Mongoose resurrects Motomag: The ‘Most Iconic Wheelset’ in BMX History

We can think of many words for the Mongoose Motomag: groundbreaking, definitive, badass. Now the wheel that helped define BMX in its early days is back.


This article was originally published on GearJunkie.


You can’t unsee the Mongoose Motomag. With its heavy pentagonal spokes and interlocking grid pattern, there’s just nothing out there like it.

That was true in 1974 when Mongoose founder Skip Hess forged the first set of the legendary wheel in his garage and it’s true now, as the company introduces the third iteration.

This week Mongoose announced the “most iconic wheelset in BMX history” would return for purchase later this month.

mongoose motomag iii

Photos c. Mongoose

Motomag wheelset makes a comeback

The Motomag III packs in all the originality and mainstay performance benefits of its two predecessors to resurrect the line after more than 30 years out of production. And yes, the rim is a big deal among those in the know: a set of original Motomags just sold for over $20,000, according to the brand.

To understand why BMXers love it so much, you need to dig up the roots of the sport. In the early 1970s, California cyclists started racing bikes on motocross tracks.

Rapid evolution in technique and performance took place, but equipment initially lagged behind. Riders quickly started demolishing conventional bike rims, because bike engineers had never built them to absorb so much punishment.

Hess worked as an automotive rim designer when he created his first BMX wheelset (which would become the Motomag). Pretty soon, he introduced assembly line methodology into his process and started production.

Demand followed purpose-driven design: the Motomag made sense to BMXers with better durability thanks to the trellis shape and ribbed spokes, and lighter weight due to material choice.

mongoose motomag iii

Fast forward to 1984, and the wheel had earned a loyal cult following.

“The Motomag changed the sport of BMX, allowing riders to go faster, harder, and bigger than ever. Its design is so iconic that the Motomag is instantly recognized by BMX enthusiasts worldwide,” said Bill Curtin, B.M.X. Products owner.

mongoose motomag iii

The Motomag III calls out the original but also consolidates a few updates to help it compete in today’s market. Sealed bearings keep grit and grime outside, so the hub should roll better over time if you ride deep dirt. And Mongoose makes it freewheel-compatible to give riders more gearing choices.

Mongoose offers the Motomag III in three finishes – silver, gold, and black – in limited quantities for MSRP $300 at its website. You can order it starting Sept. 27.

mongoose.com/motomag

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

9 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Dolan
Dolan
4 days ago

IIRC, those inner braces had a tendency to crack, but they did look pretty cool. Very entertaining watching someone skidding on them on the pavement without tires… let the sparks fly!

Aaeeee
Aaeeee
3 days ago
Reply to  Dolan

Mine were cracked off

Aaeeee
Aaeeee
3 days ago
Reply to  Dolan

So they I just got some skyway mags next!!

Derek Brooke
Derek Brooke
4 days ago

I would have thought that the Skyway Tuff wheels were the most iconic wheel from that period. Motomag’s were a rare sight we growing up, not so much with the Tuff’s.

dino
dino
4 days ago
Reply to  Derek Brooke

I rode a set off red tuff wheel’s zrims also

Dolan
Dolan
3 days ago
Reply to  Derek Brooke

They were both pretty prevalent in early 80s So Cal to the best of my memory.

Dinger
Dinger
3 days ago
Reply to  Derek Brooke

That’s my recollection too. The moto-mags had a hot minute of popularity but “real” BMXer’s quickly deemed them too heavy. Jumpers went with the Skyway Tuff wheels, racers never really rode either (except for the carbon reinforced Tuff’s, if you could afford them..) and stayed with laced Araya 7x rims, which were pretty much the gold standard through the 80’s.

mackd
mackd
2 days ago

I had a set of motomags on my mongoose but always wanted the skyway tuff’s and was jealous of any kid that had’m. Moto’s were cool but they felt and rode really heavy.

Roberto
Roberto
1 day ago

Motomags were used by many of us in the 70’s as rear wheel only. Better weight balance and a light front end with conventional wheel up front.