Hands up if you know who Joe Breeze is? No, he’s not a cartoon figure promoting a ceiling fan company. Mr Joe Breeze is in fact a mountain bike guru, a hall-of-famer, and one of the fellas who built the scene and made it all happen way back in the day. He’s been designing, building and racing mountain bikes since Adam was a glimmer in a grasshopper’s eye.
Joe Breeze is back in the mountain bike game in a big way with some very unique looking bikes, including the one we’re currently reviewing, the 160mm-travel, 27.5″-wheeled, all-mountain Repack Team.
It only takes a quick glance to see that the Breezer Repack has a distinctive rear suspension system. It’s called the M-Link, and the unusual mid-chain stay pivot is said to offer the benefits of a four-bar system, without some of the shortcomings Breeze perceives in more traditional ‘short link’ four-bar designs (such as stiffness). While the system does look a bit funky at first, it’s no more convoluted than any other four-bar system; it’s essentially like a Horst link, just with the chain stay pivot moved 150mm forward.
Leaving the suspension aside for now, let’s take a moment to consider the price. At under $4000 there is a lot of value in this bike (assuming it rides well too), with a complete Shimano XT groupset, FOX Factory series CTD 34mm fork and quality Ritchey componentry. The only item clearly missing is a dropper post, but to hit such a competitive price there have to be some concessions.
Keeping the weight down has taken a back seat to some degree, in the name of building a reliable and robust frame. The pivot hardware is rock solid and the rear end stiffness is tremendous. Geometry wise, the Breezer is hair steeper than we’re used to seeing amongst all-mountain bikes, with a 68 degree head angle. Breeze’s theory is that with a bigger wheel (27.5″) the head angle can be little steeper than an equivalent 26″ bike, preserving slow speed handling.
We’re intrigued. It’s going to be great to get this bike out onto our local loops and see how all that design experience of a mind like Breeze’s translates to the trail.