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2012 Moots Psychlo X RSL — vs MootoX RSL

Moots 2012 Psychlo X RSL cyclocross bike

Here I share my thoughts for those riders considering a mountain bike or cyclocross bike, namely the Moots MootoX RSL or the Moots Psychlo X RSL cyclocross bike.

I own the Moots Mooto X RSL hard-tail mountain bike, and it’s my favorite mountain bike— ever. It’s incredibly responsive and fast, handles great, is reasonably comfortable and I can ride it for hours.

I also own the Moots Psychlo X RSL cyclocross bike. It is wonderful for its ability to traverse back and forth between road and dirt— definitely more rewarding on the road than the Mooto X RSL mountain bike, and definitely less comfortable descending rough stuff on the trails, and with less grip.

Hardtail MTB vs cyclocross

A mountain bike is definitely not a cyclocross bike, there are key differences, I’ll list just a few here as I see as relevant between the two Mootses:

  • Mooto X RSL is 4 pounds heavier (21.7) than the Psychlo X RSL (17.7), mostly due to the suspension fork.
  • Mooto X RSL can go faster and safer and more fun on steep downhills.
  • Mooto X RSL with locked-out suspension fork and 40 psi in Schwalbe Furious Fred tires goes nearly as fast and efficient as the Psychlo X RSL off-road, based on my own times on a fixed course. Mooto X RSL is reasonably fast on-road also (with fast rolling S.F.F. tires and 35-40 psi). But not as fun on road.
  • Tire sizes are more flexible on the Mooto X RSL, but the Schwalbe Furious Fred tires are a very similar weight to cyclocross tires. MTB can also take skinny tires or fatter tires or more aggressive tires and the disk brakes make carbon fiber wheels plenty light.
  • MTB gearing is much lower, so one runs out of gears with a 38 X 26 crankset on MTB, but a 50 X 34 or 46 X 39 on a cyclocross bike provides much higher speeds, a big deal on some road rides with steady downhill sections.
  • The Moots Psychlo X RSL cyclocross bike is more efficient and more fun on the road. It can be pressed into duty for a double century (for example), using lightweight road tires. Or one can run 33/34mm knobby tires for highly credible offroad use.


If one must choose (we’re talking $8K - $10K for either bike built up nicely), the decision must take into account the riding planned.

In my view, one can ride the Moots MootoX RSL very much like a cross bike— I believe I do, based on riding both. So arguments for cross-training with road-cycling are legitimate with the Moots MootoX RSL. You see, I ride the MootoX RSL very much like the Pyschlo X RSL already— I rely heavily on balance and finesse, I stand a great deal, I feather the brakes, I finesse-ride, I find the best line as a challenge and game— stuff I enjoyed over many weeks of riding in Moab, Utah over the years.

And yet, what a cyclocross bike does REALLY WELL is traverse road/off-road/road/off-road seamlessly, which can be great fun, and expand the riding envelope to avert boredom (or muddy trails).

What a mountain bike does really well is soak up the rough stuff. If primary riding is on the trail, a hard-tail mountain bike applied occassionally to road use is just the ticket— swap out the tires from light and fast MTB tires.

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