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Moots Vamoots RSL Riding Notes + Build

See my growing review of the Moots Vamoots RSL. Full test notes coming soon.

Riding background: so far in 2011, I’ve ridden 10,200 miles and over 1 million vertical feet, about 8000 miles of which has been on the Trek Madone 6.9 SSL. I have also tested the Look 695 SR and Look 586 road bikes. Loved the Look 695 SR, disliked the Look 586.

I am absolutely delighted with the Moots Vamoots RSL, which Palo Alto Bicycles tweaked for me with for a test ride (new chain, my own wheels/pads/pedals). The Vamoots RSL climbs great, sprints great with a springiness lacking in a carbon bike, and it descends with a stability and quickness that has to be experienced to be believed. Continued below...

Moots 2011/2012 Vamoots RSL Titanium Road Racing Bike

The Vamoots RSL is not as stiff as the Look 695 SR, but one should not necessarily equate efficiency of a system to stiffness alone. Without any sense of flex, there is a springiness/liveliness to the Vamoots RSL which makes it feel rewarding compared to the unyielding rigidity of carbon. It’s a positive feedback loop that will induce any rider who exults in the sheer physical joy of riding want to stand up and sprint just for the wow of it. Which I did yesterday, several times, and which left me gaping in surprise at just how different (and fun) it felt.

As far as handling down Old La Honda Road (my most ridden ascent/descent), the Moots Vamoots RSL reminds me of a high performance car on the racetrack: sloppy steering inputs are penalized by ending up in the Wrong Place, but skillful inputs are handsomely rewarded . The Vamoots RSL is NOT a bike for those with mediocre bike handling skills, it’s a purebred racing bike.

Yet it is with ease that I can ride without hands on the handlebar on the Vamoots RSL, but can hardly manage it with my Trek Madone 6.9 SSL. Yet the Vamoots RSL steering is very quick and precise and super responsive. I’d rate the enjoyment factor of the Vamoots RSL steering as superior even to the Look 695 SR; the Moots feels racier, more responsive; one can flick the wheel around objects on the road without even thinking about it. It might be a wheelbase and geometry difference; hard to say.

I will not say that the Moots Vamoots RSL outperforms the Look 695 SR on high-speed twisty descents in the sense of stability. What I will say is that the Vamoots RSL is every bit as good, tracks its line perfectly, and is simply MORE FUN, without the sloppy “oh shit” feel of the Trek Madone 6.9 SSL (when one ends up off-line for no apparent reason, e.g. bike handling issues). The Vamoots RSL has a quickness and responsiveness to it that is BIG GRIN time.

But wait, there’s more! Comfort is excellent with the Vamoots RSL— even though the test bike had an aluminum handlebar (which I found extremely uncomfortable on the Look 586), I came home after a 2.5 hour ride feeling as fresh as at the start (in terms of hands, arms, butt).

The magicians at Moots imbue their titanium with a special secret sauce, a view of which I was initially skeptical, but which has now been steadily reinforced in riding my Moots mountain bikes and the Pyschlo X RSL cyclocross bike.

On order

I have ordered the Moots Vamoots RSL frame. I will strip my Trek Madone 6.9 SSL for its Shimano DuraAce DI2 parts, so the Trek frameset is for sale. The Trek is an excellent frame, but the Moots Vamoots RSL suits my riding style better.

Tentative build

Subject to some further investigation.

The SRM Cannondale crankset saves almost 1/2 pound over the SRM DuraAce 7950 crankset, weight being a key consideration for winning the Everest Challenge in 2012. But I need to investigate whether the crankset + rings will shift well with Shimano DuraAce DI2.

I am using Ritchey parts on stem/bar/post to save a little weight and no small cost. The Moots titanium RSL stem in particular is very expensive.

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