Price: $1,500 (frame only) $4,200 (as built)
I’ll have to admit, I have been biased on the fat bike trend. I like bikes. Period. But I considered fat bikes to be the anti-shred: fun hater bikes. I pictured slow pedaling on flat snowy roads without a soul.... I’ll go skiing, thanks. But man, REEBdonkadonk slamdunkadunk—this bike has awakened my inner fatty. I can now see that fat bikes are worth more than just grinding on flat snowy roads. This bike is about floating two wheel drifts on snowpacked trails and carving sick turns in any conditions. In one word: shredable.
The folks at REEB have brought us a fat bike frame with 100 percent made in the USA True Temper OX Platinum tubing welded in Colorado with 170-mm symmetrical rear spacing, and a 44-mm headtube, 100-mm bottom bracket, and slider dropouts all from Paragon Machine works. The frame is designed to accommodate up to 26 x 4.7-inch tires or the new 29er+ platform.
The REEBdonkadonk frame is available fully custom or with stock Gates Carbon Drive compatible geometry. Our stock size medium test bike ripped a nice balanced ride with a 70.8-degree head angle, 73-degree seat tube angle and a 23.5-inch effective top tube.
The 29er x 3 tire is a “mid-fat,” adding to the plethora of mountain bike tire sizes now available. Our REEBdonkadonk was set up with this platform sporting a Surly 29 x 3-inch Knard tire and Rabbit Hole rim. The bike also featured a 1x10 drivetrain with a chainguide, SLX brakes and nice wide 780-mm bars (all the better for laying it over sideways in the corners).
I was immediately impressed with the low weight. I was also taken back by the aggressive build. I realized that perhaps this fatty was meant for me to shred.
My first ride on it was a short, carvy trail called Lupine just outside of Crested Butte, Colo. The True Temper OX Platinum was snappy and the bike climbed like a champ. When the trail turned down and began to flow, I could not believe the amount of traction gleaned from those big ol’ meaty tires. I tipped the bike in the corners and realized right away I could be givin’ it a lot harder. The 100-mm Paragon BB shell created a wide platform for carving that reminded me of taking a wide stance on skis. With the wider stance, I felt like the rock biter in the “Never Ending Story” and laughed the entire descent.
My second ride was on the snowpacked roads of Kebler Pass, which are widely used for Nordic skiing. I have to say it was somewhat liberating to pedal on snowy roads. I could get by on my regular mountain bike, but this bike was actually fun in the snow. It felt liberating because there’s nothing else to do in this in-between season in the mountains—there is not enough snow to get after it on skis but enough snow to shut down riding on the high trails. This bike bridges the gap to winter.
The third ride blew my mind. I took the REEBdonkadonk on a group ride in Crested Butte South that had a stout 3,000-foot climb. The timing was October; in the sunny spots, there was greasy mud, and cold snow had already accumulated in the shady zones. The REEBdonkadonk climbed efficiently because I never slipped out. People on the ride complained about the amount of walking due to the mud and snow, while I quietly rejoiced pedaling in the snow.
OK, I admit that when I made it to the top, I was wishing I had the dually for the downside. That soon changed with gravity. The bike is fully rigid, after all, and was I ever wishing for suspension in the chunder, but at the same time the high-volume 29er tires rolled through chatter bumps with ease. Lower down is a section of trail that I consider my stomping ground. I have ridden many bikes down that stretch and can ride every corner blind. It drops 1,000 feet in a very short distance with smooth corners and interspersed rock gardens. I dare say descending on the REEBdonkadonk was more fun than on an 8-inch downhill bike (which I have pushed to the top of this ride just to shred the lower section) because of the cornering ability of the 29 x 3 tires. While fat bikes were originally intended for snow, the traction on dry trails is unbelievable. The 3-inch wide tires felt agile, and I could still pedal out of corners. With the 100 mm BB, I felt as if I could steer the bike more with my feet. Biking in snow is liberating for mountain dwellers, but this bike has its place on dry trails, too.
The slam-dunk feeling persisted through every ride I logged on the REEBdonkadonk. (I just like saying that: REEBdonkadonk). The bike is well-balanced, nicely styled and just damn fun to ride. It made me wonder how it would handle with front suspension and if the market would trend to higher-volume tires. This bike can push all seasons, and the fun factor is always high. Riding it will put a smile on your face. –Chris Miller