08 November 2018

REEB Pinion-Equipped Trail Hardtail

This Pinion-equipped REEB hardtail was built for a customer in Roseville, CA, who was looking for a no-fuss build that would shine on the smoother trails surrounding his home. With a Zerode Taniwha enduro bike already in the quiver, the customer was familiar with the wide gear range and minimal maintenance that are the hallmarks of Pinion’s gearbox. Wanting to further increase the easy-factor with this hardtail rig, we paired the gearbox with a Gates Carbon Drive belt system for a no-worries drivetrain that would allow him to spend his precious free time exploring the local trails, not fussing with derailleur adjustments or obsessing over readings from his chain-checker. 

In line with this preference for durable, simple components that simply work, the customer requested a steel frame with versatile geometry that could handle techier outings, but was highly efficient on the smoother rides that would be its daily bread-and-butter. The final ask? Something made in the US of A.

REEB was the obvious answer. As one of the few American-made steel frame builders offering Pinion-compatible options, it was a natural fit. With slogans like “Made in Colorado by people you can talk to” and “No unfun bikes”, the good-times-only brand ethos perfectly encapsulated the personality characteristics we wanted to see out of a bike that was built, to quote, “just because”. 

The most discerning readers will recognize that “REEB” is “BEER” spelled backwards, and this is no coincidence. The brand was founded by a crew from Oskar Blues Brewery, a place well-known in local circles as much for its support of the cycling community as for its scrumptious food and bevvies. No doubt, the folks at REEB know how to have a good time, and carry this mentality into the bikes they build.

But that doesn’t mean they don’t have an incredible penchant for detail and intelligent design, with their entire manufacturing process contained to a single room in their Longmont, CO, headquarters. If you’re ever in town, be sure to swing by the CYCLHOPS Bike CANtina just down the street for a round of tacos and margs.

Frames are built-to-order, with a wide range of color and decal options, with everything from the classic silver-and-black of this bike to schemes far louder. The shortish chainstays on this Dikyelous model retain playfulness, while 29” wheels provide a bit of extra capability and efficiency for this rigid frame.

The choice of a REEB frame also allowed for the use of both Pinion’s C1.12 gearbox and the Gates Carbon Drive CDX Center Track belt system. The Pinion gearbox provides a 600% gear range, which exceeds that of SRAM’s Eagle system. Because it’s an entirely sealed unit, it requires virtually no maintenance beyond a recommended annual oil change that can be performed at home. The C1.12 contains 12 evenly-indexed gears, but a lighter 9-speed version is also available. The gearbox integrates cleanly into the bottom bracket of the REEB frame, centering the weight for a more balanced ride-feel. The lack of external parts also has major advantages for trail riding, opening up narrow lines between rocks or other obstacles that would typically risk bending or ripping off a derailleur and incurring an expensive repair.

Belts from Gates Carbon Drive are a natural fit for the Pinion Gearbox (which is also chain-compatible). Unlike chains, belts do not rust or require lubrication, offering year-round reliability in all weather conditions with minimal mess or upkeep. When they get muddy out on the trails, you can simply wipe ‘em down and ride again—no chain cleaner or removal necessary. Plus, Gates Carbon Drive belts last 5-10x longer than most chains and don’t stretch—meaning they don’t cause excessive wear on sprockets, further increasing the longevity of all your drivetrain components. For a daily rider that you don’t want to clean after every outing, it’s hard to beat an internally-geared drivetrain and belt system.

This bike was never intended to be a calorie-counting XC racer, and you won’t find a cycling computer mounted to its wide ENVE handlebars. The rest of the build kit was rounded out accordingly, selecting parts that provide confidence on technical trails, without being overly cumbersome on the fast single track that dominates the landscape of the Sierra Nevada foothills.

Suspension up front comes in the form of a Cane Creek Helm 140mm fork, in silver and black, of course. Paired with the larger wheels and a 150mm Fox Transfer dropper post, the result is a highly-capable setup that’s not afraid to pick the tech line. The Transfer post also introduced a splash of gold into the color scheme, which we carried over to the Cane Creek headset topcap and used to highlight bolts and adjusters on the fork and brake/dropper levers as well.

Carbon hoops come in the form of Derby’s durable AM all-mountain layup, laced to Onyx hubs. Minion DHF and DHR II 2.4” tires round out the trail-friendly footing with aggressive treads that excel in both dusty and wet conditions. REEB also offers frames that can accept mid-fat 27.5 x 3.0” for those riders looking for an even more confidence-inspiring trail hardtail.

At Cycle Monkey, we love to put together builds that aim to provide a hassle-free good time with capable components and low-maintenance drivetrains. This REEB was a perfect example, and we’re stoked to hear how it performs on the trail. If you have a custom build from REEB or any other brand in mind, don’t hesitate to contact us to see what we can build together!

Build Details
  • Frame: REEB Dikleyous
  • Fork: Cane Creek Helm 140mm Travel
  • Headset: Cane Creek 110
  • Handlebar: ENVE
  • Shifter: Pinion Twist Shifter
  • Grips: Ergon
  • Seatpost/Dropper: Fox Transfer 150mm Drop
  • Saddle: WTB
  • Front Hub: Onyx ISO Boost
  • Rear hub: Onyx ISO Single Speed Boost
  • Spokes: Sapim Race
  • Nipples: Sapim Brass
  • Rims: Derby AM 29”
  • Tires: Maxxis Minion DHF & DHR II
  • Cranks: Pinion
  • Pedals: Shimano XT Trail
  • Gearbox: Pinion C1.12
  • Chain ring: Gates Carbon Drive Belt Sprocket
  • Rear Sprocket: Gates Carbon Drive Belt Sprocket
  • Belt: Gates Carbon Drive Belt
  • Brakes & Levers: Hope
  • Rotors: Hope

09 January 2018

Using the Tout Terrain Bike Configurator


Tout Terrain offers a wide variety of touring, commuting, bike packing, and ebikes to fit just about any need.  Unlike most companies, which offer a single model with a fixed build kit or maybe 2-3 models/build kits at different price points with colors and component spec tied to the given model, Tout Terrain offers a flexible bike configuration program that falls somewhere between the standard stock models approach and full custom bike builds.

The approach is similar to configuring a car on a manufacturer's website.  You cannot pick every single component on the bike, but they offer options that cover the just about everything we get questions about:
  • Frame type (various wheel sizes, some step through options, various intended uses)
  • Frame color (4 colors included, 6 at small upcharge, you choose for a larger upcharge)
  • Frame size (3-4 options depending on model)
  • Drivetrain type (derailleur, various internal gear hubs, various gearboxes)
  • Contact points (saddles, grips, handlebars, pedals, stem length)
  • Sprocket sizes/gear ratios
  • Brake setup (left front vs right front)
  • Steerer tube length/number of spacers
  • Shifter options (twist vs thumb shifters)
  • Brakes, headset, bottom bracket upgrades
  • Steering lock option
  • Dynamo hubs
  • Lights
  • USB chargers
  • Pitlock security skewers
  • Racks
  • Tires
  • Fenders
  • Bell
  • Locks
  • Reflective frame decals

Getting Started

Bikes are configured through Tout Terrain's online configuration tool.  When you first visit the configurator, you will be greeted by this screen:

03 January 2018

LONG-TERM TEST: Xan Reviews the Zerode Taniwha

The Zerode Taniwha has been creating plenty of buzz in internet mountain bike circles for a while now, and for good reason. It’s a sleek, slack, carbon enduro bike that checks off all the boxes of modern mountain bike design. But one thing sets the Taniwha apart from the competition: at its heart is a completely internal shifting system, in the form of a Pinion 12-speed gearbox.

This April, our first Taniwhas landed at Cycle Monkey headquarters and we excitedly built them up. Since then, we’ve been putting the bike through the wringer on some of the most aggressive trails in the country for months on end.

Fresh out of New Zealand - The Zerode Taniwha!

Rather than simply providing a brief overview of the bike, this review seeks to fully assess the Taniwha in terms of its strengths and weaknesses, capability, user experience, and durability.

Why is This Bike Special?

Over the last few years, I’ve ridden a lot of the most popular trail/enduro offerings from mainstream manufacturers -- the Specialized Enduro, Santa Cruz Nomad, Santa Cruz Bronson, YT Capra, and Scott Genius LT all spring to mind.

The merits of these bikes are clear to anyone who has ever ridden one. Stiff carbon frames paired with progressive geometry make for some of the most capable descenders out there. What’s more, most modern long travel bikes can get you to the top of the hill for your next lap without any fuss.

But while I’ve had plenty of good times aboard these bikes, I’ve also had plenty of rides that involved smashing my derailleur on rocks, dealing with impaired shifting, and having to replace expensive drivetrain parts.

The holy grail of trail riding? - Crested Butte, CO

29 June 2017

A Look Inside Syntace

Walk into Syntace HQ in Tacherting, Germany, and you won’t see a showroom, products on display, or a flashy storefront. You’ll see a workshop, a design team, a CNC mill, and testing machines. Lots and lots of testing machines.

Over the last decade, Syntace hasn’t concerned itself with bright colors or loud graphics. Syntace’s only focus has been to engineer the strongest, most durable, and overall highest performing components on the market.

Engineering & Testing
Anyone who has spent days on end touring, bikepacking, or riding blown out bikepark trails knows how badly fatigue can impact a rider. For this reason, Syntace engineers vibration damping qualities and compliance into their seatposts and handlebars. The components are stiff enough to provide responsive handling while still being compliant enough to keep fatigue at bay.

But Syntace doesn’t just stand out solely because of their design, they stand out because their engineering is evaluated time after time, with a level of meticulousness that borders on obsessive.

A percentage of every production batch that comes in from Taiwan is tested to the point of failure at Syntace’s Taiwanese factory, and again at their German headquarters. If the data from both of these tests does not match historical performance, the batch won’t be allowed to reach consumers. And since all of the testing is done in house, Syntace can always be sure that their own product testing is consistent.

When pushed to the limits that would ordinarily warp or snap other components, Syntace’s engineered compliance keeps their components intact. Not surprisingly, Syntace is confident enough in their components to back them up with a ten year warranty.

Ride with peace of mind knowing that your components will be performing for years to come.

18 February 2017

2017 Ventana El Gordo Bike Packages


For 2017, we have revamped our Ventana El Gordo Fat Bike packages.  These bikes have proven to be solid performers for many types of riding over the past year.  Customers have used them as traditional winter fat biking, expeditions across deserts, year round trail riding, beach riding, and off road touring. We made updates based on new parts introduced in the past year combined with feeback on what has worked out best long term.  The frame, Rohloff SPEEDHUB XL gear hub, and Gates Carbon Drive belt system carry forward.  See chart below for details.

Frame Overview

We worked with Ventana Mountain Bikes USA to create a special Cycle Monkey edition of their US-made El Gordo fat bike frame. The Cycle Monkey edition features dedicated cable routing for the Rohloff SPEEDHUB and stealth dropper seatposts. These frames are also belt drive compatible through Ventana's clever adjustable dropout system for the most maintenance-free fat bike drivetrain available. Options are available to build the bikes up with a suspension fork and dropper seatpost or with a rigid fork and post.

Contact us at info@cyclemonkey.com or 510-868-1777 to place an order.

El Gordo Kit Options