If it wasn’t already clear by the explosion of gravel bikes over the last few years, adventures off-pavement have taken firm hold in the drop-bar category. The Moots Routt ESC can take you even further off the pavement, with massive tire clearance and other touches encouraging you to venture further from the city streets.
The Routt ESC joins a lineup of Routt bikes that includes the gravel-race Routt RSL, the gravel exploration Routt 45, and the comfort-exploration Routt YBB. The Routt ESC is intended to go even further off-road, with plenty of tech borrowed from the mountain bike category.
Routt ESC’s adventure features
The big standout feature on the Routt ESC is the massive tire clearance. The bike can fit up to a 2.4-inch tire, placing it squarely in the mountain bike tire realm. According to Moots, the Routt ESC is designed to handle gravel, double-track, and singletrack. That explains the massive tire clearance.
The frame also features 148mm boost spacing at the rear axle, another nod to both mountain bike tech and the Routt ESC’s intended adventure use. On top of that, there are three frame bottle locations and two triple-pack mounts on the fork. You can load this bike down heavy, in other words, for multi-day adventures.
The Routt ESC also features 180mm front brake rotor spacing and 160mm in the rear — yet another bit of spec we see more commonly on mountain bikes. Moots finishes off the frame with a threaded English bottom bracket and oversize tubing to handle more punishment, particularly when loaded down. And the S-bend fastback seatstays allow all that tire clearance while maintaining stiffness for accurate handling.
The Routt ESC also notably has a slack head tube angle, at least compared to other gravel bikes. Trek’s Checkpoint SLR7, for example, features a more road-oriented 72.2-degree head tube angle in size 56cm. The Routt ESC features a 70.5-degree head tube angle in a similar size. That’s not quite mountain-bike-slack, but it’s certainly on the slacker end of the gravel spectrum.
Routt ESC’s build options
Moots offers two build options for the Routt ESC: the AXS Kit and the Neo Retro Kit.
The AXS kit features SRAM’s Force AXS brake/shift levers and a GX rear derailleur. A White Industries crank features a 38-tooth chainring that mates to a 10-50 cassette for easy, wide-ranging gearing.
Moots lends its titanium expertise to the stem, seatpost, and fork. An Enve G handlebar, Selle Italia SLR Boost Gravel saddle, Astral Outback Carbon wheels with White Industries hubs, and King cages round out the build.
All told, the AXS build option costs $12,000. You can upgrade to Moots’s Trans Am finish for an additional $825.
The Neo Retro build kit also gets the Moots Ti treatment at the fork, stem, and seatpost. The rest of the build offers a throwback look, with a polished silver Velo Orange handlebar, Paul Components Klamper flat mount brakes, Velocity Cliffhanger wheels with White Industries Hubs, and a White Industries M30 crankset with a 38-tooth chainring. That mates to a Shimano XT 10-51 cassette. Like the AXS build kit, the Neo Retro Kit comes with King Cages.
The Neo Retro build costs $9,769. You can update to the anodized emerald green finish for an additional $350.
Who is the Routt ESC for?
Moots positions the Routt ESC as an adventure bike, but it seems as though you can accomplish much more than that. Sure, it’s set up to tackle big, gnarly rides on singletrack and doubletrack, so take it bikepacking. But you could also throw on some narrower tires and hit the gravel racecourse with it.
You might want to reserve it for the gnarliest racecourses, though. That slack head angle means the Routt ESC is built for stability, so you’ll sacrifice some pinpoint steering should you find yourself in a tight bunch while racing. For a pure racing machine, opt for one of the more gravel-oriented bikes in the Routt lineup, like the Routt RSL.
- BB: 73MM Threaded
- Seatpost: 30.9mm
- 3 bottle mounts
- Completes spec’ed with 5 Ti cages: 3 King Cages and 2 King Manything Cages
- Max. tire size: 29×24
- Read axle spacing: 148mm (Boost)
- From $9,769 (Retro complete)
- $10,119 with Anodized Emerald Green Finish
- From $12,000 (AXS complete)
- $12,825 as shown with Trans Am Finish
- From $9,769 (Retro complete)