Golden Saddle Rides: Tom’s Moots Routt 45 is Ready To Rip

With a road geometry, clearance for a 45mm tire, longer stays and the zippy, lightweight feel of titanium, the Routt 45 is a contender for one of my favorite, production drop bar bike on the market. Over the years, we’ve seen Moots make large leaps out of the traditional, doctor and lawyer marketplace of high-end performance road machines into more back-country oriented exploration vehicle market. That’s not a great surprise either, as even the automotive and motorcycle markets have seen a shift from speed-centered experiences to more “adventure-driven” vehicles. People want to get out more, away from the crowds and away from the confines of asphalt-driven transportation.

With that in mind and as we touched on earlier this week with Kyle’s Cosmic Stallion, living in a city like Los Angeles means you’re still racking in 10-20 miles round trip on asphalt to get to the real mountains. Our beloved San Gabriels are home to hundreds upon hundreds of miles of dirt roads, beckoning for our exploration and challenging our wits, muscles, and skills. Getting out into the backcountry on a reliable, comfortable and confidence-inspiring bike just makes that escapism easier.

Also mentioned in Kyle’s Cosmic Stallion post was the notion that a traditional cyclocross bike might not be up to snuff when it comes to these longer rides, and Tom, like many of us, has learned this over time. The first time I rode a road geometry with clearances for bigger tires, I was sold over the twitchy and responsive handling of a ‘cross bike. A more traditional road fit, with a road geometry, descended better for me, climbed more predictably, offering a better riding position on steep roads and still felt great pedaling home amidst the traffic and congestion after a 40 mile dirt ride in LA.

Tom’s upgrading from a steel ‘cross bike that was a little short on him in terms of reach, had a higher bottom bracket, steeper angles and a shorter chainstay to Moots’ Routt 45 platform, a bike that addresses each of these geometric concerns with their own take on what it means to be a road bike tailored for all roads. I can only imagine the joy Tom’s going to feel on tomorrow’s maiden voyage. Tom, it better be a good one!

The build was done by Mike at Golden Saddle and all of the parts were swapped over from Tom’s previous bike, save for the new Easton EX70AX bars and thru-axle end caps for the White Industry hubs. If you’d like a similar build, holler at the boys!

  • boomforeal

    it’s wits, not whits; and snuff, not snub

  • Bill Conley


  • ChinookPass

    I ride mine every. Damn. Day.

  • Avuncular

    Nice bike and I like the longer stays, 3rd bidon provision, bigger tyre space, top mounted cables but not so taken with the placement of the rear disc. Why outboard?

    • You mean vs flat mount? It looks like the newly-released Routt 45 is flat mount.

      • Avuncular

        No not that but on the newer model you linked they’ve moved the caliper mounting inboard (inside the chain and seat stays) which I prefer. Just wondered if there is any mechanical advantage or is it for an aesthetic reason ie outboard vs inboard?

        • To my knowledge, it’s mostly aesthetics. I’ve ridden both flatmount and ISO and haven’t noticed any difference. Some say it’s stiffer since the caliper is mounted to the chainstay, closer to the dropout, but I can’t tell. My Firefly is mounted like this bike and I’ve never had an issue.

          • Avuncular

            Ok thanks.

          • Johnny Rhubarb

            If you use mechanical discs, the chainstay mounted option can become an issue over time, as accumulated water and dirt in the housing causes more and more friction. This might not be important depending on where you live though.

          • AdamBike99

            Yeah, I was going to comment that cable routing is the biggest difference along with aesthetics.

        • Tom Greek

          The most basic reason was because Moots already had a tube set in my size that fit my existing calipers and rotors (which are pretty new). I like the 3d printed ones shown on the website – but also thought sticking with a mountain bike standard instead of switching to the disk road standard was a better fit for the rides I do.

    • Nick Meulemans

      As a mechanic I definitely prefer stay-mounted disc brakes (flat-mount standard aside). Easier to setup/adjust. Interesting choice, though! The explanation certainly makes sense :)

    • Peter Hedman

      Nearly ordered one of these and, after some conversation with Moots, found you can “special request” post mount brakes. Conventional caliper fitment, ease of adjustment, etc. are all advantages in my opinion.

    • Ryan Maynard Eames

      I massively prefer the seatstay mounted, its so so much easier. chainstay mounted or flat mount is much more faff.

  • Peter Chesworth

    Grey metal + Moots = consistently terrific

  • Bart Haddock

    So nice, you happen to know what bartape he’s using?

  • Moosemonkey

    I just can’t look past the fact that the rear wheel is not even between the seat stays. It’s way closer on the drive side.

    • Jared Jerome

      From looking at these things a lot, it could just be the tire. There’s some tires out there that have some mean wobbles.

    • Savoldelli

      If you are referring to picture #7, it seems to me (judging from the seat tube) that the picture was taken at a slight angle. I highly doubt GSC would let an off-centered wheel leave the shop…
      Very interested in the ‘true’ width of the Riddlers though. I tried to run a 700×42 Sawtooth tire through my GRD fork and it didn’t fit. Anyone got some numbers…? John?
      Moots’ welds are unreal, btw.

      • Yeah, photographer’s error. That shit ain’t easy to get perfect.

        • Savoldelli

          Wasn’t judging… Your shots are stunning, as always!

          • Oh, I didn’t take it as a judgment. I was just confirming your suspicion. :-)

      • Chris Valente

        FWIW I have been running the 37mm Riddlers on my Wraith on a set of Pacenti SL 25s and they are close to 40mm set up tubeless. I love them btw, a great tire for mixed surface rides.

        • Savoldelli

          Great – thanks for the info!

        • Christopher Petty

          that’s good info .. I was looking for something gravel-esque for my niner RLT thats using pacenti forza rims. a 28c conti gp 4000 road tire stretches out to ~31mm on the forza

          40mm is probably the sweet spot for fitting my frame/fork

      • Tom Greek

        Well, my calipers have dead battery. Using two steel angles, I come up with 48 on these Derby CX rims. I suspect the true width is pretty close to 48. After two rides, I’m really impressed with the Riddlers. I feel like they roll faster than the Nano’s and, man that’s a lot of volume!

        • Savoldelli

          Great – thanks, Tom! Wish I had measured the Sawtooths before I took them off again, but this is very helpful. Very lovely build, by the way – enjoy!

    • It’s an off-centered photo. Getting that 100% symmetrical with a heavy camera, handheld is really hard. The wheel is true / straight / centered.

      • Moosemonkey

        Oh, Okay. great! That makes me feel a lot better!

  • Ugly cable routing.

    • I prefer this way on my bikes. Keeps the cables from getting junked / gunked up by dust and mud. If you’re merely an aesthete however, I could see how it would bother you.

      • Randy Haymaker John, with due respect I’m glad you think full length cable housing keeps the cables from getting “junked / gunked up by dust and mud”.
        Just look at any department store bike for example and yes it remains me of a Huffy. It’s so easy to service bike cables. Just drop the chain to the smallest gear then push the derailleur toward the biggest gear, remove the cable/s housing from a cable stop. Clean, lube and replace housing done in less then 5!
        Plus I can’t understand why a hard tail frame & full carbon fork would need thru axles? Full suspension frames & suspension forks yes. Hard tails and rigid forks No. Just a way to get you to buy more product! I guess they are trying to reinvent the wheel?

        • When you’re a big guy and you like fat tires, thru-axles keep them from rubbing the stays. All my QR mountain bikes always flexed a lot – which is a nice feel for sure – but resulted in the tires rubbing. TA bikes, not so much. TA is also more secure, more safe and less likely to break.

  • Western Rapid

    Out of interest, is that a stock Routt frame or a custom? Looks nicely proportioned – the pics on the Moots site look a bit more ‘upright’ – but this just has more of a slack feel, which I prefer.

  • Daniel Smith

    I guess I’m just a sucker for Titanium, because this bike looks great.

  • Jordan Muller

    If there was a Nobel Prize for welds . . .

    • colin harwood

      … it’d be weird

  • Harry

    Is that a spoke holding the bike up in #2?

    • colin harwood

      come on then John, how the ‘eck do you stand it up to take the photos? In the second photo to which Harry refers (I think), there is something wedged under the back tyre attached to a length of string, is it leaning aginst that? It would be quite a trick if it were ….. or does everyone know how to do it? (nice bike, I always love ‘bare’ metal bikes, mines an old aluminium one).

      • It’s a 1/8″ stainless rod that I use to prop up the bike – usually in the BB – sometimes at the ISO disc tab. Then I photoshop it out. 💥

        • colin harwood

          brilliant – everyone loves a cheat ;)

  • Dimitri Nenkov

    What size wheels and tires are those?