It didn’t take many rides on the slick new Moots Womble titanium hardtail to note that, wherever I went, other riders-and particularly these of a sure age-were giving my bike elevator eyes. When i despatched the Womble out on a test experience with my rippin’ 60-year-old neighbor, he didn’t even make it to the path head earlier than he encountered a pal (and peer) who rolled down his window to say hello-but couldn’t help adding, “Wow! Nice bike!” When Chris returned the bike to me, he raved about its precise steering, climbing prowess, and stiff, rocket ship-like really feel, but summed up his review with, “but hey-it’s a Moots. What’s not to love?”
It’s a status that’s properly-earned. For the past 40 years, the Steamboat Springs-primarily based Moots Cycles has been turning out meticulously crafted, customized titanium racing bikes. They’ve worked onerous to build a legacy on the again of their made-in-the-USA craftsmanship, and additionally they know that their riders are typically these who have been on this earth at the least as long (if not longer) than Moots has been in business. (To wit: The tagline for the Womble is “A new bike for old souls.”)
But as a 30-something woman, I’m not quite there yet. And I’d additionally argue that this Moots isn’t just for the old souls: titanium tubing It’s a fashionable-day mountain bike that actually rips-each uphill and down.
Riding a hardtail-never mind a ravishing titanium hardtail with bead-blasted, anodized details-is sufficient to prompt a double-take out right here on Vermont’s rocky, rooty terrain. While machine-constructed movement trails are slowly creeping through our woods, a lot of the riding here is still old-faculty rake-and-trip. Coming from a plush Stumpjumper that I’d set up in a way laughably near “sofa mode,” I didn’t anticipate to find a lot to love about a hardtail on tight, twisty, bumpy singletrack-even when it was a premium titanium construct.
And but, on my first test ride on the bike, I crushed it. But first, a disclaimer: While I’m comfy on a mountain bike and trip absolutely anything, I’m not a flashy rider, nor am I blazingly quick, despite years spent racing road and titanium tubing cyclocross. And but I scooped up handfuls of private information, Strava cups, and even a QOM on some standard segments that I experience all the time. And while I figured that a hardtail would be faster on the ups, curiously enough the segments I nabbed were all downhill. So, what provides?
An update to fulfill trendy-day MTB geometry
For solutions, I turned to Nate Bradley, head of product improvement at Moots Cycles. Along with running the mitre shop at Moots, he additionally spearheaded the Womble. Bradley, I thought, might inform me extra about what makes this bike special.
For starters, the Womble is totally different than anything Moots has constructed in the past. It’s longer, slacker, and, paired with a burly 140mm Rockshox Pike Ultimate fork and 29×2.5″ tires, it’s ready to rip. Until the Womble, probably the most aggressive bike within the Moots lineup was the Farwell, with its 120mm fork and 68.5° head tube angle. By contrast, the dimensions medium Womble I examined has a 67.2° head tube angle and a 75.7° seat tube angle (at 25% sag)-a big move towards fashionable-day MTB geometry charts. And with its decrease, longer geometry paired with the 140mm Pike, I used to be able to rail it on the downs with confidence and velocity.
But nearly all the bikes I’ve ridden not too long ago have had this similar form of long, slack geometry, and at least 130mm of fork travel. So what makes the Womble feel so dialed on the downhill? Well, Bradley had one (admittedly tongue-in-cheek) concept-that “simple equals quick,” and that eliminating the rear shock frees you up to focus on the remainder of the trip. Maybe he’s right. But I additionally did some entrance-heart calculations. Discovered that the Womble measures 740.7mm from the underside bracket to the middle of the front wheel axle. But I additionally did some front-heart calculations and discovered that the Womble measures 740.7mm from the bottom bracket to the middle of the front wheel axle. My Stumpy is only 736mm, meaning the Womble is longer than my trail bike. Additionally, I believe what makes the Womble eat up the downhills is similar thing that makes it a rocket ship on the uphills-and it has too much to do with its tail finish.
On the up and up
One of the things I loved most in regards to the Womble was its quick acceleration on uphill corners-or, nicely, on something with an uphill slope. Accustomed to having my rear suspension gobble my watts on the ups, I cherished the rapid payoff from a effectively-placed pedal stroke, which, timed accurately, may shoot me up and round a nook with alacrity.
And, yes; most hardtails are good climbers. However the Womble is exceptionally good, due to a noticeably curved seat tube that allows for greater tires, a steeper, shorter seat tube, and short chainstays. It additionally has a sporty, considerably playful vibe that still feels stable at pace (therefore those downhill QOMs, I suppose). Before I started riding bikes, I rode horses, and this bike rides precisely like a well-trained trick pony: All of its energy is coiled up neatly beneath it, ready to explode the moment you give it the go-ahead. It’s vastly gratifying to expertise the ability a single pedal stroke yields as it thrusts you ahead up the trail.
That curved seat post additionally addressed the issue of clearance for both tires and dropper put up, permitting for aggressive 2.5″ Maxxis Assagais (though my tester had 2.6-inch Vittoria Martellos) and a Rockshox Reverb AXS dropper that tucked the saddle neatly out of the way when navigating technical sections.
New titanium tech honed by 4 many years of experience
The final thing that sets the Womble apart from the competitors is, nicely, that it’s a Moots. After forty years working virtually completely in titanium sheet (they dabbled in steel till 1991), the Moots workforce has the fabric completely dialed. But for the Womble, Bradley and his workforce deviated from the norm, debuting a proprietary double-butted tubing for the highest and down tube that’s a wider diameter than anything they’ve ever produced. The material is thicker at the pinnacle tube to offer strength, but tapers out within the middle and sides, which Bradley says helps with weight financial savings and vibration. (As vibrations move by means of completely different wall thicknesses, the frequency changes, dampening the reverb you’re feeling).
My solely other hardtail is a house-built aluminum hardtail singlespeed with a 100mm fork, so it was laborious to do an A/B comparison on the new expertise. But as an entire, the Womble feels gentle, playful, and up for a mega day within the saddle or an epic bikepacking journey. It’s the rig I reached for after i had large multi trail-system day deliberate, and when I was cruising dirt roads. It’s also the primary bike I ever cleared a tabletop soar line on.
Specs and remaining ideas
The Womble I examined was Moots’ premium build, with a SRAM X01 Eagle AXS groupset (dedicated 1×12 with room to run a 32T chainring), a SRAM DUB threaded backside bracket, and SRAM G2 Ultimate brakes. With Chris King hubs and headset, an oil-slick chain and Moots’ jaunty alligator head badge perched out entrance like a figurehead on a Spanish galleon, this bike has flair-particularly in the brand new bead-blasted “Facet” finish, inspired by artists like Paul Klee and Bridget Riley. It’s not overdone, although; like most Moots designs, the Womble is all class.
It’s also expensive. The premium build comes in at $9,703, with the 100 ENVE M630 or M635 wheels (with Chris King hubs) including an extra $1,100. (Which, honestly, most likely explains why Moots followers are inclined to skew barely older.) Alternatively, you can pick up a body for $3,749.
Would this bike be as much enjoyable built up with out its premium parts and in-home machined frame fittings? Yes. Yes, it might. Would different riders nonetheless turn their heads to give it a second look? Yes. And it’s definitely worth considering a body solely, if you’re hardtail-curious. Because whereas this bike would tick all of the packing containers as a sumptuous mid-life disaster, it’s also beautifully built and made to final. And that’s exactly why riders love Moots: They construct bikes you’ll hold onto for a few years. In creating the Womble, Moots took its greatest stab at creating what they assume a trendy hardtail mountain bike will appear to be in 2024-not what they assume Moots riders want in 2021.
And there’s a number of worth in taking that perspective to bike building. To see more on titanium wire; redirect to Writeablog, check out the webpage. This won’t be the most well liked, most progressive bike in the marketplace, but it’s nonetheless a extremely succesful, hugely fulfilling, built-to-endure bike. It’s additionally precisely consultant of what Moots has performed so well for the previous forty years, and what they continue to excel at: crafting stunning, excessive-end bikes that last. It’s additionally a heck of a number of fun to trip-notably with the data that you’ll be throwing a leg over it for years to come back.