Mango specialises in affordable road and city bikes, so you’re probably more likely to see one of their singlespeeds or fixies buzzing around a trendy area of a London than one of their road models up a hill in Yorkshire. That said, Mango prides itself on minimal branding – as demanded by its customers – so the Point R on test here is only really distinguishable by the black logo on the head tube, which happens to be pretty stealthy on top of our test bike’s dark blue frame.
Mango previously offered the Point R with Shimano’s 8-speed Claris groupset as the entry-level version, but now it comes with 10-speed Shimano Tiagra shifting for £575. The reason for this? ‘When in doubt, just add quality,’ Mango told us. It’s pretty phenomenal value considering you also get a carbon fork thrown in, and the only real trade-off is the slightly cheaper Tektro brakes rather than Shimano versions (although, we found the Tektro calipers offered perfectly adequate stopping power). Our test bike came with a mid-compact 52/36 chainset and an 11-32t cassette, which is great for going fast, but those new to riding might appreciate a compact 50/34 chainset for slightly easier gearing.
The frame has smooth lines and the cable routing is internal, an impressive attribute on a bike at this price. The geometry is suitable for those looking to start out in triathlon or road racing; it’s ever so slightly less racey than the Vitus on test here, but has a shorter head tube and longer reach than the Triban. The wheelbase is a touch longer than most race bikes (100.5cm on a size medium) to make it feel more stable for those who are new to road riding.
To balance things out, Mango has specced a very short 80mm stem, which does make things feel a little cramped and won’t be welcome by those who want to get long and low. We can see why the majority of Mango’s target audience would want a short stem – to make things as easy to control as possible – but we’d personally spend an extra £20 swapping it out for a 100m stem to balance the steering without affecting the steering speed.
At 9.82kg, the Point R is the lightest bike on test, and while it will feel a little slower off the mark compared to a carbon racer, it’s nippy and climbs well. When it comes to comfort going over rough roads and the odd pothole, things were less compliant than the other two bikes on test, and we experienced a few unwanted vibrations where the seatstays meet the seat tube. Really it’s a minor gripe, and you probably won’t notice anything on the majority of roads.
The wheels and handlebars carrying the Chasewood brand aren’t proprietary to Mango but have been specced on its bikes for years. We found that the rims rolled well in combination with the 25mm Continental tyres, and the handlebars felt plenty strong and stiff enough under load. While the bars are the standard oversized 31.8mm diameter where they meet the stem, oddly they slim down further outwards, which may be a problem if you want to run tri-bars fairly wide apart.
Overall, the Point R is close to being an ideal first bike for the budding triathlete who wants an easy introduction to road riding, and it can also be used as a capable chassis to upgrade with better wheels and clip-on bars when the tri bug really bites.
If you want to spend a little more, you can upgrade your Point R with a Vision Team 30 wheelset for an extra £80, or go for the Point AR disc brake model with a full Shimano 105 groupset for £999. Mango’s OG classic steel road bikes start at £449 with Shimano Claris 8 speed gearing
Verdict: Mango’s Point R has the best groupset for your money and, if you’re fussy about gears, then the 10-speed Tiagra gives you the most options.
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