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What's a Hillibike? It's a bike to ride up and down mountains, but without packing the bicycle full of motocross parts that are only necessary if you want to hit a record speed or do dangerous stunts. That's fine if you're at the World Championships in Bromont, but you don't need all that gear and complication to ride on trails and mountains and bad paths while having fun.
Three things that make a bike work well on trails
- Long wheelbase. Length adds stability in surfboards, skateboards, cars, skis, boats, and bicycles. Hillibike chainstays are almost half a foot longer than your garden-variety modern mountain bike chainstays, and the bikes ride better for it.
- High handlebars. A higher bar makes it easier to keep your weight safe and rearward riding position on steep descents, and is more comfortable on all terrain. When you hit a bump a higher bar makes it easier to control the bike. Lower bars are marginally better for climbing, but climbing is in your legs and technique, not bars. Just make sure your grips are up where they feel good.
- Big tires. Big soft knobbies work great, and any skilled rider should be able to ride rough surfaces with 2-inch tires and some care and skill. The CLEM fits tires at least up to 2.4, and the Gus and Wolbis, to 2.8 inches. That’s plenty big.
Susie? Gus? Wolbis?
Susie is like the Gus but for riders under 210 pounds and who promise to ride them with loads of 25lbs or less, and no jumps or canyon-crossings. A Gus for lightweights and light loads. The frames are only about 12oz less, and there is NO ride difference. If you make the weight limit and have no plans for off-road bikepacking or death-defying showoff stuff, get this over Gus. Also, it uses a quill stem and has a Riv-standard 1-inch threaded steerer.
They're super fun trail bikes, and initial weight recommendations were a little too conservative. If you're not going on long, fully loaded dirt tours, and you're under... say 210 LBS, get a Susie! Nobody tests these numbers and a lot of it depends on tire pressure and even more importantly, technique, but it's not like the Susie has super thin-walled tubes or anything. It's not a Roadeo with 2.6 tires.
One side of the downtube says Susie W. Longbolts; the other, Wolbis Slugstone—both anagrams of Gus Boots-Willsen.
The Gus and Susie are made with the best bicycle material in the world
RBW frames and forks are made of chromium-molybdenum steel (CrMo)—the best-for-bicycles, most dimensionally appropriate, toughest, longest-lasting, most recyclable, and safest frame and fork material in the world.
The Hillibikes are hand-made and built as well as any production frame in the world. Even Riv'd budget CLEM has an all-out Rivendell crowned fork, seat lug, dropouts, and head tube rings. Each Gus and Wolbis frame (not including fork) takes one builder five hours to make. They’re all good frames.
|Frame size||Wheel size||PBH Range|
|50cm||27.5"||74 to 80cm|
|53cm||27.5"||78 to 85cm|
|56cm||29"||82 to 91cm|
Colours in the photographs may not represent the final product. Dark Gold has featured on past Riv frames, and Lime-Olive was the greenish colour of the Platypus.
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Review Susie W. Longbolts / Wolbis Slugstone - Light Hillibike Frame