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First ride review: Mango Point AR

Like the Mango Point R but more All Round with disc brakes and space for fatter tyres

British bicycle brand Mango Bikes has been busy recently, with the recent launch of its first aluminium road bike, the Point R, followed by the new Point AR (All-Round), which adds disc brakes and space for big tyres to the mix. It’s available in several builds priced from £550 with Shimano Claris up to £750 with Shimano 105.

Gravel bikes have been imported from the US in recent years and the essence of what sets those bikes apart from road and cyclocross bikes - disc brakes, big tyres, relaxed geometry - is finding many fans in the UK. Mango Bikes set out to create a bike for those cyclists that wanted a bit more ruggedness and versatility than a road bike, for all-road and multi-surface cycling. Basically, it’s not limited to just riding on the road.

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So the Point AR is loosely based on the Point R that we reviewed earlier this year, with a smooth hydroformed aluminium frame and internal cable routing, but there are some key differences. The frame is designed specifically to utilise disc brakes and the frame can accommodate up to 42mm. It’s developed a new carbon fork (with an alloy steerer) for the frame.

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Bikes will be sold with 32mm Vee Tire Co Baldy tyres which with is cut-slick tread pattern will provide a fast road ride yet with some grip in the dirt. Mango offers a 37mm Continental Contact II or cyclocross tyre upgrade option.

To accommodate the bigger tyres, the wheelbase has been stretched with slightly longer chainstays than the regular Point R road bike. Providing the sort of versatility many potential customers will probably look for in this sort of bike is the addition of mudguard and rack mounts.

Ride and handling

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I’ve spent some time on the entry-level Point AR240, which with a Shimano Claris parts package costs £550. Claris is an 8-speed drivetrain and Mango has added an FSA Tempo compact chainset to the mix, along with Avid BB5 mechanical disc brakes. Mango’s own Chasewood branded hubs are laced to WTB i19 tubeless-ready rims and we find the same Chasewood label on the aluminium handlebars, stem and a Mango saddle.

Having previously tested the Point R, it’s clear from my riding that the new Point AR hasn’t lost any of the speed or pace that made the previous bike so nice to ride. It bombs along the road with good speed, the riding position is good and it’s very comfortable over distance.

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It’s immediately clear that the Point AR is a more stable bike. At higher speeds or over especially over rough roads it’s much more composed. It’s more comfortable too, a result of the bigger tyres no doubt. It’s a bike you can quite happily ride all day on if that’s your thing. But if you want to belt around the roads for an hour in your lunch break, it’s fine with that too. The bigger tyres provide good grip in a range of conditions and on damp country lanes covered with leaves, grit and mud, the bike instills confidence.

The mechanical disc brakes aren’t the most powerful but they work reliably in all weathers, and they’re a bonus in the rain and mud. They’re easy to adjust as well, without needing any tools. Shimano’s Claris drivetrain may not be the poshest offering in Shimano’s range, but it works admirably with clean gear shifts and the brake levers have a nice ergonomic shape to them.

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The Chasewood aluminium handlebar has a nice shape with a compact drop and the stem is deliberately short - Mango has put a bit more length in the top tube - and the position wasn’t as cramped as you’d expect. The steering has an enjoyable liveliness to it without ever bordering on skittish. There’s nothing to stop you fitting a longer stem, but anyone getting into road cycling will find the setup very accommodating. Where the short stem really becomes advantageous is when tackling slippery off-road trails.

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Mango talks of the Point AR’s ability to devour more than just smooth tarmac roads, and the change to the geometry, along with the bigger tyres and improved clearance between the tyres and frame, certainly ensures the bike lives up to the claims. There are loads of gravel cycle paths around where I live and they’re a great way to get away from motor traffic and exploring the countryside at a more leisurely pace, and for mixing up otherwise predominantly road rides.

This style of riding is an ideal demonstration of how the simple addition of bigger tyres and some geometry changes endows the bike with much more ability than a regular skinny tyred road bike.

This was my first experience of the 32mm Vee Tire Co Baldy tyre, and I was impressed. They’re reasonably fast on the road and run at lower pressures (as low as 55psi for my weight) they provide outstanding comfort on the many rough roads I have to deal with round my parts. On gravel and dirt, they provide acceptable levels of traction, but they’re easily out of their depth in the mud, but riding in mud is taking them beyond their design brief, and it’s probably time for some cyclocross tyres.

There’s lots of talk about the popularity (or not) of gravel and adventure bikes, with their supposed do-everything versatility. In the past many cyclists have bought cyclocross road bikes but turned them into road bikes with wide slick tyres, but adventure bikes could start to replace this sort of bike, that is mainly used on the road. The Point AR fulfils this brief, but the road bike DNA shines through in the way it handles on the road.

What I found with the Point AR is that it can do everything that the Point R road bike could do, and more. While you lose out a little top-end speed and acceleration of the Point R, the Point AR more than makes up for that everywhere else. Ultimately, this isn’t a bike for racers, it’s for cyclists that want a comfortable and rugged road bike for commuting, leisure rides and Sunday sportives. And for that sort of riding, it’s very capable.


David worked on the tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes

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othello | 8 years ago

The base model is an absolute STEAL at £550

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