What is a 27.5+ (plus) hardtail?
The Vice is Reid’s new plus bike, using 27.5″ diameter wheels and huge 2.8″ tyres. Riding the wave of the fast-growing category of plus bikes, Reid could well be on to a winner with this thing, big tyres with loads of grip and cushion really makes sense for bikes in this price point.
This bike is for anyone wanting to ride proper off road trails for the fun of it, or if the trails are tricky and challenging the big tyres will open up possibilities. The Vice is a very capable bike for the dollars.
Is it suitable for newbies?
Newcomers to the mountain biking are likely to gain the most from a bike with loads of confidence inspiring control, but we also think that if a beginner can benefit, an experienced rider should also.
What about the model below, or above?
The Vice is available in three levels that share the same frame, the 1.0 for $699, 2.0 for $999 and 3.0 for $1399. The 3.0 is the only one with a suspension fork, two models below are rigid. The 2.0 is very similar in the components to the 3.0 with Shimano hydraulic brakes and the same wheels, while the 1.0 drops down to cable actuated disc brakes and a lower component spec across the board.
Could I buy the model below and upgrade it a little?
For a $400 saving for the model below we’d certainly lament the lack of a suspension fork, the 3.0 is worth the stretch if it’s possible.
How well is it built?
The aluminium frame is made tough to suit the inherent rugged nature of a plus bike, with chunky welds and loads of clearance for the big tyres. The bold orange colour and minimal graphics create a clean and simple appearance but in comparison to many of the larger brands it’s certainly no style king.
While we’re not adverse to rack mounts as it could make for a good bike packing rig over challenging terrain, they aren’t exactly the finest looking part of the frame, looking like an afterthought welded on at the last minute.
It uses boost spacing at the rear hub with a solid quick release thru-axle clamping everything nice and tight. There’s removable cable guides for an externally routed dropper post, and the rear derailleur cable runs inside the frame for a clean appearance.
The frame geometry?
We found the Vice to have really great geometry, and once you get it up to speed it is confident and begs for more. Where a traditional cross country hardtail would normally feel twitchy, sharp and nervous when the terrain gets rowdy, the Vice is slack and laid back in its geometry.
How is it specced?
This is a large part of what makes the Reid so appealing, the parts are really great for the money. The brakes, and drivetrain are excellent and suit the bike’s intended use. The FSA single chainring cranks give the bike a clean and quiet ride, and the use of a SunRace 11-40 tooth cassette out the back gives the Vice a wider gear range than a standard Shimano drivetrain, a nice touch.
The tyres are tubeless compatible, the expensive part of going tubeless, another great spec choice! While the bike doesn’t come with tubeless rim tape or valves, it’s worth buying some tubeless tape for the rims and a pair of valves to set the bike up tubeless. It’ll take it to the next level.
The Suntour suspension fork
While it’s no FOX or RockShox the Suntour Raidon is still a very capable fork. The thing with plus bikes, is that a basic fork’s shortcomings in sensitivity and plushness are hidden by the huge volume of air in the tyres. The fork has lockout, air spring adjustability and the chassis is stiff enough when you need it to be.
What would we change?
Just converting the tyres to tubeless tyres at first, and definitely a future dropper post upgrade would let you hang it out even more on the descents.
We love plus hardtails, they are just a tonne of fun, they promote you to get wild and launch yourself off anything in sight. While the lack of rear suspension is certainly noticed on hard landings the 2.8” WTB tyres make up for it by delivering immense traction and smoothening out the terrain nicely.
The Vice is all for popping wheelies, hitting jumps, skidding through corners and generally having a good time out there.
Would we recommend it?
Too often we see riders entering the sport on a cross country style hardtail, with long stems, narrow tyres, sharp handling and one million gears. If you’re not out to set lap times around a race track or dabble on the road too, a plus bikes makes so much sense. There’s no doubt that a plus bike like the Vice has more ability to ride more trails per dollar spent.