Wednesday, April 7, 2010

BSNYC Product Review: Walmart's Mongoose Cachet "Fixed-Speed" Bicycle

In New York City during springtime, the the only thing blooming more colorfully than the flowers are the cyclists. Fair weather, hormones and soaring pollen levels conspire to send people into an excitable state, and to travel the streets during this time is to bear witness to an exuberant display of bicycles, clothing, and riding styles. Consider this fetching pink blossom:

In New York City, where the streets are often congested, narrow bars can help you make your way through traffic jams. However, there is a point at which bars become too narrow, and that is when they are narrower than you. So, unless the owner of this bicycle is actually hiding behind that pole (or unless this is a remote control bicycle and it often travels riderless), then these bars are pointless and the rider may as well dispense with them altogether. Sure, on a certain level it's unfair to judge, since what works for one rider may not work for another, but I maintain that when your bars are narrower than your "Q-factor" you need to reevaluate your setup. The only legitimate reason for these bars that I can come up with this that the Fixedgeargallery has gotten overcrowded and is switching to an ultra-narrow photo format (as in the photo above), and so this will soon be the only way to get your bike on there.

Similarly puzzling is springtime intersection behavior, when "shoaling" and "circling" grow rampant. "Circling" occurs when a rider simply rides around in circles at an intersection, and while it's usually tentative, it can also be aggressive. Here's one rider I witnessed yesterday who was actually circling the crosswalk at high speeds and while in the drops:

Notice that the rider (who may or may not be actor Giovanni Ribisi) has paused briefly to tug anxiously at the sleeve of his stripey "hoodie" and peer menacingly at me through his amber "Bar Mitzvah sunglasses:"

A fraction of a second later, though, he was off like a bullet made of turquoise:

Note the look of intense concentration and the fact that the force of his acceleration has caused his amber glasses to slip down his nose:

I don't know what race he was participating in, but whatever it was I'm sure he won.

But spring is not only about demonstrative riding; it's also a time in which those who do not have bicycles at all contemplate purchasing one. Inevitably, at least some of these prospective riders will be drawn to the purported simplicity, multiple "colorways," and supposed "cool factor" of the fixed-gear bicycle. Furthermore, as we all know, the fixed-gear bicycle (or at least the look of the 21st century "urban" fixed-gear bicycle) has officially attained complete pop-cultural absorption with the advent of the $150 Mongoose Cachet "fixed-speed" bicycle, now available at Walmart.

As I mentioned in a prior post, I was happy to learn about the Cachet, since I believe anything that makes it more difficult for people to convince themselves that they are "special" or "cool" is a good thing. (Indeed, a reader informs me that, so complete is the mainstreamification of the fixed-gear aesthetic, even Gawker is commenting on it.) Additionally, I believe that accessibility (both in terms of widespread availability and low price) is also a good thing, and that these sorts of bicycles should not be the exclusive domain of monied 20- and 30-somethings with access to trendy boutiques. Ultimately, my sincere hope upon learning about it was that the Cachet would help wrest the whole "fixie" thing from the grip of the "hipsters" and place it in the hands of America's teenagers where it belongs. However, to put it simply, all of this egalitarianism is no good if the bike is a total piece of crap. So I filled out the necessary paperwork and ordered a Cachet from the Walmart website to see what it is that these prospective cyclists will be getting.

The bike arrived five days later. Here it is, the end of your precious "culture" packed neatly in a box:

(The "Pandora's Box" of the fixed-gear "culture.")

Eagerly, I opened it, and moments later the Mongoose out of the box and the clichéed cat was out of the bag:

(Packing material or free top-tube pad? Depends on how you look at it.)

I should mention at this point that when I ordered the bike the website did not give me the option of selecting a size, so I can only assume Walmart only offers one. Additionally, I could find no information on the site as to what size that single size actually was (nor could I find the Cachet on the Mongoose website), and the only dimensions seemed to refer to the size of the box. Measuring the bike, I determined that it was what most manufacturers would probably call a 55cm or perhaps a "medium"--which, as it happens, fits me fine.

But enough of all this technical "sizing" jargon. I know what you're really wondering at this point, and the answer is, "Yes, it does have an integrated chainguard tab:"

("All You Haters Cuff My Pants.")

Next, like a child on Christmas morning, I began to liberate the Cachet from its packing materials. (Not an excited child, mind you; more like a really depressed child who suspects his alcoholic parents may have given him a single used sneaker again this year.) Once it was free, the first thing I noticed was that the headset cups had been pressed in at a decidedly jaunty angle (either that or the headtube was misshapen), both top:


And bottom:

The next thing I noticed was that the headset was so tight that I could barely move the fork. Clearly, this was unrideable, and I would have to loosen the lock nut and adjust it. Using the appropriate tool, I endeavored to do so, but it was on so tight that the nut actually started to round off before I eventually managed to free it:


Note the abundant metal shavings:

Once I had disassembled the headset, I considered removing and reinstalling the cups. However, I was worried that the headtube or the cups might not survive, and so instead I simply adjusted the headset and reassembled it. It didn't look pretty, but the fork turned fine.

Now that fork could move, it was ready for a front wheel:

The stamped fork dropouts were also a bit crooked, but I was able to install the wheel. Incidentally, you may have also noticed by now that the Cachet features 48-spoke wheels, front and rear. Clearly Walmart is being cautious here, and they are also reaffirming international stereotypes about obese American "big-box store" customers in the process. Still, too many spokes is always better than too few, and the wheels were adequately true.

Next, I removed and reinstalled the rear wheel. (The chain was so highly tensioned I could have fired an arrow from it.) Note the name-brand freewheel:

Everybody knows "Long Yih Industry" is the White Industries of China.

Incidentally, many people have correctly speculated that the term "fixed-speed" is Walmart-ese for "singlespeed." Others (like Gawker) have also incorrectly pointed out that Walmart is selling fixed-gear bicycles. Technically, they are not, although the Quando rear hub is fixed-gear-ready:

The Fixed-Gear Apocalypse is indeed upon us. When the 666th person installs a fixed cog on his or her Cachet, the world as we know it will come to an end, serial retrogrouch and uber-curmudgeon Jobst Brandt will rise from his grave (even though he's currently alive and well), and we will all meet our fates at the mesh cycling gloved hands of the Four Recumbent Riders of the Apocalypse.

Oh, and if that's not apocalyptic enough for you, with 113mm rear spacing I'm pretty sure the Mongoose Cachet is "NJS:"

Then again, my tape measure may just be a "POS." Either way, though, we're all doomed, which is probably why Walmart doesn't want you to ride your Mongoose Cachet at night:


With the cockpit and wheels both able to turn freely, I shifted my attention to the "calipur" brakes, which were relatively flimsy-looking single-pivot models. The front brake in particular was quite loose and wiggled in the fork, making it impossible to center. So I went to tighten the fixing nut:

As I continued to turn it, I realized nothing was happening. Figuring it must be stripped, I then attempted to remove it, but nothing happened then either. Instead, it kept spinning and spinning while mysteriously staying in place no matter which way I turned it:

Vexed by this hypnotically-spinning nut and unable to either remove or tighten the brake, I then took it apart, which only served to underscore how generally out of alignment the front end of the bicycle was:

Ultimately, I concluded, it would need to be removed destructively and replaced, but in the meantime I simply reassembled it and moved on to making sure the crankarms were on tight:

They were. Then, I installed the conveniently color-coded pedals:

Finally, I installed the seatpost and saddle, topped off the tires, and hit the streets. Here's the view from the "cockpit:"

I headed immediately to the bike path on Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn. Apart from the odd "hipster" making an ironic fixed-gear schlep to Coney Island, the bicycle traffic there consists almost entirely of department store bikes. Really, it's to Magnas and Huffys what Daytona Beach is to motorcycles, so I figured it was a perfect place for a test ride. Not only was the front end generally off-kilter, but the pedals also squirmed slightly under my feet, indicating that perhaps the bottom bracket spindle was bent. Also, when I coasted, instead of the click-click-click of pawls there was an odd vinyl "whooshing" sound. Still, it worked. Here it is, leaning seductively on its kickstand:

Frankly, I had mixed feelings at this point. Sure, $150 was cheap, and sure the bicycle worked, but the mangled headset and front brake in particular were troublesome to me, and it seemed that even $300 could buy you a much better bicycle from a different vendor. Then again, while I like to think I prize utility over extravagance, the fact is that in many ways I'm perhaps too far removed from the Mongoose Cachet demographic to judge it properly, and maybe the fact that it rolls is enough. As I said earlier, my hope was that the Cachet might serve as sort of a "gateway drug" for the American teenager, and clearly I needed a teenager's point of view. So, I turned the bike over to my ironic intern, Spencer Madsen for further testing. As you can see, he looks pleased yet apprehensive:

Once the "Youth of America" test results are in, I will share them with you at a later date. In the meantime, if you go to Walmart, you may want to stick to the sheds.

202 comments:

1 – 200 of 202   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

Yea!

Pontius Pilate said...

HAIL CSZR

-P.P.

mikeweb said...

podium?

Anonymous said...

I'm still anonymous

landis in 06 said...

q-factor

Anonymous said...

save money. live better

Anonymous said...

save money, live better

bubba said...

top 10?

ant1 said...

ant1st!

Matt said...

pack.

landis in 06 said...

snobby show us your q-factor

rezado said...

hi-rez

g said...

Top 20? Damn, pollen got you folks movin'!

Anonymous said...

Tuff WHeel thingee!

Anonymous said...

15th!

Bad Lawyer said...

Cool

Astroluc said...

Crooked bikes are bad for America

PACK FODR

mikeweb said...

Nice job Pontius.

Great review Snob! I'm pretty sure I've seen Spencer's picture on the side of a milk carton. The authorities have been alerted.

YATE said...

BUT CAN YOU DO BAR SPINZZZZZ???

hillbilly said...

mikeweb and PP in the money, very nice.

that's even worse than i expected from a 150 dollar bike.

Anonymous said...

Holy crap there are lot of threads showing on your (adjustable?!) bottom bracket. Could be why your pedals were squirmy.

48 spoke wheels are so BMX

3G said...

GOOSE ME

Anonymous said...

FUCK THAT

g said...

I can only imagine how much worse it would have been if the Walmart employee who just finished putting together Charbroil grills for the last hour had gotten his vice-grips on that thing.

DETH BIKE

acquiesce808 said...

i got a pipe wrench you can borrow if you need to make any more adjustments to that Chris King headset.

Strayhorn said...

Jeebus, did they put the cups on with a sledgehammer? The headtube looked pinched. The cranks looked to be mated to the wrong bottom bracket. This is not even a BSO, it's a POS.

After viewing the quality control evident on that bike, I'll be sure to laugh extra loudly the next time the WSJ or NYT runs a story about China taking over the world.

Omega-Pharma Lotto said...

Damn.

10,000 Aches said...

$150 for a ticket to hipsterville sounds too good to be true,

ringcycles said...

"the Four Recumbent Riders of the Apocalypse",

Flee, Flee to the hills! And don't look back or into your helmet mirror. You'll be turned into a pillar of electrolyte powder!

10,000 Aches said...

What are you waiting for? Even though there was a comma, there is no more.

Isolation Helmet said...

Since even Mongoose does not feature the bike on their website says alot. But to license your name to such a piece of carp?

ben said...

"and we will all meet our fates at the mesh cycling gloved hands of the Four Recumbent Riders of the Apocalypse."
More like ungloved hands. Recumbent riders typically do not distribute their weight to their palms :)

Anonymous said...

CARP BIKE

GOOD BOX!

Test Tickle said...

they attack you from the right side - down the left side -
down the middle till you don't know who you are.
stay around - think it don't really matter - there trying to put
you 6 feet under the ground.

buzz rulz

balls.

Bad Lawyer said...

The Bad Lawyer has a young lawyer friend/former Playboy "girl next door"-pal. Last summer her boyfriend baught her what is labeled a Schwinn. A sadder example of manufacturing malpractice I have not seen until today. At least Mongoose, does not have the cachet of "quality" that Schwinn had for geezers like myself. In otherwords, I never had an expectation that their name plate connoted quality bicycle.

Todd said...

Giovanni stopped riding his fixie a few years ago after he broke his ankle when he fell of his motorcycle. Used to see him riding around all the time in my old 'hood and he was sketchy on a bike w/o brakes.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Do these come assembled at your local WalMart? I am truly intrigued at the concept of a "disposable" bike. With what airlines charge to ship a bike, I am envisioning flying into a major metropolis, taking a short cab ride to the nearest WalMart, riding my shiny new POS for the duration of my stay, then abandoning it curbside at the airport upon my departure. Homeland Security will surely happen by momentarily and tow it away to an uncertain future.

MichaelM said...

WMRT SUKS

wishiwasmerckx said...

Another question. In the first picture, is that guy in the crosswalk carrying a pole-vault? Has NYC traffic gotten so bad that people actually pole-vault over it?

ant1 said...

Bad Lawyer - we're gonna need to see pictures, and hopefully get the news that the boyfriend is now and ex. thanks.

wishiwasmerckx said...

On the Gawker link, there is a link to a much more interesting article about Sandra Bullock, Dirty Sanchez and a sex tape.

Anonymous said...

HDST BENT

Wes said...

Snob

Is that an FGPP on the Turquoise Wonder's cool whip as well? It's hard to make out from the photo, the quality of which normally approaches David Bailey standards.

ant1 said...

wiwm - take a mongoose, leave a mongoose?

Anonymous said...

It has lovely whole steel crankarms too. Bet they weigh a metric ton.
That freewheel can only be removed with an old and mostly unavailable Suntour 2-teeth freewheel removal tool, unless you put it in a bench vise and remove it destrutively. But it's no problem, most people will never ride the 100 or so miles that this premium freewheel was built to endure, after which the bike(?)effectively turns into a fixed gear because the pawls couldn't take it anymore.
Good stuff, baby.

Daddo said...

"Since even Mongoose does not feature the bike on their website says alot. But to license your name to such a piece of carp?"

Walmart will make their suppliers do some hideous things:
http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/77/walmart.html

Peter said...

obviously the author has never weaved through traffic on his bicycle, for if he had, he would intuitively know that the bicycle rider's body does not always stay in strict alignment with the bicycle he is handling.

simple geometry? oh my!

Anonymous said...

how many glasses of milk and / or small children does the mongoose weigh?

acquiesce808 said...

Long Yih: "The Company All Staff Always Grasps Strives for Perfection." "Our goal is that we offer the best production to the market and hug all of the domestic clients, cherishing all of resources and supports." (according to their internets site.) i want a hug too!

Jefe said...

Sam Walton hated cyclists and Communists. Thus, for pure irony he ordered that the China, a country normally skilled in functional velo technology, be tasked to make the worst bike ever. He even thought of the fake warning "Do Not Ride at Night," to tempt riders to try. Night is when the wheels and handlebar magically disengage, sending the occupant twisting and writhing in front of an oncoming SUV. Poor Spencer. It will be hard to replace him.

Anonymous said...

pie plate on giovanni

TJ Eckleburg said...

Spencer looks like a young Paul Simon.

ant1 said...

peter - so when the rider leans to one side, the crank and pedals move in relation to the bars (q factor, get it?)? i see the point you're trying to make, it's just not enough to defeat the point snobby made. then again, a comment starting with "obviously the author has never [done something he's been blogging about for years]..." shows that its author obviously has never had much grasp of anything.

simple logic? oh my!

I am the (very depressed) engine said...

From Strayhorn - "After viewing the quality control evident on that bike, I'll be sure to laugh extra loudly the next time the WSJ or NYT runs a story about China taking over the world."

I got very depressed when reading your post today. For a minute I thought I was reading a Consumer Report review before they subcontracted out their "testing".

This was a great post, I wonder if WSJ or NYT will show as much interest in this post as your identity outting?

I suspect not, since it is not "good business" to bash Walmart, and the crap they sell.

I suspect that Mongoose will put it on their web site after "extensive" consumer testing by Wall Mart.

I think we need Liz Hatch or ducks tomorrow.

Bristol Traffic said...

I'm going to defend shite bikes from supermarkets -here in the UK "Apollo" branded bikes from Halfords - a car retail outlet- are depressingly popular. What they have in their favour is this: they will still be there when you stagger out the pub at midnight. In fact, they will still be there if you drink until 2am forget where you left the bike and only find it two months later. Nobody steals Apollo bikes. Nobody even bothers to strip the parts from them. That's why they are practical an high-theft environment, like Bristol, England.

If there is a failing of the Walmart toy that nobody has picked up on is that it doesn't radiate utter awfulness so blatantly that nobody will try to steal it. No, if you want a really bad bike that gets left alone it has to have full MTB suspension and a saddle designed for someone who has 12 buttocks. This bike may be mechanically awful, but it looks too cool for its own good.

System Administrator said...

Listen, I'm on to you people. Yesterday someone posted a comment to the effect of "If someone throws a rock at you, duck".

You're not fooling anyone. I'm on to your gratuitous duck jokes.

If you persist, I will hunt your sorry ass down.

What I do with it once I find it, I don't know.

Let me sleep on it.

Eric B said...

POS or not, I think the appropriately named Cachet is great. How uncool is it now to ride a fixed in the big city when the morons you were showing off to back home in the sticks can get the same thing from Walmart!

But now what? The next fad has to incorporate the same qualities:

1. 'green'
2. 'urban' = stolen from what real city kids were doing 20 years ago
3. highly visible yet ironic
4. complete with unique (expensive) clothing and accessories to wear when you are back home in Ohio

Given they're car people anyway, the answer is clear: a tricked out tractor with block shattering stereo. Fat gold chains would of course become mandatory.

Word up.

ervgopwr said...

Fixie culture is dead, but department store crap bikes live on in this new shapeway.

Stupid Name said...

This duck walks into a club.

That will teach you smart ass system administrator.

Let the duck jokes begin.

Unconcerned douchebag said...

Bristol Traffic -
I wish your prophecy is true, but you have never been to the depraved nyc environs.

Even Mongooses get stolen here.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Peter @2:16pm,

You're right, ultra-narrow bars do help you weave through traffic when you're standing sideways on top of your bike '80s BMX-style.

--BSNYC

Cognorant said...

System Administrator said:

Just for that:

Duck walks into a bar & orders a scotch & says..."just put it on my bill"...


To the rest of you...sorry

Anonymous said...

the mongoose sounds like the bike equivalent of the $3 street umbrella, good for only about one use. I hope spencer has an adequate health insurance plan.

Anonymous said...

peter, that still doesn't explain why you would ever need handle bars that are more narrow than the rider. and I, like about 90% of the readers of this blog, have weaved in and out of NYC traffic

Moita said...

I once had a Roadmaster Mt Fury from Walmart. It cost only $60 but wasn´t as bad as the Cachet seems to be. Of course you couldn´t regulate the derailleur but it wasn´t crooked.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Spencer would like to purchase some insurance?

Udder said...

I was wondering what Nicolas Cage (guy in turquoise with shades) was doing these days, besides making shitty movies.

Seanywonton said...

Wishiwasamerckx said: "riding my shiny new POS for the duration of my stay, then abandoning it curbside at the airport upon my departure. Homeland Security will surely happen by momentarily and tow it away to an uncertain future."

--Just make sure not to install a "this bike is a pipe bomb" sticker on that! It might make the TSA a little jumpy.

Anonymous said...

Peter is a tool. Peter O'Toole.

theshepherdsdog said...

just pre ordered my copy of the book snob, can't wait to read it

Fergie said...

I love the fact that the stamped steel dropouts are threaded for a fender or ft. rack. Also love the packing peanut styrofoam dust covering everything in the close up shots. Is styrofoam dust a safety feature?

streepo said...

What kind of weather excites a pet duck? Fowl weather.

streepo said...

Which side of the Duck has the most feathers?





The outside!

Beginner Cycling said...

Wishiwasmerckx @ 2:04 p.m. -- I think the problem with the "disposable bike for travel" strategy is that if you read the reviews of most of the cheap bikes on any big-box-retailer's site, it seems these things are breaking within the first hour or two of riding. Also, I'm betting most big-box stores have people with much less knowledge than BSNYC assemble their bikes -- so you might not make it out of the parking lot.

theshepherdsdog said...

it's funny you mentioned Giovanni Ribisi, my girlfriend and I just watched The Other Sister

g said...

So, a duck walked into a bar, and asked the bartender, "Do you have any grapes?" The bartender replied, "No, this isn't a grocery store, get the hell out of here!" So, the duck came back the next day, and asked the bartender "Do you have any grapes?" The bartender said "No, I told you before, this isn't a grocery store, and I don't have any grapes, now leave!" So the duck came back the next day, and asked the bartender, "Do you have any grapes?" The angry bartender said, "NO! And if you come back and ask me that again, I will nail your butt to the wall! Now leave!" So, the duck came back the next day, and asked the bartender, "Do you have any nails?" The bartender, puzzled, said, "No, why?" The duck said, "In that case, do you have any grapes?"

sufferist said...

Warning: Do not drink fluids while reading the following line: "The Four Recumbent Riders of the Apocalypse"

It could be harmful to your health and the otherwise tranquil office environment.

CommieCanuck said...

I don't know what race he was participating in, but whatever it was I'm sure he won.

Probably racing to his chiropractor.

Walmart sells the venerable "Lamborghini" brand of bikes, which, as far as I can tell, are actually make of foil-covered chocolate, which would explain the weight.


This awesome Walmart steed has a combination chihuahua and rooster security system.

streepo said...

What's the difference between a duck and a cow?


They both swim, except for the cow.

Anonymous said...

"vinyl "whooshing" sound"

Oh, you know that is going to last a good long time.

I am the (less depressed) engine said...

Four wheeled recumbant ride of the apocalypse?

http://freshbump.com/graphics/image_files_480x400/480x400_ben-wilson-s-artikcar-recumbent-bike.jpg

hillbilly said...

I overheard a bike store clerk telling a woman that the narrower the bars, the more "crisply" it handles and that it improved the "steering radius". It was all I could do to keep from smacking him.

Peter said...

peter - so when the rider leans to one side, the crank and pedals move in relation to the bars (q factor, get it?)?

that's exactly the point, innit? this 'q factor' is only one variable in the technique we know as 'weaving'.

i mean, we can talk about the weather, too, or Rubik's cubes for the blind, but like 'q factor', they too have little to nothing to do with weaving and narrow handlebars.

and, no, blogging about weaving and playing Paperboy do not count as weaving -- you actually have to go out and do it.

gosh -- the defensiveness makes me think we have a cult of personality on our hands. a published cult of personality no less!

don't be like Lance -- just own it.

You're right, ultra-narrow bars do help you weave through traffic when you're standing sideways on top of your bike '80s BMX-style.

this is about as close to an admission of faulty logic as i expect we'll get. good enough! the post was funny, in any case.

peter, that still doesn't explain why you would ever need handle bars that are more narrow than the rider. and I, like about 90% of the readers of this blog, have weaved in and out of NYC traffic

without breaking out the diagrams and rulers, all i can say is 'try it'. if you've actually weaved, you know how superior very narrow handlebars are -- yes, handlebars that are even more narrow than the rider, than the bike's 'q factor', etc. and bikesnob's 'bmx' comment illustrates and concedes the point, even if done in joking fashion.

Cognorant said...

Minneapolis says: "Suck it Portland...we're #1!!"

CommieCanuck said...

without breaking out the diagrams and rulers, all i can say is 'try it'.

I weaved all over Toronto traffic for years. MTB bars are wide because they are required for torque on soft ground, road bars are shoulder width, and not narrower, for aerodynamics and breathing.

Stubby bars are hard to turn, and constrict your ability to breathe. Great for weaving downhill, or slowly. They have some advantages in tight traffic, but no point in bars narrower than the rider.

I'm surprised some hipster hasn't invented telescopic flat bars that can be adjusted for width on the fly. Or,something like this from "ninja-weapons.com".

Bad Lawyer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Megan said...

So in the eyes of big industry, "fixed speed" is similar to fixed gearing even though it is actually a single speed? Then all this time I've been riding a "fixed speed" Motobecane? OH THE CONFUSION...

ant1 said...

peter - i'm afraid you're going to have to break out diagrams and rulers to show me how 8 inch wide bars help fit 12 inch wide pedal/crank combo through traffic.

and is the defensiveness you refer to the same as the defensiveness towards narrow bars you displayed? or could it be more of a response to the offensive tone of your original post?

i don't see how i'm like lance either, but that could be due to the fact that i don't care to find out.

g said...

BL,
she seems smart.

Ed said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ed said...

Cognorant 4:15pm - good point.

K. Pilkington said...

How many slow drippers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

frilly said...

Spencer looks scared.

I like this kid.

Cognorant said...

Megan,

I've thought that the "fixed speed" mix up could be a bad translation thing but probably more like marketing ignorance. Maybe a combination of the two.

Either way it's pathetic.

urchin said...

Jefe 2:33 "...China, a country normally skilled in functional velo technology..."

I have to say that at least when I was there, I saw little evidence of velo technology skills aside from the street corner 'fix bicycle' guys (who could get you home on three spokes and dab of gum). I was there long enough to purchase a bike and was amazed at how little they cost. Turns out a 2 year old bike was worth a lot more than a brand new one, because that's about how long you had to be riding it to work out all the crappy assembly mistakes.

As for you, Peter, you're not just arrived from Ft. Myers by any chance?

No, we kid, we kid. All are welcome.

npj

urchin said...

BL--I followed the link. Where's the bike? There was just some lady in a swimsuit.

Mike said...

Mongoose should be ashamed of themselves.

CommieCanuck said...

i'm afraid you're going to have to break out diagrams and rulers to show me how 8 inch wide bars help fit 12 inch wide pedal/crank combo through traffic.

Two words: driver elbows.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Is the plural of mongoose "mongeese?"

CommieCanuck said...

Spencer looks scared.

I like this kid.


You mean you like the cut of his jib.

wishiwasmerckx said...

and... 100th

Nym said...

„Here it is, leaning seductively on its kickstand:“

– I'm asking for years now, why is everybody against kickstands?

I mean...seriously, what's the problem with having a kickstand mounted to the rear triangle (chain- and saddelstay)?
It supports every single one of my all-day bikes with a secure stand, avoiding it from getting scratched and becoming ugly, when leaned against a pole, wall or whatever.

Well they could be a danger, when riding offroad and doing man-high drops! But what's the point if using the bike in the city on a commuting basis?

PRO KICKSTANDS FOR COMMUTER-BIKES OF ALL TYPES!

Mobile Application Games! said...

Funny goodluck welcom http://mobi-app.blogspot.com/

frilly said...

CC--stop that!

I like this kid because even though he has the good sense to be weary of the Mongoose, he is taking his internship duties seriously & completing whatever shit task is tossed his way.

g said...

I just love how, when someone defends the opinions of the blogger, they are a "member of a cult of personality". Not that they share the same opinions and would want to express that. I guess some folks just show up and read this site day in and day out looking for something to contradict. Seems like a bit of a waste of time, especially arguing against most of the folks that comment here.

And, wasn't it "Kevin from Ft. Meyers"?

Stupid Name said...

100?

Karl P. said...

A: It doesn't matter how many, the floor's too damn slippery!

DG said...

Man... I remember when Mongooses (Mongeese?) were cool bikes.

Mongoose, Diamond Back... wha' happened?

DG

BikeSnobNYC said...

DG,

Yes, assembling this made me mourn for the Californian.

--BSNYC

Mike said...

Mongoose sells essentially two lines of bicycles. One is a line of discount bikes offered through mass-merchandisers like Wal-Mart, Sears and Kmart. The other line, featured on the website, are higher end models sold through specialty shops.

Bisso said...

in the early 80s a mongoose BMX was the top of the heap in our part of the world. i would have given anything for just a ride on its chromey glory what the hell have they done? its like aston martin making a hatchback...oh, wait

Inside scoop on Wal-mart said...

I realize there are not Wal-marts everywhere in NYC. Many of you probably do not have extended experience with Wal-Mart. I am here to inform you of one thing you may not realize about Wal-Mart. Their return policy is almost ridiculous. On almost all non electronic items there is a 90 day money back guarantee for almost any reason. They are extremely lenient on this policy too. I assure you, one could go buy this bike, ride it for 89 days and bring it back and say I want to return it. You could even say I am broke and need money to go buy some Wednesday Weed, so take it back. No question whatsoever, you would get your money back. Even if you do not have a receipt, they would give you your money back on a gift card and you could use it to buy whatever you want. I have seen items that even said K-mart right on the product that they took back.

The hipsters will buy this bike. If they decide to take it back three years later, Wal-mart in all likelihood would take it back. They may need to complain to the store manager, or call 1-800-WALMART, but they will most likely be able to return it.

I know from personal experience, and I don't dare tell you some of my experiences with people bringing things back. If I did you would probably call me a liar, for they are truly unbelievable.

innerlighter said...

CC,
I think Frilly's more attracted to Spencers warmed cockles.

Intern-high jumps!

meh

rural 14 said...

ant 2nd!
if there's another model, wallmart will get it right(er)

Anonymous said...

@ badlawyer
How the mighty have fallen: Redline with its cracked frames and now Mongoose. It was a state of the art, such as it was, bmx bike in the mid 70s. I had a Merckxian orange clod buster curb-terrorizer.
Jim

Nogocyclist said...

Spenser is cool enough to pass for someone in my demographic. He needs to work on his colorway to pass as a hipster though.

red neckerson said...

i aint lying i cood use me some kentucky fried duck right about now

Anonymous said...

What is the plural of "Ebenezer?"

Anonymous said...

How do you turn a duck into a soul singer?

Put it in the microwave until its bill withers.

innerlighter said...

What did the duck say when it swam into a cement wall?

innerlighter said...

Dam.

Jae said...

few questions :)

How many teeth are on the crankset?
Are the markings painted on or are they decals that are removable?
Finally, how much does the bike weigh?

Thanks for the humorous and good review!

Jay said...

This whole Mongoose "fixed speed" thing represents that fixed gear and single speed bicycles have finally reached the point where enough people are riding them for a giant like Wal-Mart to have a reason to sell them. What's wrong with that? They sell BMX bikes, mountain bikes, and road bikes. Now they also sell a single speed bike. People might buy this and get into cycling in the same way that someone might buy a road bike from Wal-Mart in an effort to start cycling, become extremely disappointed with it, then go to a bike shop and buy a decent road bike. Or similar to 12 year old buying a Wal-Mart BMX, riding it for a while, getting made fun of by older, "cooler" BMX kids, then buying one from a shop or building one. I mean, either that or it'll end up hanging in their garage for a decade or two before being sold in a garage sale for $10.

I'm glad Wal-Mart is selling these pieces of crap. I'm looking forward to the day when fixed gears are overlooked like any other bike. I love riding my fixed gear conversion, but I hate the "hipster" stigma. Even though I built mine with fenders, a brake, clipless pedals, and without any flashy parts and/or accessories, it's still a "hipster bike". (Though I'm sure my royal blue skinny jeans, pink aviators, Echo and the Bunnymen t-shirt, iPhone, Vans, PBR tattoo, knuckle tattoos, cycling cap, and Snidely Whiplash mustache doesn't help either.)

I want fixed gears to become an every day sight everywhere in the country. I don't want it to be an elitecycle. Hopefully, at some point, people like all of the morons commenting on the Gawker article will understand what a fixed gear bike is and how it works. In time, maybe they'll accept fixed gear cyclists in the same way most suburbanites and back-woods hicks accept roadies and bicycle commuters... by honking their horns and screaming at them to get out of the road.

ted grant said...

I cant believe no one pointed out that you (BSNYC) measured the dropouts incorrectly. measure from the center of dropout to center of dropout, not inside to inside. You may come up with 120mm (or thereabouts) with that technique, cheers....ted grant

Nogocyclist said...

System Administrator, If you don't lay off the ducks, I am going to send in the commando birds.

You better stay away from my sorry you know what. I remember what happened last time.

OK, I am mad now. I am sending Snookums to give you wet kisses!

Don't ever mess with ducks again!

leroy said...

This evening, I rode across mid-town behind a guy in a suit and tie who was eating a sandwich.

Before I could take a picture, he weaved through a red light across an intersection.

Funny thing, he didn't lean at all while weaving.

Probably didn't want to drip mayo on his tie.

Either that or his bars weren't narrow enough.

It's tough to be cool like Peter.

Goose said...

What do you call two ducks and a cow?

Quackers and milk, arg.

Anonymous said...

What happens when a duck flies upside down?

It quacks up, doh!

Baraquack Obama said...

My supporters have asked for more duck jokes.

Here is the new Stimulus Package for all you my fellow Ducericans.

George B'duck said...

Here is Baraquack Obama's State of the Pond for 2010¼.

BISOUBISOU said...

Mongoose + Schwinn + GT + Cannondale = Dorel

http://www.dorel.com/marques.htm

Ghost of Brother Sheldon said...

Ted Grant is misinformed about how to measure dropout spacing. Snob has it right.

BISOUBISOU said...

Never mind Q-fractals, charts, geology or Rufus cubes. I usually clip side-view mirrors with my stable, circular-breathing wide bars. Here's a diagram:

http://www.tetrisfriends.com/games/Mono/game.php

John T. Angle said...

WARNING
Do Not Ride
Bike

cyclotourist said...

USED SHOE

Tim_H said...

I love how Google is running Segway Tour Ads on the Bike Snob NYC blog.

gih said...

Make it safe. :-)

asdfasdfsd said...

YOUTH OF AMERICA
IS LIVING IN THE JUNGLE
PICKIN' PRODUCTS BUT THERE'S SO MANY WAYS TO GO (GO)

YOUTH OF AMERICA
RIDIN' THEIR BIKES AROUND
THE HIPSTER SILKROUTE IS COMPLETELY PLAGUED WITH THOSE JEWS (JEWS)

IT IS TIME WE RECTIFIED THIS NOW
etc

Anonymous said...

hahahha, oh how clever:

http://www.pearlonuranus.com/

streepo said...

What do you call a duck who spends long nights on the road?


A duck driver.

Anon 8:46 has the best one so far.

Green Idea Factory said...

YES, there once was an offering called the "McVeggie" at you know where. It was so terrible I figgered that it was intentional, the goal being to make vegetarian sandwiches permanently uninteresting for McDonalds customers (the beef and soy-for-cattle lobby paid for it.).

So this is the WaltonBike, made with a similar purpose.

Anonymous said...

Ah, a piece of crap, probably. But an entire bike for the price, more or less, of what most 'say' they're willing to pay for 1" CK headset. Hmmm. And the bike has sealed bearing hub (s ?) at least on the rear, so that is another entire bike paid for in Phil terms... yes, the bike is a POS, and probably a bit ugly to ride. But the bike everyone here seems to ride appears to have 4 or 5 hundred dollars worth of hubs, a headset in the $125 range, a mandatory Brooks somewhere in the $150 range and I could go on. I could go until each and every reader had suggested, and paid for, their own premium 'fixed-speed' part, and the bike with the IF frame, and PH hubs, the CK headset, and etc was 3 or 4 thousand bucks. And you still hope that the 'assemler' gets it right.

The Call Duck said...

People, please remember that this is a duck blog too. You are allowed to mention Walmart all you want, but please never mention the name Sam Walton. I hate to even think about it, but he was a.... I can't say it....but I must...he was a Duck Hunter.

g said...

I thought this was going to transition into a gardening blog, not a Duck blog (not that there's anything wrong with that).
I have root-rot on my Chaenomeles 'O Yashima' and was hoping to get some insight as to the treatment sooner rather than later.

Malcolm Rolex said...

Someone ask the Saffron King what he thinks about the Cachet.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps your intern looks apprehensive because of the height of the seat? It looks like training height for those with an impending visit to a federal penitentiary..

Anonymous said...

Interesting.....what you're riding is actually refered to as a Flying Pigeon in China...if you recall your history chanel those were the black bikes that people in China used to ride.

Fascinating how the hipsters of the world now use the same transportation that most of china used through out the 80's.

Also....Spencer looks like a freak on speed...tell us the truth Snob, you keep him around to make yourself feel better about your own situation dont you?

eagleapex said...

Well done post!

Gunnar said...

For gods sake, look at that lockring. Looks like someone had been trying really hard to take it off - with totally inapropriate tools.

I'd suggest to never EVER use this side of the hub.

Anonymous said...

Y'all, cut Peter a brake. He's right about narrow bars. They are superior for walking your bike down the sidewalk in skinny jeans.

Anonymous said...

I had an OK Mongoose BMX.

And seen Walmart Mongoose BMX that were deth bikes.

Anonymous said...

Pacific does not list any of their mass bikes on their websites - the branded sites are for bikes sold in bike shops only.

Malcolm Rolex said...

That's because they're ashamed and don't want anyone to know about them.

SpaceBagels said...

48s?

Mongoose is better than George French. -_-

Anonymous said...

Walmart fixie tested out by mongoose trials rider:
http://vimeo.com/9824201

same guy on $700 full susser
http://vimeo.com/10695528

JeFF said...

I must admit, I was expecting far more of a debacle to get the Cachet going...

Oh, and "Gateway Drug"...classic!

Skooltildeth said...

Has anyone else noticed that this bike is the Little 500 bike? (Think "Breaking Away")Could explain why it only comes in one size. I may be crazy, but does it have an American bottom bracket with a cheap adapter? If it does, it's the same bike.

Anonymous said...

disposable bike for travel
Cheap Beater Bike for Polo.
Gets More People Riding fixed/single speed
a rainy day bike just add fenders.



I don't see this stopping the Fixed Gear Craze. I see it picking up more momentum.

Term papers said...

Great review Snob! I'm pretty sure I've seen Spencer's picture on the side of a milk carton. The authorities have been alerted.

WillyG said...

Ha! I was recently in China and took a walk through one of the "local" bike shops while there - for kicks. Those Long Yih freewheels were being sold for 5 bucks apiece.

Anonymous said...

the horror, the horror. Hipsters will now be forced to ride unicycles to be different again.

Crsbryan said...

I realize it only has one gear, but I still expected to see a pie plate. Where is that pie plater? Return it, because they cheated you out of that vital safety feature!

Anonymous said...

WE LOVE SPENCER

Evil Genius said...

LOL pwn3d

Anonymous said...

what you all don't understand is when peter says "weave" he means bike down the side of the street opposite the bike lane and "do a full gainer" thereby elevating his much wider crank and pedal over offending vehicles allowing his ultra narrow handlebars and cranium to slip through traffic in matrix style magnificence.

either that or he'd just like to rationalize his hipster style choice by insisting it's a technical issue all the while calling into question the understanding of all those who disagree.

Linda said...

Now there are many sites from where we can get Saving tips..

Michael said...

I didnt read anyone's comments but it makes me sad that you can buy a fix at walmart.

Im not a hipster, or to heavy in the fix culture. I am a cyclist for sure but really walmart? Ugh maybe its good for people so they can afford it, get off the couch and lose obesity america but still.

ex: the harley motorcycle culture is odd but it exists. people spend alot of time matching, tasseling and cooling their bikes. then find out walmart sells knock off harleys for a couple hundred and everyone now is "in" the culture.

It just sucks, and harley ridings will cry too. or so i am believing.

if you get my point good, if not then you werent meant to i guess.

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Product Review said...

I was trying to check for models and latest design. Is this actually the latest? My Dad has been asking me to get him one. What's the best I can get for $500? Thank you!

Green Horny said...

ha ha - making hipsters (like Linda) uncomfortable is the ONLY thing that is cool about Walmart, but its pretty cool when it happens

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Anonymous said...

a brilliant and captivating article. now i must go and stare at my aerospoke for a while... and wonder if it will have any re-sale value in three years...

sochmo said...

hey is your last photo of the intern by 181st street? it looks familiar

Anonymous said...

Just got my Cachet and am pleasently surprised. Easy to put together and cheap. I have spent enough money on my cannondales that i deserve a cheap utility bike. Looking froward to long hours on the trainging and in the snow this winter. This is my first fixed gear so was hesitant at spending a lot to start with.

Bike rides great out of th box. I did remove the stickers and now it is just a sleek black and white. I will also add drop bars and a fixed cog as soon as they arrive and I will be a happy fixie rider for now.

next spring someone can thank walmart for getting me started, as my intent is to get into track racing to add to my road resume and then purcashe a nicer track bike.

wheelchairs said...

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Sara said...

Whoa! You and intern were testing that bike near Cabrini Blvd? I know that carefully-guarded private lawn!

Anonymous said...

BRING BACK SPENCER OR THE DUCK GETS IT!

Anonymous said...

Seriously, bring back Spencer...

Tim Little said...

This is not a Wal-Mart suspension mountain bikes because I know that the bikes that they sell at Wal-Mart are cheap and this Mongoose Dual Suspension is not a cheap bike

Anonymous said...

I CAN UNDERSTAND CIRCLING AT A STOP LIGHT. SOMETIMES I'M SO HOPPED UP ON COKE AND HEROINE I'M AFRAID IF I SIT STILL MY HEART WILL STOP.

AND CONSTANT ADJUSTMENTS TO WARDROBE ARE WHAT SET US APART FROM THE ANIMALS

raddestpaperboy said...

Crappe diem!

raddestpaperboy said...

Spencer for hire.

Andrew Ryan said...

Get that anger out!
-andy
www.ventme.com

prolix said...

They put my hands into the "mountain bike bar" position, with my fists straight in front of me - a no-no for the damaged nerves in my hands. Bikes Sale

android developer said...

Great review Snob! I'm pretty sure I've seen Spencer's picture on the side of a milk carton. The authorities have been alerted.

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mongoose bikes said...

I have also experience the same thing. Some people don't care if they damage the product you ordered. Thank you for sharing your experience. Great blog.

Full Face Off Road Helmets said...

"Racing is living, everything else is just waiting" That comment is by Steve Mcqueen, A Legendary MX Racer.

patradresses.org said...

I had determined from that verbal exercise of his that he was a gas bag. Thats when I decided to leave. I had met you, TL, and many other fine folks. I had accomplished what I'd set out to do. Sadly, the wind bag did not provide me a good ending to my Mercer visit.
bullet stickers

austin said...

This is indeed a luscious and eloquent unboxing. I appreciate the sacrifice of time and money required to acquaint us with these horrors.

Anonymous said...

But, does it blend?

Travis Sink said...

Not sure why Mongoose did no supply a PBR tallboy ready water bottle cage??? Clearly this product is not "hipster ready".

Travis Sink said...

Not sure why Mongoose did no supply a PBR tallboy ready water bottle cage??? Clearly this product is not "hipster ready".

conflict said...

that sure is some tight handlebars. I would think it'd be hard to control...

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