REI’s Co-op Cycles DRT 27.5+ 2.1 Bike Feb 9, 2017

I get a lot of emails and for some reason, as I was on the road in Utah, most of my inquiry emails came in the form of “what’s an affordable 27.5+ hardtail?” While there are many options out there, this one just happened to come across my inbox and it looks promising. The REI Co-Op Cycles DRT 2.1 hardtail features a X-Fusion McQueen fork, Shimano SLX components and clearances for a 27.5+ tire. While the chainstays look a little too long for my taste, this bike would get you rolling for under $1,600. Not bad if you have some REI dividends coming in… See more at REI and if you have an opinion on this bike, or others, drop them in the comments.

  • Dr J

    Does it make sense? You can get Salsa Timberjack GX1 or Surly Karate Monkey 27.5+ for $1400. Both seem like better bikes than the Co-Op.

    • Personally, I’d rather spend an extra $200 for that McQueen fork. It’s really nice, but fair enough. ;-)

      • Tim Koster

        You have any experience with the McQueen, John? I plan to pick up one of these bikes and I’m hearing good things about the McQueen but I haven’t heard from anyone who’s ridden one yet.

      • Richard Carle

        You have to consider that this is their RL2 damper though.
        You are riding the Roughcut HLR which is a lot nicer but also a couple hundred dollars more ;)

    • Webster

      Yep! And the Timberjack looks like a trail shredder.

  • Stumpjumper 29R

    Support your LBS.

    • I agree 100%

      • I’m die-hard LBS and because I live near one, that’s where all of my business goes.

        That said, I was living south of Boston right before I went to Iceland and I brought my bike to an REI for service, and the mechanic there went above and beyond getting me squared away, and he did it quickly. It was a great experience. I can see an REI working for some people as a LBS if that’s what’s nearby. And REI doesn’t strike me as being out to kill all local businesses.

  • PGH_small_adventures

    Marin has some really great options too closer to $1,000.00. Charge cooker has a good drive train for the price. And i don’t care what anyone says, if you’re looking for a solid starter bike to test the waters, motobecane makes good bikes and they sell cheap on bikesdirect.com. My Phantom cross has taken me everywhere (including from my front door in Pittsburgh to Washington DC) and the only replacement I’ve needed in five years is a new rear wheel and the basics like tires, brake pads and chain rings. Say what you will about buying USA and LBS. My local shop gets my bike twice a year for tune ups and I use them for upgrades. They still get my business, and labor is the lifeblood of most bike shops. I don’t consider $1,600.00 affordable, I consider that moderate to expensive.

    • Marin’s Pine Mountain bike at under $1,000 is rigid and the fork is quite heavy. For a true hardtail, their Pine Mountain 1 is $1299 and personally, I’d rather have the McQueen fork for a few hundred more.

      • PGH_small_adventures

        Yeah, but again we’re looking at affordable. The Nail is another good option and is slightly less than the pine mountain rigid, a few hundred dollars is a 20% price increase. If people are looking for affordable, are they looking for something that’s going to handle west coast technical lines, or are they looking for something for trail and beginner downhill tracks? It’s case-by-case I’m sure, but if they are asking for suggestions on affordable bikes, they are likely more novice than intermediate.

        • Most of these people have pushed their cross bikes to the limits and want to finally make the switch to MTBs. “Affordable” is subjective, for sure and breaking down “beginner” bikes based on pricepoint is oftentimes helpful. I’d say any bike under $2,000 is going to have good components that won’t need replacement within a year, whereas a lot of the bikes at half that pricepoint often need a lot of work and TLC in the first year, that ultimately pushes the $1,000 closer to $2,000 in service and parts. We’re also talking fully-rigid versus hardtail, which is an unfair comparison. A good fork is the difference between a bike riding like a turd and a bike that goes and does what you need it to do.

          • PGH_small_adventures

            I should probably interject at some point and say that none of this is meant to be taken as an argument, just a simple debate. We’re not talking Rigid Vs. hardtail, the nail isn’t fully rigid, nor is the Charge and the 2016 pine mountains with sus forks are currently “near” $1000.00 (best time of the year to buy is right now). I don’t want to push this conversation much further since you clarified a bit more about the people you were talking to and their experience level. I’m still surprised you go with an REI store-brand frame though. I don’t know, maybe you have some info about “the artist formerly known as Novaro” that I don’t. And I believe it’s very possible you do.

          • I think 80% of beginners think they want a front fork, but might have more fun on a rigid bike. Most beginners are riding on tame trails, taking a “stroll through the woods” on their mountain bike (an under-marketed style of riding) and the efficiency and skill-building of a rigid bike is great for that kind of activity. Especially, especially with 27.5+ tires.

            We also need to look at the definition of beginner. If you’re talking about an 18-year-old who rode BMX for eight years, that’s a very different riding style than what I see more often at my LBS, which is a 40+ year old guy/gal who wants to get outside more and have fun.

  • Agleck7

    Framed has some good options too

  • Patrick Murphy

    Agree on the chainstays (recently got a Stache, am now on the super-short CS bandwagon) but I’m sure the stability might be preferable for beginners, as well as ideal for bikepacking. It’s also about in line w/ most other 27.5+ offerings. Fuse, Pine Mtn, Cooker, etc.

    Obligatory niggles aside, this is really cool to see. REI may not be your quintessential LBS, but they’re a great company.

  • Chris Valente

    REI is a pretty great company and it’s nice to see them keeping up with current trends I suppose. But holy moly that is one ugly frame.

  • mp

    Holy cow bikes are expensive!

  • Andromeda

    What an explosive disappointment. I’ve been been anxiously following the release of the ARD ‘gravel’ bike, and behold, tire clearance barely fits 35c. What kind of consumers did they research? We have 300 miles of John Wayne gravel rail-trail stretching out over mountains and into desert. The perfect case study literally a stones throw from REI hq. At what point did they say, oh no, nobody will ever need anything bigger. Nobody will want to commute during the week and go bikepacking on weekends. Nobody needs space for fenders because it never rains in Seattle.