Urban Velo

Mongoose Cachet Review – $150 Walmart Bike

Those decrying the Mongoose Cachet, a $150 complete bike available through Walmart, as the end times for the fixed gear and urban scene are missing the point besides not being very mindful of recent history. Case in point—the first bike to get me in the woods was a Huffy White Heat back in the early 90’s when I was about 12 years old and when mountain bikes were really first entering the public consciousness, ushering in a late 90’s-00’s boom that has yet to bust. Hardly marking the end of an era, this could mark the real beginning. Countless kids now have a bike within reach that looks cool to them and may just hook them for life.

Back to that point, by not trying to be anything it isn’t this bike ends up looking better than some other color-matched bikes out there costing 10x as much. The black and white is simple and not overwhelming, with the stickers applied over the paint and just aching to be peeled off.

The parts are far nicer than I at first pictured, and arguably nicer than some of the $250 level bike shop singlespeeds that exist. The aluminum frame and steel fork seem good enough, and feature a 1″ threaded headset as expected. The stem and bars are aluminum, with particularly cheap single pivot caliper brakes and steel three-piece cranks. The wheels are the real showcase part, with a deep section rim with machined sidewalls and a wear indicator, and 48-hole Quando branded flip/flop hubs. Yes, that’s a real-deal fixed hub featuring a reverse thread lockring. No cog—you’ll have to visit a bike shop if you want to go fixed. The 44×18 single speed gearing even makes sense for most city riding, and the metal caged pedals and plastic clips are a nice touch. It even has new-school looking BMX grips and a chain tensioner on the drive side. Whoever spec’d this bike was doing their homework, and aside from the brake calipers leaves little to be desired considering the price.

One size fits most, if you’re looking at the Cachet you’d best hope the solidly “medium” sized frame fits. The top tube is about 55cm long, with a 51cm c-t seat tube and a 32.5″ standover height in the center of the top tube. It may not be an ideal fit, but people from roughly 5’5″ to 6’0 can likely ride the bike reasonably comfortably as long as they can safely stand over the bike. The bike has middle of the road geometry—long 440mm chainstays handle comfortably while a 290mm high bottom bracket prevents pedal strikes. I’m unsure of the exact head and seat angles, but it honestly doesn’t matter at this price level as long as the bike rides as it should. There is nothing extraordinarily good or bad to report about the ride—it goes where you point it, the wheel doesn’t feel like it wants to flop over, at no point does the bike feel unpredictable. Convinced the end is nigh? Further evidence—remove the brakes and the Mongoose Cachet has clearance for barspins.

Much is being made about the quality of the bike out of the box, and in fact our bike shipped with the incorrect size seatpost. While this bike is certainly of about the lowest quality anyone should consider riding, the condition of the bike out of the box speaks more of the big-box model of selling disassembled bikes than anything else. Shop quality bikes routinely arrive with incorrect parts, items broken in shipping and components completely out of adjustment. Part of the premium shop price is paying for the knowledge to spot and fix these problems before the consumer has a chance to realize they exist. The Cachet needed some fine tuning and routine brake adjustments like anything else, but I’d question the ability of someone with limited bike knowledge to get the Cachet working to its potential.

The bike is what it is—the absolute entry level single speed road bike you can get. In my opinion the fact that it looks “cool” and reflects the past 5 years worth of trends in city riding is more a statement on the growth and staying power of urban cycling than anything else. Getting new people hooked on bikes is a good thing, and the Cachet may be the first ticket for a lot of them. For too long bikes in this price range have been clunky mountain-bike-like bikes that were so full of bells and whistles that no matter how much you worked on them they were barely tolerable to ride. By keeping it simple the Cachet overcomes that problem and actually has the potential to encourage people to ride more rather than less. If you’re looking at the bike from the perspective of someone with $300 carbon shoes prepare to be full of criticisms. Don’t get me wrong—it is cheap, parts will break if you ride it hard or for lots of miles, no matter how well it is adjusted it will never ride as well as higher quality bikes. But keeping in mind that it is $150 for the entire bike and the potential to deliver a good time on two wheels to more people I must say I’m impressed.

89 Comments

  1. fredApril 18, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    i’m sure we would love to have lobsters and fine wines more often but, unfortunatly some could only afford pizza and beer most of the time. none the less we eat all the time! and pizza hut’s and budwieser are making alot of $$$$$$

  2. Walmart fixed speed sold out « Bike Monkey MagazineApril 20, 2010 at 12:37 am

    [...] Bikesnob NYC was first out of the gate with a review of the Mongoose Cachet. Urban Velo posted their review of the Cachet here. [...]

  3. geekjitsuApril 20, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    I recently purchased a Mongoose Cachet to be a secondary bike for friends that wanted to ride w/ me but had no bike. Got it yesterday, put it together and took it for an hour ride through my city’s downtown. While it felt a little loose at times, it held up and hauled ass (considering it’s an out of the box bikes). I got home, set it on my repair stand for the night. 30 minutes later I hear a PSSSHHHHHHHHHH. The front tube ruptured.

    Glad it didn’t happen while I was riding or worse when 1 of my less experienced friends was riding it.

  4. geekjitsuApril 20, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    I will add that I agree with Brian G. if you’re going to spend $150 on this bike, spend $50-80 more on a Schwinn Cutter.

  5. Today’s post, in which I rant about a misguided carhead Council Member « BikingInLAApril 21, 2010 at 1:47 am

    [...] the negativity towards bike racers these days?  Walmart sells out of their $150 fixie — which isn’t that bad, but isn’t that great, either. Interesting insights on the challenges of representing a [...]

  6. Bike Repair and Critical Mass « Car-Free in PVDApril 22, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    [...] Local Bike Shop (LBS), and the online retailer. I would even say that the boutique bike shop and Big Box store have their place in the [...]

  7. yesApril 23, 2010 at 12:29 am

    YES!

  8. AtomkinderApril 23, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    Hmm, well I can’t seem to see all the comments (might be a browser problem), and although someone probably already stated this, I wish to say something about it myself: after building hundreds of bikes from companies like Giant, Orbea, Marin, Surly and many more, I have never once gotten an incorrect seatpost and rarely seen incorrect parts (which are very quickly replaced by the manufacturer). I could probably count the number of parts slipups on the fingers of my own two hands.

    That said, what you DO get from a bike shop bike is a warranty, most likely some service perks (free tune up, adjustments for a year, whatever), professional assembly by a trained mechanic (if you have this done for your Cachet at a shop it will probably cost you $75-$100 or more), and the good feeling that you’ve supported a local business that will now be around a little longer to help you when something bad happens or you need some advice.

    /$.02

  9. dan pugatchApril 23, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    my only concern is that the people who assemble bikes at department stores dont have the right tools or experience. so often do i see bikes come in to the shop new and need full tuneups because the bottom bracket is way loose, the wheels outta true, the brakes don’t work, a crank arm is falling off, etc.

    also during the holiday rush, they have to assemble an insane unrealistic number of bikes like 10 an hour no joke told to me from a friend who worked at Toys R Us. so without talking about quality of the bike, just the safety of a rider on a poorly assembled fixed gear.

  10. dan pugatchApril 23, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    p.s. I doubt Walmart has lock ring tools so often have I seen complete bikes even $700 bikes come with the lock ring just hand tight…

  11. clemqApril 28, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    Thought people may want to see what it looks like unbranded.

    http://img200.imageshack.us/img200/5006/mongoosecachetunmasked.jpg

  12. Genesis Track One « Urban VeloMay 10, 2010 at 6:02 am

    [...] has another $150 fixed-speed offering—the Genesis Track One. Unlike the Mongoose Cachet, this one has a kickstand! Published by Urban Jeff on May 10, 2010 in Product News. 0 [...]

  13. Singlespeed für alle? « Bassooka – N 51° 30' E 7° 25'June 2, 2010 at 2:13 am

    [...] länger Singlespeeds auch von Discountern (vor allem Walmart) angeboten und es gibt schon reichlich Testberichte dazu in entsprechenden Blogs. Jetzt scheint der Trend auch langsam nach Deutschland zu schwappen: Decathlon bietet jetzt für [...]

  14. TerryJune 15, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    if it is walmart, it is a piece of crap. Period. White trash, trailer park piece of crap.

  15. ChrisAugust 31, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    Terry, in the name of all people for whom organic vegetables, Mini Coopers, iPods and ridiculously obscure bands aren’t on the menu, you should go have sex with yourself. My mother shops at Walmart from time to time, as does my sister. This is out of necessity. From reading your cute rebuttal, it’s evident that mom has more dignity than you’re likely to know in a long time. Grow up.

  16. marcOctober 2, 2010 at 11:24 am

    i just bought the mongoose cachet its my first single speed. i’m planning on making as much upgrades to the bike as it needs to make it a fixie is this a waist of time or will it improve the quality on my bike ?

  17. xxxxxOctober 25, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    While i don’t support walmart and would love to buy locally, in my city (new orleans) that means paying 200 bucks for a 1980 huffy 10 speed with original 1980 (read non-maintained) parts. There is a shortage of used bikes here and a high demand for them. So I guess for 150 bucks I’m getting what i should be able to buy on craigslist: a rideable, affordable way to get around. Because people in general are uneducated about bikes, they pay too much for them here and drive up the price. I can’t afford a 200 dollar bike that needs new components. This bike is perfect. Another case of where buying local or organic becomes out of the price range for the average local.

  18. botakNovember 1, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    hola..i from malaysia..i like mangoose bike..i want to but this bike, would you suggest me on how i want to make the payment n how i can get this product..tq mangoose.

  19. DavidNovember 10, 2010 at 10:04 am

    Just got my Cachet yesteday in the site to store free shipping.

    I have already given my LBS plenty of business wioth my Cannondale road and mt bikes. I just wanted something simple and cheap and ready to ride on my trainer and outside this winter.

    I have to say the bike is a pleasant surprise. I have ordered drop bars and a fixed cog to add for my pleasure, but the cost was minimal. My bike was well prepared and I simply did basic assembly and was riding in abot 45 minutes. I did remove the stickers and the bike looks pretty good fro a black white scheme. It rides very well also.

    When i add the fixed cog I will regrease the head set and bottom bracket bearings just for good measure. I like doing that anyway so not a problem.

    I welcome Walmart for offering a fixed gear bike to the market. My next purchase will be a track bike if I like fixie riding, and of course Walmart will lose out on that purchase. SO down the road someone shoujld thank Walmart fro getting me hooked on fixed gear bikes.

  20. CrummyJanuary 31, 2011 at 10:24 am

    Mongoose used to be one of the top brands for BMX bicycles.
    I do think it is funny to see how many bike snobs there are.

    First thing you have to know when you are picking out a bike
    is what is the bikes function for you?

    Now I have been a bike rider & builder for many years. When I was young I rode BMX & when I got older I rode mountain bikes. I have built bikes from the very basics of just starting out with a frame. Currently I own 4 bikes I own a Specialized Hard Rock Pro that I bought not to long ago and over the summer I bought an older Trek 6800 frame & built that up for a more every day bike. I also own to beach cruisers one is a collectors bike & the other is just for putting around town.

    Now on to the “fixed gear” trend, fixed gear bikes are bad for your knee’s. They are intended for professional racers to train with & to help them with their rhythm while pedaling and such. They are also a track bicycle used in velodrome. In which case that would be the only time that it would matter on what quality the bike is. And it would also only matter to a professional bike racer.

    If you are just riding the bike around town the Mongoose is perfectly fine for that. And if you are one of those bikes snobs that claim that the walmart guy that assembles the bikes is inadequate and that he doesn’t know what he is doing. Why don’t you just assemble it yourself ? The welds on the bikes frame are solid, all the other parts that come with the bike are average. And anyone who claims that they know anything about bikes should at least know how to work on there own bike.

    Anyway both Mongoose & Schwinn bikes are made by Pacific Cycle which is a Taiwan based company that also makes GT bicycles.

    So getting the Schwinn isn’t much better.. Well have a good day

  21. CamMarch 6, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    so to get this straight, is this a fixed gear or just a single speed?

  22. SantosMarch 7, 2011 at 1:44 am

    @Cam: The rear hub is a “flip flop hub” which means that it has a freewheel on one side so you can coast & can be used as a fixed gear on the other side. Many fixies come that way.
    It doesn’t come standard with the fixed gear cog, so if you want to ride fixie all you have to do is take it to a bike shop & have them fit it with the cog of your choice.

    So for all intents & purposes, right out of the box its a single speed bike with fixed gear potential.

  23. tyler krenikApril 5, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    well, i own one. i started cyclocross and i needed a bike fast and cheep. i got the cachet and ran it stock cuz it was dry. there was two fixed gear guys there and they were like “hey, man u got the cachet and that’s stock man”. and i had a fan club. then i got bigger front forks to run the fatter tires. and now its awesone. my only complaints is that they need stronger bottom brackets, longer brake levers and softer brake pads. but whos complaining with v rims seeled back flip flob hubs aluminum frame. well worth it. i wouldnt mind paying the mony to fix what i dont like about it. i mean come on, its a good price. yeah i know its a mongoose but, it has changed my mind a little about the mongoose brand. well worth the 150.

  24. abel cantuApril 20, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    im not a true cyclist just need something to ride around to beach and stuff. My beach cruiser just got stolen and was thinking about buying this bike until i can get a better one. my question is if i bought this bike and brought it to a bike shop for a tuneup, would they just laugh at me?

  25. DiegoApril 25, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    David- you say that you added drop bars? How the heck did you remove the handlebar stem nut?

    Your reply is much appreciated.

  26. StephenMay 31, 2011 at 11:05 am

    I just bought this bike and it gets the job done which for me is mainly commuiting to and from work and the weekend cruise around town. I know it’s cheaper and from walmart and not a high end bike but hey, I was looking for a intro single/fixed gear bike and didn’t want to blow a lot of money on one. I think it’s a good starter bike and one where I change parts out for better ones. I’ve already removed the decals and put my own on to give it a little custom flare. I don’t care for the bike snobs who try and put down people who buy bikes from big box stores. Lets just be glad more people are getting bikes and hopefully using them instead of their cars.

  27. PoseurJuly 11, 2011 at 9:52 am

    The fixed-gear trend closely parallels the BMX fad of the 1980s, which is more relevant to my adolescence. I clearly recall spotting a banana yellow P.K. Ripper frame in the window of a local bike shop, acquiring this frame for my fourteenth birthday, and combing through my back issues of BMX Plus! in order to compile a detailed list of components: Oakley B-1B grips, Dia-Compe MX-1000 brakes, Skyway Tuffwheels, Torker six-bolt headset, Uni seat with graphite post, Sugino cranks, Tioga Comp tires. I rode with a group of friends who all had high-end bikes, and we terrorized the neighborhood. Having had that experience, I can honestly say that I could care less as an adult about such things when purchasing a bike. The hipster snobbery of the fixed-gear subculture is childish; just another way for younger people to establish identity, however facile that attempt may be. The juxtaposition of this subculture is that while there is often a pantomimed appearance of poverty (which is oh-so-hip when you’re young), a great deal of money goes into the purchase and assembly of the “ideal bike.” If this Mongoose is all that one can afford, why should someone be made to feel ashamed because the bike doesn’t fit the established criteria? There is a certain classist element that runs through the fixed-gear scene–and that’s nothing new. This can be linked with just about every pop-cultural movement of the twentieth-century.

  28. kenJuly 22, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    A $150 bike at Walmart will likely cost you much more elsewhere. So if you need a beginner or low price bike you might as well go for it. But, don’t expect the bike to last long, you will probably have rusting problems after the first rain and probably won’t look too god after a year.

  29. Michael TaylorNovember 14, 2011 at 2:49 am

    It’s a perfect bike, as a disposable polo or crit bike, and for vulnerable commuters. Sometimes beater bikes are sweet.

  30. fixensteinDecember 11, 2011 at 1:50 am

    i was at my local bike shop today when a customer came in with a mongoose cachet and i must say for the price it’s a comparable single speed and it costs about 45 bucks or so to add the option of fixed gear, if you go with the opinions of cyclery snobs you’ll get a bike with open bearing wheels and the bikes cost twice as much such as bikes made by s & e or schwinn

  31. rico 1December 21, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    iv put about 2k miles atleast into 1, my awesome cachet, in all truth if you throw a couple new parts on this bike and i like it more than the others, Ive ridden plenty of fixed bikes and i actually prefer the mongoose fixed bikes , i also have a detain

  32. John S.January 1, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    I’m looking with interest at this bike. What is its upper weight limit?

  33. JasonFebruary 18, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    @geekjitsu
    “April 20, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    I will add that I agree with Brian G. if you’re going to spend $150 on this bike, spend $50-80 more on a Schwinn Cutter.”

    I understand what you are saying here but in my case (I’m sure others)I’m a new father, new home owner, and on the chopping block for lay offs. I own 2 decent road bikes but want to try a fixed for fun. $50-80 is $50-80 I don’t want to spend on something I may not get into.

  34. BuckeyemattFebruary 24, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    I hhave been riding this Mongoose do almost a year and wanted to give an honest review of it. First off I got it assemble from the hourly employee at Walmart the brakes of you can do the work stop the bike just fine after adjustment. I can tell you it weighs about 24 lbs. I too removed the stickers then I painted the stem and handlebars black. I got mountain bike bar ends also black. Lastly I ordered a pink Yeti downtube sticker set from eBay. This bike now looks like it cost much more than it actually did

    Now the bad. The fork can double as an anchor as can the crank. The bottom bracket needed attention early. I took it to LBS and had them do it. While I waited I took the crank home and drilled holes in the arms. They are large holes in the middle getting smaller toward the ends, just changed drill bits. It took some weight off but I would like more. I will ultimately change to a different crank in future

    I now ride about 10-20 miles every other day on it to stay in shape. I average about 14 mph on it. If you can find one still I say go for it. For 150 or less of is a solid platform to customize your own bile

  35. reycroxasFebruary 28, 2012 at 8:56 am

    I also bought this bike a year ago. Had to sell it, I did not like the performance and the parts are not very good quality. Great site and review by the way. Thanks.

  36. bradApril 17, 2012 at 8:16 amAuthor

    For what it is worth, after this review was published I sold the bike to a friend for $50 who then became a regular polo player on it for a year or so before getting a different bike, and passing this along to another local polo player. Two years later this particular bike is still rolling.

  37. Mongoose Sinsure Fixed Gear/Singlespeed | BurningCog » Bicycle AddictionJuly 18, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    [...] any specs for the bike so I was ordering blind. I did, however, find a wonderful write up about the mongoose cachet, which looked like the same bike with a different handlebar on it.  So I decided to do a full [...]

  38. zacOctober 8, 2013 at 1:49 am

    What happened to this bike? Iv’e scoured the internet and there seem to be none left.

  39. JayJune 17, 2014 at 11:55 am

    It’s been 4 years. Is the bike still on the road? Destroyed on the polo court? Would like to hear an update if you have time

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