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If you didn’t already know it and you happened to be watching the NBA’s Western Conference Finals last week, you learned that retired great Reggie Miller is an avid cyclist and fan of the sport.
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During the Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets game broadcast on September 24, Miller gave a shout-out to Chloé Dygert, who crashed out of the world championship time trial race earlier that day. Although basketball fans may not have known who he was talking about, Miller said it was important to him to use his platform to support an American champion.
“We all held our breath when we saw Chloé go over the railing,” Miller told VeloNews. “I was on the phone immediately with USA Cycling to get updates. I wanted her to feel the love and support back home from all of us.”
In other bike news that may not have made its way around the NBA bubble in Orlando, Miller just got a new bike. When the basketball season ends, his custom Moots Vamoots Disc RSL will be waiting for him at home in southern California.
So, how do you build a road bike for a former basketball great who is also an amateur mountain bike racer?
“From our understanding, he’s been on a gravelly bike and he needs to get back on performance road bike,” said Nate Bradley, Moots’ chief frame designer. “One that will climb fast, be efficient, that he can put power in and it will go forward at a higher rate. For that SoCal style of canyon riding, it will rip up the canyon and still handle the descents.”
Until now, Miller’s go-to bike for road riding has been an XL Santa Cruz Stigmata. So, what’s his plan for the cyclocross/gravel bike?
To use it as intended.
The first step in Miller’s custom bike build process at Moots was to complete a background check of sorts — cycling background, riding style, intended use, those types of things. He then had a professional bike fit at Incycle, a bicycle chain in southern California. Incycle sent the data to Moots, where Bradley sketched up a rough draft of the bike.
Both the background information and the bike fit were integral to the first draft.
“Reggie’s a tall guy but he’s not necessarily proportional to his height,” Bradley said. “He’s also a strong guy, which is what we see with a lot of athletes. They’re very muscular and can put out a lot of power and energy. So, we need to build something that can accommodate that engine and building something they can sit on appropriately.”
At 6’7″ and 185 pounds, Miller is leaner and more flexible than most riders his height. Often, tall riders end up on bikes with sky-high head tubes and handlebars to accommodate their top-heavy mass. Bradley said that Miller’s flexibility and natural riding position made it possible to avoid the issue.
“He can put his shoulders down, get his chest lower and weight balanced toward the front wheel more than taller, less flexible riders,” he said.
Because Miller could weight the front end of the bike, Bradley could make the head tube shorter. Another solution was to use a longer fork — the gravel-centric Enve AR — which is 12mm longer, axle to crown.
Nevertheless, although Miller’s head tube might not be as long as something that a rider of equal high might find, it’s still long. In order to build in enough torsional frame stiffness, Bradley had to make other considerations.
“We used butted tubes on the top and down tubes so we can tune the ride a little differently,” Bradley said. “We can go larger diameter to get stiffness in the steerer area and in the bottom bracket area without making a bike that’s really rigid and uncomfortable. Reggie’s tall and powerful, but he doesn’t weigh a lot for his height. The butt profiles of butted tubing are used to tune the ride to make it comfortable and accommodating but not sacrifice performance.”
Other details unique to Miller’s bike include a tapered steerer fork, oversized headset, 3D-printed dropouts in the rear, and a smaller diameter seat stay. Disc brakes, through-axles, and electronic shifting were no-brainer upgrades from his last Moots road bike.
Never one to sacrifice style points, Miller accented the bike with anodized gold logo details and blue Chris King hubs and headset. Once a Pacer, always a Pacer.
Although Miller is primarily a mountain biker — he was training for the Breck Epic before the pandemic — he’s not planning on permanently abandoning the dirt for the road. He just wanted something more efficient for his high-intensity and high-volume training days.
“I needed a dedicated road bike for intervals as well as my 6-8 hours days in the saddle,” Miller said. “So now I can do more century rides and be in more comfort, and agony.”
Spoken like a true cyclist.