mongoose motomag
(Photo/Mongoose)

Mongoose Resurrects ‘Most Iconic Wheelset’ in BMX History

We can think of many words for the Mongoose Motomag: groundbreaking, definitive, badass. Now the wheel that helped define BMX in its early days is back.

You can’t unsee the Mongoose Motomag. With its heavy pentagonal spokes and interlocking grid pattern, there’s just nothing out there like it.

That was true in 1974 when Mongoose founder Skip Hess forged the first set of the legendary wheel in his garage and it’s true now, as the company introduces the third iteration.

This week Mongoose announced the “most iconic wheelset in BMX history” would return for purchase later this month.

Mongoose motomag
(Photo/Mongoose)

Motomag Wheelset Makes a Comeback

The Motomag III packs in all the originality and mainstay performance benefits of its two predecessors to resurrect the line after more than 30 years out of production. And yes, the rim is a big deal among those in the know: a set of original Motomags just sold for over $20,000, according to the brand.

To understand why BMXers love it so much, you need to dig up the roots of the sport. In the early 1970s, California cyclists started racing bikes on motocross tracks.

Rapid evolution in technique and performance took place, but equipment initially lagged behind. Riders quickly started demolishing conventional bike rims, because bike engineers had never built them to absorb so much punishment.

Hess worked as an automotive rim designer when he created his first BMX wheelset (which would become the Motomag). Pretty soon, he introduced assembly line methodology into his process and started production.

Demand followed purpose-driven design: the Motomag made sense to BMXers with better durability thanks to the trellis shape and ribbed spokes, and lighter weight due to material choice.

Mongoose Motomag
(Photo/Mongoose)

Fast forward to 1984, and the wheel had earned a loyal cult following.

“The Motomag changed the sport of BMX, allowing riders to go faster, harder, and bigger than ever. Its design is so iconic that the Motomag is instantly recognized by BMX enthusiasts worldwide,” said Bill Curtin, B.M.X. Products owner.

mongoose motomag
(Photo/Mongoose)

The Motomag III calls out the original but also consolidates a few updates to help it compete in today’s market. Sealed bearings keep grit and grime outside, so the hub should roll better over time if you ride deep dirt. And Mongoose makes it freewheel-compatible to give riders more gearing choices.

Mongoose offers the Motomag III in three finishes — silver, gold, and black — in limited quantities for MSRP $300 at its website. You can order it starting Sept. 27.

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The year is 1984. You’re 12 years old, and summer vacation feels like a dream with a special outcome. The next 100 days is one endless, repeating arc of waking up at noon, slamming two or three bowls of sugary cereal, then heading out for the day’s adventures on your bike. Read more…

Sam Anderson
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Sam has roamed the American continent to follow adventures, explore natural wonders, and find good stories. After going to college to be a writer, he got distracted (or saved) by rock climbing and spent most of the next decade on the road, supporting himself with trade work. He's had addresses in the Adirondack Mountains, Las Vegas, and somehow Kansas, but his heart belongs in the Texas hill country.