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2021 REEB Redikyelous Review

Updated: Oct 3, 2022

Intro:

I've been a big fan of REEB over the years especially since moving to North Carolina. I've long term owned 4 of their bikes and have really enjoyed the way they ride, but more importantly the overall awesome vibe of the brand and the folks you deal with along the way. They have really awesome head badges too:

The history of REEB is pretty well covered elsewhere and I'm not going to go much into that, but my history with REEB started about 4 years ago when I decided I wanted to try a singlespeed. They had recently provided a bike for a local trail org and I was really drawn to the aesthetic, but also the brand had ties to the area (via the now defunct REEB Ranch). It was a weird road getting there, but I ultimately ended up getting my first Dikyelous and setting it up with belt drive. The bike blew my mind so much that my wife sold her squishy FS bike to full time a REEB and loved it the entire time. I nearly cancelled my FS bike order to full time it. The bike rode really well and was super smooth, to the point I had PRs on trails I could not beat on my bigger geared bikes no matter how hard I tried, some I still haven't beaten to this day.

After a while, my riding priorities changed, along with bike industry trends. I had moved to longer/slacker bikes and going between the Dikyelous 1 and those was too disorienting, so I sold it and began to focus more on having a single bike. As the years went on, I always regretted having to get rid of it. After a while, they released a new bike called the Redikyelous that reignited my desire to ride singlespeed and own another REEB again. I put my order in and a few months later, got the frame and built it out with components I had acquired over the previous year.

Construction:

The bike, like all REEBs, is welded, assembled, and shipped out from Colorado. When you call REEB, there is a good chance you will get the guy on the phone that is actually welding or assembling your bike. I'll go into that a little more when I talk about the SST, but everyone I've dealt with at REEB has been super helpful and you can really tell they are stoked on what they are doing.

Unlike my Dikyelous, the Redikyelous doesn't come standard with split stays or sliders, both are required for belt drive. They are addons that I selected and I would recommend. They appear to be the same Paragon dropouts that were on my previous REEBs.

The sliders seem to generate some discussion, with a lot of folks trailside commenting on how they never stay in place. I can't speak to other bikes, but with all of our REEBs, I've never once had that problem. I can ride something super rough and chunky and they never seem to come loose or have any issues shifting out of place. I think the tendency is to undertorque these, resulting in them moving a bit over time, but if you follow the Paragon spec, it should be a non-issue.

That said, the 4 stock slider bolts that ship with the bike are very shallow and easily rounded out. On all ours, I have replaced the stock bolts with the titanium bolt kit from Paragon, something I'd suggest anyone getting the sliders do. They allow you to torque down on the bolts with greater ease and less risk of rounding out, as the ti bolts have much more depth to them. It isn't absolutely necessary, but if you do not do it, you will have to be more careful torquing the sliders down.

You can select various color schemes, none of which photos do justice to. Their brighter colors in particular have this sortof sparkle that comes out in the light and it is very difficult to capture, but looks amazing. You can kinda see what I'm talking about in the photo below, which was my wife's bike (mine is a matte finish).

Build:

I had no issues with the build process. They use a threaded bottom bracket shell, which is really convenient and something I'm glad most bike manufacturers have moved to.

Many steel bike builders neglect the risk of frames rusting from the inside out, I've had others in the past and always had to spray some frame guard inside of the frame. It's a nasty mess and stinks, which makes it nice that the folks at REEB do this for you from the factory. Every bike I've gotten from them (6 total) had that distinct odor and cloth stuffed in the open parts of the frame, all indicating they've sprayed it, which is a really small, but nice touch that they do. I've been told it's still suggested to do it every few years especially in wet climates like we have here, but not having to worry about it right off the bat is super nice.

I chose to build the bike out with a 140mm fork initially, Industry Nine Enduro 315c wheels, Dominion brakes, Gates belt drive, and larger tires. I ultimately switched to gears, which is an easy process thanks to the availability of Paragon sliders, due to life circumstances kindof resulting in my fitness going down the drain for a while and setting that up was just as easy despite the initial build being singlespeed. It's just a matter of swapping the sliders out and installing the rest of the drivetrain.

I was able to clear moderate sized Specialized 2.6 tires in the rear with ease and plenty of clearance. I note that because REEB indicates ~2.5 as the max tire width, but you can get away with smaller 2.6s without issue.

On the sliders, it is important that they are lined up correctly. I initially do this by sighting down the tire and eyeballing the distance from the tire to the chainstay on both sides, however I do eventually resort to breaking out calipers and measuring the gap inside of each slider and on either side of the tire to be sure they are even. This is IMO the one downside of sliders, if the wheel isn't centered then it'll be offset to one side, but it can also result in the axle binding in the slider over time and being difficult to remove. It's easy enough to deal with, but something to consider if you are building out a bike with sliders. Ride

I don't have a ton of experience on hardtails, mainly our first bike ~2014 (Trek X-Caliber, how very XC of me) and the REEBs we have had over the years. I have spent time on other popular hardtails like the Honzo and Chameleon, but not owned them.

What I can say is that the Redikyelous, and the Dikyelous 1 to a degree, have always surprised me. When I'm feeling on top of it, even when my fitness hasn't been the best, I find myself able to get the bike up to an alarming speed on trails I really don't think I should be able to ride that fast on a hardtail. The bike just seems to carry through chunk and chunder, keeping you centered with little effort and allowing you to absorb parts of the trail with your legs to avoid getting hung up. It rarely, if ever, feels like I am fighting to maintain an effective body position. I came to this realization riding it down a trail I have probably gone down 300+ times when everything connected and the bike just soared through it, it was really incredible how smooth and composed it felt despite the lack of rear travel. It's not a trivial trail, either, there is plenty of erosion, chunky sections, wet roots, and a few rocks to catch you off, but the bike remained composed the entire time and I wasn't having to fight being thrown around the bike to stay centered.

That being said, it is still a hardtail and no amount of awesomeness from REEB is going to change that. What that means for me is that when the bike stays composed, when I'm riding on an off day or not feeling it, it's still obvious I'm on a hardtail. Don't get me wrong, the bike is still composed, but you can't expect it to perform the same as a full suspension bike and it is more unforgiving if you get lazy with your body position. It'll gently push you back into place and remind you that you need to be on top of it or slow down, but being a hardtail, that margin of error isn't there and it can punish you. So it's not as unforgiving as many other hardtails I've ridden in that regard, but that aspect is still there.

The mind blowing moment for me riding my first Dikyelous was PRing basically everything on a singlespeed down Butter Gap and Cat Gap years ago. It was a great day to ride, I was feeling good, and it all connected. I have the same vibes and feelings with the Redikyelous, it constantly surprises me how composed it is, even when I'm not on top of my game, but when I am feeling good, it is incredibly how smooth and fast it is. As someone with neuropathy issues in my hands, I can also say it doesn't aggravate my body the way many hardtails have in the past, even on rougher terrain.

I'm not the only one that sees it this way, either. I've had friends who were hardtail skeptics and swore they'd hate it. They got on the bike and their consistent comment was being surprised how fast and smooth the bike was.

Fork Selection

I initially chose a Pike Ultimate w/ DSD Runt for the bike, set to 140mm. I found two problems with this: the first being that I just don't get along with the Pike, maybe it's the weight I was at (~215lbs at that time) riding it, but no matter how I set it up, I just didn't love it. The second, and more important to note, was that the front end felt a little on the low side at 140, which was more of a geometry issue.

Keep in mind that at this time, I was swapping between a Specialized Enduro with a 170mm fork up front that had an abnormally long a2c, but it always felt like with the Pike, I was reaching out a bit.

Now you can address this numerous ways aside from getting another fork, but I ultimately chose to go to the fork I'm most familiar with: a Mezzer Pro set at 150mm. It seemed really balance the bike out a lot and it was perfect for me, both in how it handled in relationship to the rest of the bike and in the way it changed the geometry slightly. Keeping in mind that I built the bike to ride primarily in Pisgah, so the added travel and weight of the more aggressive fork isn't really a detriment.

I also chose a frame size for a longer reach. If I were somewhere with smoother, flowier trails, then I think running a fork at 140mm with a smaller size and shorter reach would've worked great.

The point being, I would suggest getting a fork that you can easily adjust the travel on to get the feel you are after. I think that's true of any bike, but given the wide range of supported travel options, it's particularly useful here so you can dial in the feel you are after.

Compliance

I see this question a lot on hardtail reviews and I frequently feel it's addressed a little unfairly. You can have overtly stiff frames, but you can also have stiff wheels, bars, cranks, tire casings, inserts, etc. How do you gauge whether the frame is providing the compliance you feel on the trail or these components? I've considered this and ultimately come to the conclusion you have to run the same build in the same conditions to compare, which I haven't done, so it's hard for me to comment.

I can say that with the tires, wheels, and bars I'm running, the frame feels compliant enough to take the edge off hits. I compare it to hitting a hammer on different surfaces, a non-compliant hardtail might feel like you are slamming the hammer down on a hard surface like dense stone or steel, whereas a compliant hardtail would feel more like hitting it against soft wood. You still feel the impact, it's just more muted and less sharp when the bike is compliant.

I feel it's more compliant than other hardtails I've ridden, but is that the frame, wheels, tires, bars, cranks, or a combination of all the above? I can't say for sure, but it does feel great in my opinion.

So who would I recommend this to?

I think anyone looking for a hardtail should consider REEB, either their less aggressive options (Dikyelous) or more aggressive ones like the Redikyelous. That being said, these are not cheap frames and there can be a considerable, unpredictable wait associated with getting them. I think it is worth it for the longevity of the bikes, the support you receive from the brand and the ride quality, but there is no overlooking the cost and wait associated with those things.

One other comment I'd make on the Redikyelous, and other "aggressive" hardtails, is the geometry. I think a lot of mountain bikers put an excessive emphasis on headtube angle and ignore other critical variables like wheelbase and reach, which really becomes evident with hardtails, especially when your only point of comparison is a FS bike. I've been on hardtails with near identical geometry numbers to a FS bike and they feel completely different despite the numbers being similar. I've had several folks comment that they aren't interested in the Redikyelous or similar bikes because the HTA is too slack, but their only point of comparison is their FS bike. I think this does a disservice when you are evaluating the geometry, because hardtails sit when weighted so much differently than a FS bike does. I find most hardtails feel a bit longer and steeper than their FS equivalents and this is something I think you should consider before buying one. A hardtail with a 65 degree HTA is going to feel less slack than you think, so I wouldn't write it off solely based on comparing numbers to your FS bike. It's a very different feel. Don't get me wrong, this isn't a XC bike, but it isn't excessively slack feeling despite what the numbers might say. Point being, don't write it off if your only geo comparison is a FS bike: you will likely be surprised how it feels.

That soapbox over, I think this bike is really suitable for anyone that is after a versatile hardtail that has the option of being run as SS (if you buy the options when you order), rides great, but isn't extremely aggressive. It feels like a good middle ground between more XC oriented hardtails and those that have very aggressive geometry numbers. That said, I would like to see the sliders and split stays standard like they were on the original bikes, I'd suggest anyone getting one of these to specify these options.

If you are more accustomed to XC riding or bikes, then the Redikyelous might be a bit on the aggressive side and something like a Dikyelous2 might be a better option, but again, don't write it off unless you've had a chance to feel how slacker hardtails feel.

Comparisons:

I don't have enough long term usage time on really any comparable hardtails, so I don't have much to compare it to.

Pros:

  • The support you receive from REEB as a brand is better than you'd get from high production brands. They treat you like a fellow rider.

  • Very composed feeling even in chunkier terrain

  • Very neutral feeling climbing position, not overly steep, but not hanging off the back either

  • Responsive geometry, even at longer sizes

  • Plenty of tire clearance in the rear

  • Wide range of possible fork travel options based on the geo/feel you are after

  • Great room in the cockpit, allowing the bike to easily be laid over without the saddle or bars getting in the way

  • Add-ons can be selected to allow Belt drive, which is a great SS system that requires low maintenance and is very light/quiet

  • Numerous color options

  • REEB is beer backwards

Cons:

  • Cost

  • Lead time

  • I feel the sliders should be included at minimum, possibly the split stays, for the cost

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