ENVE has been supporting frame builders, both in the US and internationally for years now and has developed a symbiotic relationship with these artisans, who choose to put their forks, bars, and wheels on customer’s build kit lists. With this catalog of talent at their fingertips, they decided to have an Open House to celebrate not only their factory and offices in Ogden, Utah but the frame builders who choose ENVE to build out their complete bikes.
With clearance for a 45mm tire, three bottle cages, ultra-precise titanium construction, and a geometry tuned for all day dirt rides, the Moots Rout couldn’t get any better. Then, it did. Moots just announced the introduction of the YBB micro-suspension for their new Rout YBB all-road bike. Head over to Moots for more details.
Let’s rewind a bit, back to the Steamboat Ramble Ride, where I rode this very frame, fully loaded from Steamboat Springs to Fort Collins along with a whole crew of people from all over the country. The whole time I was on the ride, I kept thinking about how much I love drop bar 29ers for tours like that. It’s the best of both worlds – drops for different riding positions and MTB gearing for slogging a loaded bike up mountain passes. In the back of my mind, I began playing out how I could use a bike like this for some of my more ambitious rides in the Death Valley or Inyo Mountains area. Then SRAM contacted me about working on a project with their new AXS components. Initially, their thoughts were to build a custom bike around the interchangeability of the eTap AXS road with the new Eagle AXS system and do a project with this new bike. The subject matter was entirely up to me. Meanwhile, my mind was still on the Moots Baxter and how it would be perfect for this loop I had scouted a year or so ago…
As a supplement to our Reportrage with SRAM in Cerro Gordo, I pinged James from Drop Media to tell the story through his incredible video work. For an in-depth look at this ride, don’t miss the corresponding Reportage that dropped this morning.
Owens Valley, the Mojave, and Death Valley have been the backdrop for many stories here on the Radavist, but there is one region in particular that has interested me in regards to both the terrain and the history. The Inyo Mountains are ripe for adventure-seekers looking to get off the beaten path of Death Valley National Park or the Eastern Sierra. It can be a very isolating place: the roads are rough, rugged, with little to no cell reception or provisions. If you can, however, access this zone safely, you will be rewarded with unsurpassed views of the Eastern Sierra as the backdrop and colorful geological features abound.
I spend my free time exploring this region for routes that are suitable for travel by bicycle and to be honest, very few have proven to be fruitful in such endeavors. The area is plagued by roads so steep that even an equipped 4×4 can overheat, or miles upon miles of rock gardens, and sand traps. Not to mention the complete absence of water. To ride in this zone, you have to be prepared, both mentally and physically. It’s a region that challenged the native tribes as well as the prospectors who were driven by the desire to strike it rich. There’s a bigger tale here before we dive into our story, that needs to be told. One that hits close to home for us at the Radavist.
We shoot a lot of bikes here on the Radavist. A lot. From my estimates, including tradeshows, and events like the Chris King Open House, or the Moots’ Employee Bikes, and even the Speedvagen Build Off, we shot 220 or so bikes in 2018. That’s a lot of bikes. A lot of details. A lot of component selection, build styles, and uses. From road, to mountain, and everything in between, noting the permutations that exist in this ever-so-special era in the cycling industry, I really feel like we’ve shown you just about everything you could see this year.
Out of those 220 bikes, I looked at the data in the form of traffic metrics, social chatter, and comments to pick the Top 10 Beautiful Bicycles of 2018. While many bikes had a lot of comments, some had higher traffic or social media shares. Compiling all the numbers, a very compelling list was formed. Not included in this lot are bike reviews, of which Morgan’s review of the Midnight Special and Kyle’s review of his Chubby Cosmic Stallion took the highest metrics from all others on this list. I guess they’re in a league of their own!
At any rate, check out the complete Top 10 Beautiful Bicycles of 2018, in no particular order, below!
Steamboat Springs is the birthplace of Moots, Eriksen, and other outdoor industry brands. Visit this ski town and you’ll see why. Located in the Northern Yampa Valley the city has thrived due to its proximity to the Routt National Forest and its plethora of trails. It doesn’t matter what your preferred form of recreation is, Steamboat has an abundance of resources for it.
One of the bike shops in Steamboat is in one of the most unique spaces I’ve ever visited. Period. When Jon from Moots took me to pick up some last minute supplies before embarking on our Steamboat Ramble Ride trip, my jaw was on the ground. While most of the outdoor shops in Steamboat are very clean and corporate, Orange Peel Bikes embraced its chaotic beauty. Much like something found in nature, there are no right angles in this bee-hive shaped space.
For the past few years, Chris King has opened their doors to the public as part of an entire weekend of events dubbed the Chris King Open House. This event’s intent is to be coordinated with a product launch of their new colors for the year, as well as to showcase what makes their operations tick, and to display a selection of custom bikes, built by some of their best builder customers.
the two new colors for this year: matte turqoise and matte mango.
This year, they sent out an open invite to 30 of their best builder accounts, offering up discounted pricing to them to build a bike for the show, passing on the discount to their customers. Out of those 30 builders, 17 showed up, and they were displayed alongside a Pegoretti bike, which we looked at on Friday. These bikes lined the halls of the Chris King factory, where visitors could look at their features in great detail, chat with the builders about their process, and if they were so inclined, purchase their dream bike.
I was invited up to the Open House to document these bikes for the builders and for Chris King, as well as offering up an ultimate dream bike gallery for you, the readers of this website. Please enjoy! Which bike do you like the best and why? Oh and if you’re interested in one of the bikes showcased here, be sure to reach out to the builders, who are linked in the bike descriptions below.
If this bike were made for the 2018 NAHBS, it probably would have had a Shimano Steps system. A lot has changed since 2013, yet a lot is still the same. Trail builders need help accessing trail and over the years, I’ve taken a real liking to documenting trail working rigs, some as simple as mountain bikes with a BOB trailer, others built with custom racks to carry chainsaws and e-assist.
Moots made this bike in 2013 for NAHBS, alongside IMBA. It was at the height of the 29+ fad, so naturally, that’s what the bike sits on. It’s a true deep custom bike, with racks designed to carry trail tools like a collapsible shovel, and a geometry tuned for the extra weight but boy will you have to work for it! Even pedaling up to this little knoll above the Moots factory, I was short of breath. It’s easy to see how e-assist is a big helper in trail access!
Still, this bike has seen plenty of work days in and around Steamboat Springs and to this day, it stands as one of my favorite Moots to leave their facilities! I hope you enjoy!
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With companies like Moots, it’s not the branding, or legacy, or history, or name that makes the frames, it’s the people that work there. Both literally and figuratively. One of the job perks at Moots is the incredible employee purchase program, the details of which I’ll omit here, to save them from a flood of job applications. Joking aside, the company knows that the best product research and development can come from within and pride can often result from ownership. While the workers might not own Moots, each of them is part of the process. In today’s world, that means a lot, ATMO anyway.
The first thing that really struck me as I walked the floor of the production facilities was how many amazing employee bikes there were, of all makes and builds. From full on road bikes, to fatty all-road, mountain, commuter, and bikepacking setups. While my time was limited at Moots, I did my best to grab a few of these bikes and shoot details. The one that evaded my lens was Peter’s rim brake Psychlo X, which I don’t even want to describe here because it’ll make me cry! I suppose you’ve gotta leave something to look forward to on the next trip to Steamboat Springs. That and Taco Cabo!
I hope you enjoy this gallery, as much as these employees enjoy their commutes!
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One of the hardest things about reporting on frame builders and their shops is doing their operations justice. I’m still buzzing from my trip to Colorado to hang out with the crew at Moots and ride the Steamboat Ramble Ride. Spending a few solid days literally living amidst the operations, riding with the fabricators, talking and photographing everyone behind the scenes brought such great joy that I’m literally gushing as I write this intro. The 23 people that make this company tick are all great people who truly love their job and love cycling, at many capacities. Capturing that in photos and then writing about it is not easy!
Moots began in 1981, from the shop of Kent Eriksen, called Sore Saddle Cyclery, which technically opened in 1980, but the operations of Moots didn’t get rolling for a whole year. Kent began the brand with the help of many others, and eventually sold it off to begin his own company, Eriksen Cycles. Meanwhile, Moots began to permutate into their current state as one of the largest framebuilding operations in the USA. I can’t compare their shop to anyone else, other than Seven in the Boston-area. In terms of scale and organization.
When the Ramble Ride popped onto the horizon in my late summer travel and photo shoot plans, the guys at Moots offered up one of their prized models, the Baxter, for me to ride. Out of all their bikes in what I would consider a stout lineup, the Baxter is one that always stood out to me as the most versatile. The beauty about this bike platform is the Baxter is what you want it to be, although it’s designed to essentially be a drop bar 29’r. How you build it is up to you and there are options like with a suspension fork, or with a rigid fork, with or without a dropper post, and everything in between. Di2 or cable, double crankset or 1x, and now with the updated boosted rear spacing, compatibility with your “other” mountain bike wheelsets. The guys at Moots are great at constructing these frames, it’s just up to you to make them roll…
I’m here in Steamboat, Colorado with Moots Cycles and the Ramble Ride! After shooting a bunch of shop photos and employee bikes, I can say, this might be one of the best framebuilder galleries to date on the Radavist. Those welds are from a frame being welded… no coloration there! Stay tuned next week for more!
What’s your favorite Moots Model?
While in Stillwater, Oklahoma, I got the grand tour of a few of District Bicycles employees’ personal bikes. Included in this mix was Bobby’s own custom Moots Farwell 29’r. Custom in the sense that Bobby didn’t like the swoopy tubes. Luckily, he convinced the crew there to make the straightest Farwell to leave the Steamboat facility. He also didn’t want raw or bead blasted titanium.
For that, he pinged Rudy at Black Magic Paint to coat the frame with an Oklahoma Red Dirt-themed wet coat. Topping the build off with XTR Di2 and a build kit tuned for Oklahoma singletrack, this MTB actually looks damn good clean. Usually, I prefer them good’n’dirty!
I love seeing Moots‘ offerings at NAHBS. They’re typically very subdued, void of ostentation and fine-tuned for whatever form of riding. So when I see Moots do something experimental, I’m intrigued. This year, they brought a dirt drop “Soft Tail Prototype” to the show and it gained a lot of attention. My favorite moment was overhearing an older gentleman explaining to a younger child who John Tomac is. Sure, bikes like this live in that magical Tomac era, and many would argue they should stay there, but part of me – the fun part of my brain anyway – really wants to see how a machine like this handles. As for the details, Moots selected the Fox AX fork, a new soft tail design with 15mm of travel in the rear wishbone seat stay and a chunkier tire up front. All it needs is a dropper post, ATMO.
Are you interested in one? Well, this is a prototype, and Moots is still trying to figure out the final detailing. If you want to email Moots, you can do so at their website.
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.
2017 Philly Bike Expo: Moots Mooto X RSL
Photos by Jarrod Bunk, words by John Watson
Moots is one of those brands that just oozes brand clout and rightfully so. Their titanium frames are built to the highest standards and are built to last a lifetime. The Mooto X RSL is designed with speed in mind. A true singletrack slayer, the Mooto X RSL has a modern race geometry, with the feel of titanium, designed to tackle any XC course.
At this year’s Philly Bike Expo, Moots brought their catalog build of the newest Mooto X RSL, laced with gold Tune components, matching logos and Shimano XTR Di2, this bike relies on its pedigree, in a sea of flashy show bikes.
Drop bars make any mountain bike hot. Now whether it’s a heat that you feel in your heart or in your stomach depends on your point of view. For Mike at Golden Saddle Cyclery, he wanted to do something new to his rigid Moots Mooto X RSL after growing tired of it with flat bars, so he converted it to a dirt drop MTB. By using a Wolf Tooth Tanpan, Mike was able to run Shimano road shifters with the MTB derailleur and cassette. That nifty piece of tech, gives you Di2 road / mountain compatibility with standard, cable-actuated shifting.
Mike’s been riding it to work at GSC, where he’s a mechanic, via the various dirt trails and roads in LA. When you think about it, a bike like this makes a lot of sense when you can ride dirt from your front door, that may not merit suspension but would benefit from a chunkier tire. Personally, I think bikes like this look damn good and are damn fun to ride.