There’s no mistaking a true American bike brand. Moots, like many US framebuilders, set up shop in the Rocky Mountains to build all- American bikes with all-American materials to be ridden on the gravel, tarmac and dirt roads that the Rockies have in abundance. And while the brand is tied to titanium, Moots is determined to prove the material can be every bit as racy as the best of carbon fibre.
The Moots story began with steel in 1981, in sunny Steamboat Springs. A decade later the brand launched its first titanium bike, and it now works exclusively with the material. During its steel phase, Moots developed some innovative designs – one of which was the YBB system. YBB, meaning Why Be Beat, was a suspension system mounted on the junction between seat tube and seatstays that has been copied multiple times, most recently by Pinarello with its K8-S cobbles bike (see issue 37).
The Moots story could extend over many pages, but it culminates in the company’s current position as a top-tier titanium framebuilder. And while the Vamoots’ pricetag may seem high, the bike has been on quite a journey to justify it. ‘With the RSL we start with a straight-gauge US-made tubeset, which has a uniform wall thickness throughout the whole tube,’ says Jon Cariveau of Moots. ‘We then box it up and ship it to Reynolds in the UK, and they go in and internally butt it to our specification. They’ll thin it out in the centre and leave it a bit thicker on the end, so we lose some weight and maintain the same stiffness.’ The tubes are returned to Colorado, where Moots implements its expertise in mitring and TIG-welding to create the smooth joins visible on the bike. Each bike is made to order, and although there are stock geometries, Moots also gives the option of a completely custom build.
Some metal aficionados may argue that straight-gauge titanium tubing is stiffer than its butted alternative, while carbon fans might say that titanium will never be as stiff or light as the black stuff. Seeing as Moots has been busy refining the art of titanium building for 25 years, we were intrigued to see how that experience has been put into practice out on the road.