wheels, similarly, are simply adequate, with the emphasis on their all-round strength rather than low weight. The Kenda treads are grippy in most conditions, and they roll fairly efficiently too.
The Promax brakes and Mongoose own-brand contact points are decent all-round performers with no particular weaknesses, so they need to be seen as small budget sacrifices that are worth making for the sake of a reasonably decent fork and shock. It’s easy to upgrade small parts as they wear out at a later date anyway.
This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.