Mongoose Core Bicycle | Road test
Bike the Drive is the way our family marks the start of summer each year. There's nothing better than an early morning, car-free cruise on Lake Shore Drive, especially when the forecast calls for a sunny, warm day like it does on Sunday 27, the day of the ride. We started doing Bike the Drive when my nine-year-old twins were still using training wheels, but now that they're older, they're way more serious about sporting a cool ride.
This year, their standards got a little higher when they got a chance to road test the Mongoose Core 20" bike. It's designed for boys, but the funky grey-and-neon-orange color combo immediately attracted both my son and daughter–and every other kid on our street. The bike, part of the company's lower-end line for casual bikers, is loaded with cool features inspired by the designs Mongoose is famous for making for serious BMXers: The handlebars spin 360 degrees thanks to a cable detangler, and freestyle pegs at the front and rear for standing on encourage tricks. There are also features that are way beyond what these nine-year-olds (or this writer) need or understand: something called micro gearing for high ground clearance, front alloy caliper and rear alloy linear pull brakes (every kid who rode this bike wanted to know "how it stops") and 48-spoke alloy wheels and alloy pedals for extra durability.
None of those things really matter to these urban kids looking for a quick-and-snazzy way to get to the playground faster or ride along the lakefront. What did matter: the cool color, the sweet graffiti-inspired designs on the seat and bars, and the fact that it's "a nice, smooth ride," according to my son. But the bells and whistles did inspire them to leave their collective comfort zones to test out those freestyle pegs, and check out some fun BMX videos on YouTube, including this vintage Mountain Dew commercial.
The bike came disassembled, and was no easy task for my husband–an engineering major in college who loves a good project–to put together (he even begrudgingly called the 800-help number). But once it was done, the results were worth it. Now, they're excited for the 30-mile loop ride along Lake Michigan this weekend, and a summer of biking to come.
The Mongoose Core 20" bicycle is $139.99 at Toys R Us and other retailers.