DMR Drone Reptoid review£499.00

You'll believe a bike can fly

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What do you get if you pick the DMR Drone Reptoid as your jump platform? Phenomenal agility – in flight and between sets – and a pure and simple singlespeed jump spec. It’s a heavy bugger considering it’s so small and the handling takes some getting used to, but its excellent hardcore heritage and performance for the cash make it a sweet package.

DMR have a superb reputation for ‘just right’ dirt bikes, and this was the bike that all the jump-fiends wanted to try as soon as they saw it. Small wheels, singlespeed simplicity and super compact agility make it a jumper’s dream.

It’s a pure jumper though. Look elsewhere in the DMR range for versatility.

Ride & handling: no safety net needed

With its compact frame and big bars the Reptoid is just perfect for throwing your weight around in the air and bullying the best out of your bag of tricks. Even with a relatively long back end for stability, the immediate responsiveness takes some getting used to. We binned a few berms and ran out a lot of bailed landings before we had it dialled, but once we’d adapted it’s a natural acrobat. 

This was really noticeable on smaller, tighter sets and jump spots where it’s all about getting the speed in where you can and firing off moves as fast as possible before space runs out. Even though the single gear, slightly heavy weight and slower rolling smaller diameter meant it hit big stuff slower it still sent the tricks as large as any of the others and our more experienced jump testers just loved it.

The stiff frame and bar with a short travel fork mean smoothness is essential if you don’t want to end up battered. Rapid, non-adjustable rebound on the forks means hitting the landing smoothly is essential to avoid a real flatlanding kickback.

A 26in wheeled version will add stability on the run in and roll out, but that’ll obviously be at the expense of some of its agility. Given that this low slung, short reach, singlespeed specific rig isn’t much fun for anything but jumping, it seems daft to compromise what it’s absolutely outstanding at by chucking on a set of bigger wheels.

Frame: highly evolved

The Reptoid chassis is the same tight 24in wheel-specific steel setup as the entry level Drone bike, and is the result of years of DMR dirt development involving some of the UK’s top riders.

The super compact ‘one size fits all’ seat tube gives it a ‘big BMX’ look, and the sloping top tube is short too. A neat throat gusset supports the short ring-reinforced head tube and the big down tube flattens out for maximum weld area across the mountain bike-style bottom bracket shell.

Ovalised chainstays get a 2in deep box bridge behind the shell to reinforce their relatively long (for a 24in wheel bike) back end, while the seatstays follow standard issue A-frame design.

Plate dropouts use horizontal slots with beefy chain tugs to hold the bolted axle, but there are no cable guides or hanger for gears if you’re considering an upgrade. Although a 26in version is in the pipeline, 24in wheels are the only option for now. Rich red or sand/ white colour options look great.

Equipment: dedicated dirt jump kit

As you’d expect for such a dedicated jump frame, the Reptoid complete bike is totally ramp specific too, with decent dirt gear despite being built to a price.

Marzocchi’s DJ3 fork is standard issue landing gear at this price and while it doesn’t feel wonderful on the ground it’s always better than expected in use. While it’s not the neatest solution, there’s enough loose rear brake cable to spin the bars too.

The singlespeed gear is good for long days at flatter spots, although bigger, faster sets might leave you spinning.

DMR’s Moto Diggers are a good tyre with plenty of volume for landing and enough grip to rip round the tightest berms or mix up slopestyle lines.

The DV rims are quality gear too and the Tektro brakes the sharpest stoppers on test.

The 20mm nuts on the rear mean a dirty great spanner will have to come along on every ride while in contrast the skinny Allen bolts on the front had us nervous of overtightening them every time.

The three-piece steel cranks seem plenty strong, but with no bashguard the chain could take a hammering if you try any street/ trials work, underlining its pure jump status.

No complaints about the unbranded block stem or single bolt seatpost though and the tall, wide, welded brace Wing Bars are a classic.

The flanged and zip-tied grips are lovely too.

Verdict: great pure jmper

It’s not as versatile as some others, but the DMR is one of the best pure jump bikes we’ve ridden. Cost conscious kit means it’s a bit heavy, but it’s still superbly agile in the air once you’ve learned to tame it on the ground

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 44
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster tfhan the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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