Mongoose Switchback Sport review

Surprisingly capable off-road

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0
£269.99 RRP
Mongoose Switchback Sport

Our review

Solid dual-purpose bike that’s much better off-road than you might think it would be
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Mongoose describe the Switchback Sport as a “solid hardtail mountain bike for first-time trail riders”, but as with pretty much all bikes in its price range it’s designed to be able to turn its hand to urban utility and commuter duty too.

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Ride & handling: Balanced handling makes for a confident ride

With its semi-slick tyres and tall stem, the Switchback Sport doesn’t look like it’ll be entirely at home on the trail. Appearances can be deceiving though, and it turns out the Mongoose is surprisingly capable off-road. While the upright stem looks a little odd, it’s merely compensating for a low front end – the bars are actually at a pretty sensible height and there’s ample cockpit room to shift your weight around.

With dry conditions during the testing period, the minimally-treaded tyres didn’t prove much of a hindrance either. On hardpack trails, at beginner speeds, they’re not at all bad, and the low rolling resistance goes some way to offsetting the inevitable weight of the bike.

Start pushing, and the tyres get interestingly drifty, and they’re fairly hopeless in anything resembling mud. But the low price of the Switchback means it’s still good value even if you factor in a new set of rubbers early on.

Frame: Sturdy chassis with neat details

The Switchback clearly has dual-use intentions, as evidenced by the presence on the frame of both a kickstand fixing plate and disc brake mounts. The general style, though, is definitely mountain bike, with a low-slung frame and big, square-headed tubes up front.

The frame is further reinforced at the down tube/head tube junction by a substantial gusset – and chunky snaked stays at the back. The head tube takes a zero-stack semi-integrated headset, which is fairly unusual on a budget bike. Rack and mudguard mounts add versatility.

Equipment: SR Suntour fork is no great shakes, and tyres don’t like mud

The SR Suntour suspension fork is all-steel, with skinny stanchions, a welded-on brace and simple spring/elastomer internals. It’s heavy, flexible and bouncy but if you’re not used to a decent suspension fork then you’re unlikely to notice. There’s no adjustment, but it’s quite firmly sprung which stops plunging and the top-out is relatively gentle.

The Prowheel chainset isn’t quite as well finished as the Suntour and Shimano units found on some other bikes at this price, but it works well enough. You get the usual budget Shimano transmission parts, and the Promax V-style brakes do an adequate stopping job.

The rear freewheel is a 14-28-tooth unit. This delivers seven evenly-spaced ratios so you never hit the shifter and end up in a surprisingly spinny setting. The downside is that you don’t get a really low gear for steep climbs like on a 14-34. The 42/14 at the other end though, is a bit weedy and you may well spin out on the road – something like a 12-28 freewheel would be more versatile.

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The wheel package mixes Formula hubs with Alex rims, that include a handy wear indicator, shod with Innova Hardpack 2.0in semi-slick tyres. They’re a reasonable volume, which adds comfort, but are pretty minimally-treaded.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Switchback Sport (11)
Brand Mongoose

Available Colours Men's: Black or Silver Women's: Pearl white or Pink chrome
Headset Type 1 1/8" Zero Stack
Top Tube (in) 22.4
Bottom Bracket Height (in) 11.7
Spoke Type 14G stainless
Stem Mongoose alloy Ahead
Shifters Shimano EF51 EZ Fire Combo 21 spd
Seatpost Mongoose Alloy w/ micro adjust clamp
Seat Angle 73
Rims Alex Z1000 w/ wear indicator
Rear Wheel Weight 2500
Rear Tyre 26x2.0 Innova Hardpack dual tread
Rear Derailleur Shimano TX31
Pedals Resin platform
Head Angle 70
Available Sizes M XL Women - S M M L L M S S M S M S M S M S M L XS XS M XS M XS M XS XS S M L XS S M L
Handlebar Mongoose low-rise bar
Grips/Tape Mongoose Kraton
Front Wheel Weight 1900
Front Tyre 26x2.0 Innova Hardpack dual tread
Front Hub Formula Alloy QR 36H
Front Derailleur Shimano TY10
Frame Material Heat treated 6061 alloy w/ replaceable hanger & zero stack headset
Fork Suntour M2025 alloy crown, 63mm travel
Cranks ProWheel forged alloy triple (24/34/42T)
Chain KMC Z51
Cassette Shimano TZ21 14-28T, 7-speed
Brakes Shimano EF50
Wheelbase (in) 41.6