Bike: 2015 Breezer Repack Team
MSRP (as tested): $4,699
Size Tested: Medium
Stated Bike Weight (as tested): 32.18 lbs
Complete Build: (Here)
- Drivetrain: Shimano XT
- Brakes: Shimano XT
- Fork: Fox 34 Float 27.5 FIT CTD w/ Trail Adjust
- Shock: Fox Float CTD Boost Valve w/ Trail Adjust
Reviewer Info: 5’9”, 155 lbs.
Test Location: Boulder City, Nevada
Interbike’s outdoor demo is located at Bootleg Canyon in Boulder City, Nevada. It’s a fantastic network of trails, and it’s a great escape from that wretched hive of filth and villainy that is Las Vegas.
The trails we spent most of our time on were relatively fast, with a fair amount of sand and some pretty rocky sections.
Having said that…
Riding bikes at a demo is always kind of tricky. For starters, we’re unable to get as much time on each bike as we like–our test durations are measured in minutes and hours, not our preferred time frame of weeks and months. One good ride can tell you a lot about how a bike handles, but it certainly doesn’t allow for the customary, in-depth, Blister analysis.
Demo days also don’t generally permit the time needed to get each bike dialed to our liking. A quick suspension setup and fiddling with the bike’s ergonomics gets it most of the way there, but it takes days to really get everything running just right. Furthermore, differences like tire selection and tire pressure can have a huge effect on how a bike rides, and we generally don’t have the chance to get to tinker with those variables too much.
So while we believe it’s important to be upfront about the limitations of reviewing bikes in such settings, there is also merit in riding a slew of bikes, back to back, on the same trail. Subtle differences that might not become apparent if our test rides happen weeks or months apart are able to come to light, and each bike’s attributes may be more easily identified.
With all that in mind, let’s take a look at the Breezer Repack.
Along with the likes of Gary Fisher, Tom Ritchey, and Charlie Kelly, Joe Breeze was one of the earliest participants in the sport that today we know as mountain biking. Joe’s also been making mountain bikes longer than most everyone in the game, and was the guy manning the Breezer booth at Interbike this year. (Gary, Tom, and Charlie were there, hanging out, too.)
Breezer introduced the Repack last year, as well as the new Supercell this year. The Repack Team sits at the top of Breezer’s Full Suspension – All Mountain line, and sports an interesting, unique frame design. (The Supercell’s design is similar to the Repack, but it has 29” wheels, shorter 120mm-travel, and a slightly less aggressive geometry.)
The Repack’s geometry is on the longer side of normal, even relative to the industry-wide trend of lengthening, slackening, and lowering frame geometry we’ve seen in the last few years. The reach on the Repack in a size Medium comes in at 428.4mm (16.87”), and its top tube is a rangy 615mm (24.21”). The head angle on the Repack is a relatively steep 68°, which is a degree (or three) steeper than many other all-mountain bikes on the market.
The bike’s sizing seems true to size, and its fit is in line with that of other new bikes with longer, modern geometries (like those from Kona, Specialized, and Giant, for example.) I’ve become accustomed to longer bikes, so the Repack didn’t feel unmanageable to me by any means, but if you’re coming off a smaller bike or something with more traditional geometry, you might feel pretty stretched out on the Repack.
I rode the Repack Team, which is the top level build kit for the bike. Fox Factory shocks are paired with Shimano XT brakes and drivetrain. At $4,699, the Repack Team doesn’t qualify as “cheap,” but it’s refreshing to see that, even with Breezer’s high-end build kit, its price isn’t running into the 5-figure range.
I think the Fox factory suspension that you get with the Team build kit is especially noteworthy, as the shocks work noticeably better than some of the lower-end offerings from Fox or Rockshox. I’m a big fan of the Fox 34 Float in particular, and you can read my full review on the fork here.
The Repack is one of the few bikes to come along in recent years with a suspension design that’s both novel and, in my opinion, pretty successful. The unique feature of the Repack’s frame is its “MLink” — a pivot located at the midpoint of the chainstay. Breezer accurately describes it as a hybrid linkage that marries aspects of Horst link and “short link” (i.e. VPP or DW Link) frame designs, and I don’t know of another like it on the market.
(For an overview of common suspension designs, see our Gear 101 piece, Suspension 101: Basic Designs.)
Breezer says their design essentially makes each piece of the frame’s linkage longer, effectively reducing wear on the bearings while making the frame stiffer. I can’t comment on the Repack frame’s durability, but it does seem that the placement of the MLink pivot adds a bunch of weight to the bike’s frame (which wouldn’t be too surprising, considering the MLink pivot location doesn’t typically require reinforcing or added welds). At 32.18 lbs, the Repack is no featherweight.
Notwithstanding its heavier weight, the Repack rides really nicely. I would say its suspension feels as active, if not more so, than most of the Horst link bikes I’ve ridden. It offers great small bump compliance, and does a fantastic job of leveling out the trail at slow and medium speeds—better than many other slack all-mountain bikes.
For a longer travel bike, the Repack pedals really well, too; I’d say its pedaling efficiency is on par with other VPP bikes like the Intense Tracer 275C. I noticed a bit of bob when I was seated and spinning up a mellow climb, but when I stood up and hammered on the Repack’s pedals a bit, its suspension noticeably stiffened up, which was great for steep climbs.
With 160mm of travel, the Breezer is comparable to bikes like the Devinci Spartan, the Transition Patrol, and the Giant Reign. But while it’s probably the most efficient bike of the group, offering great small bump compliance at slow and moderate speeds, the Repack doesn’t feel quite as home at top speed in gnarly terrain. Its nice, supple feel rolling over smaller bumps just didn’t remain when pushing the Repack’s suspension deeper into its travel on bigger, harder hits.
It’s not that the Repack feels sketchy or completely out of place when ridden fast in more difficult terrain, it just didn’t feel quite as comfortable as these other bikes. I think this has something to do with the Repack’s steeper head tube angle, but with more time on the bike to dial in the shock a little more, I may have been able to alleviate this to some degree.
All in all, the Breezer Repack is a great bike. It’s not the lightest all-mountain bike on the market, and it’s not the most inclined to rally down something absurdly steep at ludicrous speeds. But it’s a pretty damn efficient climber that still does a fantastic job of smoothing out the trail at more ordinary speeds. If your local trails are chunky enough to warrant a 160mm travel bike, yet tight enough that you’ll keep your speed relatively low, the Repack should be a great option.