With my mission of relocating to the Front Range of Colorado complete, I was the logical (and all too willing) choice when the call came out to test the fresh from the Front Range, newly redesigned 2020 REEB Donkadonk (from here on out just Donk). If you don’t know, REEB is the bike brand started by Oskar Blues Brewery owner Dale Katechis after someone stole his bike – REEB is beer backwards if you hadn’t figured that out yet. REEB has several handmade in the USA bikes in their lineup to suit whatever your two wheel fetish may be (as a side note – check out their new klunker goodness the Hooptie). And of course, being a bunch of astute fellows, they had a fat-bike in their lineup from near the beginning.
All frames are handmade in Lyons, Colorado using Vari-Wall THERMLX steel or if you’re really treating yourself, titanium (in both bead blasted or brushed finishes). All frames are built with Paragon sliders and Gates belt drive compatibility. Stock frames have 177mm rear spacing with clearance for 26”x4.5” or 27.5”x4” tires. REEB offers 197mm rear spacing (for up to 26×5.1” tires) along with Rohloff and Pinion gearbox as custom options. Frames are available in multiple stock powder coat/decal colors to suite your fancy as well as custom colors. As you would expect with a frame of this caliber, the fit and finish are top notch, welds are smooth and even, powder coating is perfect (which is done in house) — All tippity top shiny goodness. The bike is a looker.
The Donk is available as a compete bike with two build options as well as frame only ($2,150). While the focus of this review is really the Donk frame itself, this particular Donk was build up with the smart part selection of their NX build kit (with the exception of a Manitou Mastodon instead of a RockShox Bluto). This brings a complete steel Donk in at around $4,500. A GX build is available for around $5,300 and upgrades to SRAM GX drivetrain, XT brakes, i9 hubs and stem as well as a few other better bits and pieces. Of course, the folks at REEB are more than willing to build the bike up however the hell you want.
When it comes down to it, the Donk rides much like a mountain bike. More specifically, like a trail mountain bike. And that’s a good thing. REEB says that they designed the frame around the way that they ride, which considering where they are located, is basically everything but with a focus on classic Front Range ringing – lots of climbing with lots of (at times) gnarly descending. All this considered, it should come as no surprise that the updated 2020 Donk embraces modern trail bike geometry with a slacker head angle (670 – 20 more slack for 2020), steepish seat tube angle, longish reach, short chainstays (20mm shorter for 2020), and dropper post routing. Standard trail bike stuff . . . but on a fat bike. I’d venture to say that most that are looking to buy a bike of this caliber plan on riding it on more than just snow so the Donk has you well covered.
I found the DONK an absolute joy to ride. Whether I was blazing down local flowy ribbons of dirt, Front Range chunk, ripping groomed singletrack through the woods, or plowing through freshly fallen snow at 10,000ft, the Donk inspired confidence. Hitting up my local trails was just like hitting up my local trails on my trail bike . . . except with all the traction goodness that Bud & Lou bring to the table. Sure the bike weighs a bit more than my trail bike but its designed well enough that it doesn’t feel all that heavy. No its not carbon wonder bike light but it doesn’t need to be. Of course, going down in one thing but even on the ups, the Donk climbed great thanks to the short chainstays and the front doesn’t wonder too much. Also of note is that this is my first time on a fat bike with a dropper post and it was a blast! In much the same way that there are times you want your seat out of the way on your MTB, there are times where it was great to drop the seat on the Donk – like blasting down a fast decent covered in powder .
If I was in the market for a new fat bike, the Donkadonk would be near the top of my list. I’ve spent some time on a lot of really nice, high end bikes and for me, the Donk ticks a lot of boxes – boutique steel frame, beautiful fit and finish, clearance for whatever tire I want to run, well thought out modern geometry, and highly versatile. The fact that its handmade in the USA by a bunch of people who get what bikes are all about is an huge bonus.
Want more details on the Donk? Go here.