REEB All Mountain
WORDS Jordan Carr
PHOTOS Tal Roberts
Beer and bikes have been a natural match since the early days of cycling, and the parallel progression of beer culture and the cycling world has continued since then. Today's malty beverages fuel a variety of mountain bike events and the crossover between beer and bikes continues to grow with REEB's lineup of fun loving bikes. After ten years of supplying handcrafted malt beverages to the gritty, knobby tire culture of the Rocky Mountains, Dale’s Pale Ale has ventured into the bicycle business with an Oskar Blues-branded bike, cleverly named REEB (that's beer spelled backwards, by the way
Inspired by several months of beer-infused conversation, REEB Cycles debuted in late 2011 with a hand built, trail-oriented, belt-driven, steel singlespeed 29er. REEB’s number one proponent and Oskar Blues Marketing Manager, Chad Melis, gave us the run down on the brand and what makes their handmade bikes so unique. “We wanted to build a simple bike that was fun to ride on the steep, gnarly terrain that we ride in our backyard around Lyons, Colorado,
” he explains. Melis, the brain behind REEB Cycles, is immersed in the beer and bike culture: “It’s just a fun thing to be involved in; offering up the ‘tools’ to help people have fun: bikes and beer.
” We all know how well beer and bikes go together, but does the REEB All Mountain fill a niche that has been left open by other bike brands on the market?
|Most singlespeeds on the market are based around tame cross-country riding, but we wanted something different. - Chad Melis, Marketing Manager|REEB Construction Details
REEB All Mountain Details
• Intended use: trail/all-mountain
• Wheel size: 29"
• Frame material: True Temper OX Platinum steel
• Paragon Slider Dropouts
• Tapered head tube
• 12 x 142mm DT Swiss thru-axle
• Gates Centertrack belt drivetrain
• 100% American Manufactured frame
• Lifetime warranty
• MSRP: $1500 frame only
REEB set out to create a bike that was not only comfortable and efficient for big days in the hills, but also capable and confidence inspiring on the descents, two traits that aren't easy to come by when talking about aggressive hardtails. Furthermore, the bike needed to conform with the unique singlespeed subculture by being understated and classy, but with a touch of edginess. The result is a humble, yet tasteful raw looking OX platinum steel frame, paired with a 44-mm head tube to accommodate today’s tapered steerer forks, Paragon's slider dropouts, Gates Carbon Drive, and a “trail style” geometry and build package.
Handbuilt in Denver, Colorado, by Chris Sulfrian of Generic Cycles, the REEB All Mountain's attitude pairs well with Oskar Blues’ approach to hand crafting beer. “We wanted to create a unique brand that fit well with our brewing approach
” Melis told us, “Our beer is no joke and neither are the bikes. Both are meant to pack a punch.
” The build partnership came about through some mutual friends and a passion for riding bikes, and although Sulfrian does all of the welding and design work, the development and tube sourcing is done by REEB. It's also important to think of the All Mountain as a work in progress, as they are continually making changes and updates as more prevalent options become available. The design is clean and simple, with an elegant clear-coated finish that exposes the detailed craftsmanship of Sulfrian’s work, and simple, flat-black decals fit well with the badass hand-cut metal headbadge. Our REEB test bike got many looks from a wide range of riders out on the trail, proving its simple design philosophy resonates well, even in a marketplace that often places too much emphasis on flash over function.
On the trail, the REEB is the smoothest pedalling bike you will probably ever throw a leg over. The simple one speed drivetrain is made up of a Gates carbon belt drive system that creates a light, quiet pedalling motion while offering what is claimed to be superior durability over traditional chain drivetrains. Acceleration is noticeably snappier than a geared bike, and the belt system makes the bike extremely smooth through bursts of power. Like any singlespeed, though, the REEB takes some muscle and lungs to get the uphill. Its slack geometry and belt driven drivetrain make it a beautiful complement for a rider who spends most of their time aboard a fully suspended trail bike. Grunting up steep climbs keeps you honest and makes short punches a guilty pleasure while you continue to improve your fitness and find a new appreciation for rolling terrain. Gearing choice is always key to getting the most out of your bike, and that is especially true when talking about a singlespeed bike like the REEB.
Technical climbs can honestly be tricky on the REEB due to its slacker than usual head angle that was pushed out further by our 140mm travel fork, with this being especially true when the gearing choice seems a bit tall for the terrain, but prospective REEB owners will likely be okay with this tradeoff when the trail points down. If you are buying a singlespeed because it's the lightest and fastest climbing rig out there, the REEB may not be for you. But if you look at owning a singlespeed as a way to hone your overall riding ability and to push your climbing and fitness to a new level, the REEB delivers and keeps riding fun as hell. Descending:
Yes, it’s a hardtail, a singlespeed, and ultimately, it is a 29er, but let's break it down to the main reason we all ride bikes: fun. Shredding downhill is an amazing feeling, and when done on a proper bike, it can be straight up euphoric. The REEB delivers on that front, and is especially rewarding when you completely nail a tricky section. We chose to pair the handbuilt steel frame with a 140mm travel Fox Float 34 despite the frame being designed around a 120mm travel fork, a decision that was made to give us slightly more relaxed handling. That slacker head angle, paired with the bike's short chain stays, helps to keep the rider's weight in a much more rearward position than what you might at first expect from a singlespeed steel hardtail, and the longer fork makes up on the downhills what it loses on the ups. The bike's handling could still be called neutral and the front didn't push any more than a steeper angled bike, but we simply had more confidence on the REEB than a hardtail should hand out. That added up to loads of fun, proving that you most certainly don't need six or more inches of travel to get the most out of your ride.
Once turned downhill, it is obvious that the REEB is a much different beast than most 29er singlespeeds. The bike's 140mm travel Fox 34, 2.35'' Schwalbe Hans Dampf tires, and 780-mm wide bars make it much more of a trail charger than unsuspecting onlookers likely guessed, which is honestly where a lot of the fun comes from - nothing like sticking it to your buddies on their long travel bikes. The OX platinum steel frame also provides a degree of forgiveness that an aluminum frame simply can't offer. No, it's not in any way comparable to suspension, but it does help to mute those high frequency rattles that can get to be tiring during a long or fast ride.Technical Report
REEB prides themselves in allowing a customer to build their bike just how they want it which is why we chose to pick up a REEB frame to allow for ultimate trail customization. Working directly with consumers or through small boutique bike shops, the REEB philosophy is much different than most other brands on the market. With the ability to run both the belt drive and/or a gear setup, its build options were almost endless. We chose to build the bike as a complement to our trail biased repertoire of bikes, thus giving us the greatest amount of versatility on this simplified machine.
• Gates Carbon Drive Centertrack Drivetrain - Gates’ new Centertrack belt-drive system provides a smooth drivetrain with little regular maintenance. Centertrack offers easy setup with a center track on the drive ring and cog that fits neatly in the special notched belt. This system keeps the belt centered on the drive rings even under torque. Caked with early-season mud, the belt-drive system worked flawlessly day after day.
• The 140mm travel FOX Float 34 is a smart addition to this trail oriented hardtail that slackens the already lax geometry of the REEB and makes for a much easier transition when swapping between its simplicity and the everyday versatility of our daily trail rig. The 34 functioned well performance-wise, although it did make some odd noises when going through its stroke.
• Schwalbe's Hans Dampf tires are among our favourite jack-of-all-trades rubber, and their relatively high volume was an ideal match for the REEB hardtail that took the edge off of smaller trail chatter.
• X-Fusion's Hilo dropper is one of only two 27.2mm diameter options currently available, and we went with the longer 125mm travel version for our build instead of the 100mm model. Unfortunately, we ended up having some issues with the Hilo that saw the original post rebuilt to keep it from sinking into its stroke over time, a fix that last about three weeks until it began to repeat the same behaviour. REEB told us that they went with a 27.2mm size post to allow for some compliance in the frame, but we think we'd trade that off for the ability to fit a 30.9 or 31.6mm dropper post.
• Bashing through rocky terrain on a hardtail brings about a whole new level when it comes to wheel durability, but the REEB's Specialized Roval Traverse SL 29 wheels showed well, and at 1640 grams they brought durability and stiffness but didn't detract from the REEB's lightweight build. It didn't hurt that they setup tubeless extremely easily to boot. Pinkbike's take:
|Obviously, a trail oriented singlespeed hardtail is not going to be for everyone, but the benefits lie hidden beneath its simplicity - riders looking to improve their fitness level and technical skills will find this bike a key part of their quiver. Oskar Blues has designed a fun and elegant bike that brings simplicity and function to the forefront. Its angles not only make it versatile out on the trail, they also add an element of playfulness and trail worthiness to its masochistic mentality, and paired with quality components the REEB is at home on almost any trail that the rider sees fit, although technical, high speed trails take a new level of finesse and line choice. Whether that is a plus or a minus depends on how you approach mountain biking. If your goal is to improve as a rider while still getting your shred on, the REEB will bring you loads of smiles and leg burning pain, but riders who avoid a good amount of suffering when out on the trail or don't understand the benefits of a hardtail should look elsewhere.- Jordan Carr|
How would you compare it to a Stanton Slackline? Have you ridden both? Or something from the On-One or Cotic Stables? Or Curtis? I am interested to hear about some people's experiences if you have any...
@WAKIdesigns Surge vs Shan - The Shan is a league above the surge, surge's are heavy. The Shan is a proper quality piece of kit and looks absolutely mint, it's slacker and slightly more versatile not to mention stronger. The rear end forces itself down into the corners, you get so much grip and confidence. I can use it for pretty much everything (I have a DH bike aswell) but riding rough stuff on the Shan is awesome. XC, 4X, Enduro and light DH all in one wicked package!
You know, I actually had V-brakes up until a few months ago on an old litespeed softail frame and I actually didn't mind them with some KoolStop dual compound pads. The only part that bothered me was having to keep my wheels super true all the time!
The BFe started out with a 95-140mm U-Turn Pike on it which is good for nearly everything and anything. The great thing was that both the frame and fork (pretty heavy the old coil spring 454s) were burly enough to let it take close to the same levels of abuse that my first generation Blindside could deal with. Reducing the travel to around 100 to 120 depending on the climb/trail was a lot more balanced when it wasn't pointing down, however the 140mm was very much a necessity given where you could point the frame on the way down. I regularly felt more in control on the BFe at 140mm on the downs than on the Blindside with it's honey-filled sofa-esque plushness...... a great combination if you can get hold of an OLD U-turn Pike.
The Sektor (150mm solo air) I got when I managed to pick up a Slackline for a steal and as Waki says, it can wallow into g-outs and holes and really sink into its travel the way the Pike never does, however, if you build up a HT on the light side, and I mean try and get it really light, then take those two hardtails away from the technical stuff and onto a flowy trail then the Slackline/Sektor are so much more fun than the BFe/Pike. Tubeless ZTR flows and a solo air Sektor on the Slackline and it just accelerates like a (insert something here).
GIven my experience with 853 HTs, I think I can say you can find just about any number of possible combinations of builds around any Cotic, Ragley, Slackline, On-One (yes I know they are all UK brands, I'm a Brit and make no excuse for my bias!), to match what you want / need. As you say OzMike... BUY A HARDTAIL and see a different side to a trail; they really are not only educational, but GREAT fun.
Every once in a great while I miss having rear suspension, but it's not enough to switch back. The best part about the longer travel fork, you can kind of ride the fork in the rough stuff. Went from 100 to 125 (now 130) on the Chameleon and am very happy at that setting. It went from "Oh no, too fast into this rough stuff" to "Wow, that was a fun section". The Cotic is happiest at 140. Even with the settings above and all the other settings I can do to the fork, I have about a half to 3/4 on an inch (12-20mm) of travel not being used. If you ride light in the saddle, use your legs and clipped in, a hardtail will make it through a lot. I am running flats on the Cotic, Clipped out a few times doing flat (one or no footed) tabletops.. haha
I am thinking of buying 853 tubing from Reynolds and maje a steel proto of my frame just have to get bloody 73mm BB and tapered HT from steel from somewhere - it's a btch to find!
And trying to get 853 BB and HT... have you tried going to the likes of the small scale 853 makers and asking if you can get a few from their suppliers in Taiwan? Not perfect I know, but they may be able to put you in touch with a man who can...and after your recent brush with the glitterati of the UK publishing scene, maybe they know someone who can help you out...!
If they don't have it, they will make it for you!
Willie - thanks, I'll use their shop when I will get in a mood for another frame.
this thing kills, its unbelievable how fast the bike accelerates UPHILL. My other bike is a Transition Covert with top components which also weights around 13kg, and even with the rear shock on ascend I can't get anywhere near the same climbing speed.
I'm sure in few weeks once I get fully used to it I will bomb downhill with it as well (obviously not on a DH course)
it's just an aggressive hard-trail single belt driven 29" REEB.
Think of Grand Prix races: they are run with formula one cars.
And all mountain bikes in all wheel sizes can be used for Enduro racing.
Dialled prince albert, dialled mx20 bmx and jawbone dj bike.
Fair to say that 99.9% of the time my Azure, Nomad, V3 or Scalp are taken out to play.
As fun as a bt can be, it is not as much fun as a marathon bike, with 50mm stem, 750mm bars and 2.0" tyres, no dropper post, clipped in and still hit the jumps.
Something refreshing about a short travel bike and skinny tyres when you ride dh.
As for "but for most of us - FS is the way to go"... it may interest you to learn that in many places, hardtails are the norm. I ride a single speed hard tail 90% of the time despite considering myself a downhiller / OG freeride dirtbag. After riding DH, it seems pointless to ride full suspension on my local trails. The local trails are more fun and indeed faster on a HT. Of course, it all comes down to where you live.
The con's - IMO; 1. Wheels to big 2. No gears 3. You will become weary of big drops with the HT or most people will try to avoid them.
How does anybody think a 29'er HT is a AM bike? = With beers.
I want steel and and I want it with a solid group set and a burley long travel'ish fork. For less than 2k???
With a custom bike you pay for the hours spent on attention to detail.
How much tension are we talking, since you can use the paddles like teeth on the cogs? Is it going to ruin the plushness of the suspension? That seems unlikely since you can put the tensioner near the BB and use a mechanical advantage to move a very tight tensioner.
another zero growth system.
The tension is so great that the cranks won't spin freely, and there is enough resistance from the pressure that measurable drops in long rides were measured. The shop started shying away from belt drives once they found their point-to-point times increasing.
I was thinking that you could run one on a concentric-BB suspension system (like a Lenzsport). Having to take the swingarm off every time is a PITA, though that wouldn't happen very often. Mind you, there are no more quick changes of the rear tube when you flat - think about what has to be done to remove the rear wheel for either of those bikes. And then you have to get the belt up to tension... at night in the pouring rain etc.
On a hardtail commuter I think the belt drive makes sense, but if you want to race or ride aggressively IMHO a chain is still the way to go.
Cotic Solaris for example has a 69° HA after sag. So the REEB has a real steep HA, considering its intended use, name, and fork travel.
And notice the lack of homophobic adjectives in this sentence (which was pretty hard to achieve considering how, uhm... Well you know, this bike is).
Like the bike!
Yes it is bigger, but don't forget people also differ in size.
For example if you're 175cm tall and ride a 26", the wheel size will feel exactly the same to you, as a 27.5" wheel would feel to someone who is 185cm tall, which feels exactly the same as a 29" wheel to someone who is 196cm tall.
If you calculate it the other way, if you're 196cm tall and ride 26" wheels, it will feel the same for you as 23" wheels would feel to someone who is 175cm tall.
You might see now why people will like the option of running different wheelsizes? 26" might be 'so cool', but to someone else it might feel like riding 23".
You still think this wheelsize is so "cool" in that situation?
Not even talking about 'personal preferences'....
This being said, hating on different wheelsizes is just plain stupid, and makes you a narrow-minded a*shole.
We all share the same sport and passion, why hate on something silly like wheelsize? It's like hating someone because his frame is red. Seriously, grow up!
Agree about singlespeed and climbing, but it's just an extra challenge to get stronger. I'm always surprised what people are capable of on singlespeeds through the right gear choice, crazy fitness, and pure riding skill; at the trail network where I used to live the fastest lap record was held by a guy on a rigid carbon singlespeed for a while. I was on a specialized epic and couldn't hang with him for even 5 minutes. He would just mash up the hills and bunny hop anything that would slow him down on the flats. Really impressive riding.