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Verdict: 
Great value entry level fixed that's fun and comfy to ride, but brakes need sorting
Weight: 
10,520g
Contact: 
www.mongoose.com
Mongoose Maurice
8 10

You may be an aspiring Chris Akrigg or just a normal Joe wanting to dart across town, but whatever you need from a fixed you'll get good value from Mongoose's Maurice, which is a fine ride and comes in well under most of the competition on price. There's a few cut corners along the way but the frame and fork are solid and you can upgrade the rest of the bits when they wear out, so it's certainly worth looking at as a starter fixed or a town hack.

The Maurice is based on a tightly built Cromoly steel frame and fork. The main triangle is butted and the chunky plain gauge stays end in a cast horizontal dropout. The black and orange livery is continued in the kit which is dominated by the garish orange wheels (Weinmann Thunderbird rims on Formula hubs) and the similarly pungent crankset, a painted FSA number. Mongoose finishing kit does most of the rest of the control and contact point duties – stem, bars, seatpost and grips are all own brand and sturdy enough, while stopping is the domain of Promax calipers mated with Radius BMX levers, also orange. A velo saddle, Wellgo flat pedals and Conti 25mm tyres are the finishing touches.

Given that this Mongoose, at £349, is £150 or more cheaper than machines from the likes of Charge, Marin and Felt, what's been sacrificed in the name of economy? Well, not that much is the answer. The chainset is not as well finished as the ones you'll find on the dearer city fixeds, and the paint wore off and there was a bit in the threads making swapping pedals a chore, but there's nothing functionally wrong with it. Similarly the Mongoose own brand kit is probably a half pound of extra weight over more expensive replacements but it's fit for purpose, and at 10.52kg the Maurice is hardly lardy, even with the overbuilt wheels. So far, so promising.

One thing to note on this steed is the sizing: it's awfully big for the stated size. I'm 1.90m and was perfectly happy on the medium that we had on test, which boasts a 56cm effective top tube that was just right, with the longish stem, for hacking round town. I'd have probably been okay on a large too as I'm perennially between sizes, but only the most vertically-endowed amongst you will ever need to look at an XL, and you'll probably need to look elsewhere if you're under average height as the small isn't that, well, small.

So what's it like to ride? Well, it's immensely fun to ride. The 65in gearing means it's quick away from the lights and it's easy to build up some pace, although obviously it limits top-end speed. On the freewheel side of the flip-flop rear hub it's a perfect gear for hilly Bath, riding fixed it makes the long descents a bit of a chore but other than that it's fine. If you're not blessed (or cursed) with hills round your way then best to budget for a smaller cog at the rear.

The bike feels lively and nimble, even considering the fact that the wheels are very much built for strength rather than light weight. The main triangle is short and the front is steep, tucking the wheel in and making the steering quick for traffic dodging. The downside to this is that there's plenty of toeclip overlap, which means taking care at slow speeds, especially when riding fixed. I ended up setting my cleats right to the front of my shoe to minimise the overlap but that didn't eradicate it completely. It's no worse than something like a Fuji Track but worth noting.

The Continental 25mm tyres do a bang up job of keeping things comfy and the frame feels more springy than you might think from looking at the burly stays. The raked fork has a bit of give too and overall it's a comfy bike for longer trips. You'll not do many centuries on it but for a 20 mile blast it's perfectly happy. It'd make a fine middle distance commuter with a slightly taller gear and you can even fit full mudguards and use it as a winter hack, all the relevant holes are there.

The Velo saddle isn't bad but it's easily swapped if you don't get along with it. The grips are a bit mushy but they're not uncomfortable, and the brake levers fall easily to hand even though they're small. I'm not a freestyle rider but I have heard both positive and negative comments regarding the Maurice. I think its capability in this regard, though, can be summed up in two words: Chris Akrigg. If it's no good for freestyle then perhaps you can explain this. And this.

So what is bad? Well, supplying a bike with brakes and fully painted rims is bad. I don't care if the hipsters are immediately going to whip the callipers off (and the fact that the rear cable is just cable tied on suggests that's what Mongoose reckon will happen), I want brakes that work if a bike's supplied with them. I fear for the rider who buys this bike on a rainy day from a bike shop at the top of a steep hill, set up singlespeed (as it inevitably will be) with brakes that are basically ornamental in the wet.

In the dry the pads wear their way through the paint to the Aluminium which has the multiple effects of making the rims look shabby, covering the rest of the bike (and possibly the inside of your lungs) in orange dust and eating through the blocks at an alarming rate: you can almost see them wearing down. Ours were ready for the bin after about 40 miles, that's not great. Machined rims please. At least as an option, and certainly on the front wheel. I've taken the sandpaper to my front rim to make my own braking surface.

Anyway, moan over. For £349 you can't expect miracles and the Mongoose has its flaws, but it's cracking value for money. Okay it's not loose change, but it's a lot of bike for not very much if you're thinking of trying singlespeed and fixed. If you bought this bike on Cyclescheme (other bike to work schemes are available) and you pay normal tax than you're probably looking at a monthly outlay of about 17 quid, who couldn't afford to part with that? just riding it in one day a week instead of jumping in the car would probably save you the cost of the bike over the year.

Verdict

Not without its flaws, but a great value entry level fixer that's comfy and fun to ride.

road.cc test report

Make and model: Mongoose Maurice

Size tested: M

About the bike

State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.

Cromoly frame and fork, butted main triangle.

Frame: 4130 double butted Chromoly track frame

Fork: Chromoly track fork with investment cast crown and dropouts

Chainset: FSA Alloy

Chainrings: 44 tooth

Bottom Bracket: FSA sealed cartridge

Cassette: Dicta 18 tooth freewheel and 18 tooth fixed gear

Chain: YBN half link

Pedals: Wellgo Alloy

Front Brake: ProMax dual pivot calliper

Rear Brake: ProMax dual pivot calliper

Brake Levers: Radius hinged BMX

Handlebars: Mongoose mini rise

Stem: Mongoose alloy Ahead

Headset: Tange STR Ahead

Grips: Mongoose BMX flanged with motomag plug

Rims: Weinmann Thunderbird deep section double wall alloy

Front Hub: Formula track sealed bearing bolt on 36 hole

Rear Hub: Formula track sealed bearing flip flop bolt on 36 hole

Spokes: 14G stainless

Tyres: Continental Ultra Sport 700x25c

Saddle: Velo race

Seatpost: Mongoose alloy with micro adjust clamp

Frame and fork

Overall rating for frame and fork
 
7/10

Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?

Not bad for a cheap fixer, the fork especially is nice

Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?

Cromo throughout, double butted for the three main tubes

How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?

For a medium it's basically enormous, i'm 1.90m and it fitted me fine. shorter in the top tube than a road bike, but just right for a city fixer

Riding the bike

Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.

Hammers along nicely accompanied by a lovely steely thrum

Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?

Plenty of stiffness in the back end with those big stays, just the right amount of flex in the fork

How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?

Single speed tranmissions are normally good, this one no exception

Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so, was it a problem?

Yes, lots. it was a problem trying to trackstand at the lights, i moved my cleats forward in the end

How would you describe the steering? Was it lively, neutral or unresponsive? Fairly lively

Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?

The bike feels short and the steering quick, it's very agile in traffic

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?

Conti tyres are excellent, the Velo saddle is comfy too. Grips are a but mushy.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?

Nope, it's all good

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?

They don't get much more efficient than one gear running smoothly

Rate the bike for efficiency of power transfer:
 
8/10

Stiff, direct

Rate the bike for acceleration:
 
8/10

Lowish gear makes the lights good fun

Rate the bike for sprinting:
 
6/10

You spin out too quickly

Rate the bike for high speed stability:
 
7/10

Not the most stable at speed but not scary either

Rate the bike for cruising speed stability:
 
8/10

Nice for city cruising

Rate the bike for low speed stability:
 
8/10

Agile but stable

Rate the bike for flat cornering:
 
8/10

Very easy to change direction

Rate the bike for cornering on descents:
 
6/10

A bit sketchy if you push it

Rate the bike for climbing:
 
7/10

Gear is fine for most stuff

The drivetrain

Rate the drivetrain for performance:
 
8/10

Very good setup

Rate the drivetrain for durability:
 
7/10

Painted chainset has pretty mucky pedal threads, fine other than that

Rate the drivetrain for weight:
 
6/10

Not what you'd call lightweight

Rate the drivetrain for value:
 
7/10

Good kit at a low price

Wheels and tyres

Rate the wheels and tyres for performance:
 
6/10

Well built, look good... until you brake

Rate the wheels and tyres for durability:
 
7/10

Should last for ages but they'll look tatty after the first ride

Rate the wheels and tyres for weight:
 
6/10

Longevity is the watchword here

Rate the wheels and tyres for comfort:
 
8/10

Tyres are excellent

Rate the wheels and tyres for value:
 
8/10

For the money, no complaints

Controls

Rate the controls for performance:
 
7/10

Brakes aren't great but that's the wheels' fault

Rate the controls for durability:
 
5/10

One set of blocks in 40 miles?

Rate the controls for weight:
 
7/10

No issues there

Rate the controls for comfort:
 
6/10

Grips are a bit mushy

Rate the controls for value:
 
7/10

The whole bike is good value

Your summary

Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes

Would you consider buying the bike? Yes

Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes

Rate the bike overall for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the bike overall for value:
 
9/10

Anything further to say about the bike in conclusion?

A few niggles with the kit but the frame's neat and fun to ride, and the price is excellent

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 37  Height: 190cm  Weight: 96kg

I usually ride: whatever I\\\'m testing...  My best bike is: Genesis Equilibrium with Ultegra 6700

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track

 

Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.

7 comments

Avatar
dave atkinson [6299 posts] 7 years ago
0 likes

by the by, if anyone knows where i can get some more of those Falke 3/4s, do let me know. Mine came from TK Maxx and i'm unlikely to ever see another pair in there. They're the comfiest riding trousers i've ever owned...

Avatar
handlebarcam [942 posts] 7 years ago
0 likes

Sounds like the perfect bike for space cowboys.

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pgm31 [42 posts] 7 years ago
0 likes

Drat it! I was going to ask you where the trousers came from. At least I know the brand name noe.

Avatar
dave atkinson [6299 posts] 7 years ago
0 likes
pgm31 wrote:

Drat it! I was going to ask you where the trousers came from. At least I know the brand name noe.

if you find any let me know... i've searched high and wide online but they only seem to be available as a women's trouser. Maybe i'm wearing girl's pants. Can't believe I'd fit in a women's large though  1

Avatar
step.doran [62 posts] 7 years ago
0 likes

Have your hips ever been described as 'child bearing'  10

Avatar
Zaskar [133 posts] 7 years ago
0 likes

 31

Avatar
Tony Farrelly [2893 posts] 7 years ago
0 likes

It would explain a lot