Moots of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, is celebrating 35 years of building bikes. Not content to rest on their laurels, Moots introduced some innovative gravel bike ideas at NAHBS 2016.
We first wrote about the Moots’ Routt 45 back in 2014, and for this year’s show they brought a bike that takes the gravel concept one step further, showcasing their experience, ability to innovate to meet customers need and of course their workmanship. They also showed off some of their well-known models too.
Take a look below at some of what was in the Moots booth at NAHBS, and be sure to check out all of our NAHBS coverage.
The Monster Cross Bike
The new gravel bike was custom built for Mitch Lomacz, an employee at Cyclepath PDX in Portland, Oregon, a top Moots dealer.
The goal was to meld a Routt 45, which has great road manners, and the MootoX, which offers better tire and ground clearance, to form a bike that can take Lomacz on bikepacking adventures regardless of the destination, or get to the trail to “rip it and return” for short, fast mixed-terrain adventures.
The frame is based on the MootoX RSL 29er mountain bike frame, but with the downtube straightened out and the geometry altered slightly for the rigid fork and drop bar position.
This monster crosser is still definitely off-road biased, but more like the fast, rigid cross-country bikes of old.
The slight alterations give the bike more road capability so that a long trek to the trail, or a long ride in general, feels efficient and pleasurable. Yet, when the going gets rough, the Moots American-produced 2.5v/3AL Titanium butted tubing combined with fat tires will smooth the ride.
Since the frame was designed with suspension corrected geometry, a short travel suspension fork could be substituted easily. But that wasn’t the intention of this build.
The fork shown is a Salsa Firestarter Carbon, with a tapered carbon steerer, a 15mm thru axle and three threaded cage mounts on each leg. Given the three bottle mounts on the frame, the addition of the fork bottle mounts gives five mounting points for bottles or gear, not including any frame bags, seat bags or handlebar rolls.
Lomacz’s bike was built completely with a XTR Di2 drivetrain with an armored E-tube cable exiting the internally wired frame just in front of the rear derailleur. That leaves the capability to use Shimano Synchronized Shift with the mated R785 levers and calipers, and the bike was set up just that way.
Unlabelled carbon tubeless wheels (from a well know US company) with DT Swiss hubs were shod with Schwalbe Thunder Burt 29 x 2.1” tubeless tires with plenty of room for the addition of a fender, easily mounted thanks to the frame’s fittings, or a 2.3” tire.
We could think of so many situations that we’d love to ride this bike!
Never done with innovation, new technology allowed Moots to find a solution for the new flat mount brake mounting system for metal bike fabrication.
The small, flat mounts are typically welded or brazed onto the inboard side of the left chainstay. But welding creates a heat problem for the small, thin tube and brazing is challenging because of the need to maintain the alignment during the process.
Moots found that 3D printing a Ti weld-on rear fork end piece (dropout) to be an elegant solution. The piece makes the mounts lighter and stronger, which is good since they are an integral part of the dropout. The upper part of the dropout is shaped so the slight variations of seatstay angle for different frame sizes can be accommodated. The matching right dropout has an internal channel for an e-shifting wire or internally routed shift cable, giving not only a clean look, but eliminating mechanics’ headache of “wire fishing” during installation.
Moots, with 35 years in the industry as a top-end builder, has the clout with manufacturing partners to develop and produce components that best suit its own needs. Aside from their flat mount disc brake solution, and not completely satisfied with the road disc fork offerings currently available, they set their sights on road disc forks.
Moots is designing a road disc fork that meets their specific needs for lightness, ride quality, aesthetics and features. Just coming into pre-production now is Moots’ new 12mm thru-axle road disc fork with flat mounts and internal brake line routing through the crown.
What separates a road disc fork from a cyclocross or gravel fork is the axle-to-crown height, and the non-production model that Moots had at NAHBS measured 370mm, significantly shorter than the 395mm typical of cyclocross forks, rendering it incompatible with ‘cross and gravel bike designs as well as limiting tire clearance.
Does that mean a cyclocross/gravel fork from Moots is not that far off? We can only speculate, and Moots only said they are concentrating on bringing the new road fork into production.
The Psychlo-X RSL
Of course we couldn’t let a visit with Moots go by without taking a look at their flagship cyclocross bike, the Psychlo-X RSL.
We’ve profiled this Moots model a number of times given Gage Hecht’s proficiency at Cyclocross Nationals on one. Hecht rides for the Alpha Bicycle Co. / Vista Subaru Team and Hecht once again took the National Championship title aboard his Psychlo-X RSL back in January.
The Psychlo-X Moots brought to NAHBS was paired with a painted-to-match Enve thru axle fork held in place by a Chris King headset and had all the bells and whistles the bike has become known for.
It was outfitted with a full Campagnolo Record EPS kit and wheels from Campagnolo house brand Fulcrum in the form of their Racing Quatro Carbon DBs wrapped in Schwalbe’s X-One rubber. The cockpit featured a titanium seatpost and stem, from Moots, obviously, as well Fizik Cyrano R1 carbon bars and their Aliante saddle.
The Psychlo-X is truly a proven winner at the highest levels of the sport and the bike shown at NAHBS would be one we’d be happy to ride.
More info: www.moots.com