Photos: Scott Cody Photography
When it comes to writing the review for this bike, I think one sentiment says it all: I didn’t want to give it back. This bike is fun on two wheels, and it’s the most confidence-inspiring bike I’ve ridden. And I’ve ridden a lot of bikes in the last few years.
Now, a little bit about the review itself. I’m in no way connected to the guys at Reeb, other than they run my local shop and when I spotted the Sqweeb on the floor a couple of weeks ago, I wanted to ride it. It looked big. It looked fun. So in return for letting me take the size-large demo bike out for a few rides on our local trails, I told them I’d write up my thoughts and take a few pictures. So that’s what I’m doing.
I would have loved to keep this bike for another month to find out what it’s truly capable of, but I wanted to be fair and let others have a shot at riding this monster. This short-term review is only based on a few rides on my local trails north of Boulder, CO, which I know like the back of my hand:
- Hall Ranch: 1500 feet of climbing in 5 miles, with some of the most technical climbing in Colorado through the famous “rock garden”. The 5-mile descent is a mix of fast flow and chunky tech.
- Left Hand OHV: a raw landscape of fire road climbs and singletrack descents, with super steep climbs and loose, rowdy descents.
With regards to myself, I own and operate Chasing Epic Mountain Bike Adventures, and probably get in about 200-250 days on the mountain bike each year. I tend to lean towards trail riding, but ever since returning from a week-long trip to Revelstoke this summer I’ve been pushing myself more and more on the steep, rowdy stuff whenever I can. My personal bikes are an Ibis Ripley V4 which I ride about 75% of the time, and a 2019 Canyon Strive for the rowdy days. If you’re looking at Strava stats I’m typically in the top 5-10% on the climbs, top 3-5% on descents, and sometimes I surprise myself by pushing an occasional leader board on longer segments that consist of a little bit of everything.
Reeb Squeeb V3 Review: Geometry and Bike Setup
I’ll get this out of the way up front: this is a big, heavy bike. I had a size large Sqweeb, and it tipped the scales around 34.5 lbs. There are certainly ways to lighten it up (tires, fork, carbon bits, etc), but honestly if it were my bike, I’m not sure I’d bother. The bike I rode was their $5000 GX-level build which includes the Cane Creek Helm, Cane Creek DB Air shock, Industry Nine 101 wheels, and a One-Up dropper among other components. I swapped out my own Industry Nine wheels (Enduro 305) since I like the bling for the pictures, but otherwise I rode it stock.
The bike felt very similar fit-wise to the other big bikes I ride or have ridden, so there wasn’t much adjusting I needed to make over the course of the few days. With a 76* STA and a 65* HTA, the riding position felt shorter (as expected) but very similar to any other modern bike on the market. The numbers are pretty dialed for a big, rowdy bike:
The guys at Reeb took their time putting together a set of components on this bike that matches it’s big-mountain purpose, and I really dig what they’ve curated. There were some parts on the bike that I haven’t ridden before, which had me excited to try:
- Cane Creek Helm 160mm fork: super smooth and stiff, I really dug the performance of this fork. I had it a little too stiff on the first day, but once I had it dialed, I liked it just as much as the Fox 36 Elite on my Canyon Strive.
- Cane Creek DB Air: I’ve had bad experiences with these in the past (on our BMC TrailFox demos a few years ago), but this one seemed solid and I enjoyed the feel of it on the Reeb. I can’t comment on long-term durability, but I’ve heard they’ve come a long way the last few years.
- One Up 210mm dropper post: Yep, 210mm. Damn, it was nice. A dropper this long really gets the saddle out of the way on anything you’ll ever want to ride. The only issue I had was with my shorter legs (5’11” w/ ~30-31″ inseam), the dropper was a *hair* too long and I had to adjust it accordingly each time I extended the saddle all the way up. OneUp allows you to shorten the travel in 10mm increments by using shims, of which I’d likely need one or two.
- Shimano SLX 4-piston brakes w/ 203 and 180mm rotors: So much stopping power. For being mid-level, these brakes rock. I’m a Shimano guy (I run XT and Zee brakes on my other bikes) and these live up to the hype. Great choice for this bike.
Climbing with the Sqweeb v3 was a mixed bag, but not in the way you might think. For a big bike, it pedals very, very well. It’s just heavy and that’s the only drawback.
For technical and pedally sections, the bike performed amazing. The rock garden section at Hall Ranch has 10-12 tough moves with very little time to rest in-between, and it’s the perfect place to test a bike. Nothing felt out of the ordinary compared to my other bikes, and in fact I was able to clean a few sections that I typically only make about 10-20% of the time. The traction and compliance with the rear end felt great, and the bike was planted when it needed to be. I hit some sections hard out of the saddle, and the bike felt great. I certainly have no complaints.
On longer climbs (like the top 3 miles of Hall Ranch and the extended climbs at Left Hand), I could feel the added weight. And that’s really my only complaint with regards to overall climbing with the Sqweeb. When you’re seated and pushing the pedals for an extended amount of time, you start to feel the additional weight and it makes you work a bit harder. But not much, and if you look at my Strava times from that ride, the technical climbing ability of the bike might even make up for the weight. Overall on a 35+ minute climb, I was around 2 minutes slower… which for a bike that I had never ridden, isn’t half bad.
The Reeb Sqweeb v3 is the most planted, confidence-inspiring long-travel 29’er I’ve ridden. That’s saying a lot, when you consider I’m comparing it to the Canyon Strive, Ibis Ripmo, Niner RIP 9, Rocky Mountain Instinct BC, and Santa Cruz Hightower LT (as well as some longer travel 27.5″ bikes like the Ibis HD and Spot Rollik). Both Hall Ranch and Left Hand OHV have plenty of areas to push the downhill performance of a bike like this, and the Sqweeb made me want to ride more and more. I was hitting high-speed drops more confidently, cruising through chunky sections faster, and pushing myself on the steep, loose sections way more than I have before.
With it being a bigger bike with a pretty slack HTA (65*), it did take some time to get a feel for the handling. It’s not a quick, playful handler like my Ripley V4, but it’s also not meant to be. This thing is a bruiser, and it allowed me to charge my way though techy sections instead of pick my way around them. With a firm 160mm of travel up front and a smooth 150mm out back, this bike is super fun. I kept thinking to myself: this is the ultimate Revelstoke bike. In other words, it felt like it can handle anything.
I loved riding this bike: more than I thought I would, to be perfectly honest. Maybe it was the bike, maybe it was a great day of riding, but I just didn’t want to give it back to Tim and Todd. Hopefully they’ll let me take it back out later this winter. I’m also very curious to try the shorter-travel version with 130mm of rear travel and a lighter build, as that could be a great trail ripper with some carry-over qualities and a bit of a snappier feel.
To me, it’s the perfect “big bike” to have in your quiver. For someone who focuses on the downhills or enduro-style rides, it’s the only bike you need. For someone like me, it’s a perfect complement to a bike like the Ripley V4 (or a Tallboy, etc) as it’s everything the Ripley isn’t. Sure, I wouldn’t want to take the Sqweeb out for a 30-mile highcountry ride here in Colorado, but that’s not what this bike is for. It’s all about having fun, kicking ass and taking names. And that’s exactly what it does.
Thanks to Scott Cody Photography for all the great shots!