The Comp frame is made from butted, in-house 6061 aluminium and weighs a claimed 6lb. Construction isn’t particularly sophisticated; Mongoose uses standard round tubes with a gusset under the down tube and a small gusset at the seat tube/top tube junction, but the frame feels reasonably solid. Mongoose has reduced the box-section of the rear stays to get the weight down, and these are welded to cold-forged dropouts and links. All the pivots feature stainless steel bolts, but we’d like to see machined caps covering the exposed bearings.
Normally, marathon bikes have pretty steep geometry, but Mongoose figures that at the back end of an enduro or 24-hour race you need all the help you can get, so has opted for a 68-degree head angle and low bottom bracket height. The bike is a little shorter in the down tube than the rest but does feel roomy in the top tube. Mongoose hasn’t fallen into the usual trap of fitting too long a stem either.
The Canaan is the lightest bike here, albeit by only a few ounces.
The RockShox Tora 318 gets an alloy steerer tube to reduce weight, and a rebound damper with a greater range of adjustment. Rather than just an on/off system, like on the cheaper models, this offers several turns of adjustment and as a result is a lot more effective. The 318 has the same Turnkey compression lockout and Solo Air spring.
The Freedrive is essentially a single pivot, like the Prophet and Commençal, but the drivetrain/bottom bracket is attached to a floating link. On the trail, there’s a noticeable difference in terms of suspension performance between standing and seated, but the bike does pedal superbly well out of the saddle. We think the Freeride system works better on shorter travel marathon bikes because chances are you’ll be seated for long periods.
How Mongoose has managed to get Hayes Stroker Trail brakes on this bike we don’t know, but they offer awesome stopping, good feel and have the tool-free reach adjustment dials. The rest of the group is all top quality gear, with Shimano XT and a two-piece Deore crankset, branded Easton riser bar, WTB Rocket V saddle and a set of quality rims.
Look down when climbing and you can see how little the Freedrive system moves. Obviously, there’s a trade off when it comes to riding technical trails, and the Comp isn’t as compliant as the Cannondale or Specialized, but it does have good geometry for a bike intended for the budding marathon racer. On race bikes, like the Giant Anthem, we seemed to be hanging on a bit down some steep descents, whereas on the Canaan we could relax more.
For climbing, we’d like to ditch the conical spacer to get the bars a tad lower. But, since this is a vital part of the headset, it’s impossible. FSA makes this spacer in thinner 5 and 10mm widths, so why Mongoose hasn’t fitted one we don’t know.
It’s almost as if Mongoose had a bit more money to play with when it came to building this bike. It comes fitted with an array of lush parts like a Shimano two-piece crankset, some excellent Hayes disc brakes, Crank Bros clipless pedals and the best Tora suspension fork on test. But spec isn’t everything; in fact it’s nothing if the rest of the package is bad. The Canaan is a sound bike but we suspect it isn’t the bike Mongoose wants it to be, or rather the weight Mongoose wants it to be — 32lb is a lot to pedal for four or five hours at a time and this isn’t really ideal for marathon use.
MBR RATING: 8/10