For over 25 years, Moots has been creating titanium masterpieces by hand in Steamboat Springs, CO. Moots is “The Name” in titanium frames, and they have set the bar since the beginning.
This quote from the Moots website sums up their attitude on bikes the best:
Some might argue that a bicycle is simply a tool, a way to get from point A to point B. They’re not wrong, but that utilitarian view misses perhaps the most crucial point: A bicycle, especially one built with passion for passionate riders, is not just a tool. It’s a way out. Out of where? One ride, and you’ll know.
One look at their frames, and you will agree. They carry this thought and care into every frame that leaves Steamboat Springs.
For more on Moots and the rest of their line visit Moots.com.
Moots Mooto-X 29er Rigid
Note: Moots refers to this frame as a rigid because it is also offered in a YBB soft tail version.
As it seems with all of my reviews lately, I have been lucky enough to ride bikes that have spec list that most of us could only dream of. This one does not disappoint. This particular frame is set up as a 1×9, but with the addition of the Paragon sliders, it can also be set up as a singlespeed.
Wheels: Industry Nine on Stans Flow 29er Rims – QR F/R All Black
Tires: Specialized Resolution 2.3′s
Headset: Chris King Silver
Pedals: Shimano PD-M959
Cassette: Shimano XTR
Misc: Hope QR Skewers Silver, Ti Water Bottle Cage, Front Ring Chain Guide, Paragon Sliders
One look at this frame and you can see the amount of care and precision goes into the manufacturing of each frame. Every weld is perfect and when you set that off with the look of a raw titanium frame, you really have a work of art. This is not a surprise to anyone already familiar with the Moots name. They have been building their frames like this since the beginning. Moots is also one of the few companies that has stuck with their original plan, to sell handcrafted bikes with incredible quality, in house.
Most of my “test bed” for this bike was done at Big Creek in Roswell, GA and Blankets Creek in Woodstock, GA. These two trails are local rides that I know like the back of my hand. They also provide a nice mix of different conditions that I can directly compare to other bikes. With steep climbs and descents mixed in with the rolling nature of tight GA single-track, you can really get an idea on how a bike will ride…especially hard tails.
I should clarify that this Moots is not like any other that you will find. The extremely short seat tube with swept tubes is a custom deal that Moots did for this frame, so some of the ride characteristics reflect the custom geometry. Titanium frames seem to be the compromise between steel and aluminum. They provide the quick accelerating and fast handling characteristics of an aluminum frame with some of the compliant ride quality riders have come to expect out of quality made steel frames. What that makes is a light race-able all day frame.
One of the great things about this frame is the short seat tube/long seat post. The smaller rear triangle makes the frame’s rear end stiffer for out of the saddle climbing and downhills. The bike seems to rail berms and climb steep sections with ease. Once you get seated for an extended climb, you get an extremely comfortable bike with the extra long ti post. For me, it seemed like the best of both worlds. This is a stiff hard tail that is still a comfortable all day climber. The handling was very quick and responsive, but their was a little bit of trouble in the really tight s sections. I attribute this more to the larger wheels than the frame itself. Just with anything, you have to take the good with the bad and in this case…the 29 inch wheels had more pluses than minuses. They did seem to just roll over everything with ease and keep momentum in sections that would normally kill forward progression.
After some fast laps around the cross country section of the trails, I took the bike bake into the freeride area to see how it would take small drops, jumps and gully runs. To my surprise, it did very well. The large volume 29er tires took a lot of the hit, but the geometry of the Moots was very stable. The runs would have been even better if I could have moved the seat down, but the Moots felt very comfortable in the air and the landings were solid. There was no flex or twisting that I could feel.
This bike felt it’s most comfortable leaning hard into the turns with your weight positioned a little bit more rearward than I would normally be on a hard tail with cross country type steep angles. Personally, I liked that…it is closer to how I prefer to ride. At about 25 lbs. even, this bike was light enough that it didn’t wear the rider out, but still had enough weight that you didn’t get bounced around in the rough sections. When you get much lighter than 25…it seems the rider takes more of a hit than the bike.
It’s not all great news…
This frame did do one thing that is more of annoyance than a deal killer. The front of my shoe can clip the front tire while riding. This has been one of my biggest fears with 29′ers and large feet, but after realizing it was there…it didn’t happen again.
The 20mm version of the Rock Shox Reba couldn’t come fast enough. With the stiff Industry Nine wheels and larger diameter 29 inch wheels, the Reba flexes. I have owned several 26 inch Reba’s in the past, and I still consider it one of the best forks on the market for that application. In a 29 inch version, it will really benefit from a larger front axle.
What a great frame. Would I ever own one? Yes, and it is on my list of “must have’s” now. I love the way that titanium frames seem to morph into the kind of ride that you push them into. Even at the trail head, this rather simple bike attracts a lot of attention…which can be a good or bad thing. The Moots name and company reputation is in the top 10% of the industry, so you know you are investing in a relationship rather than just buying a frame. The entire culture that surrounds the Moots brand is also great to be apart of. I asked some members on the Moots forum why they ride a Moots and here are some of the responses:
Customer Service (Excellent)!
For MTBs, Unique innovative designs that WORK!
For Roadies, Solid frames that are both stiff yet supple at the same time (not sure this is a unique advantage tho)!
Craftsmanship (the best)!
Dollar for dollar value (they are reasonably priced in comparison)
Looks of the blasted Ti!
Made in my home state!
The real reason to own a Moots… the “Culture”… This is what sets it apart the most. You’ll “feel” it when you own one… it’s inevitable.
There is plenty of great bikes out there. …but, the emotional attachment I have to my Moots bikes… I dunno why… but it’s there in a different way. (I am a former Epic, Blur, and RacerX owner, they were just excellent bikes, nothing more).
And another response:
It is mostly because a Moots handles like no other ride I’ve ever had. They fit right, they corner, climb and descend better than anything I’ve ever owned (and I’ve owned a lot). Also, I think the quality control at Moots is second to none. We had a thread about this a while back, discussing which other Ti maker you would own and there aren’t many that compare to Moots. Price wise, yes, quality wise, no.
What you get with a Moots frame is no compromise…the fit and finish is incredible and it rides as good as it looks. On top of that, it is backed by a company and culture that other frame makers inspire to be. Overall, you can’t go wrong with a Moots.
I founded Bike198 back in 2007 and started riding bikes seriously in 1994. A lot has changed since that time and one of the greatest releases is still getting out on the bike and shredding trail or tearing up the road.