The Mongoose Sniper Mag BMX may have been the last freestyle bike in the 1998 catalogue, but it was definitely first for looks. The matt blazing blue colour way matched with the Skyway made 3 spoke Mongoose Motomag Tuffs and all chrome and black parts – makes for an imposing BMX.
Today low end, mid-school Mongoose freestyle bikes are very common, with blinging chrome being the bike of choice in the 90’s. The 1998 matt blazing blue Sniper Mag does come up occasionally, but it’s a rare to find it with the original 3 spoke Mongoose Motomag tuffs as well. The tuffs make this bike.
This bike came up on ebay with a couple others in a bulk lot. It was purchased as frame, fork, drive train, head stem and bars and was in very rough condition with a heap of rust but I was willing to try and give it a new life. When I picked it up the owner asked if I wanted wheels, he said he had a set of tuffs, I said i’d take a look at them. I was very surprised to see him bring out the 3 spoke Mongoose Motomag tuff wheels for the Sniper. We settled on a price and I walked away with the wheels and a smile.
First task was to strip the bike down. The head stem was ceased inside the and it required an extended soaking in WD-40 and lanolin lubricant spray. Eventually after a couple of weeks soaking I managed to work it loose. The pedals and chain were too far gone and were thrown in the trash.
The bike had obviously lived out in the weather for many years. The frame had a a very weathered patina with number large scratches that had rusted and the paint along the top edges of the frame and decals had deteriorated quite a lot. It was a shame, as the colour of the frame was awesome. Streaks of brighter blue were showing through where the original blazing blue had turned to deep navy blue in the weather. Although many of the decals were totally faded and yellowing like the top coat, the decal on the down tube would show their true iridescent colours in good light.
Even so, I thought the best thing to do was to give the frame a complete refinish. So everything went into my tub for a 24 hour Citric Acid rust treatment. In the meantime I cleaned up the 3 spoke Mongoose Motomag tuffs with soapy hot water and a sponge. Stripped the axles and bearings, re-greased and replaced the freewheel and scrubbed the original Mongoose DMC tyres. They now look great and spin beautifully.
After 24 hours I pulled out the parts out of the tub. The rust easily wiped off the forks and they shone once again. The chrome on the cranks had been eaten in a few places, but they’d be good for a rider. Last of all I pulled out the frame and gave it a wipe down. It was stunning. Most of the yellowing had cleaned and the colour seemed a shade livelier.
Although the original patina has cleaned up slightly I loved what I had. I decided at that moment I would keep the original paintwork on the frame and build the rest of the bike with as much NOS or mint condition chrome parts as possible.
I had been keeping a set of VG chrome mid-school kneesaver bars for a build and the 1998 Mongoose Sniper Mag was the perfect bike for them. I also purchased a cheap Dyno BMX for it’s mint chrome pegs and Odyssey Gyro. On one of my days off over Easter I sanded back the head stem and polished it back to mirror chrome like finish. I’m still on the lookout for a cheap mint set of chrome cranks to match back with the cleaned up Mongoose Chainwheel.
As the build gets nearer to completion I’ll add another build progress post. Thanks for reading. If you liked this post, sign up to receive posts via email at the bottom of the page and get every BMX rebuild direct to your inbox.
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