One Ride Review: The Breezer Repack 650B Trail Bike

Breezer Repack TopTube

A few decades ago in a town just North of San Francisco a group of kids started riding old WWII era cruisers in the foothills. Eventually they started a little race that developed into the legendary coaster toaster named Repack and that rag tag crew helped shape the sport of mountain biking as we know it.

One of the most famous builders of this generation was a guy named Joe Breeze and his earliest forays into frame building spawned what is widely considered the first modern mountain bike. Recently though, the company that bears his name has developed a reputation for nice bikes with a decidedly tamer outlook. Rather than conquering the woods, the current crop of Breezers have been busy tackling the modern wilderness that is the urban city center.

While we’ve reviewed the commuter bikes favorably in the past, we’re glad to see Breezer get back to his roots. Check past the break to see if this new bike lives up to its famous name…

Breezer Repack M-Link

The M-Link was developed by the Sotto Group, the same team of engineers who developed the successful Switch Link platform for Yeti’s popular SB bikes.

The new Breezer Repack uses a mid chain stay pivot location, which the company claims is the perfect balance between dual short link and horst link frame designs. The advantage to this design is that the pivot moves less throughout its travel then comparable dual short link designs, so the engineers claim that the bearings will last longer since there is less movement and force being applied.

Another advantage to moving the pivots inward is that engineers could create a stiffer rear triangle. Placing a pivot near the rear axle creates longer links which can lead to flex.

Mechanics Only

Breezer Repack Hardware
One of the little things that frequently goes unnoticed in bike reviews is ease of long term service. We just don’t keep even our longer term review bikes long enough to wear out things like pivots, so it is often only years down the road that a brand earns its reputation in the service department.

So as someone who is frequently servicing components and swapping out test parts, it was great to see well thought out pivots. Not only should this new M-Link put less stress on bearings, but the locking collet system used for the main rocker link, and the oversized hardwear found throughout should make this bike a joy to service in the future.

On The Trail

Breezer Repack Outerbike

It’s hard to find anything to dislike about the Breezer. It’s a very neutral handling bike with no learning curve. Staring at the numbers, some of you might disagree over the choice of a 68 degree headtube on a modern 160mm travel bike, but those of you who prefer a quicker handling bike will feel right at home.

Climbing in and out of the saddle felt good, which is important, because the custom tuned 2014 Fox CTD shock provides almost no discernible increase in low speed compression when placed in climbing mode. There is so little difference that I actually swung by the Fox tent at Outdoor demo to verify the shock was working properly – a fact that put a huge grin across Brand Manager JT Burke’s face.  As he went on to explain, with some suspension designs that rely on lockout switches to calm pedal bob, you end up sacrificing climbing traction. The Repack was designed to perform well without the need for a climbing switch and the climb mode was tuned so that you’ll never make the mistake of hitting an epic descent while accidentally “locked out.”

Which brings me to my next point, the bike’s descending abilities. Pointed down hill, the Repack toed the careful line between planted and playful. My ride was short and limited to trails I am not very familiar with, but overall the M-Link suspension felt composed through the various rock descents. It makes good use of its suspension and turned easily through corners, but more time aboard is needed to see how that snappy handling (thanks in part to the relatively steep headtube angle) translates when the trail turns steep, technical, and fast.

Regardless of the numbers and jargon, by the time I dropped down the last chute, I had stopped thinking of the Repack as that quirky bike with the mid-chain stay pivot and embraced it as one fun ride.

Check out our initial coverage for more info here or visit Breezer.com

Comments

Seraph - 10/30/13 - 2:46pm

You’d think if they spent so much time designing it that they could try to make it look less like a Stumpjumper.

nathan - 10/30/13 - 3:50pm

seraph: Lots of big wheeled bikes are using gussets on crazy sloped headtubes to give more standover clearance. Someone yesterday said the ti FS bike looked like a trek. In both cases the linkage is totally different and the only similarity is headtube/gusset and orientation of the shock.

nathan - 10/30/13 - 3:51pm

*toptube

Dr. Badtouch - 10/30/13 - 3:51pm

“The new Breezer Repack uses a mid chain stay pivot location, which the company claims is the perfect balance between dual short link and horst link frame designs. The advantage to this design is that the pivot moves less throughout its travel then comparable dual short link designs, so the engineers claim that the bearings will last longer since there is less movement and force being applied.”

No. It’s just a way to avoid having your frame called a copy of someone else’s design or violate a design patent. Breeze is a great guy, but he pretty much handed this one off to the marketing department.

MissedThePoint - 10/30/13 - 4:21pm

Heel clearance?

A Hunt - 10/30/13 - 5:04pm

Not to nitpick but you are incorrect, Craig Mitchell made a bike for CK before Joe did but Joe made the first purpose built mountain bike frames in any number, ask Gary Fisher, he’ll tell you the same thing.

johnnyboy - 10/30/13 - 8:32pm

I’m with Dr. Badtouch on this one….no excitement at all. Marketing department is going to have a tough go on this.

broadie - 10/31/13 - 7:02am

Don’t be bummed your not going to get another Matt Hunter ad, maybe not see it win Rampage, or have them Sponsor a video by the Collective. The proof is in the ride, not the magazine experience. I’ve ridden this bike, you should to. They focused their time /energy/money on the bike – no the fluff.

tajiri - 10/31/13 - 10:54am

had i mistake or is modified horst link?

John - 11/01/13 - 1:13am

It may seem like a small change to put the pivot in the middle of the chain stay, but I have ridden this bike and can say it’s incredible.

Mindless - 11/01/13 - 7:21pm

If that chain-stay is stiff enough, it does not really matter where the pivots are. One can have it sorted out any way. I can see couple advantages – more clearance near bottom bracket compared to VPP/DW style designs (just look at the mess Pivots have there), and better derailleur clearance compared to Horst. Also more options for swappable dropouts.

That said, I would rather get a tried and true Horst link style.

john martin - 03/04/14 - 5:16pm

I had a chance to ride a Repack at Dirt Demo bootleg canyon. and my initial impression of the bike was stable and fun. When i got back on my 26″ i didnt feel like i sacrificed anything in the quickness of handling and i have to say the breezer and i got along great. fast forward to the first weekend in march and i was fortunate enough to take a repack demo bike to moab for some real testing. this bike is defiantly a 1 bike quiver. i was riding steeper, faster and with more gusto than ever. the steeper head tube angle really makes this bike handle well. it tracks like a dream and the suspension is supple and compliant without being at all harsh. I found myself in a few oh sh*t situations but to my surprise, this bike went wherever i asked it too. I shipped it back today and I am waiting patiently for my new breezer repack to hit the good old USA. i will miss it. this bike in 1 word…..FUN!!!

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