We are fortunate enough to be able to ride a lot special bikes here at BikeRadar, but there is something about the sense of unattainable exotica of a titanium bike that still sets the hearts of even the most spiel-weary among us aflutter.
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Moots is arguably the true master of this wonder material — the Steamboat Springs based brand has been producing titanium frames since 1991 and has continued to push the boundaries of what is possible with ti ever since.
The keenest bike nerds may recognize this particular bike — a seriously tricked out Routt RSL — from the oodlesofcoverage it received at this year's edition of NAHBS and it’s just arrived in the BikeRadar offices, destined to spend the next year as Reuben Bakker-Dyos’ long term test bike.
The original Routt received almost universal praise, but some — including BikeRadar — found that the bikes tall head tube and short top tube resulted in a sportive-like fit that was too relaxed for racing and hard riding.
Responding to this, Moots released the Routt RSL (the RSL suffix is used throughout the Moots line to denote race oriented bikes) back in November last year — with 16mm less stack and 9mm longer reach than the original Routt, the fit of the RSL is more in line with a true race machine.
Built as a showcase for the new range of emerald Chris King parts, Reuben’s Routt RSL is exquisitely finished with a colour-matched saddle rail clamp, stem clamp and decals.
After racing last year’s edition of the Dirty Kanza on a Routt 45, Reuben was keen to try out the more aggressive RSL for, well, pretty much everything this season
From a zillion early morning road rides to gravel races, such as the Dirty Reiver and The Distance, and a brand new bikepacking ‘race’ in Galloway this June, he’ll be spending nearly all of his saddle time onboard the Routt RSL.
The Routt RSL is designed to accommodate tyres up to 38mm wide and Reuben plans to run the bike with a huge variety of rubber — from his current favourite 28mm wide Panaracer Gravel Kings for everyday riding to the voluminous 650b 42mm-wide Soma Cazadero tyres for gnarly gravel adventures.
As a man who clocked up over 8,500 miles in all manner of weather last year, Reuben is also the first to admit that his bikes have a pretty rough life and even the most studious fettler would have a hard time keeping up with the rate at which he seems to destroy gear cable housing.
So the move to electronic shifting — Shimano’s top end Dura-Ace Di2 R9170 groupset in this case — which is largely unfazed by even the greatest levels of grimy abuse has been openly welcomed by our resident drivetrain killer.
From the double-pass welds, to the hidden mudguard mounts, matching titanium headset spacers and 3D printed dropouts, the whole bike abounds with countless nice details to oggle at.
Keep your eyes peeled for a first ride from Reuben alongside on-going coverage in the next few months.
- Dura-Ace 9170 complete builds start at $11,699 (approx £9,415 / AU$15,280), with additional costs for the custom features as pictured.
- Ultegra 6870 builds start at $10,059 (approx £8,095 / AU$13,140 ) with frameset', including a Chris King headset, coming in at $5519 (approx £4,440 / AU$7,210),