Moots Vamoots RSL
We spend some time with the Moots Vamoots RSL, a streamlined titanium racer that may be the best titanium road bike on the market
by Marcus Bloom | 24 June 2010
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It’s summer ladies and gentlemen – temps are in the 90’s, tans are finally coming back, and your outdoor activities should be kicking into high gear. Of the various summer activities available, biking has to rank as one of the best. There’s nothing like getting up just after sunrise, heading out for a 20 mile jaunt, and starting the day off with a dose of that beautiful summer air. Not surprisingly, the more Mercedes owners we meet, the more we’ve found that other MB enthusiasts share similar passions for the outdoors, and biking in particular. So we’ve decided that throughout the summer, we’re going to feature a variety of the best bikes and bike gear, ensuring you make the most of your (non-motorized) time on and off the road. If you’re in the market for a new bike or have been contemplating upgrading your ride, you’re going to love it, as we’ve got the best bikes and gear in the industry lined up for your viewing pleasure. Kicking off our summer biking gear, we’ve got a look at the lovely Moots Vamoots RSL, a streamlined titanium racer that in person, looks drop dead gorgeous.
But before I go any further, let me tell you a bit about Moots. Based in Colorado, Moots specializes in hand building titanium bikes, both of the mountain and road variants. Unlike the majority of bike companies that utilize carbon in their high-end frame design, Moots has remained loyal to titanium, citing its unsurpassed ride quality due to its balance of weight, strength, stiffness, vibration damping and durability as the key reason for their material choice. While advocates of carbon and titanium could likely extol the superiority of one over the other from now through eternity, the one thing not open to dispute is the fact that Moots has mastered the art of titanium engineering. Their bikes are exceptionally robust, they’re backed by lifetime warranties, and they’re just plain sexy in an old school, industrialized kind of way.
Which brings us to the Moots Vamoots RSL. Launched in February of this year, the Vamoots RSL is Moots’ premium road bike offering – the crème de la crème of Moots road bikes, if you will. According to Moots, their goal was to to build the lightest and stiffest high performance titanium road bike available while still maintaining the lifetime durability of their other bikes. To make it happen, Moots went to work on an entirely new frame – one that utilized internally mandrel double butted and tapered Reynolds 3/2.5 tubing. By using the new Reynolds tubing, Moots engineers were able to develop a tube set that maintains a very high outside diameter-to-wall ratio, providing significantly greater stiffness at the bottom bracket. Complimenting the Reynolds tubing, Moots added 6/4 titanium micro diameter seat stays, stiffening the rear triangle and lightening the overall frame weight. Next, Moots implemented a C press fit 30 oversized bottom bracket aimed at maximizing stiffness in the bottom bracket and ensuring optimum power transfer from rider to wheel. Even the dropouts – CNC machined 6/4 moots titanium modified breezer-style dropouts – are designed to save weight, with Moots omitting a replaceable rear derailleur in favor of shaving grams off the frame (and improving shifting). All of this adds up to a frame weight 15 percent lower than that of the Moots Vamoots CR (the second most covetable road bike in the Moots lineup), while still offering a heightened level of stiffness and, just as importantly, still backed by Moot’s lifetime warranty. Total frame weight for the 56cm Moots Vamoots RSL comes in an at impressive 1,180g (2.6lb), whereas a complete bike including a Moots branded Alpha Q GS 40 Fork, a Moots RSL Stem and a 30.9 Cinchpost weighs in right around the 14.5 lb mark.
But construction specifications aside, the real question is how does the Vamoots RSL ride? Spending some time with the Moots Vamoots RSL, there’s no question it’s the best titanium road bike I’ve ever ridden. Period. Describing any bike in a single sentence is a difficult task, but if there’s one prevailing sentiment I felt during my time with the Vamoots RSL, I would say that it feels almost as if the Vamoots RSL is an extension of yourself. It does everything you ask it to do, confidently and securely – so much so that you forget you’re on a sub 15 pound bike. It just does everything well. In many ways, this may be the Vamoots RSL’s greatest attribute – its sheer versatility.
From a racing standpoint, the Vamoots RSL is a formidable opponent to any carbon fiber machine. Tackle a steep ascent, and power is transferred beautifully to the rear wheel. The RSL is incredibly stiff, and lateral movement is virtually nonexistent out of the saddle. In no simpler terms, the Vamoots RSL absolutely loves to climb. Downhill, the RSL’s excellence continues, as the Vamoots RSL’s geometry makes it supremely responsive. It tackles corners at high speeds beautifully, and really across all ranges of speed, offers exceptionally nimble handling. Of course, the same can be said for many carbon bikes, but here’s where the Vamoots RSL differs. In addition to its racing attributes, the Moots adds the perfect touch of day-in and day-out usability. In other words, despite being a racer, the Vamoots RSL can be ridden, day-in and day-out, and enjoyed. That’s partly thanks to the titanium frame and its inherent vibration damping abilities, and its partly due to the RSL’s geometry. While the Vamoots RSL geometry is aggressive, it’s not extreme. There’s not the twitchiness found in some other carbon bikes, and there’s not that underlying feeling of uncertainty that, if you lose focus for a moment, you’ll lose control. The Vamoots RSL instills confidence, which translates into better riding, and on longer treks it manages to maintain a level of comfort uncommon on so many racing bikes.
If you remember at the beginning of this article, I told you that Moots’ goal with the Vamoots RSL was to build the lightest and stiffest high performance titanium road bike available while still maintaining the lifetime durability of their other bikes. Riding the Vamoots RSL, I can tell you that Moots has met their goal, as the Vamoots RSL could very well be the greatest titanium road bike on the market. Try one, and you’ll see exactly what I mean. It’s American engineering at its finest, and it’s one hell of a great ride.
Pricing for the Moots Vamoots RSL frame is set right around the $4,300 mark, whereas a complete bike will set you back $6,000+, depending on your chosen component group. Considering the fact you can realistically ride this bike for the next 20 years (or more) with no deterioration in performance, and that makes the Moots Vamoots RSL well worth the price of admission. You can see more of the Moots Vamoots RSL in the gallery below, or view more information about the Vamoots RSL at the Moots website.