These photos have been bouncing around in my phone since August, never knowing exactly what to do with them and how to build a post out of them. Well, this week phone contracts were up and new phones are in place, so I was up late last night playing with the built in iMovie feature in the new 6 and put this together. You’ll have to forgive me of the music choice.
Moots has been attending Eurobike for the last 5 years or so, and in recent years we have had a good size booth in conjunction with our German Distributor. After being to the show and making the long trip there and coming right home, we (myself and Matt Alford our international sale director) decided that we wanted to spend an extra couple of days after the show riding (I know it’s crazy) bikes. It also happens that there are very few flights out of the small airport that is just across the road from the convention center. So we had some time to kill.
The little town of Friedrichshafen, Germany sits on the shores of Lake Constance, which is also bordered by Austria to the south east, Switzerland to the south and of course Germany along the west and north side of the lake. There is a bike path that circumnavigates the entire lake and is a huge draw for tourist of all walks of life. The route is about 165 miles total, with a mostly flat pitch, unless you venture inland away from the lake. Before we left the states we thought this might be a perfect place to try out “bike packing” for the first time ever……in a foreign country or two…why not? What could go wrong?
We closed down the show and the next day woke up in our tents (yes, we camp during Eurobike) packed our bikes mostly with bags we had borrowed or “procured” at the show only a day earlier. Nothing like winging it…. But hey, it really didn’t matter where we ended up as long as we were back to the airport 2 days later to pack down and catch our flight home. So, we shuttled (via taxi) our bike boxes and anything we didn’t need on the bike to a local hotel that would keep them for us until we returned. Then we clipped in and rolled away using the lake as our navigation point. Within minutes we were off course. Not for long, but off course. Finally we found the bike route and settled in to handling cross bikes loaded with bags. I have to admit, it was pretty liberating leaving everything behind for a couple of days. Within 10km we stopped at the first bakery for breakfast….this would be a theme for the next 48 hours. There are a lot of bakeries in Europe by the way……and we HAD to stop and at least sample something at each. Good thing we are not Gluten free.
As the first day buzzed by with ease, our attention turned towards the dark-as-night bank of clouds coming across the lake towards us. Yes, we were about to get pummeled by rain in a very harsh way. It hit us just as we crossed into Austria across the point where Bregenzer Ache River enters the lake. It so happens that the name of said town was HARD, AUSTRIA…..As Matt & I pushed through the storm as we pedaled, we shouted out loud…..and wondered if this was “epic” enough. Side ways rain, harsh winds and the feeling that we would need to find somewhere to stop soon. Part way through the flat delta that is close to the lake (and at this point, water was coming from all directions) we found another small group of bike tourist taking shelter in a wooden bridge that was “mostly” covered. We huddled up for a few minutes and quickly decided that we should keep moving in order not to get too cold. Off we went in the pelting rain. Another 20 minutes and we happened upon a small cafe’ that really had nothing else around it…..lights on and open doors! We ditched the bikes and peeled off our wet outer layers and took up seats at a table ordering coffee and hot chocolate one after the other. I also order the biggest calzone I have ever seen. In the same cafe’ was a family of four….mom, dad and two kids. They had been beaten down by the rain as well and had found this little slice of heaven for a stop. We stayed as long as we could….really not wanting to put wet jackets back on….we took one more coffee and off we went. Now we had crossed into Switzerland over a small inlet of the lake. The bike route now more of a Cyclocross track underwater. On we pedaled and passed the family of four…..kids hitting the deepest of puddles and loving every bit of it. Not far down the path we spotted a camping sign and decided to call it a day. They took us in and had a spot for a tent along with hot showers and small cafe’ for food and drink. Heaven.
September 1st. My birthday. The second time two years running that I would spend my birthday in a foreign country. We would wake up in Switzerland and finish the day in Germany. After a rain filled night’s sleep (picture two 6 foot + guys in a 1.5 man tent) we fueled up at the cafe’ and packed our bikes with mostly dry items. The bathrooms had these awesome air dryers that worked wonders on socks and chamois. Off we rolled. The plan was to ride away from the lake and further into Switzerland so we could experience less of the tourist attractions and more of the real country. So inland we pedaled and were hit with some of the steepest climbing we had seen. Imagine a tame little bike path and as you round the next corner it kicks to 18%. For a half mile. No lie. We made the pitch and got dumped out in a farmer’s back yard and onto more bike path. We pedaled on and mostly up. On our map we wanted to get to St. Gallen, which we eventually did at about noon. Still somewhat damp and still cool, we rolled into the town square where all the professionals we having lunch and a break from their jobs. Just us two disheveled dirt bag bike riders amongst the cashmere and leather wearing desk jockeys a very interesting scene.
Yet another pastry laced with meats then we rolled through the old buildings and found our way back to the signed path way. This time we found the country side with ease and cut a path through the Swiss villages angling in a direction that would have us meet the west end of Lake Constance. My thoughts as I pedaled and took in this amazing setting on my birthday turned to how fricking amazing the signage and pathways are in this area. Why didn’t we have more of this in the US? 3km to the next village, put your map away type of infrastructure…..you’re not every really lost, even if you don’t know where you are…..just keep pedaling and you will hit a sign or village that will tell you where you are. We eventually passed through the town of Gossau Switzerland which played host to the last two years of Masters Cyclocross World Championships. I’m sure Beat Wabel was lurking somewhere around those hills. Onward we rode….more hills, more beautiful farm land, never on a path wider than 8 feet across, some gravel, and some brick….all good. A late lunch/early dinner on a random corner of farmland on a high hill…….pinch me…..how can this be real?
Some funny things happen when you are bike packing/touring. Now, I’m new at this, but this is how I started to feel:
- • Time of day…..you lose track and it does not matter
- • Phone dead…..even better, don’t need it
- • Clean clothes…..don’t need but a dry set to sleep in
- • You can go lighter than you think…..simplicity is key, usually you won’t need it.
- • Eat that pastry……life is short, besides it’s a good 10km to the next one.
- • Birthday on bike…..never felt younger
- • German mosquitoes are feisty
Back next to the lake we found a nice little campground and a setting sun, which was 180 degrees different than the day before. Nice warm sun, dry tent, hot shower, followed by a hot meal on the shores of the lake. Birthday a success!
The final day came and the weather gods were once again on our side. We would finish our bike packing adventure under mostly sunny skies and apple orchards that went on for kilometers. We rounded the most northwestern corner of the lake and got a little “lost”, so we just kept moving, through a strange but enchanting forest, which had these cool little hunting tree houses built throughout. Strange, but very cool. We rode on and in a moment of panic had to pull out the smart phone and locate ourselves by the blinking dot. We guessed to go right then left and that should put us just above the lake. Sure enough, that’s what happened. Riding the double track through yet another backyard, we found our way to the lake front and spun the last km’s back to Friedrichshafen and the hotel that was holding our bags.
A small room awaited us as we packed bikes, pulled the last set of clean clothes of the trip out of our luggage and took a well deserved shower.
The next day came too quick as we left for home. Ready to get home to family, but wishing we could stay longer.
My take-away from our little venture into bike packing is that I love it. I’m quickly filling out my bag quiver and have planned a few summer trips to tick off my list. I’m a convert.
Here’s to some adventures in 2015, big or small!
Strarting today the LONDON BIKE SHOW opens and runs through the weekend. MOSQUITO BIKES based in London with be on hand showing off the latest from Moots. They’ve built out some wonderful show builds for the 50,000 visitors to view. If you never been to the London Bike Show, now is your chance to make it happen. Stop by the Mosquito Bikes booth and have a chat.
Join us this Tuesday at stand out Moots Dealer: MARTY’S RELIABLE CYCLE for the kick off event of the season, REP NIGHT! Our own Corey Piscopo will be on hand to show off Moots wares and answer questions on anything Moots. Marty’s Reliable Cycle is a stand out dealer and this night is usually sold out. Expect the same this year! Come early and make sure to swing by and talk with Corey.
Since most of the country has been reminded of what winter should really look like this time of year I snapped some photos of this ICE-BLUE build from welder Mattyp’s FROSTHAMMER. This stunning build sports 100mm rims and 5” fattys. Mattyp went 1x 10 and a massive 197 x 12 thru axle on the rear. Let’s have a look shall we?
Details of the E-thirteen 42t from behind.
Post mount with 160 rotors.
Swift Cycle based in Gainesville, Florida is the area’s premier bike shop. If you are in the north central area of Florida, this is a shop you need to check out. They have been in business for a little over 2 years and have been a Moots dealer for 1 year. Custom detailed builds and the highest customer experience possible is what they thrive on. Be prepared when you walk through the doors….you will not see the big box names littering the floor, just high quality products that they ride themselves and support.
Sweating the details on this custom Vamoots finish job with blasted & etched logos. Work done by Spectrum.
A total of 3 employees, 2 owners + 1 mechanic run the shop on a daily basis. The shop is a clean mix of metal and concrete built out by owners themselves. After having worked at other shops in the past, the owner wanted to break out and do his own thing.
Vamoots CR with track ends. Another thoughtful build through Swift Cycle.
The shop serves as a pillar of all things bike in the Gainesville area offering group ride opportunities, routes, resources and trail advocacy. Gainesville is also home of the University of Florida and 60k+ students, so the community is rich with bicycle commuters and a thriving team/club racing scene that goes almost year round with the climate of the area. They also team up with a local coffee roaster Volta Coffee and do rides that finish at the coffee shop. What’s better than that?
Mountain biking in Florida. They have some beautiful single track right in town.
We are very proud to have them as a Moots Dealer and if you ever get the chance, stop in and see what they have to offer, we think you’ll like what you see.
Moots makes frames, stems, seat posts and a host of other cycling accessories, all out of titanium of course. But did you ever think about the small things that go into building a frame? A stem or seat post? The head tube, the bottom bracket shell, the drop outs, the cable stops, a brake mount, face plate….. The list goes on. It takes a wide array of small bits to collectively put together a bike frame and the associated components (in our case a stem & post).
Here at Moots we make about 75% of those small bits in house, with the other 25% being made by Paragon Machine Works, which without doubt is the best in the business of machining parts for frame builders. If we don’t make it ourselves, it comes from them. End of story….kind of….
The machining department at Moots consists of 2 (Eric Hindes & Evan Soard ) full time staff that design, program, set up tooling and run 4 CNC machines each day, every day. Some ask….why bother? Well, the evolution of Moots is more than just changing our frames for the current technology or components in the market. We strive to build the best even if it’s a simple part of the big picture. Having this in-house allows us to have complete control over quality of part and internal delivery time to continue to move frames along. No junk, no delays. Eric and Evan make sure we operate with the best parts possible.
From an insider’s point of view (me in this case) I’ve seen over my 18 years at Moots things change in amazing ways. The machining department is one of the biggest and best changes that have occurred over that time. It also goes much deeper than just the weld-ons you see on our frames.
All Moots seat collars are made in-house. Road, Mountain and RSL version are all different. These are just out of the tumbler that removes sharp edges. Next they go off to anodization for color. Note the engraved Mr. Moots wheelie gator. Details.
You might think of this as making the correct tool for you tool box….not just a simple screw driver, but very complicated tools that are used in every department at Moots. Mitering has some very specific tooling that is used to shape, hold or manipulate tubes as they go through a very diverse system of cutting a tube set. You see when we need something let’s say a mandrel that will give us the shape of our Psychlo X RSL top tube….we make that piece as well. It’s a giant block of aluminum that is designed (after input from several others at Moots) to give that top tube the perfect shape so when you are suffering up a run-up during a Cyclocross race, your RSL sits nicely on your shoulder. Machining at Moots builds that mandrel and the miter shop uses it every time they build the RSL top tube. When welding needs a new purge unit or jig to hold stems or seat posts, machining is called on once again to build those…this happens for the finish department as well.
When it comes to developing new products or even tweaking an existing one, the machining department at Moots can take an idea that one of us might have had during a weekend ride and turn it into a usable, testable unit in very little time. This, to me can be some of the more “fun” times building bike stuff. Having the quick turnaround from a napkin drawing to a usable part is pretty great. That part may never see the light of day so to speak, but you never know until you build it and then ride it…..which is what it’s all about.
I hope you enjoy the photos and descriptions that go along with them….
Moots dual binder that graces our stems and YBB units as well as our head set spacers….standard and RSL (pictured)… All built in-house. Engraved so there is no mistake where it came from.
Disc brake mounts. We make our ISO and post mount (pictured)
Seat post tops. Inside the welded on titanium piece is a very special taper that holds the Cinch post tight and allows for a smooth adjustment.
One of the most intensive parts we make. This is the RSL stem binder set up. First we make the steerer tube section, then weld on the binders. Once welded the unit gets the weight saving window machined into it, then the unit is slotted. Titanium bolts for the RSL.
Brake bridges are made by Paragon Machine Works as blanks, when they arrive at Moots we engrave them with the man himself….Mr. Moots putting the hammer down.
A tacked frame with our 68mm English shell. We know each time a frame goes together that the parts are first quality every time.
Shavings. There are a lot of these when you machine parts as much as we do. We recycle these instead of putting them into the landfill. They pay us by the pound, which keeps a few beers around the factory.
The plans for our stem back plate.
The Moots ROUTT continues to get some great reviews as the go-to all ’rounder for mixed surfaces, road and hobby crossin’. The February issue of PELOTON just hit the stands. Inside you’ll find their take on the ROUTT.
Get out and grab an issue or you can click below for the entire ROUTT review in PDF form.
Junior Gage Hecht rode his Psychlo X RSL to the stars and stripes during the 2015 CYCLOCROSS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS in Austin, Texas.
THE RACE THAT ALMOST DIDN’T HAPPEN
Over the weekend the rains came to Austin, TX and mud was served up on the 3km course that was the 2015 Cyclocross Nationals. The drama that unfolded by canceling the events on Sunday and then moving them to a Monday nationals was enough to cause a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. There are plenty of stories out there so we’ll just focus on what Gage did.
Gage came into this race as the odds-on favorite. He had been to 3 camps in Europe leading up to our nationals and had some absolute amazing results. He currently is sitting in 5th overall in the junior World Cup rankings; he also won our Colorado State Elite Championships. This guy knows how to ride a race. Back to Monday and his race…..still muddy from the hard rains the course was left covered in peanut butter like mud. Bike changes would be necessary and riding a smart race would be very important. Gage took to the front right after the gun went off, but had challenges the entire way. At one point he was (by my watch) 13 seconds down from the leader. He didn’t panic…he rode steady and smart and pulled back into the lead and then another chaser passed him and they would duel on the last lap of the race. Gage stayed within himself and powered away with about 3/4 of a lap to go. He took the win!
Gage is part of a great organization that is based out of our dealer in Centennial Colorado…..Alpha Bicycle Company has an elite junior program to help give these kids a chance to do great things. Product support, technical support and funds to get to races. Adam and the crew at Alpha have done an amazing job.
It was the most exciting race of the day. You can view it here if you like: CX NATS 17-18 JUNIOR
Gage has 3 Psychlo X RSL’s. One training bike and two race bikes. When he travels to Europe he takes two bikes with him. The bikes are set up the same so he can move from one to another without any issues. Here’s what he runs:
Frame: 58cm Psychlo X RSL
Fork: Enve CX disc
Wheels: DT Swiss Carbon Tubular 38
Tires: Clement PDX (mud tire for muddy days)
Kit: SRAM RED 2 x 11
Brakes: TRP SPYRE mechanical disc (keeps things simple and powerful)
Rings: Wick Werks 46/36
Finishing Kit: Fizik stem, bar, seat post and saddle
Extras: Bart Simpson figure zip tied to the seat tube
Next up for Gage is the last World Cup this coming weekend in Hoogerhide, NL and then onto Worlds in Tabor, Czech Republic the following weekend. All great stuff for a young guy. We’ll be posting and watching as he finishes out his great season.
Thanks to Gage for taking us along for the ride! Go get ‘em!
This very bike you see above will be hitting the 45-49 masters race this afternoon in Austin at 3:50 pm CST to be exact. The pilot of this machine is Michael Robson. Michael is from Australia and lives in Boulder, Colorado….. If you have ever met him in person you’d know what a good guy he is. It’s tough to relay how much this guy likes bikes….Moots in particular. Michael is a photographer by trade, but that just scratches the surface of his skills. He coaches the BOULDER JUNIOR CYCLING program, he writes for VELONEWS as a tech guy, he also writes for BIKE RADAR as a tech guy, he restores old motor cycles and would come to your rescue if need be. If a cheering up is what you need, look no further than Michael. This will be his 5th CX NATIONALS….all of which he’s been on Moots. All of which I’ve been there with him, racing in the same age group. I’ll be missing him this year to say the least.
Michael came to us by way of photography needs and these photos you see here are just samples and a quick visit to the alley behind the place he is staying in during nationals in Austin. I sprung this on him last minute and he says “no problem”….”will shoot you some shots when I land in TX.” Anyway, Michael cracked the podium last year in our race by taking 3rd. He’s also taken some big Colorado State titles over the years. This year I look for him to go better at nationals. He’s a bike driver and appreciates the way we craft our bikes and the way they handle the race course. Speaking of his bikes…by his nature they are always in top shape. Clean and dialed. He’s no afraid to experiment with parts and does so to do tech reviews, so he knows what works. So that brings us to his build.
Frame: Psychlo X RSL (disc) post mount
Enve Disc fork (tapered 1.5 to 1.125)
Chris King 1.5 head set
3T stem (only because I haven’t sent him a Moots)
SRAM Red hydro disc
Rotor Crank 46/34 (rings by WirkWerks)
Enve XC carbon tubular rims
DT Swiss 240 hubs
Clement PDX tubular tires
Moots Cinch Post seat post
Moots Zelvin bar tape
Stiff, light durable….The Psychlo X RSL is a race machine from top to bottom. The shaped top tube is for shouldering comfort while on foot….we shape all of our tubing in house for complete design and quality control.
1.5 Chris King head set for tapered forks. Michael is a true artist and did a self-blacked out paint job on this head badge. 44mm head tube adds stiffness and provides a large landing plateform for the top and down tube.
Double rings are a favorite for Michael. Note the water bottle bosses are closed with a small 4x threaded screw with no head. Michael found these little beauties at famous McGuckin’s Hardware in Boulder….just another touch of his attention to details. Red front derailleur, shaped chain stays and gearing for a strong rider.
The beauty of our tapered chain and seat stays do more that add style…..a compliant ride is achieved by making them taper to the rear drop out so the ride quality is at it’s best during bumpy races….again, all done in-house at Moots.
We’ll be posting updates on out Twitter feed as the race happens. Stay tuned!
Who says you can’t be competitive on Titanium in this carbon fiber world? Australian Andrew Stalder took the very competitive win in the masters field on his Vamoots RSL during this last weekend’s BAY CRITS in Portarlington, Australia. While we are in the dead of winter in the northern hemisphere, the summer and a full road race calendar are at high pitch down under. Andrew was connected to Moots via our distributor CYCLING EDGE. Once a U23 Australian National Road Champion, it seems Mr. Stalder hasn’t lost the snap or drive to compete at a very high level. He got a fair bit of attention from the commentators as the “titanium” bike in the field came clipping past each lap.
Back in the day Andrew raced side by side with the likes of Simon Gerrans, who tweeted about his friends win at BAY CRITS.
Andrew is racing on a stock Vamoots RSL, with our full carbon RSL fork, Moots RSL stem and Cinch post. Campy Super Record takes care of the rest.
Congrats to Andrew! Great to have you on our bike.