Mongoose’s Teocali has always been a high-traction trail bike with high-value kit packages. This year’s bike gets a lighter frame and longer travel.
The Teocali Super has a smooth sure-footed ride for complete trail confidence and the spec represents absolutely outstanding component value.
The soft power delivery and sensible character won’t get you excited, but it’s a bike to consider if you want a confident, superbly equipped bike for smoothing out any trail.
Ride & handling: smooth & confident but uninspiring
Mongoose’s Freedrive bikes have always had a unique feel under power due to the constant to and fro movement of the independent crank section of the frame in relation to both the front and rear halves. Basically, there’s a slightly stretchy sensation to the chain when you really put the power down. Mongoose has counteracted that this year with the extra compression tune, but you’ll still want to flick across the Pro Pedal lever on smooth trails if you’re a firm kick fan.
The upside of the ‘floating’ drivetrain is that very little knocks your pedalling out of its stride, and overall traction is outstanding however steep and stutter-bumped the trail gets. Once it gets past the Pro Pedal ‘platform’, the lower leverage ratio and higher shock volume give a creamy-smooth cushion of air to ride on, so the Teocali really floats along the trail.
However, you can feel the extra compression kick combining with the ramp-up of the shock and the overall action of the bike to create a real spike if you hit it hard off a drop or over a big block. It comes as a shock the first few times it happens, since until then you’ve been used to such a supple stroke.
There are no such shocks in the handling. The 90mm stem creates a stable but still easily biddable steering feel without compromising cockpit reach, and the 27in wide low-rise Eastons are our favourite bars. Add the high traction levels and you’ve got a surefooted ride that’ll cope with pretty much anything in your path with no hint of drama.
Even if the Kenda tyres start to slide sideways in wet conditions, it always feels like you’ve got plenty of time to gather them back in, and 3D balance is good too. The Mongoose doesn’t leap about from line to line, but if you need to get wheels airborne, it does it with a nice poise that lasts from launch to landing.
Although the ride is completely competent and far more secure than average, all our testers commented that they never really felt a spark with the Teocali. They had differing views on whether it was the overall smoothness that dampened the overall dynamics or the slightly mushy pedal feel. However, the consensus was that while the Mongoose won’t burn your fingers, it’ll never set you on fire either.
Frame: less weight, more travel
The Teocali name might have been round for a while, but the 2008 bike gets a whole new frame to play with. Sticking with the same overall layout, Mongoose has used a new hydroformed tubeset with shaped down and top tubes to drop 0.85lb (385g) of weight out of the chassis.
Rear wheel travel is increased slightly to 149mm, with a ‘High Volume’ RP23 shock in a longer 200mm format. This keep leverages and operating pressures lower than average, with a maximum compression tune to stabilise the stroke. Extra compression damping comes from the three-position Pro Pedal lever if you need it.
In practical terms, the Teocali runs a mixed of closed and open gear cable and the seat post slot faces backwards, so you’ll need to lube and grease it thoroughly after wet rides. The semi-matt anodized finish looks smart and should stay smart, though.
There’s a decent amount of mud room round the 2.1in tyres fitted, but you might finds things tight in heavy going with a set of 2.35in rubber. You’ll not find bottle mounts anywhere, either.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that complex-looking knots like the Teocali’s Freedrive system are bound to be more awkward to look after than simple swingarms. However, as long as the bearings and other bits are decent quality and/or easily replaceable like those on the Mongoose, our long-term users don’t report much difference in run times.
You might have to spend a bit more time with a bucket of water and brush to get all those nooks and crannies properly clean, though.
Equipment: classic components on parade
One thing that is certainly startling is the value for money you’re getting from the kit package. The Marzocchi fork is a great, supple match to the rear end, and the lock-out is handy if the buttery bounce of the front end annoys you on smooth climbs. The new lower end is noticeably stiffer than Fox forks for only an extra 100g or so over the floats.
The selection of Easton steering and seating kit is excellent quality and great value for money, but the real showstopper here is the parade of Shimano Deore XT kit. Not only do you get a full transmission’s worth of Shimano’s classic trail group, you even get XT hubs, which come with a longevity reputation that’s likely to make them heirlooms long after your last ride.
To be honest, we’re still not sure about the control and feel of the Servo Wave XT brakes, but there’s no denying they’re a lot more powerful than previous Shimano stoppers.
Elsewhere, saddle and tyres are well-proven favourites, and getting the complete package for a penny under £1500 is phenomenal.
Summary: smooth, tractive and safe
The phenomenal spec levels are an obvious attraction to the Teocali, but it’s also a really good bike. It’s very smooth, it provides an astonishing amount of traction and apart from occasional big-hit clunk, it feels like a totally safe place to be in any situation. However, it’s perhaps missing a certain spark that would really bring the bike alive.