As we prepare to ship our Spring Bike Special and Summer Buyer's Guide to press, I'm finishing up last-minute test rides on the top contenders and boxing up stacks of bikes to ship back. Of course we never stop testing (bikes trickle in year-round), but it's a more leisurely process than the daily-bike speed dating I've been doing for the last half year. Over the next weeks and months I'll bring you previews and ride reviews of 2012 bikes and gear from all of our testing.
While I relish being able to take out a new bike on every single ride, this time of year also brings the relief of returning to my personal rides. New bikes are great, but so are my bikes, which have shock pressures, seat height, stem length, and gearing preferences set where I like them. Last night, rather than spend 30 minutes fiddling with drop height, pedals, and bottle cages, I simply grabbed my bike and rode out. Simple bliss. And though my Moots MootoX YBB is going on five years old, it's as refreshing and comfortable as an old friend.
Moots, the titanium wizards out of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, didn't have any new bikes ready in time for us to test, but they showed me through their revamped mountain line when I visited their factory late last summer. They also lent me a Vamoots RSL so I could check out the local road scene, and Rob Mitchell, president of the company, took a day off work to tour me around some of the new trails on the back side of Emerald Mountain. The visit reminded me just how passionate this small company is about making and riding great bikes. Here's a peak at what they have coming:
Of all the new bikes I've seen for 2012, the MX Divide is the one that excited me most (and the one I was most disappointed not to test). This four-inch 29er uses a new linkage, dubbed Fusion Link, that Moots developed in collaboration with the well-known bike-engineering firm Sotto Group. The single-pivot design is reminiscent of many of the successful suspension platforms out there and should yield a highly efficient ride. The MX Divide has all the modern finery (oversize 44mm head tube for tapered forks, PressFit 30 bottom bracket, 30.9mm seatpost), and it shows off Moots' new swoopy lines. It will also be available in a 26-inch version, called the Divide. Both will start shipping in mid-April. Frame with Kashima Coat rear shock, $4,995.