After 10 years of supplying crafted, frosty malt beverages to the gritty, knobby tire culture of the Rockies, Dale’s Pale Ale has made a foray into the bicycle business with an Oskar Blues-branded 29er. Inspired by several months of beer-infused conversation, REEB Cycles debuted late last year with a handbuilt, trail-oriented, belt-driven singlespeed 29er.
“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,” says Chad Melis of REEB and Oskar Blues. “Most singlespeeds on the market are based around tame XC riding, and we wanted something different.” Melis, the brain behind REEB Cycles, works as the marketing director for Oskar Blues and 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.”
With its foundation as a simple trail-oriented singlespeed, REEB set out to create a bike that was tough and efficient for climbing, but stable and capable on the descents. To fit the singlespeed subculture, it also had to be understated and classy. The result is a humble yet tasteful OX platinum steel frame paired with a 44-mm head tube (to accommodate today’s tapered steerer forks), Paragon slider dropouts, Gates Carbon Drive, and a “trail style” geometry and build package.
Being handbuilt in Denver, Colo., by Chris Sulfrain of Generic Cycles, pairs well with Oskar Blues’ approach to crafting beer. The build partnership came about through some mutual friends. “We were working on the geometry of the bikes and had a solid plan, but we needed someone to fabricate them,” Melis explains. “Some friends mentioned Chris and his eye for detail, so we stopped by to talk. It was obvious he was into the same design concepts we were, so it was a natural partnership.” Although Sulfrian welds the frames, all of the design, geometry, R&D and tube sourcing are done by REEB.
The REEB’s design is clean and simple, with an elegant clear-coated finish that exposes the detailed craftsmanship of Sulfrian’s work. Simple, flat-black stickers and a hand-cut metal headbadge keep with REEB’s handcrafted, low-key approach.
Once on the trail, it is apparent that the REEB is a much different beast than most 29er singlespeeds on the market. Its 120-mm fork, 2.35 tires (with ample frame clearance), and 720-mm wide bars make the bike more of a trail steed than the traditional 29er XC rig. Paired with an OX platinum steel frame sporting a more relaxed geometry, the REEB is a comfortable and capable trail rig with simplicity written all over. The Paragon slider dropouts provide easy wheel removal and belt tensioning. Optional derailleur dropouts make the REEB perfect for a versatile one-bike quiver. Our test frame had a humble 27.2 diameter seat tube but—keeping true to a trail orientation—REEB plans to make 30.9 seat tubes available for greater compatibility with dropper seat posts: something we’re going to see a lot more of in the future
Partnering with Gates Carbon Drive systems continues the simple yet functional approach of the REEB. 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.
Oskar Blues has created a distinctive trail rig with the REEB. Trail-oriented geometry and components mated with the simplicity of a belt-driven singlespeed produce a unique ride experience that quickly became a favorite go-to rig at the office. Caked with early-season mud, the belt-drive system worked flawlessly day after day. The trail-geometry paired with the absence of gears, pivots and linkage offered the convenience of that quick lunchtime romp, without sacrificing the fun.