Building off their Routt adventure drop bar bike frame, this prototype Moots Softail gravel bike shows where they think the segment is headed. Designed to offer just a few millimeters of travel using their YBB system, the bike shapes the tubes differently to tune the ride more like what you’d expect from a road bike than their soft tail mountain bikes.

prototype moots softail gravel road bike with short travel rear suspension

Up top, the YBB system looks like normal, hiding an elastomer inside the tubes. Choosing the right durometer is one way they tune it for rider weight…

prototype moots softail gravel road bike with short travel rear suspension

The other is with the chainstays. Rather than flattening them to enhance flex characteristics, they actually ovalized them to be taller where they wrap around the tire. This limits the flex, keeping the bike firmer and controlling the travel. Here, they’re only looking to take the edge off really big hits while minimizing vibrations over the long haul.

prototype moots softail gravel road bike with short travel rear suspension

For now, the design relies on straight seatstays and standard dropouts (rather than the 3D printed titanium dropouts they’re using on the Vamoots RSL road bike), so they’re limited to post-mount calipers rather than flat mount.

prototype moots softail gravel road bike with short travel rear suspension

The bike is still in testing, but they’ve had the foresight to ensure fork crown clearance for things like the Fox AX gravel fork. They know front suspension for gravel bikes is still being sorted out, but at least they’re giving the head tube the proper dimensions to accommodate the added height suspension forks bring. Who’d of thunk “suspension corrected” gravel bikes would be a thing, but here we are.

prototype moots softail gravel road bike with short travel rear suspension

The frame is designed to fit 27.5×2.25 or 700×45 tires.

prototype moots softail gravel road bike with short travel rear suspension

No word on pricing or availability yet, but the spec details seem to be coming together.

MOOTS COLOR ANODIZING OPTIONS

Moots anodized color options for titanium frames

What started as solid logo colors at NAHBS last year has evolved into a full rainbow of custom graphics and hues. And it’s not just for logos anymore, now you can get patterns and colors across the rest of the bike if you’re willing to pony up the coin.

Moots anodized color options for titanium frames

The new premium and signature finishes are done through a process of masking, anodizing and polishing. Different colors are achieved by varying the current running through the fluid.

Moots anodized color options for titanium frames Moots anodized color options for titanium frames Moots anodized color options for titanium frames

While not as colorful, the most complicated of the bunch is this combination of etched, polished and anodized efforts to create a logo with a thin anodized and polished border around the etched letters.

Moots anodized color options for titanium frames

Custom colors start at $525 and go up from there.

Moots.com

20 COMMENTS

  1. I would love to give this a spin for my commute, a mix of pavement, hardpack and some rocky river bed crap. My warbird is awesome for most of it, but really suffers on the rougher stuff. Would love to try this out to see if the suspension helped ,or just robed the advantage on the smoother stuff

      • For the record Firefly didn’t discover that varying voltage when anodizing titanium causes the color of the anodized layer to vary. Hell, in 2002 the Japanese used that idea to vary the color on titanium dentures.

        So the whole idea of direct copying is a bit off.

  2. That design will have some pedalling bob. Can’t easily move the chain stays in line with the top of the chain ring like a mountain bike suspension pivot to reduce this. An elastomer seatpost like the Thudbuster does not have this problem.

    • Yeah, that was always my issue with the YBB, similar softtails, and even old Cannondale Scalpals that had a proper shock and link but with a flex stay. They all use kinematics and an Instant Center that wouldn’t cut the mustard on any proper modern mountain bike, and then try to minimize the shortcomings with limited travel. What you end up with is a bike that still bobs with each pedal stroke a significant amount. It’s like they eliminate the 80% of the travel, but keep the majority of the bob, which isn’t an optimal trade off.

    • ” An elastomer seatpost like the Thudbuster does not have this problem.”

      On the contrary, it does if you choose elastomers soft enough to allow for good performance, and when it happens, it disrupts the relationship between the saddle & BB position (some will notice, most won’t), which a frame borne suspension does not.

  3. As someone who owns a KHS CX 100 soft tail gravel bike, the elastomer is mostly for looks and marketing. It doesn’t do enough to affect the ride quality. You might bounce a bit on bigger hits, but I’ve never noticed an appreciable difference in vibration dampening.

    The biggest problem I’ve has is with the stiffness of the rear triangle. It’s only solidly connected at the BB, so the back end tends to “wag” a bit.

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