Ever since the first boom in mountain biking during the 1990s, Moots has been one of those brands. Its dark grey titanium and understated looks always made it stand out as being really a bit special.
The company hasn’t gone anywhere in the intervening years, even if it is maybe not the top of quite as many folk’s “I want” lists as it was back in the day. That might all change as the company has a couple of great looking gravel bikes on offer – the Routt 45 and the Routt YBB.
Let’s take a look at the “normal” Routt first. The 45 is an updated model, designed to deliver a snappier ride than its predecessor, according to Moots. It takes its name from a 700c x 45 tyre clearance.
The Moots master craftsmen were able to tighten up the frame geometry to gain that “snap” by shortening the chainstays. This in turn required a it of artful shaping of the tubes in order to maintain the namesake clearance and keep compatibility with 2X drivetrains.
This is the bike that warrants a double take. The Routt YBB incorporates the legendary Moots YBB ‘softail’ micro-suspension design, first pioneered on those mountain bikes in the 1990s, and adapts it to create what the Colorado-based company calls the ultimate gravel bike.
It claims the Routt YBB is primarily designed for cyclists looking for next-level compliance when tackling mixed-surface rides. The YBB uses a concealed spring and elastomer, housed in the frame’s rear monostay just below the seatcollar. Functionally, the YBB takes advantage of the natural flex of the titanium chainstay – there’s no pivot anywhere on the bike.
This all gives up to 20mm of vertical flex, which should be enough to just take the sting out of the trail. Interestingly this is around the amount offered by the Specialized FutureShock and RedShift ShockStop at the other end of the bike.
Other than the obvious, both bikes are similarly specified
Both Routt frames are made of US-made, seamless 3/2.5 titanium, with three stock water bottle locations, and come in seven standard sizes with custom geometry. Perfect rear wheel and brake alignment come courtesy of Moots proprietary 3D-printed flat-mount disc brake dropouts. Standard builds come equipped with Moots full-carbon, tapered forks that feature hidden fender eyelets for foul weather riding and clearance for 45mm tires.
Moots also offers both the new Routt YBB and Routt 45 in a full array of finish options. Featured on the pictured bike is the ‘Stanley’ finish, part of its top-of-the- line Signature Series. Besides the Signature Series, there are also options for anodized, etched, engraved, polished, and standard decal finishes.
“We’re really proud of what we’ve accomplished with both the new Routt YBB and redesigned Routt 45,” said Moots President Drew Medlock. “The addition of our trademark YBB micro-suspension is a real game changer for long or chunky gravel rides when comfort is key. And the update to the Routt 45’s geometry gives that bike a new, snappier feel to keep pace with the increasing demands of the exploding competitive gravel scene.”
Unsurprisingly, a handmade in the US, boutique frame doesn’t come cheap. The Routt 45 frameset starts at a wallet weeping $4,799 and the Routt YBB starts at $4,999. Gulp.
More information is available from Moots.