Orange is the new fat.
It seems in recent months that plus bikes are the new black, even though I thought orange was the new black. Every manufacturer, it seems, is producing them. Reid Cycles of Australia has gone a step further, producing a bike that is both orange and plus. So on trend. So what’s the story?
Reid Cycles are an Australian company now supplying to 13 countries worldwide, and have traditionally lurked at the budget end of the market. This focus is now gradually changing as they expand into more niche arenas such as plus, fat and CX, aiming to marry good quality with good value for customers worldwide to purchase either in a Reid dealer, or via the magic of the Interweb. If you have a screen, you can have a Reid bike delivered to your door in a trice. For the next few weeks I will be travelling aboard the Vice 3.0, their top of the line 27.5” plus bike, to try and find out what’s what in their foray into semi-fat.
The Vice range is currently available in the US, which I believe is in America, but won’t be released in Australia until mid July, so I can only imagine the bike I am currently riding does not actually exist. Confusing. For our European readers, it will be arriving in the Old World in the next few months, with dates still to be confirmed.
Upon first inspection, the Vice 3.0 frame has much of interest. Very orange and alloy, it features 148mm boost spacing out the back and a tapered head tube at the front, keeping up to speed with all this week’s industry standards. The cable routing is external, which I’m crusty enough to like, as it is much simpler and more serviceable. Rack and bottle mounts are all present and accounted for, barring a bottle under the down tube. Nailed to the front is a Suntour 120mm air sprung fork featuring a 110x15mm thru axle, lockout and rebound adjustment.
The parts spec appears to be well thought out. SLX and Deore offerings from Shimano take care of shifting and braking, so even though you might lose some of the adjustability and carbon of their more pricey brethren, you do get good quality industrial strength components. WTB tyres are folding rather than wire bead, and the rims are apparently tubeless ready. Stem, bars and post are generic ally, but do the job. Lock on grips, plastic pedals and Reid branded seat round out the package.
I took the bike or a quick hoot around the local trails, and my first impression was, (dare I say), pleasantly surprising. The pedals and seat, whilst appearing to be cheaper facsimiles of more expensive products, are comfortable. Shifting and braking are of course reliable, and the bike handles smoothly. This thing will retail for 1400 of our Aussie dollars, but if you closed your eyes as you rode, apart from having a nasty accident you could be mistaken for thinking it’s a more costly rig.
Of course fourteen hunj does not buy endless unobtanium accoutrements, and the downside here is a kerb weight of a hint over 14 kilos, the better part of 31 lbs in old money. How intrusive this feels remains to be seen.
So the initial impression is that Reid have made a solid foray into the plus scene, with a reliable, no frills parts pick on a frame with some versatility built in. There will be two models below the Vice 3.0, cunningly named the 2.0 and the 1.0. The 1.0 is a budget oriented model, whilst the 2.0 is almost the same componentry as this bike on test, but with a rigid fork for those who favour simplicity, or are looking for a bomber bargain bikepacking rig.
I will be giving this bike a workout for the next month or so, then reporting back with all the news and views. Details of the Vice range can be found here – http://www.reidbikes.com/bikes/fat-bikes-27plus/, on Reid’s international site, and will no doubt appear on local sites as the bikes become available. Meanwhile, here is a quick summation of the bike.
Frame – Aluminium, boost 148 rear spacing, tapered headtube, 2 bottle mounts, external cable routing.
Fork – Suntour Raidon SR, 120mm travel, air sprung with lockout and rebound adjust.
Brakes – Shimano Deore, 180mm front, 160mm rear.
Drivetrain – Shimano SLX 1×10, Sunrace 11-40 cassette.
Cranks – FSA Comet, 30t chainring.
Rims – Alex MD 40 double wall tubeless ready.
Tyres – WTB Trailblazer 27.5×2.8.
Weight – 14kg
Price – AUD $1399.
Now put down the computer and go riding. You’d be mad not to.