Direct-to-the-consumer brands are giving the cycling industry an ol' fashioned shake up right now, challenging the established players to match the sheer value-for-money that's possible with a shorter supply chain. Reid Cycles is one of those brands, and while it's not a name we'd have previously associated with mountain biking, the new Solo360 27.5 shows that Reid are getting serious about playing in the dirt too.
The not-so-minor details
Reid Solo360 27.5
Very competitive pricing.
Nice looking frame finish.
FOX fork and XT brakes are winners.
Handlebar is very narrow.
Rims are not tubeless compatible without fitting rim strips.
We’re well accustomed to seeing flocks of Reid’s brightly coloured, basket-adorned, women’s step-through bikes all over Sydney – the brand has done very well in the urban/lifestyle cycling market. Now they’re looking to emulate this success in the mid-range mountain bike market with their most advanced hardtail to date.
The Solo certainly looks the part in the flesh, with smooth finished welds, curvy dropouts and an integrated headset giving the Solo a very sleek feel, complemented by the understated satin paint job. It has the kind of subtle looks that will win over many buyers at this price point, who generally don’t appreciate ‘look at me’ paint jobs.
But in your internet browser, it’s the value proposition of the Solo that is the immediate drawcard – $1599 gets you a seriously well-equipped bike. When you draw a direct comparison between the Solo360 and bikes at the same price from most other brands, you’ll find the Reid is generally a couple of rungs ahead.
Getting a FOX fork with a 15mm axle and FIT4 damper, superb Shimano XT brakes and a predominantly Shimano XT drivetrain (admittedly it’s lacking a clutch derailleur, and the cassette is down specced too) is possibly all the convincing many people will need to drop their cash on this bike. It’s largely excellent kit, all durable and easily serviceable, and helps keep the bike’s overall weight to just 12.05kg.
We’re yet to hit the trails on the Solo, but judging by our experiences with it in the work stand and casting our eye over the geometry chart, it seems to have bones in place for a fun ride. The narrow 660mm handlebars are the only item that leaps out to us as being out of place, so we may pop on something a bit wider before we get shredding. The rest of the angles, at least on paper, are right where you’d want them – a 69-degree head angle and reasonably short 430mm chain stays are number we like, though it’s the $1599 number most people will be paying attention to!