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Quick look: Pipedream Skookum 853 test bike with belt drive...

Quick look: Pipedream Skookum 853 test bike with belt drive...

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Wow, this bike looks great doesn’t it? That was also the reaction of a long line of riders desperate to get the low-down on the new Reynolds 853 tubed Skookum from Pipedream Cycles when we picked our test bike up from company owner Stuart at the Forest of Dean last week.

We’ll be featuring the bike in a review soon, but for now let’s have a (very) quick look at the Skookum we’ve got for test and the reasons why it draws a crowd:


Any bike equipped with a belt drive is bound to get some attention. Advantages? Belt drives involve “less maintenance and don’t need oiling” in the words of Pipedream’s Stuart. There’s a coupling in the seat-stay to allow for the belt to be attached which is simply bolted/unbolted.

Of course, you aren’t obliged to run it with a belt drive, it’s just one of the options and it’s nice to see that the Skookum has all angles covered. The sliding dropouts, optional mech hanger and cable routing for a geared hub back that theory up.

853 tubing and tapered head tube

Reynolds’ 853 tubing is almost a badge of distinction in itself, quality steel doesn’t get much better. In case you didn’t know, read a bit more about the tubing here.

The tapered head tube makes a lot of sense and Pipedream say that the frame is plenty strong enough for a fork of up to 120mm travel to be fitted.

It’s a sensible rider’s choice

It’s not an out-and-out XC race bike, nor is it a ‘hardcore hardtail’. This is a trail bike for normal people who like to ride around singletracks. That is a positive thing. We can’t wait to get out and about on the trails next weekend.


That green looks great. There are plenty of other options available too, plus, should you want it, Pipedream will have your bike custom painted by Argos in Bristol for a bargain price.

British design

Pipedream don’t manufacture their bikes in Britain, so they lose one or two pride points there, but they are a British company and they design all their bikes themselves. They also ride around South Wales every weekend and have scores of people following them to ask questions about their bikes – which they happily answer. That’s customer support for you folks.

Price: £395.00 (full builds coming soon)
More information: Pipedream Skookum 853

It seems as though Pipedream have done their homework, but in reality we’ll have to wait until we’ve properly tested the bike to let you know how it fares in the winter mud and on the singletracks of Monmouthshire and the Forest of Dean.

Stay tuned…

  1. facebook_jase.humphr


    1. James McKnight

      What do you reckon to the belt drive?

  2. Jamazepam

    Sounds good! A perfect solution to our current climate. Been thinking of going single speed as I’m sick of washing my bike!

  3. serge the seal of death

    what about coupling this with a rear internal gear hub?

    1. paulhaysom

      That’s the idea isn’t it serge! Never ridden a bike with something like an alfine on it – wonder how it would handle! Improve rear wheel steering?

  4. facebook_jase.humphr

    I just want the frame. I will slap all my XTR kit on it and be done with it.

  5. serge the seal of death

    does the belt go on a standard rear cog, or it one designed for a belt, hard to tell from the pics, i would guess its a belt spreific one. in which case if it can fit an alfine would be intersting.
    Just depends if the rear traingle has become flexier etc beuase of the split in the frame.

    1. Bob Bending

      It would be a specific rear sprocket.

      I have a steel (Columbus) hardtail with a Rohloff. Rides very well and is a great winter bike on rides where mud can dispose of a derailleur or clog the cassette. The belt drive would make it the ultimate low-maintenance ride.

  6. Timboid

    @Serge the seal of death
    It’s technically known as the Gates Carbon Drive system and requires just about new everything: frame, cogs, belt

    Find out more here:


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