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Road Gear

Video review: Moots Vamoots RCS is a beautiful all-road bike

This isn't a gravel bike. It's an excellent road bike that's also right at home on dirt roads.

Basics

A titanium all-road bike with room for 35mm tires. Nine sizes, with multiple finishes and matching titanium stem and seatpost.


Pros

Fairly ideal all-road geometry and comfort; beautiful construction; durability and longevity

Cons

Cost, weight, Enve AR bar + Moots stem = no room for a normal computer mount, no power meter


Size Reviewed

56cm

Weight

17.68lb

Price

$13,399

Brand

Moots


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“All-road” is a wide-open term these days, ranging from race bikes with a bit of tire clearance up to full-on gravel exploration vehicles. The Moots Vamoots RCS isn’t trying to be all things to all people; it’s more road bike than all-the-things-you-can-possibly-do-with-drop-bars.

The Vamoots RCS a a great titanium road bike that’s right at home on dirt roads, with clearance for 35mm tires and geometry that sits between road race and endurance figures. If you never take it off the pavement, that’s okay, too.

Photo: Ben Delaney

Being titanium, it’s not light. This 56cm sample with titanium cages weighs 17.68lbs. Being titanium, the ride quality is calm, absorbent, and lovely for less-than-perfect road surfaces.

Related:

Vamoots RCS frameset and cockpit details

RCS stands for Routt County Special, with Routt County being Moots’ home in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, where some roads are paved and many lovely routes include some dirt roads, too. The RCS is designed for road riding, Routt County style. So, Moots has a new carbon fork designed for 32mm tires (but can handle up to 35mm with clearance) to go along with the double-butted titanium frame that has 3D-printed dropouts for precision alignment and titanium stem and seatpost.

Photo: Ben Delaney

The bike comes in nine sizes (48-62cm in 2cm increments, plus a 55cm), with geometry that sits between twitchy race and slack endurance. Head tube angles, for instance, range between 70.5 and 73.5. The 56cm tester I rode has a 72.5-degree head tube. For context, a 56cm Trek Madone race bike is a steep 73.5, while a 56cm Trek Domane endurance bike is a slacker 71.9. Point is, the Vamoots RCS shoots for a Goldilocks handling. Stack and reach numbers are similarly middle of the road: not too long and low, not too tall and short.

The bottom bracket is threaded, which should keep creaking at bay for the life of the frame if treated right.

You can also get options like a third bottle-cage mount and multiple finishes with anodizing, etching, polishing, and engraving available.

For an additional $550, you can get custom geometry, too.

Parts options and pricing

The Vamoots RCS is sold as a frameset, or a complete bike with SRAM Force ($11,224) or SRAM Red ($12,499).

Panaracer 32mm Gravel King Slick tires come on the bikes, as do ENVE AR Road Handlebars. The bars feature an aero, flat top with a slight flare. I found the bars to be comfortable, but when paired with the wide titanium stem there is no room to put a computer mount on the bar. I used an F3 Mount that integrates into the stem. Just something to be aware of. I mean, sure, you could rubber-band a mount onto the stem — but this is a $13,000 masterpiece we’re talking about here.

Photo: Ben Delaney

For $900, you can upgrade from ENVE’s Foundation wheels to SES AR wheels, which plump up the 32mm Gravel Kings to 35mm.

Riding the Vamoots RCS in Colorado

I did a bunch of rides on the Vamoots, but the best two were a Gravel Rideaway Camp with Lifetime and friends, and then a Zinn Fondo, the longstanding birthday tradition of Lennard Zinn. On the latter, I rode up to Estes Park to meet Lennard and some friends, and then we rode the dirt Old Fall River Road up to the top of Rocky Mountain National Park at over 12,000 feet elevation.

Old Fall River Road is best done on a gravel bike, as conditions can vary from hardpack to mud to snow. But the rest of the ride is a straight road-bike affair. On this ride, the Vamoots RCS was perfect. The 35mm-wide tires offered plenty of purchase and grip on Old Fall, but didn’t feel like sluggish knobbies on the pavement. Similarly, the road geometry was comfortable and efficient for a big ride.

Photo: Dane Cronin

Both Moots and Zinn Cycles are celebrating their 40th anniversaries this year. Lennard was riding a titanium Zinn frame he built, which, like my Moots tester, had a 40th-anniversary head badge.

I ditched the narrow Selle Italia Gravel saddle that came on the bike for a Specialized Power. Other than that, my primary gripe with the bike is the lack of space for a computer mount.

It was nice not to have to worry about nicks or dings on the Moots, when rocks got kicked up by other riders or passing cars. That’s definitely a plus for ti bikes over carbon machines, which of course are substantially lighter and can be sculpted for aerodynamics or other characteristics.

Vamoots RCS vs the competition

Mosaic Cycles founder Aaron Barcheck says it’s hard to screw up titanium. I bet I could. But I believe his point is, humility aside, that titanium has some wonderful inherent characteristics for riding, namely vibration absorption and durability. There are a few boutique outfits like Mosaic, Firefly, Litespeed, and Seven building drop-bar bikes with generous tire clearance. Gravel bikes, though, are probably more common at this point than a 420mm-chainstay road bike with 35mm of clearance like the Vamoots RCS.

Regardless of the particulars of tire clearance and geometry, titanium bikes are not cheap. So the Vamoots RCS isn’t way out of the ballpark for the genre.

Vamoots RCS verdict

I largely tuned out from titanium as carbon fiber was taking over the market, and ti makers that tried to compete on weight ended up with wildly soft and flexy frames. I checked out. A few years ago, however, I hopped back a Litespeed gravel bike and had a minor epiphany: all the forgiving goodness and resistance to flying rocks that made Ti such a great material back in the day hadn’t gone anywhere. And now that all the reputable titanium makers aren’t trying to compete on weight, the bikes can be built to ride really damn well.

The Vamoots RCS isn’t trying to be a gravel bike or a lightweight road race bike. What it is, in my estimation, is an excellent all-around road bike, particularly for riders who like to mix in a bit of dirt roads or just happen to live in a place with a lot of beat-up pavement.