Entry-Level Hardtails Are More Capable than Ever – 2018 Mongoose Tyax Supa Trail Expert 27.5+ Test Ride Review

Rider: Zach. Photo: Greg Heil

Mongoose’s self-proclaimed purpose in life is to help get more people into riding bikes and then once they’re hooked, helping them increase their participation in the sport. To help accomplish this goal, Mongoose sells many bikes that are on the affordable end of the spectrum. While you might only associate their brand name with department stores, they also sell an entire range of mountain bikes that tops out at $3,000.

The entire Tyax Supa line, topping out at $999. Photo: Greg Heil

While a $3,000 160mm FS enduro bike might not seem entry level, that’s where the Tyax hardtail comes in. “Tyax” encompasses a wide range of hardtails with 12 different models, but the Tyax Supa reviewed here comes spec’ed with 27.5+ wheels and tires and is available in three models: the Sport for $699, the Comp for $899, and the Expert (tested) for $999.


Photo: Mongoose

The Tyax Supa Trail Expert features an alloy frame that Mongoose claims is 50% stronger and 30% lighter than previous models. They’ve also refined and updated the geometry and incorporated internal cable routing. The Supa Trail features a 69.5-degree head tube angle, a 73-degree seat tube angle, 445mm chainstays, a 414.6mm reach in a size-medium, 606.5mm stack height on the medium, and a 1117.6mm wheelbase in both the size small and size medium. For full geometry specs, be sure to check out this chart:

Photo: Mongoose

The Supa Trail features 27.5+ wheels and tires, although other Tyax models are available in standard 27.5″ and 29″. Specifically, the Supa Trail Expert is spec’ed with WTB STx I-35 rims and WTB Ranger 27.5×2.8″ tires. An SR Suntour XCR32 Air fork with 100mm of travel, a 1×11 Shimano SLX drivetrain with a Sunrace 11-46 cassette, and Shimano BR-M365 brakes round out the build kit.

Out on the Trail

Rider: Zach. Photo: Greg Heil

It’s been quite some time since I’ve thrown a leg over a $1,000 hardtail, and it’s been even longer since I’ve sat down at the keyboard to review one. But as I began pedaling the Tyax Supa Trail uphill in Madison, it struck me that $1,000 gets you a lot more these days than it did back in 2011, when I was sponsored by Airborne Bicycles. An 11-speed Shimano drivetrain with an easy 46T granny gear cog provided plenty of range for my puny legs–much appreciated. The air spring on the Suntour fork provided respectable adjustability and performance, although I didn’t have time to do a deep dive on the settings above and beyond setting sag. But before I knew it, we had powered to the top of the hill (rise? bump? pile of dirt?) and were prepping to rail back downhill.

Photo: Mongoose

Despite high posting like an XC world cup racer, I found myself blasting down Madison’s version of a black diamond run, with big berms, small tabletop jumps, and a few chunky straights. The WTB plus tires hooked up well in those conditions and provided some nice cush and forgiveness when casing jumps–a measure of forgiveness that I didn’t expect from an XC hardtail. While I wouldn’t expect the Rangers to perform well in all conditions, this is a solid stock tire spec that balances low weight, quick rolling speed, and reasonable performance.

Once I got comfortable, I was able to air out a few small tables even with my seatpost jacked up to the sky. A dropper post upgrade would not be remiss on this bike (or any bike with a rigid post), but at $999 MSRP I don’t expect the Tyax to come stock with one.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to spend a lot of time with the Tyax due to bailing off a skinny and bending the derailleur hanger (my fault), but the time I did spend aboard this rig was enjoyable. With bikes like this one hitting the market at $699-$999, it’s easier than ever for new riders to purchase a hardtail that they can use to dabble in the sport, but then continue riding for years to come because it’s just so capable.

Claimed weight: 31.7lbs

Thanks to Mongoose for the opportunity to review the Tyax.

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