Chapter 2 – REEB Cycles – Longmont Colorado
While I was visiting Boo up in Fort Collins, our compadre, Chris Reichel, (aka Dirty Biker) was down at REEB Cycles in Longmont (about a half hour south of FoCo) getting ready to lauunnch the #greatwhitebuffalo tour from the Oskar Blues Brewery in Colorado to the O.B. Brewery in Asheville NC. Chris is writing a series of articles about his trip for Dirt Rag online….he texted me ‘come down to reeb tomorrow – we’ll get good and day drunk’. Who could refuse an invitation like that? Plus I was already scheduled to meet with Tim and Chris the next day, at the very same location, so it ended up that the four of us got to spend the day together and talk bikes.
For anyone that has been living under a rock for the last few years, or are totally new to fat-bikes, REEB is the bike brand owned by Oskar Blues Brewing. Oskar Blues is famous for craft brew in cans and their founder, Dale Katechisis, is an avid cyclist. After Dale’s mountain bike was stolen, he decided to found Reeb Cycles and make rad bikes! I got to meet Dale on my visit to the Reeb Frame Shop. Dale was cruising around the Oskar Blues (Anti-Corporate) Headquartrs campus on a vintage Honda Trail 70, fully restored to teenage lustfullness. It was a short introduction and then Dale braaapp’d off on his cherry mini bike. Everything Dale touches turns to gold and he did shake my hand, so pretty much…I’m golden from now on. We hung out in the frame shop and watched Chris lay some welds on a Ti Reeb that was in his frame jig. Then we all went over to Cyclehops for some delicious tacos and Pinner IPA to wash it all down. Cyclehops is Oskar Blues bike cantina complete with a full service bike shop. That’s where we found Tim and he was putting the final touches on a bike that I had requested to get a chance to ride. A special edition (as far as I know) a one of a kind Reeb Donk.
The vibe at the frame shop is very laid back. Their shop dog kept us busy with her tennis ball obsession while Chris and I sampled some beer from Prost Brewing in Denver, that our bud, Colin Ford had sent along the night before, plus tall boys of one of my new favorite beers – Pinner (Brewed right across the parking lot from where we were hanging out).
The guys at Reeb made us feel totally welcome and made sure to make a point in emphasizing that customers are welcome to experience the same sort of hospitality. REEB really wants customers to come and visit so they can experience the care and craftsmanship that goes into every bike that they manufacture. Plus, there’s the bonus of enjoying some of Oskar Blues craft beer and a brewery tour to round out your day. I recorded a short interview with fabreebcator, Chris Sulfrain, during my visit to the frame shop, that will air as part of our Fat-Bike Radio Show #63, where he talks a little about this very subject.
This was another one of those times that I feel extremely lucky. Because, I found myself wheeling a beautiful Reeb fat-bike out to my truck to go and test ride for a couple of days as a part of my jay oh bee! The Reebadonkadonk in question, has an eighteen speed pinion gearbox drive train that utilizes a gates carbon belt drive. I’ve been wanting to check out this relatively new technology since I saw the bike at the North American Hand-built Bicycle Show, down in Louisville, earlier this year. The bike is decked out with a Dale’s Pale Ale handlebar, a Bluto and a pair of Nates. Tim installed some flat pedals and I was set to give it a try.
This was one of REEB’s NAHBS show bikes, and it’s a real attention getter. Every place I went with this bike, people made comments and asked questions about it. I even gave a couple of guys the chance to take a quick spin around the trailhead parking lot, after they asked about the gearbox. After all, it’s part of every fat-bike evangelist’s goals, to share fat-bike grinns, all across this great land!
The first thing everyone notices about this bike is the Dale’s Pale Ale Handlebar, but then they take note of the Pinion Gearbox. Before I talk about how the Pinion worked for me, I want to share the link to the review of the Reebadonkadonk that we published last winter.
I have two years experience riding a Rohloff internally geared hub on a Pugsley (back in the day) and it’s only natural to make some comparisons between the Rohloff and the Pinion. The Rohloff has 14 gears, while the Pinion has 18. Both require the rider to unload their pedal pressure to shift into an easier gear ratio, however, the Pinion allowed me to shift with less of a pause in drive train load than the Rohloff. The Pinion didn’t make the growling, grindy noises that vibrate through the whole bike like a Rohloff makes (especially in the lower gear range). It was quiet and matched the precise almost ‘magic’ shifting accuracy of a Rohloff. There was no skipping or even a hint of a cross shift with the Pinion (the same as a Rohloff). Both the Rohloff and the Pinion utilize ‘Grip Shift’ style shifters. I’m not a huge fan of that style shifter, but some people love’em. I like thumb-shifters best, but I could get used to pretty much any style shifter.
The Gates Carbon Belt Drive worked well with the Pinion. This new technology performed rather flawlessly for me during my two test rides. It definitely makes a lot more sense to place the added weight, that an internally geared devise adds, at the bottom bracket, rather than at the rear hub. It puts that weight much closer to the center of gravity of the bike. Of course with the Pinion, the bike frame has to be specifically manufactured to accept the gearbox, where the Rohloff can be istalled on a large variety of regular 135mm or now 170mm spaced bike frames.
Beyond the Pinion Gearbox, the donk is a bad ass mountain bike. The kind of bike that you can throw at the most aggressive trails and huck off of dumpster sized rocks till the cows come home. A bike that reflects its rocky mountain heritage. A bike designed and built to run the biggest tires on the widest rims. Bud and Lou on 100’s – No Problem! The Bluto up front, coupled with a slack head angle make this a very confidence inspiring ride. The Oscar Blues bars are super wide. I think I’d want to trim them down just a tad, but now I’m just really talking about personal preferences. If you’d like to read an in depth, review of the donk, check out our review, written by Steve Muerett. I reluctantly returned this beauty to Tim at the Cyclehops shop. I’d love to get some extended time on this bike to see how it would do over a Wisconsin winter season, but I’m totally thankful to the crew at REEB for letting me get the experience of riding it for a couple of days!
For more information about REEB visit – www.reebcycles.com
For more information about Pinion visit – www.pinion.eu