JP gets REEB’ed
Well, it finally happened. My dream has finally come true. I got REEB’d! I have always wanted to have a custom fat bike built just for me. I sold a few bikes and other things lying around the house just to gather enough acorns to get this thing built. Be warned, this isn’t for the faint of heart. It took some sacrifice, but in the end, it was 100% worth it. There has been only one bike that I’ve ridden for the past few years that just seems to make me a more confident rider. It’s a REEB Cycles DonkaDonk fat-bike.
I’ll never forget my first ride with a steel REEB Donkadonk. I picked it up used in Minneapolis. On my way back home to Madison Wi, I decided that I had to stop at Levis Mounds for its maiden voyage. Levis is an awesome network of trails with a chalet and multiple campsites. I felt invincible on that bike. I loved those bigger 5-inch volume tires. Bouncing down the trail, no suspension needed. I was in love. It was quick in the turns; it climbed well and descended even better. All I could think of was if this were lighter it would be ridiculous. I looked it up online at www.reebcycles.com and saw they did offer it in titanium. Titanium construction makes the frame about a pound lighter than the steel version. I also loved the fact that I could have a corrosion resistant fat bike for Wisconsin winters, especially while commuting through the salt and slush. A New life goal was set. I wanted a REEB Donkadonk in Titanium someday.
So why would someone want to have a custom built bike? Short answer; because you get exactly what you want! You can pick the head angle, the seat angle, the top tube length, etc. The problem I have with the bike industry is that very few companies’ future proofs their bikes. I thought I had the perfect bike once. A Ti Salsa Mukluk made by Lynskey. But when my Sarma Hoboy fork cracked at Blue Mound State Park I realized I had an issue. No one else makes a fat carbon fork in a straight steer tube. I searched the interwebs for a few weeks but couldn’t find a replacement. That sent me back to the drawing board.
I had a rare opportunity to actually build the bike I wanted. I knew this would be my chance to actually figure out what I needed in a bike. Not what some bike company allowed me to have. I went through my list of what I needed my bike to do for me. Once I figured it out, I contacted my favorite Colorado company, REEB Cycles.
I have had 4 REEB’s in the past 5 years. I’ve had two Donkadonks and 2 Dikeolous, all steel. Every time I get one in and build it up, someone comes along and sees it in my garage and offers to buy it. I always sell because I know deep in my mind, as much as I love this bike and the way it feels, I really wanted a DonkaDonk in Titanium.
After losing my brother to Cancer this past April I decided that life is just too damn short. I needed to ride the bike that I’ve always really wanted. I saved up for a few months. I sold the 2 REEB’s I had in the garage, and a few items lying around I didn’t need any longer. This was my golden opportunity. This was my moment. Carpe Diem!
So I reached out to Tim Moore and Chris “Soultrain” Suffrain at REEB Cycles and we agreed on a time to get this project started. A few months later, I boarded a plane and flew to Denver, rented an Outback and drove to Longmont. I had 3 days scheduled to work with Chris in REEB’s fabrication shop in Central Longmont.
I arrived late Tuesday night and crawled into my Hotel room and crashed. Weds morning I texted Chris and we met up at Ozo Coffee in Longmont. I was chilling by the outdoor fire pit when someone came up behind me and said ‘”So I hear you like bikes.” We went inside and had some quad shots Americanos and went over what kind of bike I wanted. What specs and cool things I wanted on it. What I needed to make this bike work best for me; my true forever bike.
We came up with my dream adventure bike and then headed to the shop. He pre-ordered the Titanium tubes the week before and they were sitting in a box just waiting to be put together. Chris handed me the cardboard box with the tubes. I just stood there in awe and amazement. The contents of this box were going to change my life. We talked about a few modifications, like a bent top tube and welded on a bottle opener.
Chris then introduced me to Adam “Pro Sauce” Proise, the CNC machinist and fabricator extraordinaire. We had some awesome conversations about bikes, old BMX stories, and everything in-between. I love meeting bike people. We talked about the 1982 Kuwahara I had growing up and racing BMX back in the day, well before he was even born.
Chris and I were wired up with coffee and ready to rock and roll. He prepped the tools of his craft and got started right away. I felt like a tourist and couldn’t stop taking pictures of the entire process. I’ve never done any tig welding myself, but have a stepson who is a professional welder that has. So I could appreciate the craftsmanship that Chris puts in. He is a true artist and craftsman in every aspect. He is the whole reason I was here. I wanted him to be the one to weld this bike for me. I trust his welding to hold up for the long haul. He takes pride in every bead he lays down. He truly is a craftsman.
Chris explained every process and reason behind it. It was truly informative and I learned a lot. I won’t divulge any trade secrets here, but to say, everyone, welds the same way and you can find that info on the interwebs if you are so inclined. The real reason for this story is to explain why I did this and how others can do it as well.
Bikes can be utilitarian or pieces of art. REEB’s can be both. They have test proven, glorious bikes that function better than any I’ve ridden. I really like their slack head angles for descending and climbing.
Each day we had lunch at the CycleHops Cantina. The cantina is attached directly to the Bike shop. The location couldn’t have been more convenient, and the food was amazing. The chorizo burrito and mole sauce were the best I have had since I lived in Honduras. There were ample Oskar Blues beer choices plus 42 premium Tequilas’ to choose from. I was like a kid in a candy store.
After lunch the first day I walked over to the bike shop to pick out some goodies for the new TyDonk, that I named “Toast.” A new Chris King Inset 7 headset, and Race Face Turbine Crankset with a new Gates carbon drive sprocket. I picked out the Scull decals that were reflective. A lot of the races I do require riders to have multiple points of reflective tape on the bike. I thought I would just add more sparkle to it. I really wanted a carbonless bike.
While at the shop I tested out Reeb’s new Sqweeb. This is REEB’s full suspension beauty. I’ve always wanted to ride it. It was just a quick ride in the parking lot and around the block. I thought it was an absolute blast as I hucked every curb around. I could see this bike in my small herd one day in the future.
Heading back to the shop we continued the process of building my frame, which I named “Toast”. Chris found a Paragon bottle opener and welded it on. I love having a bottle opener attached on my bike. It’s one less thing I have to pack or forget. Nothing is worse than stopping for trail beers and forgetting an opener, then trying to figure out a way to open one with a rock or someone’s lighter. Chris even gave me a matching bottle opener for my key chain just in case I’m not around the bike. Chris got the Skeleton of the frame welded up during the first day. After a long day of entertaining “Nezzy” the shop dog by throwing her ever-increasing wet tennis ball, we all headed home for the night. I stopped for pizza and beer then headed back to the hotel to watch a movie.
The next day was a repeat of day one. Learned a ton of things ate at the Cantina again, a few beers, switched it up to chorizo tacos, then back to the shop to finish the frame. We ran out of time before the 5:00 pm bell, so back tomorrow morning to bead blast it and then I headed to the airport.
Friday morning we bead blasted the bike, and sent it off to Tim at the bike shop to apply the stickers and clean it up. Tim pressed in the headset and attached the crankset and Fed Ex’d it later that day. I didn’t want to pay the Airlines checked baggage fees especially knowing the box would have been over-sized. I headed home knowing that I would arrive before my new best friend. Then it would just be a matter of time before Fed Ex rang my doorbell.
A few days later the bike arrived in perfect condition. I put it up on the Park stand and just admired Chris’s work for a few days. I was in the middle of building up a wheelset for “Toast” just waiting on the rims and Dynamo hub to come in. A few days later the parts came in and I built up the wheelset. “Toast” was ready to get rowdy.
I couldn’t wait for the maiden ride. I hit my local single-track trails and adjusted the seat post and bar stem height until it felt perfect. The ride is even more amazing than my last Donkadonk. It must have something to do with the titanium. It just seems to dampen the bumps a bit more to me.
I know a lot of people wouldn’t do what I did for a bike, but to me, it made perfect sense. I am 100% happy with my choice, no regrets. I got the bike I wanted. I didn’t settle for anything. I know that this bike will outlast me. Then I’ll Will it to my daughter. It will be like my family heirloom that will be passed down from generation to generation. It may not be a Faberge egg but hey, you can’t ride an egg!
If you would like to experience the build process with Chris and make your dreams come true, hit up Tim Moore at REEbcycles.
For more information about REEB visit – https://reebcycles.com/
Awesome! Life is short, Good on you!
Thanks Dale! It was one of those life moments I will never forget. Totally worth it!
I am drooling!! JP please give us the specs on this bad boy. I have admired REEB for a long time but just don’t have the scratch.
I rode my BigFoot in the Ride to Conquer Cancer this past summer. If there is such a ride in your area you should ride that beast in honour of your brother. Feels good to go blasting past road bikes on their turf.
All of the main specs can be found at reebcycles.com. I had a medium size made with a 197 rear. I had it beadblasted so it would match my fork, and just because it looks so nice. The sticker decal set I chose are actually reflective since I ride a lot at night. If there is a certain spec you are looking for let me know!
I’m curious to learn what kind of nipples were used and if any alien gnome technology was leveraged in the swaging of the titanium tubes?
Well I only like hard nipples, so brass nipples were used. Since I have a short inseam I thought bending the top tube for clearance was a dandy idea. Thats another reason the custom build is the way to go. Chris bent that tube on the fly since I was there so I could straddle it to make sure. No alien technology was used, just a craftsman and his handy tube bender!
I am so sorry for your loss.
Great story and beautiful bike. Im relatively new to Madison, but understand why going fat, custom and ti is rewarding. Any chance that you could share some of your favorite rides around town?
Absolutely! I really enjoy the two long gravel trails hear, Military Ridge and the Badger State Trail, as for trails and single track I usually ride at Pleasant view and Blackhawk in Middleton, and Quarry Ridge and Seminole in Fitchburg. If I’m feeling rowdy I will go to Quarry Park for some sweet jumps, although these days I prefer to stay grounded.
Wow REEB is really making a lot of news lately. I couldn’t believe when I heard Jeff Lenosky signed with them this year! Fantastic news. This sounds like a wonderful experience I’d be curious to know ballpark what it cost. I’m sure “if you have to ask…”
So SWEET!! Just wondering what fork are you running, is it also by REEB? Is the fork rack custom?
Such a great looking bike and an awesome write up, thanks for sharing JP!
Thanks! The fork is actually from BlackSheep. REEB doesn’t do forks..yet I hope! I do have there to seatpost on this bike though. I really needed a custom fork with cage mounts and a removable rack so my sleeping bag doesn’t hit the front tire while adventuring. Plus sometimes I strap my light down there in front of the bag.
Congratulations JP. Datsa niceee bikeee😍Kitty
Thanks Kitty! Let me know when you want to have your own REEB made. I’ll gladly go back anytime.
dope whip. love me some pro-sauce and Cantina.