Video review: Moots Vamoots RCS is a beautiful all-terrain bike

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Basics

A titanium mountain bike with room for 35mm tires. Nine sizes, with multiple finishes and matching titanium post and seat post.


Benefits

Quite ideal geometry and all-terrain comfort; beautiful construction; durability and longevity

The inconvenients

Cost, weight, Enve AR bar + Moots stem = no room for a normal computer stand, no power meter


Size examined

56cm

Weight

17.68 lb

Price

$ 13,399

Mark

Theoretical aspects


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“All-road” is a term widely open these days, ranging from racing bikes with a bit of tire clearance to complete gravel exploration vehicles. The Moots Vamoots RCS doesn’t try to be everything for everyone; it’s more of a road bike than anything you can do with drop bars.

The Vamoots RCS is an excellent titanium road bike that is comfortable on dirt roads, with 35mm tire clearance and a geometry that sits between road racing and endurance tricks. If you never take it off the sidewalk, that’s okay too.

Photo: Ben Delaney

Being made of titanium, it’s not light. This 56cm sample with titanium cages weighs 17.68 lbs. Being made of titanium, the ride quality is calm, absorbent and pleasant for less than perfect road surfaces.

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Vamoots RCS frame and cockpit details

RCS stands for Routt County Special, with Routt County being the home of Moots in Steamboat Springs, Colorado where some roads are paved and many lovely routes also include dirt roads. The RCS is designed for road driving, in the style of Routt County. So Moots has a new carbon fork designed for 32mm tires (but can handle up to 35mm with clearance) to go along with the double butted titanium frame which has 3D printed dropouts for precision alignment. and a titanium post and seat post.

Photo: Ben Delaney

The bike comes in nine sizes (48-62cm in 2cm increments, plus a 55cm), with a geometry that sits between choppy running and soft endurance. The angles of the head tube, for example, vary between 70.5 and 73.5. The 56cm tester I rode has a 72.5 degree head tube. For context, a 22-inch Trek Madone racing bike is a stiff 73.5, while a 22-inch Trek Domane endurance bike is a softer 71.9. The point is, the Vamoots RCS shoots for Goldilocks manipulation. Stack and reach numbers are also in the middle of the road: not too long nor too low, neither too high nor too short.

The bottom bracket shell is threaded which should continue to squeak for the life of the frame if treated properly.

While you can’t get custom sizing, you can get options like a third bottle cage holder and several finishes with anodizing, etching, polishing and etching available.

Parts options and prices

The Vamoots RCS is sold as a frame or complete bike with SRAM Force ($ 11,224) or SRAM Red ($ 12,499).

Panaracer 32mm Gravel King Slick tires are provided on bikes, as are ENVE AR road handlebars. The bars feature an aerodynamic flat top with a slight flare. I found the bars to be comfortable, but when paired with the large titanium rod there isn’t room to put a computer mount on the bar. I used an F3 mount that fits into the stem. Just something to know. I mean, sure, you can attach a rubber mount to the stem – but it’s a $ 13,000 masterpiece we’re talking about here.

Photo: Ben Delaney

For $ 900, you can upgrade from Foundation wheels by ENVE to SES AR wheels, which take Gravel Kings from 32mm to 35mm.

Driving the Vamoots RCS in Colorado

I did a bunch of rides on the Vamoots, but the best two were a Gravel Rideaway Camp with Lifetime and friends, then a Zinn Fondo, Lennard Zinn’s long-standing birthday tradition. On the latter, I hiked up to Estes Park to meet Lennard and a few friends, and then we hiked the Old Fall River Road dirt road to the top of Rocky Mountain National Park at over 12,000.

Old Fall River Road is best done on a gravel bike as conditions can vary from compact to mud to snow. But the rest of the way is a road bike affair. On this ride the Vamoots RCS was perfect. The 35mm wide tires offered a lot of buy and grip on Old Fall, but didn’t look like lazy studs on the sidewalk. Likewise, the road geometry was comfortable and efficient for a big outing.

Photo: Dane Cronin

Moots and Zinn Cycles are both celebrating their 40th anniversary this year. Lennard was riding a Zinn titanium frame he had built, which like my Moots tester had a 40th anniversary head badge.

I ditched the narrow Selle Italia Gravel saddle that came on the bike for specialized power. Other than that, my main problem with the bike is the lack of space for a rack.

It was nice not having to worry about nicks or hits on the Moots, when rocks were being lifted by other runners or passing cars. This is definitely a plus for ti bikes over carbon machines, which are of course much lighter and can be sculpted for aerodynamics or other features.

Vamoots RCS against the competition

Mosaic Cycles founder Aaron Barcheck says titanium is hard to screw up. I bet I could. But I believe his point is, humility aside, that titanium has some wonderful inherent characteristics in driving which are vibration absorption and durability. There are a few boutique outfits like Mosaic, Firefly, Litespeed, and Seven that build drop bar bikes with generous tire clearance. Gravel bikes, however, are probably more common at this point than a 420mm chain-based road bike with 35mm clearance like the Vamoots RCS.

Regardless of the specifics of tire clearance and geometry, titanium bikes don’t come cheap. The Vamoots RCS is therefore not out of the ordinary for the genre.

Vamoots RCS verdict

I moved away from titanium widely as carbon fiber took control of the market, and ti makers who tried to compete on weight ended up with extremely soft and flexible frames. I checked. A few years ago, however, I reassembled a Litespeed gravel bike and had one minor revelation: all the goodness and resistance to flying boulders that made ti such a great material back then. had gone nowhere. And now that not all reputable titanium manufacturers are trying to compete on weight, bikes can be built to ride really well.

The Vamoots RCS doesn’t try to be a gravel bike or a lightweight road racing bike. What it is, in my opinion, is a great all-rounder road bike, especially for riders who like to mix a bit of dirt roads or just live in a place with a lot of choppy pavement.


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