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|