We bought a Fat-bike from Walmart and took it for a test ride

Huffing and puffing he came, dragging a 5-foot-long box up the sidewalk. My FedEx delivery man is no weakling, but he struggled with the 60+ pound package holding the Mongoose Beast, a bottom-of-the-line fat bike Walmart started selling last month.

You may have seen our preview article, “Fat Bike trend Dead? Walmart sells ‘Beast’ bike for $199.” Well, we could not resist at this price tag, and thus for less than the cost of a race saddle we held noses and put cash toward the Beast.

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Mongoose Beast, available only at Walmart

The name is apt, though we’re also going to start calling this rig the “JunkBike.” The single-speed, coaster-brake-equipped Beast is based on a simple cruiser bicycle design, though it was designed to accommodate giant knobby tires.

First take? Mongoose made the Beast indeed as a department-store build with all the cheapest parts available. A large kick-stand and decals that are already peeling off — not to mention a solid quill stem, cheap saddle, and bubbly welds — left a lot to be desired.

And the weight… truly a beast, this bike crushes scales at nearly 50 pounds.

Really, though, we knew what to expect. At $200, nothing here is going to scream quality. And who cares? Let’s get this thing buttoned up and go ride!

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Beastly fat tires

A freak April 11th snowstorm blanketed Minneapolis with 3 inches of wet snow the night before our Beast arrived. Assembled and ready, I rolled out the front door and down a small flight of steps like they weren’t even there. So far so good.

Out on the street, a few labored pedal strokes got me to cruising speed in a jiffy. A smile formed and lasted for several blocks, wet snow building on my cheeks.

But as the miles ticked on and the trail begin to slant up just a bit, I noticed I was beginning to get winded. This thing sucks the power from its host’s legs like a 50+ pound leech, and this was on pavement!

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Test riding the JunkBike

I turned off the paved path and into a wooded lot that harbors a secret set of dirt jumps. This would be the first off-road test for our Mongoose. My speed slowed to a barely manageable crawl and soon I had to take a break. I’m no racehorse, but I’m not a slouch in the saddle either — this bike is quite difficult to power down a snow-covered trail.

The bike’s gearing (36-front/18-rear) is far too tall for offroad riding and honestly isn’t really ideal for on-road riding either. I’ll be swapping that rear cog for a large, easier-to-pedal option soon for sure.

I suspect the whole GearJunkie crew will soon be itching to swap different parts on this bike. The Beast is going to stick around for a while. As noted, we’ve already dubbed it the “JunkBike” and we have plans for this thing.

Heavy, cheap, weird, and, have to admit, a bit fun (for the price at least) are my first impressions of the Beast. We’ll get more into detail on a future review.

Should you run out and buy one? For the novelty factor, maybe. For a serious rider. . . definitely not. If you’re going to use the Beast in true fat-bike scenarios — in snow, beaches and sand, or for rolling over big things in your way on dirt — the Walmart bike is gonna disappoint.

But stay tuned while we try this bike in unrealistic scenarios, attempt to make it less of a piece of junk with some different parts, and generally see how much fun we can squeeze from the mass-produced Mongoose ride.

T.C. Worley is a contributing editor.

Junkbike_logo.jpg

Name says it all

Posted by Matt Milone - 04/12/2013 10:14 AM

You guys are awesome

Posted by Dante Martinez - 04/12/2013 10:20 AM

How much of the weight is from the tires? What does the frame itself weigh in at?

Posted by Me - 04/12/2013 02:26 PM

I would like to see what you guys can do to turn this into a more serious fat bike. Think you can make it twice as good for another $100 in upgrades?

Posted by T.C. Worley - 04/12/2013 03:56 PM

In response to “Me’s” comment. Not likely that $100 would double it, but we’ll be digging into various ways to better it very soon. Stay tuned!

Posted by Marty Mathis - 04/12/2013 04:48 PM

Great review. I might have to buy one.

Posted by Justin Walsh - 04/13/2013 11:24 AM

With no braking options, this thing is useless.

Posted by Craig - 04/15/2013 09:05 AM

was wondering if it has braze ons for adding rakes

Posted by KB - 04/16/2013 11:01 PM

For $200 this thing is essentially useless. For an additional $200 you get this:
http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o138/palmtrio/IMAG0234_zpsc29be3fe.jpg

Posted by jpea - 04/17/2013 09:12 AM

KB, but that’s double the price – why pay X for something when for just double the price you can get something better ;)

Posted by T.C. Worley - 04/17/2013 10:09 PM

If you came to this review looking for a lot of logic, you may be disappointed. But sometimes fun isn’t packaged in logical ways. You dig?

Posted by junkshow - 04/26/2013 02:32 PM

It turns out that this is the ‘signature model’ of a real guy.
http://www.bikemag.com/news/news-fat-and-furious/

Posted by Jdog - 05/09/2013 06:47 PM

@Justin Walsh, I got a buddy that occasionally brings his “rat bike” on group rides and it has coaster brakes. He’s fast! Don’t knock it.
@T.C. Worley, where can you get a better fat bike for $400??

Posted by Roc - 06/15/2013 07:04 PM

Just recently purchased one,made a couple of small modes and it rides like a dream. Mind you it’s not a high end fat tire bike.Those bikes are pricing themselves to extinction.The walgoose well…. It’s the coolest ride in town.
Oh by the way the welds are tigged.

Posted by whiz - 06/28/2013 11:46 AM

can I get some parts and prices to do the upgrades to make mine rideable? Suggestions please? thx.

Posted by Ron Fauconniere - 07/23/2013 09:35 AM

Funnest bike I ever rode. Took the bike on vacation (back of my RV) to Florida and you wouldn’t believe the gawkers. Everywhere I rode drew attention. Kids especially like it. I put my son’s captain america sheild on front handle bars and was known at beach as that “Capt America” bike. https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-yiXcjNfCII8/UeYwJX5BfEI/AAAAAAAA0OI/jRQEdMqmwR4/w689-h517-no/SAM_0044.JPG

Posted by bob - 03/09/2014 09:11 PM

we supply the beast bikes too. shiped from China factory and save a lot.
bobbicycle@hotmail.com

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