IIf you don’t follow the mountain biking world, the latest and greatest in cycling these days has put all the focus on the fat bike. These mountain bikes feature big tires that are designed to float over all the terrain and take you places that even traditional mountain bikes can’t go. For a few years, the fat bike was reserved for riding in the snow or on the beach. More recently, cycling technology has been able make the fat bike lighter, faster, stronger and a good replacement for every day riding. The Argus Comp is one of Mongoose’s offerings into the high end fat bike world and it is an absolute blast of a bike that can take you anywhere for a great price.
- Alloy Aluminum Frame
- Shimano SLX® 2×10 11-36T Drivetrain
- Shimano Deore Shifters
- Shimano BR-M365 Hydraulic Disc Brakes
- Samox 22/36T Crank
- 180mm Brake Rotors
- 760mm Wide Handlebar
- 26×4.6″ Kenda Juggernaut Tires
- 100mm Wide Wheels w/cutouts
In the past, Mongoose had picked up a bit of a reputation for building “WalMart Bikes” sold in the big box stores and not at a local bike shop. Those fat bikes are a great value at a very affordable price point. But they are heavy and not durable enough to hang with what cyclists would consider a “real” mountain bike. The Argus Comp however is a huge diversion from that mindset. This is a bike fit to sit in line at your local bike shop. Just looking at the bike, you can tell that this is not a cheap bike. It is very well appointed with high end components and wears a great looking blue paint job.
Mongoose gave some thought to the Argus Comp when it comes to looks, also. Beyond a nice paint job, they gave some much appreciated love to the design of the wheels and tires. The cutout wheels allow the stylish white tube to shine through and add a nice effect when the bike is rolling along. On top of that is one of my favorite design choices which is the 4.6″ wide gumwall tires. Seeing the traditional tan color on the side of a mountain bike tire is just a solid nod to days past when that was the look the big names shot for. Some may not like it and swap the tires right off the bat, but I dig it. The design choices just give it that feel of being a little bit retro and reminds me of my old blue and white Klein bike that had all the same color palate.
Now, if you look closer at the bike and put it side by side one of the other big names, you will see that build quality in the frame is solid, but doesn’t quite have the finishing touches that similar brands will give you. Invisible welds that look like carbon fiber and complex paint jobs just aren’t part of this Mongoose line, so if that sort of cosmetic touch is important to you, this might not be the bike for you. But for the price point, I’m willing to give a little because I don’t think a polished weld has ever pushed me over a log pile any faster than an unpolished one.
The Argus Comp has all the same features you would expect to see in a fat bike that you plan to use on hard trails and big rides. At its core is a full aluminum frame with a tapered fork. That sets the stage to make this bike great the way it comes and also tells you that its ready for upgrading later on. The tapered fork allows you to swap out to any quality fork if you want to go lighter, or even to the somewhat standard RockShox Bluto suspension fork. In fact, if you opt to purchase the Argus Expert instead of the Argus Comp, you will be treated with a Bluto right out of the box.
For a drivetrain, the Mongoose Argus Comp features an impressive 2×10 Shimano SLX® 11-36T group setup with Deore shifters and a 36/22 Samox crank. If you are unfamiliar with biking terms, this means there are 2 gears up front and 10 in the back, giving you a choice of 20 gears to pick from. This setup is becoming increasingly popular because the functional range of a 2×10 is often the same or better than having 3 gears up front and 8 or 9 in back with the benefit of less weight and less to tune/break.
The Deore front shifter does have 3 “clicks” in it but the Argus only has 2 gears so you will find that you will have an extra shifter position that doesn’t do anything. As these 2x setups become more popular, I’m sure more will be available for 2x shifters, but it’s just something to keep in mind for now and pretty normal.
Also, the SLX® derailleur groupset is a pretty high-end choice for a fat bike on a budget. If you are unfamiliar with the Shimano family of products, think of the SLX® as being what a pro-sumer would buy. Being 3rd in line from the flagship product, this is built for someone who isn’t quite a professional racer, but really enjoys a high quality product.
For brakes, the Argus Comp is outfitted with fully hydraulic disc brakes. Specifically the Shimano BR-M365 with 180mm rotors. For a fat bike it’s good to have a beefy set of brakes, but this setup is incredibly impressive. These brakes are decently smooth and have immense stopping power! I was even able to endo the bike, a feat you will be hard pressed to find on anything outside of a lightweight cross country bike.
The front fork is a Mongoose specific full taper with 150 mm spacing. It is basic and as things are in biking, it could always be better but it also can be upgraded later because it is a full taper fork. As mentioned previously that the Bluto is a factory upgrade, the downgraded version, the Argus Sport features a similar designed fork but without the taper, so the fork on the Argus Comp does fit nicely right in the middle of the offering range and certainly gets the job done.
The fork on the Argus Comp also has plenty of room for the big 4.6″ wide tires to ride. Having the 4.6″ wide Kenda Juggernaut tires are great also, some fat bikes only have a 4″ tire so the extra .6″ provides a lot of extra flotation and smooths out the ride. Another feature usually reserved for the ultra high end fat bikes. I was especially impressed with the snow traction of the Juggernauts. They dug right in and grabbed while continuing to roll easily.
On top of the fork is the huge double butted 35mm handlebar that is an equally fat 760mm wide. If this is your first fat bike it takes some getting used to. The bars may be up to 4″ wider than regular bars. You’ll feel a bit like a little kid again with big wide bars and the big tires, but once I got used to the bar width, I actually like it. There is so much more control through the singletrack. Just remember that when navigating some narrow trails through the woods, 760mm is sometimes wider than the trail. (I found that out the hard way when the bike stopped very quickly.)
One last interface on the bike is the pedals and the Argus Comp comes with a really nice set of alloy pedals with replaceable pins. I found them to be solid, sturdy and with excellent grip even without wearing a bike specific platform type shoe.
If you put aside all componentry jargon and considerations for how should the Mongoose Argus Comp ride, it comes down to seeing how the bike actually rides once it all goes together.
I took the Argus Comp through all the fat bike paces and it did it all. Beach riding, snow riding, trail riding, road riding. It really felt at home in them all and I was able to comfortably put on quite a few miles thanks to a comfortable geometry. I was also very surprised how well this bike rides trails, especially considering it is a hardtail with no suspension fork. With the low pressures run in the tires, you really don’t miss the suspension components because of the natural spring from the tires. If anything it actually rode better on flat trails than my full suspension cross country bike because of the way it floated through soft ground and over the bumps.
After spending a few weeks riding this bike, it has really worked its way into my heart and I may just have converted to becoming a fat bike rider. I live in a beach town that spends much of the year covered in snow, so it has left me thinking why I didn’t make the switch sooner. I have even heard of it happening where a mountain biker decides to ditch their regular bike and go fat bike only, now I can say it’s probably going to happen to me. With a weight around 35 lbs out of the box, this is a platform that I can see growing with my riding style long into the future.
Now sure, some cyclists may scoff because it’s still a Mongoose and cyclists can be “that way” when it comes to what brand you ride. But I consider myself a cyclist and I can tell you that this bike is designed to be every bit as solid as the other big names you are used to seeing in your local bike shop.
I had just a few glitches after first delivery with the front derailleur hanger coming a little loose but nothing an extra free-of-charge tune up by the local bike shop didn’t fix and I’m not so sure it was a fault of the bike, just a new bike nuance.
Because the Mongoose Argus Comp uses very high end and standard components that are common in almost every local bike shop, you will find them to be tried, true, easily replaceable and upgradable if you so choose. These first miles I’ve put on the bike have proven to be reliable and I have no complaints or worries that this bike won’t last up to thousands of miles of riding.
The MSRP of the Mongoose Argus Comp is $1,199 which is certainly not cheap for a bike, but the question is if this is a bike worthy of that price tag. In short, YES! Looking around at other bikes that have similar componentry and specs, you will find that they cost hundreds even a thousand dollars more.
There are other value bikes on the market even from Mongoose that can be had for a couple hundred dollars, but none will come close to what this bike offers. Even looking at other bikes in the same price range, you will come up short somewhere on nearly every one.
If bang for your buck is what you are looking for in a mid- level fat bike, the Mongoose Argus Comp is an excellent place to start.
- Very nice component groups.
- Low price point.
- 4.6" tires float over it all.
- Frame welds not very polished.
- Fork could be upgraded.
- May need some re-tuning after a few rides.