From first glance, the frame on the Mongoose looks a lot burlier than the others tested. To stiffen the front triangle, square-to-round tubing has been used for the top and down tubes, supported further by a small gusset under the down tube. Like the triangular tubing, these shaped tubes stiffen the front of the frame. Like the Fisher, the two tubes are welded together for about three inches making for a rock solid assembly at the head tube. With the down tube also flattening and widening towards the bottom bracket the emphasis on stiffness remains a theme. Box-section rear stays continue the theme.
While the frame has hose guides on the seat stays for the hydraulic hoses, along the top tube, the disc brake tubing is anchored with clip-on scissor guides — secured using a tiny Allen key. A crash could damage the clip mechanism, and once it stops working you will be reduced to securing hoses with a zip tie or length of gaffer tape. We would rather see an additional set of dedicated hose guides.

A number of bikes in previous tests have used Suntour’s XCR fork and we have always been impressed by the steering accuracy of the 30mm stanchioned, magnesium-lowered forks. However, this is the first time we have seen the bar-mounted, lockout-equipped version. Unusually, this allows you to lock the fork out at any point in the travel, so you can even lower the front end when climbing. Sadly, the old fork-mounted system was compression damping based and partially engaging the lever went some way to controlling the fork’s tendency to dive. This version is mechanical, making it prone to damage if left on accidentally and leaves the bob-happy fork in its uncontrolled state.

Kenda’s Komodo tyres are a great all-round tread. Blocks are slightly taller than the Bontrager tyres fitted to the Fisher increasing available traction, but they roll almost as fast. A rare treat indeed.

Rather than the almost complete Shimano drivetrains on the other two bikes, Mongoose has gone the mix-and-match route. An FSA chainset mates to mainly SRAM components. Eight-speed SX5 shifters move a SRAM SX5 mech effectively but the action is slightly more clunky. One point of note is the pedals. The other two bikes come with clips and straps, but the Tyax Super has a great pair of flat pedals: plenty of grip from the built in pins, ideal for just stepping on and going. Ideal on a beginner’s bike, other manufacturers should take note.

Oversize, full-width bars mark this out as a no nonsense ride. On technical trails, the great geometry, solid chassis and bar/stem combo mean wherever you point the bike, it goes. Full hydraulic twin piston discs also mean hauling the bike to a halt is simple. Discs do come at a price though. A lower grade frame has to be used, and the lack of much butting in the tubes and the stiff rear end mean the ride is harsh. An oversize seatpost doesn’t help.
It’s at the front where the issues arise. The fork dives badly under braking and bobs out of the saddle. You can lock it out preventing the latter, but it’s impossible to counter the lack of compression damping for the former.

Mongoose has come up trumps with the shape of the Tyax Super. Geometry is spot-on for fun in the woods. The rider’s weight is perfectly placed in the centre of the bike, and the great full width control centre means you can just point and go.
With a different, perhaps even slightly lower-specced standard XCR fork, this bike would be a ten. Spot on geometry, hydraulic discs, great contact and perfectly functional gears are everything you need, but the super-bobby forks and slightly harsh ride let it down, and the lockout is only really useful on paved roads if you’re at all forgetful. That said, it is still a great machine.