Drinking morning coffee while sniffing around the interweb I was drawn to another “review” of a titanium bike. As it goes this one is sold by a company that is proud to have made the commitment to building 29er’s for the last 9 years. That got me to dig into my memory about our start into “big wheels” and the birth of the Mooto-X Ybb in 1999.
We received our first set of WTB Nanorapters in 1999 with a request to build a softail frame around them. Word was there were only 10 pairs of tires in the US at that time so we went about designing and building a bike for the first 700c tire with mountain bike tread. First we had to identify a fork to use. V-brakes were the order of the day for stopping so the fork had to be built for 700c rims.
I knew Wes (Williams) and Bruce (Gordon) had built fork pieces for an RS-1 for some of the Rock and Roads Bruce built and Wes’ personal bike, but we needed a product we could provide to our dealers and customers. In the Manitou warehouse there sat 100+ 700c compatible shocks. The Manitou 4 based design needed to have the elastomer bumpered travel limited so the tire did not buzz the bottom of the crown, but it was available.
So in 1999 we built it and rode it bringing it to the Interbike trade show and putting it into the model year 2000 catalogue as you see it here (drop bars and all). We saw this as the awesome gravel bike/monster cross and put it next to our Psychlo-X in the catalogue. Truthfully, for tight singletrack we preferred our 26” wheeled bikes, but on fire roads and doubletrack it rocked.
The summer of 2000 Moots followed the NORBA and World Cup races around the western US showing our wares in various parking lots and fields. At Deer Valley, walking through the Expo I introduced myself to Dan White of White Bros. My first question, have you guys thought of making a 700c compatible fork to fit the Nanorapter? He was positive they could do something, so after a summer of pestering him with random phone calls we installed one on our Mooto-X Ybb on the tradeshow floor at Interbike for model year 2001. This time we used flat bars touting it’s all around ability on gravel roads and singletrack. In the catalogue it still sat next to the Psychlo-X because of the shared rim size.
Today we still produce, ride and sell the Mooto-X Ybb. It has matured into a great singletrack design with forks, tires and parts mating to our current frame design beautifully. Experience has taught us a lot over the years. Now in its 15th year of production we have never stopped updating and changing to improve the ride while holding onto one simple plan, build the best we can.