Mongoose Salvo Elite (2012)
Well engineered frame with solid components and suspension
- Well engineered frame
- Solid components and suspension
A bit weighty
Ask anyone who hasn’t been around bikes for the past ten years for a brand of bike and you will hear the name Mongoose. The brand is synonymous with BMX and was huge in the world market 10 years ago. They have been off the radar since then with a splattering of high end bikes through to larger department stores. The Salvo Elite is from the cross-country duallies range from Mongoose.
Starting from the ground up the Salvo frame made from 6061 aluminium is gusseted in all of the key stress points ensuring that strength is not compromised. The Salvo uses a single pivot design with a rocker linkage to actuate the shock. The rear shock is supplied by SR Suntour who has been manufacturing low-end suspension parts since the early 1990’s.
The Epicon RS9 LOD rear shock has a travel range from 95mm -120mm. It has a funky ability that once you have depressurised the air canister you can twist the top of the shock body to readily locate the Schrader air valve. A handy addition to save you twisting into a contortionist position to check the air pressure in your shock. The rear shock comes with a 12-step rebound dial with a good range of adjustment ranging from slow to quite firm.
The Salvo is heavy but that is to be expected in the price range and with the level of components. If a cross-country dually is lighter than this at this price point then you need to be looking at where they have managed to cost cut to achieve the ends result.
If you want a bike that is lighter in this price point then I would be looking at a hardtail as you can save a couple of kilos on these bikes.
Shimano’s Deore controls the gearing with an upgraded SLX Shadow unit on the rear. They use a full length outer gear to help keep the cables clean on not become encrusted with mud and dirt to ensure less time in the workshop and more time on the trail.
The front suspension is supplied by RockShox Recon with 120mm of air-sprung travel and is a good match up for the Salvo frame. WTB rims with Shimano M475 Disc Centre Lock hubs with stainless steel 14 gauge spokes will see you handle the toughest of terrain.
I found that the Salvo rode well, a little sluggish on the hills but to be expected with the weight. I kept the rear shock set at 120mm as anything less I felt was too harsh for my liking. The bike handles well on steep technical descents with a nice solid feel to the bike. This will be from the weight but I like that in a bike. The ride felt smooth and for the price it was a surprise package. The only complaint would be for the Kenda tires. Don’t over-inflate as they will spit you over the hangers very quickly. They were sluggish at best so an aftermarket replacement will definitely increase the feel of the Salvo.
Tektro Draco hydraulic disc brakes are a mineral oil twin piston OEM set that did well on the test. They do have a slightly woody feel but performed adequately for this level of bike.
Overall the Mongoose is a good bike for the price point and with a few minor changes will suit a first time buyer or someone ready to convert over from a hardtail.
The Salvo Elite has received its latest upgrade. It now comes with a new 3 by 10 drivetrail, just for this Elite version. It’s because of this the bike can easily perform on the most diverse terrain possible. Give it a try. This could be the bike you’ve been waiting for.