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  1. #1
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    2008 Mongoose Khyber elite first ride impressions

    So this year is my first year riding DH resorts coming from my aggressive xc/AM background. I've been using a Jamis Komodo hardtail all year but recently got fed up with the beating my body was taking through the choppy rock gardens.

    A few weeks ago I started my search for an strong aggressive use FS bike that could still be pedaled on trails. My short list initially included the Giant Reign X, Spec. SX trail, Transition Preston and SC bullit and Nomad. Test rode many of these frames and decided that I would go with the Giant Reign X mostly because a frame could be found for cheap and I didn't want to get a ton of money into a bike I would only ride about 25% of the time. I started my search for a used frame and just couldn't find any. I stumbled upon the Mongoose Khyber elite online for 1400$ new. I did some research and found it seems to be decent and for that price the build kit was worth it. Got it on monday, swapped the fork out and changed to 2.5 tires. This weekend I took it for the Dh resort for the first ride.

    I was first pleasently surprised to see that I only needed about 150psi in the Marz Roco air shock to get the correct sag. For my 200lb riding weight this is much lower pressure than I normally use. I headed up the lift for the first ride and took it on a fast Slopestyle type course that was always my favorite on the hardtail. I immediatly felt very comfortable on it, it rode much like my hardtail and i liked how I "felt" the trail, yet it took the edges off the bumps. I am a pretty smooth rider but landing after the drop offs was noticably less harsh than my hardtail.

    I next headed to the very rocky DH race type trail. This type of trail was why I wanted a FS bike. I was thrilled with the performance on this trail. I felt much more in control. It felt almost as good here as the bullit I tried a few weeks ago.

    Next I headed to a freeride type trail with some big drops. I was happy to find the suspension on the Khyber felt very bottomless on the big hits. Exactly what I was looking for.

    Now the negatives. While I didn't notice the slight movement in the BB from the freedrive design. It does have a weird effect: it slightly stiffens when you stand. I set the sag for me sitting in full gear but when I was at the resort, standing is required the whole time so sag was less than the 25-30% I normally like. It shouldn't be much of a problem for the resort, I can just set my sag at 30% while standing and be good to go. What worries me is when I do aggressive trailriding. I like to sit and spin to climb hills and then stand to bomb the DH's. I'll have to compromise one setting since setting the sag when standing makes the bike feel very lazy when sitting and pedaling.

    I absolutly hate the zero stack reducer headset. I wish they would have used a normal type because this bike could benefit from a more slack headangle. I'm considering getting a 66 ata so I can set it for 180mm for the DH and 160 for trails.

    Interrupted seat tube is a pain. I will need to have two seatposts. One at normal length for trail riding, and one cut down a few inches so I can drop it into the frame for DH riding.

    Overall, I think this is a great "park bike" for guys who spend most of their time at Dh resorts but still like a lighter, shorter travel bike. For this type of riding I'd give the bike an A rating for performance and an A+ rating for overall when you consider i got this new for 1400$. Don't be afraid of the floating BB, you will not notice it I promise. Set the sag while standing in the attack position and enjoy the great bike.

    I'm still undecided on using the bike for trailriding. It is about 5lbs heavier than the Reign X and SX trail and the annoying problem with the rear suspension setting. I'll have to figure out a solution to that and report back. Ultimately, I hope to get this bike to be just "servicable" on trailrides, since I have a long travel hardtail that I prefer for that purpose.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by dascro

    Interrupted seat tube is a pain. I will need to have two seatposts. One at normal length for trail riding, and one cut down a few inches so I can drop it into the frame for DH riding.
    Possibly a telescoping seatpost? This years Khyber Super is a 31.6, if yours is the same, you can pick up a Titec ProLite Scoper. I've been running one and it has been flawless.
    Last edited by MattP.; 08-25-2008 at 03:15 PM.

  3. #3
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    Yeah, I'm considering that. I don't have any experience with them so I worry they will either slip or break...

    Do you own the bike? Figure out a way to work around the stiffening of the suspension when you stand?

  4. #4
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    Interesting, I have been eying up the mongoose kyber myself as a FR oriented trail bike and then build up a DH sled, rather then having one bike that I use for everything (session 77)...

    Where did you get it for $1400?

  5. #5
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    http://www.geared2go.com/Mongoose-Kh...er%20elite.htm

    Actually listed at 1499. Got it 100$ off with a discount from them.

    I'm a fan of hardtails so maybe my advice is a bit subjective, but anyways..

    I don't think this is the bike you are looking for as a FR oriented trail bike. As I said before it's pretty heavy for what it is. I was drawn to it because I wanted a FR/DH bike, but wanted it to be capable of doing some trail riding too. It fits this, but it seems obvious to me that it is a FR/light DH bike first and foremost. Now maybe i feel this way because i use a 29lb hardtail for my aggresive trail bike. I know I've used a heckler on the trail and thought it was poorly suited to that as well...so take it with a grain of salt.

    I just got it, and I am planning on making it more trail worthy eventuly. I'm sure I can get it to mid 30's without losing strength. I also need to get a DHX 5.0 air shock. The Elite comes with a Roco air without any propedal. It pedals decent without it, but the addition of propedal would be pretty helpful.

    I think if you get it and a dedicated DH bike, you will get too much overlap. I'd probably look towards something more along the lines of a Giant reign, SC heckler, RFX or Trek Remedy. Something that pedals almost like a XC bike, yet still can absorb the abuse. It is tough to understand exactly how overbuilt the Khyber is from the pictures online, but once you see it you will completely understand. It is cleared for any fork on the market and one look at the front triangle shows why. I think the reviews of it online say it best. Its ideal use is for the self-shuttler.

    The good thing is, its not real expensive, so you won't be hurt bad by trying it. I certainly enjoy it thus far, I just want to try and give you a real idea what the bike is about.
    Last edited by dascro; 08-25-2008 at 11:56 AM.

  6. #6
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    Weight is not an issue for me, right now my "trail" bike is a 46lb session 77 with 888 fork and I love it. Although I can see how I could improve for both "normal" trail riding and DH by getting two bikes.

    I'm looking for something that I can trail ride and that includes all the freeride features around here (4ft drops to flat, 4-6ft to transition, steeps, skinnies, techy climbs, there are no real hills, its short ups and downs), I'd also want it with a slightly steeper HA (or travel adjust fork) then the session so its possible to keep the front wheel on the ground when climbing and trying to steer around tight switch backs... I find climbing up techy rock sections great on the sess, cos it just soaks everything and maintains traction, it just won't steer so well on the switch backs.

    I actually backed the SPV (similar to propedal) off as far as possible and I find that far preferable to ride with and found it doesn't impact my climbing that much.

    The remedy seems like a great bike, and a buddy of mine is getting one this week, so I want to try it out...

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by essenmeinstuff
    Weight is not an issue for me, right now my "trail" bike is a 46lb session 77 with 888 fork and I love it. Although I can see how I could improve for both "normal" trail riding and DH by getting two bikes.

    I'm looking for something that I can trail ride and that includes all the freeride features around here (4ft drops to flat, 4-6ft to transition, steeps, skinnies, techy climbs, there are no real hills, its short ups and downs), I'd also want it with a slightly steeper HA (or travel adjust fork) then the session so its possible to keep the front wheel on the ground when climbing and trying to steer around tight switch backs... I find climbing up techy rock sections great on the sess, cos it just soaks everything and maintains traction, it just won't steer so well on the switch backs.

    I actually backed the SPV (similar to propedal) off as far as possible and I find that far preferable to ride with and found it doesn't impact my climbing that much.

    The remedy seems like a great bike, and a buddy of mine is getting one this week, so I want to try it out...

    Then it sounds like it might be the right bike for you. its funny because the same rides you do on your 46lb session 77, I do on my 29lb hardtail. I guess everyone has a different riding style and expectation.

    The head angle is a little steeper than 67 degrees with the factory fork. I prefer a 68ish head angle for trail riding so this was very familiar to me. It should work well for what you are looking for. I did a few very short climbs at the resort(shot off the trail a few times..) and it climbed very well. No problems at all with the front coming up.

    One thing I didn't mention. The bike comes with the unreliable Marzocchi 55 series forks. I immediatly swapped it for my proven Z1 RC2 and sold the 55 on ebay. I guess Marz does have a solution for the problems and will warrenty them for free, but you still deal with the potential inconvience of not having a working fork on your new bike.

    The remedy seems great. I would love to get one eventually but right now its just out of my budget. I'm still learning about this DH thing and want to figure out exactly what type of bike I like before I spend a lot of money.

  8. #8
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    If you thought the headtube angle was steep, you didn't do yourself any favors by swapping out a 160mm fork for a 150mm...
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  9. #9
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    2mm difference. Z1 is 538mm a2c and 55 is 540mm. I doubt even the best biking pro in the world could notice that.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by dascro
    Then it sounds like it might be the right bike for you. its funny because the same rides you do on your 46lb session 77, I do on my 29lb hardtail. I guess everyone has a different riding style and expectation.

    The head angle is a little steeper than 67 degrees with the factory fork. I prefer a 68ish head angle for trail riding so this was very familiar to me. It should work well for what you are looking for. I did a few very short climbs at the resort(shot off the trail a few times..) and it climbed very well. No problems at all with the front coming up.

    One thing I didn't mention. The bike comes with the unreliable Marzocchi 55 series forks. I immediatly swapped it for my proven Z1 RC2 and sold the 55 on ebay. I guess Marz does have a solution for the problems and will warrenty them for free, but you still deal with the potential inconvience of not having a working fork on your new bike.

    The remedy seems great. I would love to get one eventually but right now its just out of my budget. I'm still learning about this DH thing and want to figure out exactly what type of bike I like before I spend a lot of money.
    The session is complete overkill for 95% of the riding I do on it.

    I know the bits of it I do like over my friends xc bikes:
    - I like the stiff front end the DC fork provides and solid frame compared to my buddies fuel ex that seemed to wallow and noodle every given opportunity.
    - I love free ride geo, compared to the over the bars feeling of xc bikes.
    - I want at least 6" of good travel
    - It has to descend well, I'm happy to sacrifice weight and climbing a bit to enjoy the down.

    I'd actually just keep the session, but the frame is on its last legs (I think) and the suspension could be better.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by essenmeinstuff
    The session is complete overkill for 95% of the riding I do on it.

    I know the bits of it I do like over my friends xc bikes:
    - I like the stiff front end the DC fork provides and solid frame compared to my buddies fuel ex that seemed to wallow and noodle every given opportunity.
    - I love free ride geo, compared to the over the bars feeling of xc bikes.
    - I want at least 6" of good travel
    - It has to descend well, I'm happy to sacrifice weight and climbing a bit to enjoy the down.

    I'd actually just keep the session, but the frame is on its last legs (I think) and the suspension could be better.
    Yeah thats understandable. I'm not trying to steer you away from the Khyber, as I think its a great bike.. but..

    Have you tried any of the newer long travel trailbikes or AM bikes or whatever they are called? They are pretty impressive and may be just what you are looking for. They descend almost as good as a true DH or park bike yet climb almost as good as XC bikes. The seating position is very laid back and usually the bars are level with, or slightly higher than the seat. The newer 160 and 180mm forks with 20mm thru axle are very stiff. These bikes are very popular today and its an option you may want to look into.

    IMO, this is the segment that Mongoose tries to fill with the Khyber. Unfortunatly for them, they missed it and made an overbuilt "park bike" or light DH/FR bike. Fortunatly for me, its exactly what I was looking for. I would compare it more to the Specialized SX trail than the more trail oriented bikes like that Nomad and Reign. I believe you could build a reign or nomad to be a decent all around trail bike, I don't think thats going to be possible with the Khyber. Time will tell and I'll keep this post updated as I try to trim the weigh and make it more pedal friendly.

  12. #12
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    Maybe I missed it somewhere in your posts, but how much does the bike weigh?

  13. #13
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    Crappy bathroom scale method of weighing says around 38lbs.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by dascro

    IMO, this is the segment that Mongoose tries to fill with the Khyber. Unfortunatly for them, they missed it and made an overbuilt "park bike" or light DH/FR bike. Fortunatly for me, its exactly what I was looking for.
    Same

    Plus the price is damn hard to ignore... and I've been pedaling the session every where, so its gota be better then that

    Maybe I will make teh wife the test dummy... she needs a squishy bike...

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by essenmeinstuff
    Same

    Plus the price is damn hard to ignore... and I've been pedaling the session every where, so its gota be better then that

    Maybe I will make teh wife the test dummy... she needs a squishy bike...
    thats about how I felt. It wasn't my ideal bike(that would be an sx trail or Reign X) but for the price I just couldn't pass it up.

    I believe it should pedal much better than the session so I'd say go for it. If you hate it I would guess you can part it out for more than you paid.

    Though making the wife a test dummy is a great idea.

    Oh one more thing, Check out the geometry carefully when ordering. They seem to run a little large. I am right on the line between a L and Xl on most frames. I ordered a L and the top tube is just right for me. That top tube is very long for an aggressive bike.

  16. #16
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    Well, an update.... if anyone is still reading and cares...

    Went for another ride yesterday and my satisfaction with the bike is decreasing. The stiffening of the suspension when standing has started to annoy the hell out of me. Its pretty much opposite of what I want. I pefer to sit and spin up the climbs (firmer suspension is best) and stand and bomb the downhills(plush suspension is best).

    On my first ride I felt like I was slightly getting pitched over the bars on landings. I figured it was just some small bike setup issues. I'm starting to think its the bottom bracket moving backwards that is causing this. Its not noticeable when you just stand and bounce the suspension, but when I lowered the air pressure and compressed it down to near full travel the bottom bracket moves a good distance rearward. I spent some time analyzing this and while It certainly would make the bike have a better "feel" of the trail, it would also cause your weight to go from hanging off the rear of the bike, to standing on the pedals. If I can't get this resolved I will be putting the frame on ebay. When bombing down a rough steep hill, the last thing I want is my center of gravity to suddenly shift forward.

    If anyone makes me an offer, I would willingly sell it. I understand there are high profile sponsered riders using this frame. I'd like to know if they know something I don't or simply are keeping in mind who signs their paychecks.

  17. #17
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    I highly doubt that your standing up does anything to "stiffen" the suspension. It's just your weight bias moving forward on the bike. When you're just sitting on the seat you have almost all of your weight on the rear suspension, but when you stand up your weight becomes more evenly distributed between the front and rear suspension.

    You seems to have made quite the transition from loving the bike to wanting to sell it.

  18. #18
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    I also doubt the BB moving back an inch or so would make you feel like being pitched over the bars when landing, more likely you need to dial in a bit more rebound damping on the rear...

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by dowst
    I highly doubt that your standing up does anything to "stiffen" the suspension. It's just your weight bias moving forward on the bike. When you're just sitting on the seat you have almost all of your weight on the rear suspension, but when you stand up your weight becomes more evenly distributed between the front and rear suspension.

    You seems to have made quite the transition from loving the bike to wanting to sell it.

    Well, remember in my first post I mentioned that it was a bike with two purposes. My first report was after using it for the DH/FR park and I still feel it was decent for that, other than the annoyance of the moving BB. Not sure I loved it...

    On the trail is where its falling short. I would sell it for around 800$ for the frame right now. I doubt I'd get that so I'll be keeping it and working with these issues for a while longer to see if they can be resolved by riding technique or setup. Perhaps I came across as too negative in light of my disappointment from these few problems.

    If you look at the linkage you can see exactly what the suspension stiffens when you stand. I did have it drawn in autocad last night but don't have it here to show right now. Remember that the BB has to move for the suspension to compress. Loading the BB by standing makes a difference in the sag. I can't really tell its stiffer on the trail, but I won't use as much travel as I'd like.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by essenmeinstuff
    I also doubt the BB moving back an inch or so would make you feel like being pitched over the bars when landing, more likely you need to dial in a bit more rebound damping on the rear...
    Yeah, well like I said its possible my problems are a suspensions set-up issue. I do have a ton of rebounding damping on the rear already, perhaps more would solve that problem.

    As a side note, the valve stem of the Marz roco unscrewed when I removed the shock pump last night. I noticed the o-ring is damaged so looks like its off to hardware store to find another one of those. Its nothing major, but an annoying problem that I never had with the several manitou and Fox rear shocks I've used.

  21. #21
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    good point about the bb being part of the linkage...

    Mind you it would probably tend to settle into the bottom of the arc (shock allowing off course)...

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by dascro
    Yeah, well like I said its possible my problems are a suspensions set-up issue. I do have a ton of rebounding damping on the rear already, perhaps more would solve that problem.

    As a side note, the valve stem of the Marz roco unscrewed when I removed the shock pump last night. I noticed the o-ring is damaged so looks like its off to hardware store to find another one of those. Its nothing major, but an annoying problem that I never had with the several manitou and Fox rear shocks I've used.
    Just to note, there is always compromise between good small bump compliance and big hit rebound, getting it right for one usually means less then ideal performance for the other...

    Getting it dialed for trail riding probably means the rebound is a little too quick for bigger hits, and thus would feel like you're being turfed over the bars, other way around, and the rear can pack up on you on repeated fast hits... (you may know this, if so ignore )

  23. #23
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    I ride the Khyber Super. I weigh about 200 lbs in my kit, hydration pack, riding gear etc. I set up the Roco with 125 psi in the main spring and 170 psi in the piggy back and feel it is a good all around plush design. Try out those settings and see how it goes for you. The guys at NSMB.com did a really in depth review on it with lots of set up tips too. Mabye check that out...note they had fork troubles too. http://www.nsmb.com/page/s/2493/revi...e-khyber-super

  24. #24
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    Thanks, I've been using 145 psi in the main and 200 in piggy back. I'll try your settings

    Do you use the lock-out or TST on the rear shock often? Mine doesn't have that option and I'm curious how useful it is in the rear world?

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    I use the TST only on super smooth trails or to ride pavement to get out to the tral. on trail I go with no compression at all.

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