Editor’s Note : Our amigo Steve is a long time gear tester, race promoter and is the poster child for what we call, ‘a cool dude in loose mood’ around the campfire circle. Steve’s always lended a helping hand at rad events like Gnome-Fest. He’s been running a really fun fat-bike race called Yeti-Fest for the last 3 years and I even hear that Steve might play a major role in the SSWC coming up this summer. In addition to that, Steve’s, once again, joined the ranks of the Bike Black Ribbon Test Pilots for a special assignment, to test a Rohloff’d, Gates Carbon Belt Driven, REEBadonkadonk! I’ve just barley scratched the surface of Steve-0’s talents, but you’re here to read about bikes.
Written and Photographed by : Steve Meurett
Beer and fat-bikes go together-so imagine my surprise (and joy) in learning I’d be lucky enough to test a bike make by a beer company! Let’s get this out of the way-yes, BEER spelled backwards is “REEB” and the moniker of the Longmont Colorado brewery Oskar Blues and Reeb Cycles-nothing backward about that!
Reeb was born out of need-Oskar Blues owner Dale (of Dales Pale Ale fame) found himself bikeless after thieves departed with his roof racked Taiwanese bike. Instead of another old replacement from overseas, a handful of 100% American True Temper OX Platinum steel was craftily hand welded by Chris Sulfrian in the heart of the Rockies and Reeb was born.
(more about REEB from Fat-Bike.com radio: http://fat-bike.com/2014/05/weekly-dose-of-fat-5-31-14-show-6/ )
Although the company also fabricates cyclocross/gravel rigs, all mountain bikes and 29ers (in Ti as well) my excitement was all about the “Donk” or “Reebdonkadonk,” their big shoed real steel fatbike. I’d never spent a lot of time on a 5” bike before and I was amazed pulling the big hoops from the packing box. My first thought was this rig can go anywhere…and it does. The folks at Reeb designed the bike around slightly slacker angles, giving the bike a more all-mountain feel, something I was also eager to try.
Pulling the 170mm rear steel frame from another box, the workmanship in the build is striking. Black powdercoat, smooth as silk welds and a hand cut raw badass headbadge-a beauty. Hanging on the frame, ready to be assembled were a mix of american made components- Thomson stem, Lev DX dropper seatpost and FSA Comet cranks (with Gates Carbon drive). In the control center, Sram Guide brakes provide the stop, while the go is powered by a Rohloff Speedhub 14 speed internal dirve. An MRP carbon fork (formerly badged as a White Brothers Snowpack) keeps the front end light and tracking straight.
The wheelset was ready to slide into the dropouts with 100 mm Surly Clownshoe rims, 4.8” Bud and Lou treads (scary big and aggressive!) and the Shimano rotors. Reeb rear ends are designed around a Paragon slider dropout, providing lot’s of options for drivetrains. Loosening the slider a bit, slipping the belt onto the rear sprocket and tensioning everything up was simple and straight forward.
My initial ride confirmed my feeling this bike can do it all. The big meats grab and hold the transformed snow on our trail-whether packed or not and it was stable as all get out on the fast and flowy “Bear Den” descent-I’m sure a product of it’s Rocky Mountain lineage. The ‘Donk will get plenty of miles of testing and I should have a good feel for how the steel frame, carbon fork and super quiet drivetrain all work together. Stay tuned to fat-Bike.com for updates and a full review.