Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
5/26/20 3:08 p.m.

I've clogged the old "Grassroots Pedalsports" thread with my old Mongoose content so badly that the thread nuked itself, so I'll start a build/maintenace thread in here.

Like my other build threads, let's go back to the beginning for some history.

Way back in 1994, I needed a new "daily driver". I was pedaling my 12 year old rump off on a thing called a Huffy Dirt Water MTB at the time that looked just like this:


After it nearly killed me by throwing me off into a busy street during a shift mishap with the terribly vague friction shifters, I (and my parents) wanted me to get something safer to ride, especially since I was delivering papers at the time on the bike. First, I got one of these things:



A 1993ish Jazz Latitude. It was built by Trek, but you couldn't tell, because it was barely a step up from that Huffy Turd Water I had been riding. Everything about it sucked: from the shift components to the awful crankset and more. I hated it. It was uncomfortable, sized wrong by the bike shop, and rode no better I rode it for a few months, and after repeated trips to the local bike shop where it was purchased, it was never right. So I set off to save up for something better.

My neighbor with a the RAD-as-hell GT Performer told me I needed to check out the bike shop he got his GT from, so my dad and I hit up the former Western Performance store in Weymouth, MA that also sold bikes. And my neighbor wasn't kidding: they sold RAD bikes! They sold Schwinn, GT, Dyno, Robinson, and Mongoose, all of which were not part of the Pacific Cycle conglomerate back then, so the bikes were still pretty good. My family had some history with Mongoose stuff (older sister used to ride for Team Mongoose BMX locally back in the day) so I wanted one of theirs to "continue the tradition". And then I saw it right up front in the window: The Mongoose Threshold.



It had REAL Shimano stuff (in the form of an Altus groupset), aggressive tires, aluminum Araya wheels, a GEL seat, and it looked awesome in black. I got sized (properly this time), took it for a spin around the parking lot, and fell in love. While it wasn't the sweet Rockadile SX sitting above it in the shop with the front suspension I really coveted, this thing was amazing compared to what I had before, and I wanted it BAD. I set up a layaway plan and added a set of Zoom bar ends (because 1994) and slowly over the course of a few months paid off the $300 cost. And when it came home with me, I don't think I got off the bike for about 48 hours! I rode that thing everywhere for years, racking up countless miles as my main mode of transportation. It only failed me once; the rear hub fell apart, so I had the wheel and hub replaced by the same shop. After I got a car, I stopped riding bikes, so it went in the shed for years.

Fast forward to around 2015, and my friends were starting to race at the 24 Hours of Lemons events locally. I needed a pit bike, so I grabbed the bike from my parents' place and pressed it into service. More on this one in a bit.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
5/26/20 3:24 p.m.

Last Fall, after riding the ol' Threshold for a bit, (and after throwing out a terrible Pacific Schwinn I had bought around 2009) I decided that I wanted to get another bike. This time, I wanted to get something a little nicer than the Mongoose, but without spending an arm and a leg in case this was just a phase due to nostalgia. I hit up the local classifieds, and immediately found something that made my jaw drop: a Mongoose Rockadile SX. 



The seller originally wanted $50, but went down to a can't-refuse $15 once he couldn't get the shifters to work right. A bike nearly identical to this one sat in the shop where I bought my Threshold, and I couldn't swing the $899 back in 1994 money to buy it. But for $15 in 2019 money? No brainer, even for parts! This bike was clearly a step up from the Threshold: Shimano STX RC components with Alivio hubs, a very-basic Rock Shox front fork, Araya TM-18 double wall alloys, and most importantly, a much-lighter aluminum frame with a threadless headset. While it didn't come from the same (sadly defunct) shop I bought my other one at, it did come from another local shop. It was fate that brought them together!


 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
5/26/20 3:57 p.m.

So, where to begin? Let's start with the Threshold.







The first thing I did after bringing it out of retirement was swapping on the fat guy comfort seat.


It's dorky, but the old Mongoose Gel seat wasn't doing it for me anymore, and was downright painful to deal with. Then, I noticed that the tires were both dry rotted, and the side walls were compromised. I decided around this time to just embrace the pit cruiser aspect of the bike and make some changes. First, I swapped on some Eastern street cruiser tires with nice, blocky, and obnoxious letters. I also added some handlebar tape to the bar ends.



While the tires helped smooth out the ride, the old handlebars were not cutting it anymore. As an adult, trying to ride it around the neighborhood made for a twitchy affair. I added wider bars to the Rockadile, and I really liked the added control, but I wanted something different that would match the "old-schoolness" of the Threshold's rigid frame. After finding a thread full of vintage MTB builds over on Bike Forums, I saw a few people mount BMX-style bars to these things. and that's exactly what I did!






I ordered a Profile Designs threadless conversion adapter, a threadless 45 degree stem, a set of bar spacers, and an Origin 8 Mini-rise MX/BMX 600mm width bar and some Oury grips. It's PERFECT. I love both the looks and what it has done for rideability. It's much more controlled now and less twitchy on the road, and it looks super cool, well at least I think it does!

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
5/26/20 4:11 p.m.

Next is the Rockadile SX.











My $15 got me a bike that cost $899 back in the 1990's in total basket case condition. While it had decent components for its time, the Shimano STX-RC components were not 100% working. The shifters were both frozen solid, the tires were dry rotted, and the bike was just GROSS. 

First thing to do was to just hose the damn thing off! I also swapped on some not-as-dry rotted tires I had kicking around, along with some spare, not-broken pedals.


 

Next up was seeing what was up with the shifters. A quick search on the interwebs resulted in me squirting WD-40 in the shifters. The old STX trigger shifters like to bind up with grease, making some gears unavailable. This mostly worked! The front chainrings were still shifting terribly, but I could get most of the rear gears working just by spraying the lube in the shifters.

With it sorta, kinda becoming rideable, a quick spin resulted in more twitchy handling thanks to the old-school 90's handlebars. On this one, since it already (shockingly) had a modern threadless headset, I just ordered up some wide bars and fancy lock-on grips along with a new stem and spacers to put the bars where I wanted them. I also ordered a less-painful saddle while I was at it.







I rode it this way for the rest of last Fall. This would get me by until I could pick up something newer in the Spring of 2020. Or so I thought...

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
5/27/20 11:27 a.m.

Fast forward to the Spring of 2020, and as the ground thawed, I was thinking about bikes again. I wanted to buy a new bike, but the universe had other plans. The COVID-19 pandemic has been in full swing around here since March, and a lot of people decided that they also wanted to get new bikes, making new ones sold out everywhere and old, crappy ones sell for stupid money on the second hand market. Since everything is sold out everywhere, I decided to "run what I brung" and stick with these two old Mongoose bikes for the time being. The Threshold and its pseudo-cruiser BMX mods were good to go, but that green Rockadile still wasn't at 100%. The shifting was still wonky, and the tires were terrible. It was time to address that.

First, I mounted some good tires. I opted for Kenda Small Block Eight Sport tires with wire beads.



They are much better than the used tires I had temporarily put on the bike in every way imaginable. Even though they are only a 2.1 width, they feel meatier and are very grippy compared to the old ones.

While I was in there, I installed some Kool Stop brake pads.

I was impressed with the performance on the other bike, and the old pads were cracked and unsafe, so this was a no-brainer. I mean, look at these:



They were crumbling apart after I took them off!

After the tire and pad swap, I rode it a couple times, and while better, it was still having the same shifting issues. The front derailleur was never right, and the shifter always felt wonky. I had ordered some new shifter cables hoping that would help.

It didn't.

After trying to open up the shifter enough to slide the cable in, the bolt tht holds it together wasn't coming out. I opened up the top and noticed this mess:


That black part is not supposed to be spinning in place. It's also part of the gear indicator and ratcheting system, and it's completely destroyed. It sorta works like a friction shifter for the time being, but they will be replaced. I really can't complain, since this is a 25 year old bike that I paid $15 for because it wasn't shifting properly.
 

Mndsm
Mndsm MegaDork
5/27/20 11:41 a.m.

Is them mongooses? / Snoopdog

Hoondavan
Hoondavan Reader
5/27/20 2:21 p.m.

Very cool stuff.  It was probably right around 1993 that I upgraded my 12-speed Murray to a Diamondback Outlook and started riding trails. It had Shimano Altus (under the handlebar) cantilever brakes, etcs It was around $250 from Dick's sporting goods.  I added a Rock Shox Quadra fork and wound up replacing most of the components via Bike Nashbar & Perfomance bicycle. It was a tank. 

$15 is a ridiculous sum to pay for a halfway decent bike.  I keep trolling the local classifieds for a 90s carbon bike.  I've seen a few for sale locally and on ebay, but so many people with "expensive bikes" that are now 20-25 years old still seem to think they're worth stupid $$. Maybe it is COVID...but I also think people aren't paying attention to how much better of a bike you can get for $800 nowadays.    

I thought Mongoose were somewhat high-end back in the 90s (Right?).  Now they're found at wal-mart (sad-face). 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
5/27/20 4:52 p.m.
Hoondavan said:

Very cool stuff.  It was probably right around 1993 that I upgraded my 12-speed Murray to a Diamondback Outlook and started riding trails. It had Shimano Altus (under the handlebar) cantilever brakes, etcs It was around $250 from Dick's sporting goods.  I added a Rock Shox Quadra fork and wound up replacing most of the components via Bike Nashbar & Perfomance bicycle. It was a tank. 

$15 is a ridiculous sum to pay for a halfway decent bike.  I keep trolling the local classifieds for a 90s carbon bike.  I've seen a few for sale locally and on ebay, but so many people with "expensive bikes" that are now 20-25 years old still seem to think they're worth stupid $$. Maybe it is COVID...but I also think people aren't paying attention to how much better of a bike you can get for $800 nowadays.    

I thought Mongoose were somewhat high-end back in the 90s (Right?).  Now they're found at wal-mart (sad-face). 

Back in the early-mid 90's, Mongoose was still close to a top brand. They weren't as quite good as something like a Cannondale or Gary Fisher; they were more in line with the bikes GT was putting out, but they were still quality bikes. In the 80's, they were mainly a BMX brand, and one of the top bikes available. The Supergoose BMX bike my sister used to ride was a top-of-the-line bike for any brand (she still has it but it's rusting as I type because she doesn't care about it at all frown). In the late 90's, Service Cycle (the group that owned the Mongoose name) changed hands a few times until it landed with Dorel/Pacific which owns it now. That's when they became "WalGoose" bikes. They are similar in name only; they are a cheapo line akin to Huffy and NEXT.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
5/27/20 5:24 p.m.

Another update on the green Goose:

Since the stock shifter is completely FUBAR'ed, I decided to get some new ones. First, I looked online for some Shimano 3x7 shifters, and then I realized I might actually have a pair of shifters already. I used to have a Pacific "Schwinn" S-25 that was a total turd. I threw it away last year, but I did save some parts from it, like the tires and the shifters. But, I took them apart and lost all the pieces to one of them. Or so I thought.

After hunting around the garage, I managed to find every piece I thought I lost minus one cover screw. After taking about an hour piecing it back together, having to figure out how it worked, I got it back together!



I was ready to slap them on, when someone in another thread mentioned that these have V-Brake levers and not Cantilever Brake levers.

Whoops.

So now I have a set of V-Brake calipers, pads, and cables on the way. The good news is that these should, in theory, increase my braking power. The bad news is that they won't be here until late next week.

The saga continues...

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
6/4/20 8:59 a.m.

A pile of brake parts just showed up, so I'll be installing them on the green Goose soon.



Hopefully, everything will work together and I'll be riding it by the weekend.

 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
6/5/20 9:20 a.m.

Started my brake/shifter swap yesterday. Ran into some issues.

First one: the right shifter (for the rear derailleur) seems like it's missing something.


This hole on my old shifter (for the shifter cable) and on the left shifter has a threaded end for adjustment. On this one, it is NOT threaded. The cable casing end just sits there. Not sure if there's something missing, but with some rear adjustment on the derailleur, it shifts fine.




The new V-Brake calipers fit the frame perfectly. Running the cables is the problem. Since this bike came with cantilever brakes, the frame stays don't work for the new cables/brakes. I later learned that the noodle itself IS the stay on the fronts. I'll go back and sort that out today. I had to stop for the night because I was getting snacked on by mosquitos.

Also, I think I'm going to replace these shifters with some new ones. While they technically work, the one I pieced back together doesn't 100% ratchet like it should. I was able to get it a lot closer to working as it should than the old, broken shifter, but the cable seems to stick inside the shifter mechanism which screws it up at times.

 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
6/5/20 8:42 p.m.

Had some time to finish the shifter/brake swap after work.
 







It's not perfect, but it's done. That left shifter is still screwy, but at least I can get it to select all three front rings. I will be replacing these at some point. The brakes might still need a little adjustment for feel, but I think I have them working about as well as the old cantilevers. After a quick test ride, I think it's just about ready to press back into service.

RyanCartiers
RyanCartiers
7/1/20 2:29 p.m.

In reply to Hoondavan :

I recall them being high end also.  Looked them up recently, seems they focus on dirt jumpers & BMX now

RyanCartiers
RyanCartiers New Reader
7/1/20 2:32 p.m.

In reply to Tony Sestito :

originally came across your post while looking for the specs of my bike - also a Rockadile SX.  Thank you for posting, helped me out a bit.  Nice to see the work you've done on yours also

RyanCartiers
RyanCartiers New Reader
7/1/20 3:13 p.m.

I picked up this Mongoose Rockadile SX after someone crashed shortly after buying it and didn't want it.  Switched saddles with the Giant Sedona I had b/c the original was uncomfortable.

Upgraded rear derailleur to a Deore XT which shifted better.

Replaced the Rock shock when it was failing with a Marzocchi Bomber light z.3 for a sweet deal because it didn't fit most of the new bikes going through that shop, and they didn't know when they'd sell it, but it would fit my bike.  They were pumped to work on it as they said it was rare to see quality components after Shimano moved production to China (quite some time ago, shops just tell me to upgrade the bike now). 

This shock made the huge difference in the ride and I really enjoyed it.

Rode it a lot last year to recondition my knee after regrowing a torn ACL from skiing.

I've replaced tires & cogs several times, just put new tires on again and whole new drive train.  Tires were tearing through the sidewalls; increased tire width to 2.3 and found it more comfortable.  Ran them at 40lbs. bike felt noticeably faster.

Rode great, however I only got 1 ride in and noticed the frame has 3 cracks in front between the handle bars and fork. 

On the fence as to whether I will replace frame or bike;

- I've shopped around online for a new frame not being sure it will fit all parts or whether I want to the labour in to swap them - also factoring age and whether it's going to fail in a short period of time vs. get a newer bike.  If I do get a frame I'm thinking chromoly or titanium.  Going to ride a bunch to see how they feel - I've rented several full suspensions but haven't found one I like better than this one.  Probably going to stick with a hardtail.

pics are of current condition - I haven't removed the parts, just listing them to gauge interest.  I plan to keep the frame and use if for a door handle somewhere. 

 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
7/1/20 5:19 p.m.

In reply to RyanCartiers :

Wow, yours is the exact same bike! You don't see many of these anymore. Mine has some paint cracks in the head tube, but the frame seems fine. They are 25 year old aluminum frames at this point, so you can't really complain too much. Looks like yours has a lot more mods than mine. Nice score on the fork!

EricM
EricM SuperDork
7/1/20 7:17 p.m.

I raced a Mongoose when I was a teen (circa 1986).  That is my ABA number. Yup, I was the 5,727th fastest rider in America at that time.

 

Looking back now, that crank and chainring were oversized, no wonder I could not accelerate.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
7/25/20 8:06 p.m.
Tony Sestito said:

In reply to RyanCartiers :

Wow, yours is the exact same bike! You don't see many of these anymore. Mine has some paint cracks in the head tube, but the frame seems fine. They are 25 year old aluminum frames at this point, so you can't really complain too much. Looks like yours has a lot more mods than mine. Nice score on the fork!

Yeah, about that "fine" frame...


I was planning on taking a ride this weekend, but not on this. Sadly, the green 'Goose will have to be retired. That's not the only head tube crack either; there are several. I learned a lot wrenching on it, so it's not all bad. I will salvage what I can, especially the drivetrain and wheels/tires, and swap some stuff onto the black bike. I'll be bike shopping once bikes are available again. 

RyanCartiers
RyanCartiers New Reader
10/12/20 6:02 p.m.

wow that almost the same spot as mine - I first saw them through the paint and wasn't sure so I went to the shop that just did the work and they suggested not going far with a concerned look on their face - that made me think I shouldn't go far at all.  They said it depends if it's just the paint cracking or through the frame, but I'd have to dismantle the shocks & headset to see inside. 

Went to my 2nd shop and they said it was done.  Great job it's done me for 25 years, even with all the upgrades it cost less than $100/year. 

So I decided to peel away the paint when i got home and see how bad it really was - and how lucky for noticing it I really was:

Also confirmed it was on the inside when I removed the shock & headset.  Super happy I noticed.  Searched for another frame, including a chromoly Giant Sedona I sold my friend which would be an easy swap, didn't find anything and didn't want to take a chance only some parts would fit and be left with the others.  So I decided to part out & will keep the frame - it's been with me most my life if you think about it.  Will either use it for a door handle or frame for hangining pot rack.  Hopefully I helped a lot of people out with the parts too - some shipped all the way to Quebec.  It's a good year to sell bikes & parts due to the shortages.

Looked them up to buy another Mongoose, figure I should go new given how great this one was however it doesn't look like they're making mountain bikes.  I see the headsets are built up a lot more now to prevent this. Searching for another mountain bike now...

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
10/13/20 8:33 a.m.

In reply to RyanCartiers :

Yeah, I stripped the green Mongoose down and shelved the parts. Some point down the road, I'll do a vintage build on a new (to me) frame. I ended up replacing it with this:


It's a Polygon Heist X5. It's more hybrid than MTB but exactly suited to where I usually ride. Got it back in August, and it has been great so far.

faisduvtt
faisduvtt
11/4/20 10:30 a.m.

In reply to Tony Sestito :

Tony - want to sell off your SX?  I'm looking for a frame to hang in my garage so cracked non-functional works just fine.

PM me.

Tom

Birthdays
Our Preferred Partners
dWLmozt0uMXFbs48LTjvI2eZwKR1jFYXPcu4tiN0su49v9UWUCuVbBFaT2MDaG3Q