I’m mountain biking up a crazy steep incline near Golden, Colo., and my thumb keeps habitually looking for the shifter. But it’s not there.
So I do what anyone does when climbing on a single-speed mountain bike — I stand up.
I’d gotten myself into this scenario to test a made-in-Colorado bike, the Reeb Dikyelous. And if you don’t think that name is awesome, read it again, realizing that Reeb is beer spelled backward and the whole thing sounds like “ridiculous.”
And the bike really is. Hand-welded from USA-sourced True Temper OX Platinum tubing just a few miles away in Longmont, this bike handled the uphills better than I’d ever expected for a belt-driven model that weighs around 26 pounds and has just a single gear.
Standing off the saddle, I huff and puff it to the top of the insane incline at North Table Mountain, taking a break as I also usually do on a geared bike. It’s not the bike’s fault, it’s the rider.
A Spunky Ride
Everything about the Dikyelous is engineered for riding the Colorado front range. It can be run as a single-speed with a high-end Gates Carbon Drive or converted to a 1×11 for a little more forgiving ride.
Testing the single speed, I was blown away with the responsiveness and efficiency of this steel frame bike — every bit of pedal stroke was converted into motion, no energy wasted.
Reeb builds every bike in a welding shop down the road from the owner’s other business, the Oskar Blues Brewery, also in Longmont (thus the beer theme).
As the bikes are made by hand by master welder Chris ‘Soultrain’ Sulfrian, you can either buy one stock such as the Dikyelous that I tested and loved, or have a frame custom made from steel or, if you’ve got the big bucks, titanium.
Reeb builds up most of the bikes with almost entirely USA-made components, so the model I tested rocked a MRP Stage 130 fork, Industry Nine wheels, Smac Innovations bars, and the Gates Carbon Drive drivetrain.
The model I rode will cost you a cool $4,600, a lot of money for a hardtail, but not all that much more than many other, made-overseas models spec’d with similar components.
For many people like me, the ability to shake hands with your bike builder, who happens to live in your same town, is worth a few extra bucks.
For reference, the frame sells for $1,600 — expensive, but then again, not over-the-top for a high-end build.
A less expensive build is available for $3,600 complete with Rockshox Recon Gold fork and SRAM/Stans wheels. It still sports the Gates Carbon Drive.
Visiting The Reeb Welder
While I can’t personally afford one of these bikes just yet, I still wanted to see where the bike was born.
I rolled down to visit Sulfrian, who has worked with Reeb for a few years.
I watched as he took steel tubes and skillfully welded them. His dog sat on the floor, waiting for him to toss a tennis ball. From time to time, he did, and the dog would retrieve it quickly, satisfied for a moment.
Reeb will build a few hundred frames this year. It’s a steady business that helps feed a few families in Denver and Longmont.
Testing The Reeb Dikyelous
I rode the demo for a couple weeks, hitting a few of my favorite front range trails like Centennial Cone, Buffalo Creek, and North Table Mountain.
The bike was awesome. With a fairly slack 68º head tube angle, it rolled smooth and fast down moderately technical terrain.
The bike seems to be built with a dropper post in mind, and I found myself using it regularly for fast descents, where the 29″ wheels and laid back geometry just felt flowy and confidence-inspiring — more than you’d expect from a hardtail.
As a single-speed, I found myself spinning out a little on downhills or even flat sections, but suspect with more time on one, the simpler style of riding would grown on me. Of course a 1×11 may also be great on this bike, but I didn’t have the chance to test one out.
Components were top shelf, and I loved the burly sounding Industry Nine hubs that allowed immediate engagement for clicking slowly up technical climbs. Grrrrrrr!
Overall, this is just a really fun bike to ride. It’s efficient, climbs well from a seated or standing position, and it seems like a frame that will last, well, for a very long time.
If you’re in the market for a hardtail that you will ride for years to come and don’t mind spending a little extra for American manufacturing, Reeb makes some very fine bikes that are worth investigating. Swing by the shop, which is in the CycleHops bar in Longmont, grab a beer, and talk with the employees.
Chances are, you’ll end up with a new dream bike, too.