Short Ride on a Fast Machine: the Moots Vamoots RSL

By Karen Brooks

We here at Bicycle Times like to focus on bikes that meet the needs and desires of the common rider, not so much those of a fast racer. But sometimes it’s nice to try a bike that goes beyond basic needs and desires, way beyond, and has a price to match. Like tasting a rare vintage wine. If someone handed you a glass, would you say, “No thanks, I don’t drink that expensive stuff”? No—you’d sip and enjoy. Such was the case when the fine folks at Moots handed me one of their Vamoots RSL road bikes for a spin around Bootleg Canyon at the first day of the Interbike trade show.

First off, as you might expect, this thing is light. I was so enthralled that I forgot to ask how light, but let’s just say I was easily repositioning it for photos with one hand. Next, as you would also expect, it’s fast. The little rolling hills on the paved bike path out of the demo area disappeared underneath me with barely any effort.

Rather than some flashy carbon machines I’ve swung a leg over, the Vamoots had none of the nervous, chattery feeling you can get with lightweight carbon. It was smooth as the finest silk. Instead of yelling at me in an indeterminate European accent to “Allez! Allez! Go faster, you fool!” it whispered seductively in my ear, “C’mon, shift up. Just a little farther. Over the next rise.” I began to imagine showing up to every criterium and Gran Fondo and long group ride and impromptu bike-path race to kick some butt, but in a refined, quiet manner. Yes, I’d be the silent assassin, sneaking up and clicking the SRAM Red shifters up a notch before leaving my competitors in my dust.

Oh, the details: double-butted, oversized 3/2.5 titanium alloy tubes, made in the U.S.A. A Press Fit BB30 bottom bracket joins up all the oversize tubes in the stiffest way possible for efficient pedaling. Slim, elegant seatstays maintain a refined ride. A full carbon, tapered-steerer fork is painted to match that fetching titanium grey.

What does it cost, you ask? Well, if you have to ask… $4,235 for the frame, $4,630 for a frameset including fork, seatpost, and stem. The complete bike I rode, as built, would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $9,000. Hey, still only four digits—that’s a bargain!

Sometimes it’s dangerous, being forced to ride these bikes. I’m now contemplating selling various possessions, including my Moots mountain bike, to own one.

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