Reid Vice 3.0 Review by Euan Pennington

Apparently nothing rhymes with orange.

It doesn’t, though, nothing and orange are completely different words.

For the last number of weeks, I have been playing host to the Reid Vice 3.0, which is Reid Cycles’ first gambol, or indeed gamble, into the world of 27.5 plus bikes, to see which is the case. So, you ask, what’s what?

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Out of the box the Vice is alloy and orange. It presents well as a frame, hitting all the latest standards and thus being as future proof as possible parts wise. Tapered head tube, boost 148mm rear end and 110mm front thru axles are present and correct, plus two bottle mounts inside the front triangle. Cable routing is external under the downtube, so no bottle mount there, but the trade off is you get external cable routing. I know it’s not currently cool, but I am scarred by fishing around inside too many frames for lost bits of wire to think having cables you can access is a bad thing.

The fork is a 120mm benefaction from Suntour, who have apparently been lifting their game recently and are looking to be taken more seriously. It is air adjustable with hydraulic lockout, and a rebound adjust that gives you an excited feeling to think you are tuning the ride, but I’m not sure it does a huge amount else. Brakes and shifters are from Shimano’s Deore and SLX stable, and the finishing kit comes from the Reid branded generic parts bin.
Wheels are, of course, what maketh the plus bike, and here we find Alex MD40 tubeless ready rims and folding bead WTB Trail Blazer 2 2.8s. “Plus” is a slippery concept right now, and we can suggest this is on the narrower end of the “plus” spectrum, but that’s not a bad thing, it’s just what it is. I don’t want to start an interweb debate on what the ideal rim or tyre size is, that’s for the individual who cares to decide about. I will say, for the nerds amongst the readers, that the tyres measured 2.7 inches side to side, with the sidewall being the widest point.

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On the subject of wheels, not wanting pinch flats but being beaten up by the alloy frame, craving low tyre pressures as I was, I decided to put the “tubeless ready” moniker to the test. Having pulled everything apart I discovered my spare rim tape was still on the shelf in the bike shop, having forgotten to buy more, so I gave everything a good wrap of electrical tape, as you shouldn’t, greased the Aramid with Morning Fresh “bead slip”, (added lemon freshness), and pop, everything aired up sensationally with a floor pump. It was probably the easiest conversion I’ve ever done, and I didn’t touch the rubber for the rest of the test. Loving that. I also, because I’m that kind of guy, weighed the inner tubes. 400grams. Each. 14 ounces, nearly a pound. Should you go tubeless on this bike? Like the t-shirt says, just do it.

Reid Vice 3.0 (1 of 1)-8Once on board, the rider’s weight sits balanced between the wheels, and the stance is reasonably upright. I found the seat pleasantly comfortable, and the grips are of the solid lock on variety. The pedals are resin, and whilst they lack the pointy replaceable pins of their more expensive brethren, they were some of the most comfortable platforms I’ve seen as OEM equipment. It’s always pleasing to have good contact points, so marks to Reid there.
In terms of performance not much needs to be said about Shimano gear, we all know it works. Deore and SLX sit lower down the offroad hierarchy and that means they lose a little adjustability and carbon as compared to their more expensive siblings, but they lose none of the industrial reliability and function that characterize the brand at this level. This sort of kit is mandatory for a bike that wants to be taken seriously.

Out on the trail and it feels like this bike rolls fast. The WTBs are quiet, but at 10psi in the Victorian mud we’ve been experiencing recently they still seem to have seven truckloads of grip given their size and lack of aggression. A good all round choice. When it comes to climbing the front stays reasonably planted, although the starting weight of almost 14kg, (or 31 pounds for Americanists), does come into play. The gearing is 1×10, with a 40 tooth big cog and a 30 tooth chainring, and as gears go I would say this is probably enough for the bike’s intended general purpose. If you are planning on long distance back country epics, or you are decaffeinated or unfit in hilly terrain you might want something lower, but for everyday use I think it’s a good choice Reid has made.

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Going down this is a fun bike. The cockpit is easy to move around in, the brakes are good and the handling is unsurprising and stable. The fork does not have the refinement of some of the offerings from Fox or Rock Shox, but it also lacks some of the numbers in the price tag, and once you are hurling down the trail it actually does quite a tidy job. With the grip plus bikes give it was not hard to find yourself with your bowels in your back pocket hoping things were not going to get messy. This does not feel like a delicate bike, it feels like you can grab it by the scruff of the neck and give it a bit of what for.

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Reid is available in a range of countries, so you will have to check the shadowy corridors of the net for prices in your area, but here in Oz it ships to your door for the better part of 14 of our C notes. Reid has traditionally been a “budget” bike brand, and this represents for them a foray into the realm of real bikes for real money. So have they pulled it off?

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This bike packs a passel into its price, in keeping with the philosophy of value. With comfortable contact points and virtuous gears, brakes and tyres, this does ride like a more expensive machine. Yes, it has some heft, but it leaves the weight in your wallet as a result. It also feels quite versatile – it goes offroad, but it’s onroad manners leave it also open to some comfortable bikepacking or light touring.

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For me, (not for all), it’s biggest problem is not the bike, but it’s kinsfolk. The Vice 2.0 is almost the same machine, (ever so slightly downgraded tyres and mech), but lack the suspension fork and is $400 cheaper. Personally I love the simplicity of big tyres no suspension, and 400 clams is a pile of cash. Still, that’s just me.

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Either way there’s lots to like in the Vice 3.0. For a first excursion into plus bikes Reid have created a bike that works well for the price.

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