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Mongoose's $2,999 Teocali Pro - Review

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Completely redesigned for 2018, the new Teocali platform's two most notable updates - the ones that matter on the trail - are its new geometry and a revised suspension layout that Mongoose says is much better at, well, everything. Handily, I also spent a bunch of time on this bike's predecessor, the 2017 Teocali, making for the ideal opportunity to see how the two machines compare, and what the changes really mean on the trail. The 160mm-travel Teocali Pro goes for $2,999 USD, which is roughly half the price of many bikes that we review. Mongoose has done well by hanging Fox's 36 DPS fork and Float shock, as well as a mixed XT and SLX single ring drivetrain, off of the brightest frame I've seen in awhile. There will be no blending in if you're on this fluorescent flier.

Teocali Pro Details• Intended use: all-mountain • Rear wheel travel: 160mm• Wheel size: 27.5'' • Aluminum frame• Re-designed four-bar suspension • Slacker, longer geo than 2017 Teocali • Fox 36 DPS fork w/ 160mm, Float DPS shock• Weight: 32lbs 5oz• MSRP: $2,999 USD.

www.mongoose.com



Mongoose Teocali Pro James Lissimore Photo
No, it does not glow in the dark.

Design Details

Mongoose completely re-designed the Teocali platform for 2018, and that's a very good thing - while this bike's predecessor was a bang-for-your-buck kinda ride, it felt dated compared to more contemporary bikes that make use of new-school geometry. Mongoose knew that as well, it seems, because the 2018 aluminum frame is a different animal from headtube to rear dropouts. Oh, and it costs $500 USD less than last year's version but sports an arguably more effective spec.
The frame is built using what Mongoose refers to as T2 Tectonic aluminum tubing, and they also say that this T2 stuff offers a 50-percent increase in strength and a 30-percent drop in weight compared to the less expensive T1 tubing. I'm not sure if that reflects well on T2 or poorly on T1, but you get the idea: more strength, less weight. The tubing is heavily shaped, too, and has all the entry and exit ports for internal cable routing, except for the rear brake line that's routed externally because someone at Mongoose isn't a masochist.
There are four Teocali models, and all but the bottom rung Sport version are running a single ring drivetrain, but you'll still find a front derailleur mount on the top tier Pro bike, as all four share the same frame. So while the it comes with a nice Shimano XT/SLX 1x system, you could convert it to have two chainrings if that's how you roll. Weirdo. The bike's bottom bracket, which has a set of ISCG 05 tabs around it, is threaded into the frame rather than pushed in, and there's even room for a bottle inside the front triangle. While I'm left drinking from a downtube-mounted Giardia-catcher on many bikes, I could probably fit a two-liter bottle of pop inside the Teocali's front triangle, and I'd much rather have pop than Giardia.
Except for the rear brake, there's internal cable routing all around. The derailleur housing even runs through the chainstay.
I'm not going to tell you that the Teocali frame is a thing of amazing beauty - it's not - but it most certainly is well thought out, completely functional and, to be honest, leaves me with nothing to moan about other than a toptube that feels a tad tall for my liking.

New Bike, New Geometry

Sorting out a bike's handling isn't just a matter of sprinkling some of that ubiquitous longer, slacker, lower powder around liberally, but sometimes that's exactly what's needed. This is one of those times. The 2017 Teocali wasn't a poor handling bike... if it was still 2007. While its Manitou suspension performed far above the asking price, the handling was more nervous than inspiring, and it felt as if I was ten feet off the ground. Thankfully, Mongoose knew they had to change the Teocali's numbers for it to be considered a contender.
Up front, the 2018 Teocali sports a 66.5-degree head angle that, while not particularly relaxed given the bike's travel, intentions, and competition, is half of a degree slacker than what was used last year. That might not sound like much, but that half degree feels like a lot more on the trail. No reach numbers were provided for last year's bike, but its horizontal toptube length grew from 620mm to 630mm for the large-sized bike I've been riding. That latter number, which translates to a 455mm reach, is still a little conservative compared to some other new bikes, but it makes sense for Mongoose to be more conventional than controversial when it comes to geometry. The wheelbase grows, too, going from 1,200mm to 1,213mm, with five of those millimeters from a longer, 445mm rear-end. One last number to consider: 150mm. No, that's not wheel travel but rather how long the 2017 bike's headtube was, and part of the reason that I felt so out of touch with the ground when I was even remotely challenged. Mongoose has lopped 20mm off for the 2018 model, but you'll also find a tall conical headset top cap under the stem that should only be replaced with a flat one.
Mongoose Teocali Pro James Lissimore Photo
Rear suspension is a four-bar, Horst Link system with a twist: the lower shock mount is an extension off the front of the chainstays. Travel sits at 160mm.

Suspension Design

Last year's Teocali employed a four-bar, Horst Link rear suspension design to control 160mm of travel. The 2018 Teocali also employs a four-bar, Horst Link rear suspension design to control 160mm of travel... but with a twist. While it's anything but a new idea, Mongoose has placed the 2018 bike's lower shock mount on a short extension off the front of the chainstays. They're calling it ''Free Floating Technology,'' which is a reference to the Fox Float DPS shock ''floating'' between the rocker arm and the lower link, AKA the chainstay, and it's said to provide more tuning precision than solidly mounting the shock to the front triangle. No, it's not a new idea, but catchy names and performance claims aside, a bike doesn't require a never-before-seen suspension design to deliver the goods. In the end, I couldn't care less where the shock's lower mount is located just so long as the entire package performs well.
Specifications
Specifications
Release Date 2018
Price $2999
Travel 160
Rear Shock Fox Float DPS
Fork Fox Float 36 DPS, 160mm
Headset VP
Cassette Shimano SLX 11-46
Crankarms Shimano XT w/ 32-tooth chain ring
Bottom Bracket Shimano XT
Rear Derailleur Shimano XT
Chain Shimano
Shifter Pods Shimano SLX 11-speed
Handlebar Xposure 35mm
Stem Promax
Grips Xposure lock-on
Brakes Shimano SLX
Hubs Xposure straight-pull
Rim WTB KOM i29
Tires Schwalbe Hans Dampf 2.35'' folding
Seat WTB Volt Race
Seatpost X-Fusion Manic, 125mm


Climbing

Climbing expectations for a 160mm-travel bike can vary wildly from rider to rider, with some wanting nothing less than a downhill bike on a diet while others require a more well-rounded steed. Me? I'll choose the all-rounder every time, and not just because it's the correct choice, either. It's also because I enjoy climbing and, to be honest, I was kinda surprised to find that I still enjoyed climbing when I was on the Teocali. Not only does the neon 'goose pedal relatively well when the shock is left wide open (as all shocks should be), it's also quite adept in the technical bits for a chubby all-mountain rig. That combo makes for a bike that never really feels like it's holding you back at any point, which is high praise for a $2,999 USD all-mountain bike, and especially when one is used to riding bikes that cost twice as much. There are bikes that are more efficient - the Ibis HD4 and Polygon Square One come to mind - but I thought nothing of facing difficult, 3,000ft climbs with the Teocali's shock completely open; keep some halfway decent form and you won't see shock move much more than it needs to.
Mongoose Teocali Pro James Lissimore Photo
It's not a lightweight, sporty feeling bike, but its relatively efficient rear suspension and plenty of traction make the Teocali a surprisingly capable climber.
bigquotes The efficiency of the Teocali does not equal a sporty ride, however, as I suspect its weight and upright riding position sabotage any chance of this thing inspiring KOM attempts. Instead, sit down, relax, and let the climb come to you.
And when you get to a technical section, you'll find that the Teocali can more than hold its own there, too. Even with a handlebar that felt a bit tall for my liking (ditch that conical headset cap ASAP), the Teocali managed to impress thanks to geometry that leans more towards nimbleness than the EWS. There's a trade-off for that, of course, but it sure feels worthwhile while you're easily snaking your way up a rooty, rocky, section of singletrack. The Teocali's steering is quick for this category of bike, and it seems to fit into bits of trail that have troubled other machines, all of which means that you're not constantly searching out the widest entry point for a tight switchback, but rather looking for a line that makes the most sense. And the traction is there as well, especially with the Hans Dampf rear tire under you, and a 74-degree seattube angle that rewards a rider who doesn't always resort to out of the saddle efforts.
Mongoose Teocali Pro James Lissimore Photo
There's no need to use the Fox shock's cheater switch while climbing singletrack.
I did feel a bit cramped between the seat and handlebar, and especially so when the climbs dragged on for a long time. It's not a deal breaker but rather just one attribute that some will like and some will dislike; you'll definitely want to take a close look at the numbers if the Teocali is on your short list. If you're a rider who puts as much stock into the climb as you do the descent, you'll get on well with the 'goose. Those who don't see eye-to-eye with the Teocali will be the kind of riders who simply want to get to the top, period, and who are happy to give up something on the climbs to get more from the downs.

Descending

These days, it seems as if your all-mountain bike can't be ridden like a downhill sled, it's not worthwhile. That's absurd, of course, as there are far more riders who just want a decent descender than there are enduro bros who wake up wearing goggles and believe their 160mm bike needs to be EWS-ready. The 2018 Teocali is not that bike, though, even if it is far superior in every way compared to its equally neon predecessor from last year.
Mongoose Teocali Pro James Lissimore Photo
The neon 'goose is a maneuverable, fun bike to ride on technical trails that keep your speed down.
Geometry is nearly everything, and while the difference between the 2017 and 2018 Teocali isn't gigantic on paper, it certainly feels gigantic on dirt. I spent a fair bit of time riding last year's Teocali on the rocky, steep, and rough trails of Pemberton, BC, a little town known for its toothy singletrack and where kneepads are as common as helmets. In that setting, the old bike felt unsettled and short on traction, which in turn caused me to be short on confidence.

In comparison, the new Teocali offers a massive improvement in the handling department, even if it still can't keep up with some other bikes in the same travel bracket. The old Teocali's front-end often felt like it was close to tucking in under you, and this only got worse as the speeds picked up or the trail got steeper. Not exactly confidence inspiring, and places where I'd usually be playing around while on other bikes saw me giving the trail my full attention when I was aboard last year's 'goose. But the new bike offers much more stability and poise thanks to a front-end that wants to track better and doesn't make you feel like your water bottle is full of a month's worth of uppers and a coffee/Red Bull mix. In other words, the fresh Teocali is simply a calmer and more collected bike.

But it's still not an enduro bike by any means, and that's probably okay.

The Teocali is most at home when it's faced with tighter terrain than a lot of all-mountain bikes get along with; in these situations, the quick handling and short feeling chassis are in their element. There isn't a ton of effort required at the handlebar to get the Mongoose to boogie through tight corners that make other, ''more capable'' bikes seem awkward, and that had the Teocali coming across as more like a long-legged trail bike than an all-mountain weapon - take that as advice rather than praise or protest.

bigquotes Sure, the Teocali could be a bit pointy through fast corners or on steep stuff, but damn, was it ever a fun bike to ride on slower, technical trails. It's a bit of a jank queen, to be honest, but so am I.
So, the new Teocali throws shade on its predecessor in every situation, but it's still not the kind of bike that's at ease on truly scary trails or if there's a clock ticking away. Name any new-school all-mountain or enduro-focused bike and it'll probably be easier to ride faster or face challenging descents aboard than if you were on the big Mongoose; this just isn't that type of machine. The front-end seems too on-edge, and my weight felt as if it was sitting a bit too far forward when I was near the limits of my own skill and coconuts. The 50mm stem (and 785mm handlebar) makes sense for the bike's travel and intentions, but I've become used to short stems being paired with longer reaches, and the 455mm reach on the Teocali, while roomier than the old bike, could do with a bunch more millimeters added to it to improve the bike's all-out descending abilities.
Mongoose Teocali Pro James Lissimore Photo
It's when things get fast or steep that the Teocali can start to feel less planted than other bikes sporting similar travel.
Sure, the Teocali could be a bit pointy through fast corners or on steep stuff, but damn, was it ever a fun bike to ride on slower, technical trails. It's a bit of a jank queen, to be honest, but so am I. I'd describe the Teocali's rear-suspension as being extremely active and forgiving, if a bit deep feeling sometimes. I played around between the usual 25 to 30-percent sag and preferred the lower number as it helped to add some spring to the Teocali's step, and the action seemed to be just as supple at 25-percent as it did with another 5-percent tacked on. There isn't a ton of support - I was often deeper into the Fox shock's stroke than I thought I should be - but it also didn't clang off the bottom. The back of the Teocali certainly leans more towards forgiveness and traction than support, but dropping the sag to sit closer to 20-percent does accomplish that, and the suspension is still quite active at the top of its travel. The new Teocali, while being much more bike than the 2017 version, isn't for you if you race enduros or frequent mostly steep, rough trails. There are loads of other mid-travel bikes to choose from if that's your gig, and Mongoose obviously didn't pen the Teocali to compete in that arena. But if you're looking for a 160mm-travel rig that will make a new-school enduro bike feel clumsy on tight terrain, and you don't need your front axle to sit miles out in front of you, this might be your bike.

Technical Details

• X-Fusion Manic Dropper Post: This ''budget'' dropper recently won our Value Product of the Year award and my time using it on the Teocali only cemented my vote for it. Yes, any 160mm-travel bike should have a long-stroke dropper, but the 125mm Manic performed flawlessly. An extremely light touch is required at the lever due to the actuation linkage, and it has an audible clunk at top-out to let you know it's fully extended. Zero reliability issue to boot.

• Schwalbe Hans Dampf Tires: I know that the Dampf has been around for ages now and that there are newer, more interesting rubber choices out there, but I've always got on well with these tires. They're a predictable, smart all-around choice for a bike like the Teocali.

Smartly, Mongoose spec'd the Teocali with a 50mm stem and 785mm wide handlebar, as well as Fox's 36 with the impressive Grip damper.

• XT 1x Setup: Shimano had a bit of a false start with their 1x chainrings in that they couldn't keep the chain on no matter how loudly you yelled at it. You needed to use some sort of guide in combo with them, so I wasn't expecting a trouble-free run when I saw the guide-less XT 1x system on the Teocali. Shimano has sorted those issues out, however, as I never dropped a chain or had any issues.

• Fox Suspension: The Float 36 DPS and Float DPS shock that come on the Teocali aren't top-tier items, which makes sense given the bike's reasonable price, but it's getting damn hard to tell the difference between the best and the rest when it comes to Fox's suspension. This stuff just works well, doesn't require watching any setup videos or more than a cursory reading of the manual and, if this were my bike, gives me literally zero reasons to upgrade.

Pinkbike's Take

bigquotes If you've skipped the rambling above, here's all you need to know: there are better bikes to choose from if you're looking for a 160mm-travel machine to descend rowdy terrain as fast as possible. That said, the Teocali Pro has a place in this world if you're a rider who wants a forgiving amount of travel but without the sometimes lazy handling that can go along with that. Mike Levy

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About the Reviewer
Stats: Age: 37 • Height: 5'10” • Inseam: 33" • Weight: 165lb • Industry affiliations / sponsors: None • Instagram: killed_by_death
Mike Levy spent most of the 90s and early 2000s racing downhill bikes and building ill-considered jumps in the woods of British Columbia before realizing that bikes could also be pedaled for hours on end to get to some pretty cool places. These days he spends most of his time doing exactly that, preferring to ride test bikes way out in the local hills rather than any bike park. Over ten years as a professional mechanic before making the move to Pinkbike means that his enthusiasm for two wheels extends beyond simply riding on them, and his appreciation for all things technical is an attribute that meshes nicely with his role of Technical Editor at Pinkbike.