Mongoose Teocali Expert

Words by Chris Southwood | Images by Flowtographer

The not-so-minor details

Product

Mongoose Teocali Expert

Contact

Cycling Sports Group
www.mongoose.com

Price

AUD2,800.00

Weight

14.38kg

Positives

A reliable, fun and confident trail bike. Great geometry. Efficient suspension. Good value for money. Smooth fork. Smart component choice, especially the dropper post.

Negatives

Rear suspension is harsh when compared to the fork. Really should have lock-on grips!

Ah, Home and Away. A TV institution, a series that seems to have been around forever and which, despite its longevity, basically remains the same. Tinkered slightly – a family division here, a druggy subplot there – but never drastically overhauled.  The 2013 version of the Mongoose Teocali is the bicycle equivalent.

A smart looking bike in anyone’s book, the Teocali presents as more than $2800-worth of machine.

It has a few evolutions from the previous generation, but beneath the new finish, frame tweaks and spec changes it’s basically the same underlying machine. And that’s not necessarily a criticism. Home and Away has been beamed into lounge rooms for 24 years, making dinner times less painful for millions of Australians – it’s part of our social fabric, and it’s obviously pretty good entertainment or it would’ve been axed last century. The Teocali too – it is a bloody good bread and butter bike for the intermediate rider.

So what are you getting in this striking red and white beast? A trail bike, with a penchant for rough and tricky trails, and good value too. It’s not light, and not pushing any technological boundaries perhaps, but it hits the nail on the head for riders who prefer the satisfaction of conquering tricky trails on a two hour weekend ride, as opposed to all-day fireroad adventures.

The Teocali packs 150mm travel (front and rear), which is the magic number for many riders, hitting the balance between forgiveness and manoeuvrability. Despite the bike’s fairly hefty 14.38kg, it’s really quite efficient (a hallmark of the Freedrive system), so it’ll trundle along nicely, rolling surprisingly quickly on the aggressive Kenda rubber. Mongoose have been smart enough to keep the rims quite light, so there’s not too much rotating mass, and the rear tyre is a skinnier 2.1” (the front is 2.25”) to reduce drag. The rear suspension doesn’t feature any kind of lockout, and we didn’t ever feel like we wanted it either.

 

 

The Kenda Excavator rubber is aggressive but rolls better than expected, helped along by the narrower rear tyre.

While the tall bars do their best to make climbing a chore, it will chug up most ascents happily. Some people will instantly want to pop on a longer stem and lower the bars to give the bike a little more direction on steep, seated climbs. In contrast, it actually relishes the odd technical out-of-the-saddle pinch; jump up on the pedals and it’s easy to make quick, snappy accelerations as the suspension doesn’t wallow under power.

The wide bar / short stem combo is just the ticket for technical trails, but we found the front end too high and wanted a bar with less rise.

The handling is even and predictable as well. It scoots casually through singletrack without any nasty surprises, and good weight distribution makes it easy to pick up the front wheel for drops. The upright riding position gives you plenty of confidence and the angles are nicely suited to picking your way down technical descents. We love the addition of the X-Fusion adjustable seat post too. It’s the perfect item for a bike like this, letting you hang it all out with your hanging-out bits getting snagged on the saddle. We were surprised by the level of confidence we had on the Teocali from the first ride, negotiating steep chutes that we’ve baulked at on other, pricier bikes.

Perfect! It’s great to see more adjustable posts (like the X-Fusion) coming as a stock item on trail bikes. While this post uses an under-the-saddle-lever actuation, the Teocali features cable mounts to allow you to run a remote handle bar mounted lever too.

Suspension balance is more questionable; we were very impressed by the fork, which is ultra smooth (though heavier riders will need a firmer spring), but the rear end is a little choppy in comparison. The Freedrive suspension is very firm near the end of its travel, and the Rockshox Monarch is not known as the smoothest suspension item in the business. If you’re the kind of rider who is good at hopping or pumping through the terrain, you’ll appreciate the Teocali’s ability to generate speed but pumping the terrain. If you’re more of a ‘plougher’ you’ll find the rear end a bit harsh. The frame and fork are both laterally stiff, so even hard riders will find the Teocali can hold its line when pushed into uncomfortable situations.

Rockshox suspension graces both front and rear of the Teocali. We found the coil-sprung Sektor fork to be incredibly smooth and responsive. Heavier riders will want to fit a stiffer spring however. This fork has limited adjustability but, damn, it works well!

We’ve never found Rockshox Monarch shocks to be particularly smooth when compared to their Fox counterparts.

At under $2800, there are few holes to be found in the ’Goose’s component spec. The SRAM/Avid mix isn’t flashy, but it’s all appropriate gear, especially the 2×10 drivetrain and aforementioned X-Fusion post. The lack of lock-on grips is a shame, don’t leave the shop without them, and the rims seemed to dent up a little easily too. Grip gripe aside, the Teocali’s components should run trouble free for years of rough riding.

A 142x12mm rear axle keeps things stiff out back, while the fork’s 15mm axle takes care of steering precision up front. The whole bike is quite stiff laterally, which may surprise some as the linkage looks like it would be prone to flex.

As you can see from the location of the o-ring on the shock shaft, we didn’t get full travel from the rear shock despite running the recommended sag.

If you want to run a water bottle, it’s under the down tube only. This is a hydration pack kind of bike anyhow.

 

Despite looking pretty complicated, the Freedrive suspension system features no more pivots than a standard four-bar linkage suspension design.

The SRAM X5 shifters may feel a bit cheap under your fingers, but the shift quality when matched to an X7 rear mech is fine!

 

The 2×10 drivetrain was a pleasure to use. Sure this bike is heavy, but we never found ourselves short of gears on the climbs and we prefer the simplicity of two chain rings instead of three.

 

 

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