Thursday, September 12, 2013

Restoration: 1985 Mongoose ATB

mongoose atb

Back in the halcyon days of BMX, Mongoose was a major player which manufactured quality BMX bikes and parts. As the mountain bike grew in popularity in the early 80s, Mongoose decided to tap into this emerging market. The result was the first Mongoose mountain bike, dubbed simply the ATB (All Terrain Bike). I recently came across a used ATB on craigslist that appeared to be in pretty good shape. As with most bikes of this vintage, "pretty good shape" still turned out to necessitate a lot of work to get it running like new. However, I was enamored enough with the bike, what with its BMX heritage and blingy finish, that I purchased it and took it home.

The BMX roots were apparent straight away with features like the chrome finish, the bear trap pedals, and especially the drilled rims. There were other nice touches too, like the biplane fork, the slingshot stem, and eyelets front and rear for rack mounting. In the end, I decided to push it even more in the direction of a BMX cruiser by converting it to a single speed. So, off came the shifters and derailleurs and the extra chainrings, and I removed the cogset and spun on a single BMX freewheel to the rear hub. The chain was still in pretty good shape, so I just shortened it to the correct length. This conversion also had the advantage of removing a lot of weight from the bike. Next came overhauls and re-greasing of the headset, bottom bracket, and hubs. The tires were quite old, so I replaced them with a set of WTB all-terrain tires to provide a nice ride on and off the pavement. A new set of Dia-Compe brake pads replaced the worn out originals, and a new pair of BMX style grips made for another nice accent. A color coordinated WTB seat rounded out the look.

mongoose atb

mongoose atb

The ATB's new life as a BMX cruiser just seemed right. The single speed setup immediately put me into a BMX cruising state of mind, eliminating any thought about shifting and freeing me up for pure pedaling and braking. The ride was sure-footed on and off road, and the wide handlebars gave it sort of a motocross feel. After its restoration, it seemed like the bike could live on for another 30 years, but in the end, I decided to resell it. The fit was just a tad off for me, and I really didn't have the space for a bike that was more of a novelty than a daily rider. So, I sold it on ebay, and it found a new home in Colorado Springs, which seemed like a very appropriate place for it to be.


  1. Really nice bike. You made a beautiful restoration. Do you remember what make / model the handlebar grips were? I'd love to try and get a pair. Thanks

    1. Thanks! They are Fyxation BMX grips.