Mongoose Boot’R


In order to test out the various parts that companies are kind enough to send our way, it’s necessary to have a suitable rig to bolt them to, and the previous Distilled downhill bike was looking a little haggard after a few too many years’ service. In stepped the awesome people at Mongoose with a Boot’R, and suddenly the riding season was looking a lot brighter! After seeing the Team version of the Boot’R being raced to an Australian National Championship title under Mick Hannah, I was keen to see what the bike could do in my considerably less talented hands. The obligatory parking-lot test showed that the bike was an excellent pedaler, with very little power lost from each pedal stroke, and it really felt like a hardcore all-mountain bike rather than a full-on DH bike, especially given the slightly steeper than usual head angle. The huge Kenda Excavators in 2.5″ width were definitely adding a bit of rolling resistance but they looked like they would be pretty unstoppable on something with a bit of gradient.


The first parts to be swapped out were the brakes. Out went the perfectly good Hayes Stroker Trails (great lever feel, lots of power as is the norm with Hayes, but more modulation which is traditionally not a Hayes strong point), and in came the Saints. We were lucky enough to be sent a pair of these from Shimano USA and as everyone is probably well aware by now, they perform fantastically. The power is simply limitless and the modulation is excellent given the sheer power of the brake. Four pistons in total, with the leading pair engaging slightly before the trailing pair, make for a very confidence-inspiring piece of equipment. Definitely one of the best upgrades anyone can make, but at a price: $275 per wheel.


On the rocky trails of Diablo in New Jersey, the Boot’R was in its element. Every part of the bike seemed to have been well thought out and it really is one of those bikes that could be raced right out of the box. The parts selection was pretty inspiring, with nothing needing to be immediately swapped out as I usually find with even some of the best complete bikes out there. Funn took care of the controls with a direct-mount stem and Full-On bar, which unfortunately felt a little narrow, but this could also be due to the fact that the Saint levers could only be moved in so far, due to their clamp design and so left me wanting to move my hands off the end of the bar to be able to brake with my index finger right on the lip of the lever blade. Mongoose’s own-brand hubs laced to Sun MTX rims made up the wheelset. The hubs were very impressive and surprisingly good-quality for an own-brand piece of equipment, and laced to the incredibly dependable MTX rims, made for very strong wheels indeed. Now if Sun would stop drowning their rims in stickers (6 per wheel) they would be even better. Even the cassette was specced with a good ratio… no huge cogs here, just a nice, tight, closely spaced block, perfect for racing. Marzocchi handled the front and rear suspension, with a Roco R at the back and an 888 RCV at the front, all very capable stuff, definitely not as light as some stuff out there but with great adjustability and with that trademark Marzocchi smoothness that I have always loved. Even if their stuff is no longer made in Italy, performance doen not seem to have suffered at all.
On the hill, we had Diabo’s trademark sharp-edged rocks sticking out of the ground, a lot of dust in the open areas and some rapidly-drying wet sections after a downpour the night before, so conditions were perfect to get an all-round impression of the ‘Goose. Its pedaling efficiency was the first thing I noticed. This bike is very easy to get up to speed and whatever is going on down there (check out their explanation of the Freedrive system here: ), I definitely like it. Perhaps it has to do with the rearward axle path but the bike seemed to eat up Diablo’s momentum-sapping, square-edged rocks and carry speed well, and as much as it is a bike review cliche by now, I definitely felt myself going into things faster than usual and carrying more speed on the exits. On the tight, twisty stuff the bike was very much at home, no doubt in part to the head angle. Strangely enough this was not really a disadvantage on the flat-out, wide open sections, as the bike felt very stable at speed. The Kenda Excavator on the front was a godsend on fast, loose, gravelly sections as it held on tight and stopped the front end from squirming. The side knobs really bit in the loose corners, and the casing just felt bulletproof over even the sharpest rock sections. A really amazing tire for the front, but keep it for the big hills as it really is a tank and will no doubt slow you down on the milder stuff. We will be testing out some Geax DHEA’s next so look for a full report on those.
Initial impressions are very good for this bike, and when you consider that it retails for $2999, it is even more impressive. How they manage to spec parts like this on a sub-$3k bike is beyond me, so value-wise this has got to be the best downhill bike on the market. Look out for a full Distilled Digital review after a full season of riding, and check out  and for more info.

2 Responses to “Mongoose Boot’R”

  1. CRC Willingen Report « Says:

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