Moots Cycles is a legendary and iconic brand in the bike world that really needs no introduction. It was established in 1981 by Kent Eriksen (who has since left to start another bike brand) and has made beautifully handcrafted titanium frames its USP ever since, setting the standard for workmanship, weld quality and desirability.
It has now found a new home in the UK with high-end distributor Saddleback confirming this week the titanium bike brand will join its stable of products, which includes the likes of Enve, Chris King, Silca and more. It's fair to say it’s a good match.
Bikes will be arriving with Saddleback next month but we got a chance to have a closer look at a couple of bikes that had arrived this week for its dealer house show. We’ll hopefully be getting the opportunity for first rides so stay tuned for more, but for now here are some photos of the Routt 45 in various builds.
Demand for high-end metal, and particularly titanium, has never really gone away, and if anything is surging in popularity perhaps driven by a backlash against cookie-cutter carbon frames. Titanium has always been an expensive material, but costs of frames have come down in recent years and there are more choices than ever before, but at the high-end, the choice is still limited. There are few companies who have been doing it this well for as long as Moots.
The Routt 45 is one of the company’s most popular models, as it has seen a surge in demand for gravel bikes over in the US. The name points to the tyre clearance, 45mm on a 700c wheel, but you can go a bit wider if you downsize to 650b wheels.
All frames are made from US-made seamless 3/2.5 titanium, with the tubes then cut to size at its own facility - tubes arrive in 45ft lengths we're told, which is the length of their truck. The Routt is available in seven sizes but you can opt for custom geometry if you prefer or need the perfect fit.
The frame is duly built up with lots of pimp equipment, from Enve wheels and matching finishing kit, to Chris King headset and bottom bracket and Shimano’s latest GRX gravel groupset.
You can customise the frame, from geometry to details like cable routing and other small aspects, to the colour of the anodised logos. You can choose from several finishes, from regular decals to signature and premium finishes that use anodising, etching, polishing and engraving techniques.
The finish here is called the Stanley because the pattern used on the chainstay replicates the Estes Park hotel’s carpet pattern made famous in the film The Shining.
The down tube and top tube logos meanwhile have a vivid gradient. You can view all the finishes here. Which would you choose?
The company is also working with a couple of partners to develop 3D printed parts, including the dropouts here.
There’s external cable routing here, but you can specify internal Di2 routing. A third bottle cage mount is located on the down tube and there are mudguard eyelets. The carbon fibre fork is their own design too.
We didn’t get to see it, but the company also offers the Routt RSL above, which is a racier version with more aggressive geometry closer to a road bike and tyre clearance pegged at 40mm, because that’s as wide as gravel racers are wanting to go the company told us.
There’s also there Routt YPP in the range which we didn’t see but sounds great. Now, soft tail frames are something Moots has been doing since 1987. It’s actually the reason the company switched from steel to titanium frames because the titanium chainstays don’t fatigue from the constant bending forces as steel would.
This latest YPP delivers 17mm of travel which seems about perfect for gravel bike applications. Many brands are engaged in development frames that can bend and flex in a carefully controlled manner to extract more comfort when riding over rough ground, and short of going to a full-suspension design like the new Niner, the YPP system seems an interesting choice. Pair with a ShockStop suspension stem and you could have a very capable and comfortable gravel bike.
I remember fawning over reviews of Moots bikes in American mountain bike mags when I was a young lad, so I can’t wait to get to ride one. We’ll confirm UK pricing as soon as we can.
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.