REEB SST First Ride: Real Steel, Fully Suspended

It seems people are looking for a “quiver killer” nowadays. If style is what you appreciate and enjoy on your ride, this may be the bike for you. I had the opportunity to take a hot lap on the new REEB SST at the Sedona Mountain Bike Festival, and it did not disappoint. I generally enjoy the feel of steel. Stiff, compliant, deeply connected to the terrain, yet supple at the same time; steel yields a decidedly enjoyable ride, even more so with a bit more cushion for the pushing.

The SST build I rode is a prototype; the components on it were “what was available for the bike at the moment,” according to the REEB crew. Given the smattering of different parts, including a 210mm dropper, the test bike weighed roughly 30lb. Of that, the frame contributes 7lb which by most accounts fits within the range of what a 120mm full suspension bike should weigh if you’re not a total weight weenie. I’d venture a guess that if you’re considering steel, weight may not be a sticking point.

I tested the REEB SST medium frame that has 120mm of rear suspension travel and is spec’d with a 140mm fork, resulting in a 65.5° head tube angle. The SST can accommodate fork travel from 130mm-160mm. This of course will change the head tube angle slightly, with 130mm sitting at 66° and 160mm at 64.6°.

At 5’5″ and 115-ish lbs, I am a solid “schmedium” rider. Depending on reach, I vacillate between small and medium frames. The 460mm reach on the medium was a tad long for my wing span, though not impossible and certainly not uncomfortable. The frame sizes for the SST are not yet set in stone. Adam Prosise, REEB Cycles fabricator and racer said “I would call this preliminary geometry. We are planning to add a size in between medium and small… Same seat tube length as a small with a 445 to 450mm reach.” A smaller frame, with a shorter reach, would be a more accurate fit for truly testing the limits of this bike in the future.

First Impressions

Simple, sleek and sexy are words that come to mind when first laying eyes on the REEB SST. Those who know me may think I tend to like the wild version of everything, but they’d be wrong. My tastes are dichotomous; extremely flashy or understated and simple, nothing lies between. I really love the simplicity, no-frills feel of this bike. It beckons you for a ride with a “come hither” smolder. Maybe it was the Sedona Vortices, but I obliged to its advances.

My test route consisted of features I’d been riding on super squish carbon and alloy full suspension bikes throughout the festival. Starting with XC-style rock gardens, technical rock climbs/descents, and unfortunately, due to weather, partially frozen mud.        

I never skimp on chunk when given the opportunity, so I rode the SST expecting to “pucker” on a few features where the capability of this trail bike was otherwise unknown. To my delight, the SST takes chunk with the best of them and the audible squeals coming from my mouth were from delight, not fear. The 76°  seat tube angle allowed for easy-breezy climbing and the longer wheelbase felt sturdy and planted going downhill. I am of the opinion that most people do not require more than 140mm of front suspension for most trails. This bike is capable of doing everything on most trails, with the suspension as-is. Though to be fair I did NOT attempt HiLine this time around.

Photo: @natalierstarr

Though the SST is a full suspension bike, I found myself riding it more like a hardtail, selecting lines where an unexpected buck from the rear wouldn’t hinder my momentum. The steel feel was real and the bike wanted me to ride it differently than I would, say, a Sqweeb v4. Therefore I chose lines a little more carefully than when I ride a super plush, long travel, monster truck of a bike. I also found myself standing a bit more through climbs, which was a nice change. Though the SST encourages hardtail-style riding, the 4-bar suspension platform subdues small bump feedback, so my sit bones didn’t feel as tender as they might if I were riding a traditional steel hardtail.  

Overall the REEB SST is a very specific bike; perhaps an N+1 for those not ready to commit to steel. The SST would be a great stand-alone bike or addition to a quiver. It feels like a combination of an XC, trail, and hardtail all in one, and there’s something intriguing about that.