mongoose hilltopper review

Mongoose HillTopper Review: Still a Good Bike?

Mountain bikes started to have their boom in the 80s and 90s, where many casual bikers left the peaceful road and decided to take the exciting off-road path. Many of these mountain bikes were of top-quality, but not many were as praised as the Mongoose Hill Topper.

While having a classic design and one of the most quality-oriented constructions in the market, the Hill Topper was a bike not to overlook. Even today, with thousands of newer options, the Hill Topper still looks like one of the most dependable choices.

If you are considering on buying a Mongoose Hill Topper - knowing more about it will surely help you make a choice once and for all. Here’s everything you should know about it…


  • Incredibly Strong Frame
  • Reliability at Its Best
  • Excellent for Off-Road
  • Long-Lasting Components


  • Wheels Are Not the Best
  • Low-Quality Gearings

Advantages of the Mongoose Hill Topper

Incredibly Strong Frame

The first word that comes to mind when thinking about the Mongoose Hill Topper is: solid.

That’s what this bike is, a solid contender not only because it is good overall but because it offers one of the strongest frames and builds. Even as an old bike as of now, the Hill Topper can be a really good choice if you are short on budget.

The geometry of the bike was initially designed for that. Mountain riding was becoming very popular among bike lovers, and thus bikes like the Hill Topper started to be more and more appealing to the public. And the best way to make this type of bike was to make them strong.

It will go to the trail, to the mountain, to the country, downhill, uphill, just wherever you want to go. And it will resist every bump, shock, and jump easily – even at high speeds.

Reliability at Its Best

For mountain bikes at mid-range back in the 90’s, not many could offer the security the Hill Topper does.

A trustworthy bicycle needs to offer great low-maintenance performance, work on any road, provide superior responsiveness, and offer solid resistance while riding. And that’s exactly what the Hill Topper delivers.

For those who are looking for more than just a simple on-road and commuting riding, the technical quality of the Hill Topper will surely meet their expectations.

Excellent for Off-Road

The suspension of the Hill Topper is not the best as of now. With any newer low-end bicycle you can find on the market, you will get a much better suspension than what the Hill Topper can offer. However, back in the 90s, this suspension was easily one of the best.

The most exciting part of this suspension is the ability to make the rider feel the trail more than any other. The suspension was apparently not perfect, but it was enough to resist shocks and absorb the hardest of bumps.

With a taller stem, a bar riser and maybe some improvement in the saddle and the fork, the bike could easily be a top contender for newer mountain bikes.

Another critical part that improved the overall quality of the off-road performance in this bike was the position. The shape of the bike made users to be in a more comfortable position for trailing, which many riders totally appreciated.

Long-Lasting Components

Having a strong frame is great. Being reliable is excellent as well. And providing great off-road experience is also appealing on a bike. However, if it can’t offer a long-lasting performance, not many people will like it.

But the Hill Topper is not a bike with low-quality components. Actually, the Hill Topper was known for being one of the most reliable in terms of components and parts.

And it is totally precise. Even today, you can find some of these Mongoose bikes for a fantastic price and still holding the same components as they did when first released. A bang for the buck, and not a simple bang but a terrific bang.

Disadvantages of the Mongoose Hill Topper

Wheels Are Not the Best

The only thing that most users could comply with when talking about the Hill Topper was the quality of the wheels. And they weren’t simply decent or good enough, they were plainly bad, of cheap quality.

But even when they weren’t the best wheels on the market, they still could hold some of the hardest rocky trails out there. Very likely not for much time, but enough to know that they weren’t the best.

Low-Quality Gearings

One of the main problems with bicycles back in the 90s was the gearing. Especially with mountain bikes like the Hill Topper, the gearings (brakes, shifters, derailleurs, chain, etc.) were some of the most low-quality components bikes had.

They still were good enough for training and weren’t bad or unreliable per se, they just didn’t offer smooth performance and sometimes affected the experience when riding, to the point of annoying the user. But overall, they were just right enough despite their quality.

Mongoose Hill Topper – Full Specs

  • Colors: Wildfire Red and White or Sport Blue and White
  • Weight: 31lbs
  • Sizes:  16’’, 18’’, 20’’, ’’
  • Frame: Chro-Moly/High Carbon Mountain Design
  • Brakeset: Shimano cantilevers brakes, levers
  • Shifters: Shimano Altus C20Rapidfire
  • Fork: High Carbon Unicrown Design
  • Crankset: Sakae CT-626 Alloy 28/38/48
  • Pedals: Nylon Platform
  • Derailleurs: Shimano AX-55
  • Rear Cogs: 7-speed, 13 - 28 teeth
  • Seatpost: Alloy 26.4x300mm seat pillar
  • Saddle: Padded Spring Saddle
  • Handlebar: Steel 2º Rise
  • Stem: Alloy Mountain Design
  • Grip: Foam Mountain Style
  • Hubs: Mongoose alloy
  • Rims: Araya 7X Heavy-Duty Alloy
  • Tires: 26 x 2.10inch Mongoose
  • Headset: Steel Chrome Plated

Is the Mongoose Hill Topper a Bike Worth Having Today?

If you are an expert in bikes, you will not recommend the Hill Topper as a mountain bike to anyone, especially when there are so many excellent choices today even at the low-range end of prices. However, as commuting, street riding bike, the Hill Topper may be an excellent choice.

Even for cross country, you may feel like the Mongoose Hill Topper can still provide a few benefits you won’t find anywhere else. And all that for a meager price, for which most Hill Toppers are now sold for.

Very likely you won’t find it in spectacular shape, but you may find it good-looking and capable of working for much more than simple commuting with a few adjustments.

So, is it still a good bike worth having today? As long as you know that it is not as good as it was in the 90s, yes. The bike is totally worth having, especially if you like classic mountain styles.

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Daniel Cantero Pobes - May 8, 2019

I recently bough a Cube 29″ 2xLTD SL 2016, and stopped using my hilltopper. It was a present from a buddy who bought a new bike maybe 6 o 7 years ago, although it needed a deep repair service.

I have been using it for near 4 years. Before that, I upgraded to a higher stem, a bigger sandlebar, new light seat post and saddle, and full shimano LX deore vbrakes (cantilever were horrible and didnt stop the bike) I also upgrade both shifters to new Altus M310, because old altus were broken.

Since that I have been so so so happy riding the hilltopper, fully performance, and fully long lasting quality, and it gave me so many adventures until the cube shopping. The only problem was that frame size was so small for my 189 heigth, and gravity center was so missplaced thats why I decided to buy muy new one. Also no supspension fork made the decission so easy.

The hilltopper will be travelling to my second beach residence, so It will continue rolling for many years I guess.

No need to say now I feel like god flying with my new cube in the XC, beacuse of the quality, and because I bought it used (but trully new, only 40km) for 650€… 🙂

Hal - August 9, 2019

I have a Mongoose Hilltopper from 1995.. have replaced only the seat .. road it 20 miles today ..

    Chris Hulsaver - October 5, 2019

    I received a Hilltopper SX from my brother in law, thinking about stripping it down and rebuilding it. .

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