Mango Bikes | 18 Speed Matte Black Road Bike Review*

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

If there is one thing I have learnt, it is to not judge anyone by their mistakes, but on their ability and desire to correct them.

Recently I decided to change bikes, with a plan to sell my chunky mountain bike in favour of something slightly more dashing. I had bought the MTB as my old hybrid had a rather tragic and painful death, making me decide to invest in something a little sturdier. This beast was useful for the flats of Southampton, but moving to Winchester meant cycling a 15kg, thick tyred, full-suspension monster up a rather hefty gradient every day. All of a sudden, that reliable and robust steed assumed the form of a brutal lesson in physics.

After numerous days dedicated to finding my next vehicle, I settled on Mango Bikes. A UK based company that allows you to completely customise your own bike and then buy it at an incredibly reasonable rate (but not so cheap that it seems too good to be true). Mango give the option of either single speed or 18 speed bikes, and although I would love to have a single speed/fixie, the fact that I live up on a hill stood between me and that idea. 18 speed it is!

Finally, after playing around with enough colour combinations to make a man go blind, I settled on one of the preset options - the Matte Black Road Bike. It is one seriously good looking thing. The contrast with the brown saddle is lush and I love the matte black frame. It is simple and classic, yet eye catching. Also, I do plan on playing around with it in the future by adding a splash of colour.

This is where things started going slightly awry... I placed my order on February 18th, expecting the bike to take about 5-6 working days to arrive. It arrived on the 10th of March.

Being completely honest, this didn't make me happy. On the other hand, I had been emailing the team for a while and they were brilliant about sorting everything out and apologising sincerely. I could tell that this was a rare occurrence for Mango .. Shit happens after all. So I embarked upon a stunning six mile ride around Winchester with a veritable stallion between my legs. It was a dream to ride.

The next day I leapt back onto my steed to undertake another ride. Unfortunately I felt some rather alarming wheel-wobble and decided to make my way to the local cycle shop to check it out. This led to the inner tube bursting as the wheel was not tensioned/built properly, leaving me to carry the bike on my shoulder for a mile and a half (yay).

Please note that this is not a bad review of this bike. This is the honest explanation of a rather unfortunate, unlikely, uncommon and, frankly, sucky situation. 

I proceeded to contact Mango again, who apologised profusely and asked if I could send the wheel back to them, which I did. They then sent it back to me, better than before and with a couple of gifts to make up for it.

We are human; we all make mistakes. Yes, this was a bit of a pain in the arse for me, but I could not have asked for a better company to sort it all out with. There was no, 'if you email our customer support team, they will be able to help', bullshit. They immediately replied to every email and problem straight away.

What I have ended up with is a bike that I truly love and would not change for the world (apart from the aforementioned colour addition). Since these issues, I have taken it out on a few more rides and it has been fantastic. Although I have now bought new tyres to replace the stock Kendas - I have always been known as a puncture magnet.

Ultimately, I am happy to own a bike with a few issues at first. It led me to find out that the company will help me in every way they can. This definitely beats the alternative of owning a bike that is perfect for ages, only to find that the company is useless when you need them.

You know that I pride O&U on being completely transparent, so believe me when I say that I would definitely recommend Mango Bikes to anyone looking for a new ride. The bike is phenomenal - I was just unlucky to get a dud wheel at first - and the service is impeccable. I couldn't have asked for any more. I'm not a bike-whizz, but I know a great company when I see one. 

Cheers guys,

*I was offered some money off my purchase in return for an impartial review. As you can tell, the views are all my own.

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