Strengths: Grip Shift Gears, easy to change up and down 1-21. Hard tail and fork. Accessories easily added to stock components, interchangable tires for various terrains and surfaces. Quick release front and rear tires, including seat. Easy assembly and disassembly when cleaning or grease and oiling with lubricants.
Weaknesses: Seat a little larger than other mountain bikes in category. Brake wires frayed at end caps too easily when tightening or adjusting.
I had purchased a Mongoose Sycamore on tour and rode through tundra areas, and on volcanic trails, on Mt, Esja, Mt. Keylir, two notoriously harsh surfaced volcanic areas, and surfaces varied from soft loam grass, to ashe pumice muds, and dusty trails, where a hard fork and tail components make handling more easily responsive without dampers from shocks, on rear or front.
Pumice although a regular nuisance, was easily removable aided by the standardized sizes of bolts nuts, and screws, in the metric sizes in a minute variance. Small tool kits only required for disassembly instead of multiple tools, and wrenches.
Light and easily manuverale in muddy wet downgrades. Brakes stood up even on steep slopes without slipping or bending for long distances. Hard forked characteristics with grip shifts, incurred minimal damages in ditching in my field areas of use .
a Cross Country Rider
from Missoula, MT, USA
Date Reviewed: June 11, 2011
Strengths: Durability. This bike was built well and it shows. I can't speak for newer models, but this is over 10 years old and still going strong, with only the occasional tune-up necessary. Still shifts great. I think it performs better than one has a right to expect from a 10+ year old bike that hasn't been pampered. The few places where the paint has scratched to the point of rusting, the rust seems to refuse to spread. Even the big knobby tires that came with it lasted a long time.
The nice low gearing (24/34/42 if I recall) is great for climbing hills, whether they're steep or you're just pacing yourself. Yet the cassette still goes down to 11 teeth, so you can get decent speed on level roads or downhill. It's not a racing bike though; it's heavy and durable, with a sturdy steel frame. It has withstood fairly brisk descents on rough dirt mountain roads, and I prefer the lack of shocks for its predictability and efficiency.
Weaknesses: I have had the bottom bracket bearings replaced, and the cheap plastic pedals that come with it stock are not very good (but I can understand that when enthusiasts in this market will have their own pedals they want to use).
The seat is fairly comfortable as far as bike seats go (though I still want a Brooks), and also has lasted quite a long time, only failing when I pierced it with a rock in a parking lot when turning the bike upside down. The attachment bolt for the seat is prone to breaking, in my experience, when the seat is at its rearmost position. (I weigh 215 pounds, for reference) I also dislike the "one bolt for all" seat adjustment scheme, but that seems popular on many bikes now.
It's a bit heavy.
This is an excellently durable bike that has served me well even though it's too small for me. Over ten years of service, to my knowledge still with the original derailers, shifters, brake levers, rims, cassette and crankset. It's a mountain bike, but I've turned it into a road tourer and it works just as well. If you can buy one used that hasn't been abused, I think it'd be a good choice.
Bike Setup: Mostly stock.
Wellgo BMX pedals
Schwalbe Marathon tires
Old Man Mountain "Red Rock" rear rack
Sigma Sport BC 1200 bike computer
a Weekend Warrior
from Bethesda, MD
Date Reviewed: March 2, 2008
Strengths: A great no frlls ride.
My neighbor was giving away a Mongoose Sycamore last year. It looked like it had been stored in an outside shed for years, everything was frozen up with rust and grime. I spent some time cleaning it up and oiling it and everything came back to life. I've been riding it regularly ever since. I did have to get a new seat, the original was painful.
Bike Setup: Stock Shimano Exage with Deore XT pedals, big T-bone stem, and Shimano 600EX free wheel, Specialized ground control tires.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: December 23, 2004
Strengths: Solid compoments (Alivio), old-style cantilever brakes instead of the crappy new v-brakes, tough wheels (take two and three foot drops on a regular basis). I've given it several good trail beatings, and aside from routine cleanings and adjustment, it's never given me a problem. The frame is fairly light, but heavy enough to keep you grounded. The price was quite nice (and since you'll have to get it used, it probably will be for you as well).
Weaknesses: The wheels are tough, but they're single-walled, so they're not unbreakable. They sometimes need truing after heavy trails and bumps, but never enough to even rub my brakes. By no means is it a true racing bike, and it certainly won't take 5 or 6 foot drops without complaining a lot.
I've always hated suspension on my bikes (ridden too much BMX, probably), so I get rigid forked hardtails whenever I can. This is a good and solid suspension-less bike that'll treat you right on x-c and trail rides. It's not a race bike, but it certainly doesn't claim to be. If you threw slicks on it, it'd probably be a good commuter bike, too. If it's less than a hundred, even if you have to throw another hundred in to get it looked over, it's still a good deal.
Similar Products Used: Mongoose Switchback, old Mongoose BMX, (really) old CyclePro BMX, Specialized Stumpjumper and Rockhopper
Bike Setup: I didn't add anything of much significance (toe clips, side bars, , WTB saddle), so I'm riding it basically stock with the Alivio derailers and brakes, stock Shimano wheels, Mongoose off road (2.3") tires.
from Denton Tx, USA
Date Reviewed: January 11, 2002
Strengths: This bike is light and agile on the trails. It climbs hills very easily. The best way to describe it is nimble.
Weaknesses: None that I have found so far.
I only paid 10 bucks for the bike. It was stored in an impound lot for about a year enduring the weather. It only needed some oil and air in the tires, and a new saddle to get it going. I prefer riding it than my full suspension on difficult trails.
Similar Products Used: 1984 Mongoose Californian BMX Bicycle....Small but still Kicks Butt
Date Reviewed: December 25, 2000
Strengths: very light and rigid frame,good components(alivio hubs,sun rims),brakes are very easy to squeeze and smooth(the frame was designed to allow the cables to run on the top tube without the cable covers, thus minimizing friction.)
Weaknesses: The front gears are thin and bend a little over time. The screws holding the front gears round off easily while trying to remove them. Pedals are plastic and don't provide good grip.
The Sycamore is an excellent value for the money. The cro-moly frame, aluminum Sun wheels, and the Alivio hubs make the bike light enough to accelarate fast and climb very high hills easily. Lightness also makes it nimble and easy to handle. Yet, the whole bike is TOUGH. A 250 pound person can ride it. The Sun rims are aluminum, but are hard to bend. I'm 190 lbs.and while riding very fast I accidentally ran the rear wheel over a deep pot hole while sitting on the seat. I thought after such an impact, the wheel would have been bent. The wheel was fine, just the tire bent a little. This means the spokes, and tires are good quality (tires absorbed all the shock). Sycamore is great at the factors that are the most important, but is weak at fine details. You need to replace the plastic pedals, which shouldn't cost alot to replace. Sycamore is a great bike for being able to ride in trails without paying too much. Remember, it is just an entry level model from Mongoose, and you shouldn't expect it to be perfect at every factor. The bottom line is that Sycamore is better than other companies' entry level bikes at the same price range. Where Sycamore excels from the others is mainly in lightness, and quality of the frame. Having Alivio components at this price is also great.
Bike Setup: original setup including the rigid fork
from vancouver wa
Date Reviewed: November 29, 2000
Weaknesses: rigid fork
takes a beating on the most rocky downhills, leaving other more expensive bikes trailing parts behind them. Easy to accessorize for camping, riding on errands. Goes for a long time between tuneups. Hard on the butt, although a good seat solves some of that. Too bad Mongoose doesn't make em like this any more. Anyone just starting out should try to find one of these at the local pawn shop, untill ready to upgrade to suspension bikes.
Bruce D. Johnson
a weekend warrior
from Gainesville, FL
Date Reviewed: April 16, 1998
Now I know that this isn't a serious bike, but I had to share my enthusiasm for it. I'm a large guy. We're talking 64, 230 lbs, and this bike has held up beautifully (40-60 miles per week). It's been to Tsali, Cape Cod, the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Hard Rock in Ocala, and has emerged victorious at the olympic course in Conyers, GA on multiple occasions. My serious bike cohorts can't help but be impressed by the resilience of my Mongoose. And unless I win the lottery soon so I can make frivolous bike purchases, we will be hitting Moab together this summer.