A classic ti bike with a modern twist, the Vamoots CRD captures the joys of road riding: it’s smooth, it’s speedy and it’ll encourage you to go long. Its integration with modern trends does come with some restrictions, however.
Beautifully integrated cables
Timeless Titanium look
Super smooth ride
Lively for a ti bike
Classic round tubing paired with ultra thin aero bars feels like an identity crisis
All integrated wiring, while sleek, can be a bit of a pain to maintain
Electronic Shifting only
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There are few brands I know that get named on cyclists' shortlists for dream bikes as consistently as Moots.
Moots was founded in 1981 by cycle tourer and Mountain Bike Hall of Famer Kent Eriksen in the idyllic mountain town of Steamboat Spring, Colorado, with the belief that every ride should be empowering and inspiring.
And for 41 years now, Moots has been steadily earning a reputation for hand-crafting some of the finest titanium bikes and components on the market.
In a time when other performance brands switched to carbon, Eriksen maintained the belief that only titanium can provide the best performance and ride quality. And while the brand has innovated and modernized its frame designs to stay at the forefront of trends like mountain biking, cyclocross and now, gravel riding, the love of titanium stays true.
And while titanium frames probably won’t ever get quite as light, as aero or as stiff as their modern carbon counterparts, a thousand cyclists turn to Moots every year for a performance bike with the unique ride feel, durability, timeless look and customization only titanium and Moots can provide.
Introducing the Vamoots CRD
Moots today introduced the all-new Vamoots CRD, which stands for Complete Road Design and serves as the new pinnacle of the Vamoots road line.
An on-road performer, the CRD features Moots’ well-loved double-butted RSL (Race Super Light) tubing and is made to go fast, to go long and to handle nimbly.
The CRD also sports 3D printed dropouts to save weight, add stiffness to the rear end and perfect brake caliper alignment.
The front-end is perhaps the biggest head-turner with an all-new integrated cockpit featuring Enve bars and a Chris King Aeroset 3 to completely hide the brake cables and housing for sharp lines and super clean look.
The CRD is made for the wide open pavement and optimized around 28-to-30c road tires but will clear 32mm tires if you prefer more cushion.
Some highlights of this dedicated, modern, roadie:
- Oversized 44mm head tube
- Chris King Aero 3 headset
- Enve aero cockpit
- Enve fork
- Refined 3D printed dropouts
- Chris King T47 bottom bracket with a 86.5mm shell
- 27.2 seat post diameter
- 42 x 12 rear spacing
- Tire clearance up to 32mm
- Electronic shifting only
- Timeless, brushed finish with customization options
Our review bike came stocked with:
- the beautiful Midnight blue Chris King components including headset, wheel hubs and bottom bracket
- Chris King carbon wheelset
- SRAM Red AXS
- the complete build weighed in at 7.9k on my garage scale
- MSRP: From $13,086.00
The Chris King Aeroset 3
The Chris King Aeroset is not yet available to the public but can be seen in a select few custom builds.
It's a very clever solution to completely hide the brake cables and housing.
To make this happen, the headset cups were widened to 44mm to allow the cables to pass alongside the streerer tube and into the frame's internal routing.
Neatly out of sight, the cables and housing go straight from the levers into the handlebars and stem and down into the headtube between the bearing and the steerer tube.
"It took us a long time to design and refine the Aeroset," Chris King comments.
"These things always take longer than you think, even when you’ve spent more than four decades designing headsets. This is the first we designed to make way for cables to pass through...and any time you put holes in a piece of metal, you reduce its strength and fatigue life, so this was enormous engineering challenge."
The end result, while beefy, is also incredibly clean and the cables are indeed, completely out of sight.
I did take it apart, of course, to have a closer look. Like any integrated cable routing, it looks good and clean but it's not very user- or maintenance-friendly. Moots has also limited the build to electronic groupsets only and relies on the Enve cockpit.
Ride feel and handling
Lighter than steel, stronger than aluminium, easier to work with than carbon, and more durable than all thanks to its non-corrosive and infatigable properties, titanium is an ideal material for bikes.
Even if the pro peloton races exclusively on carbon bikes these days, ti bike owners will wax poetically about the almost mythical ride quality that titanium offers. And admittedly, for good reason: titanium, especially in the hands of experienced bike builders like Moots, offers a beautiful blend of liveliness and all-day comfort.
With that said, there’s no doubt that the Vamoots CRD is an absolute performer that would serve as both a capable road racer and endurance steed alike.
I spent my week with the bike, trying to find dry spells amid the autumn rain to put this beauty to the test. Mother Nature wasn’t in too generous a mood but I did get in at least one dry window for some hill repeats and flat-out riding without needing to clip on a fender or being hindered by the need to slow down in wet corners.
Between the buttery Chris King bearings throughout the build and the titanium frame and seatpost, the riding is simply smooth. But it certainly isn’t dull either. While the titanium flexes in all the right spots, the solid, 3D-printed dropouts, T47 bottom bracket, Chris King carbon hoops and carbon Enve fork and cockpit add stiffness where it matters. As a package, the Vamoots CRD is a pleasantly spry, relatively responsive ride with noticeably crisp and nimble handling.
With a 72-degree headtube angle (not unlike my Liv Langma) and a mid-trail length, steering is aggressive and responsive. Getting low on those high-speed descents and tight corners, the CRD handled like a natural racer.
While on the flats and undulating terrain, the bike simply goes —enabling you, even asking you, to go longer.
No, it may not have the same snap or featherweight of a carbon race steed, but the Vamoots CRD can certainly hold its own among the “magic plastic” pack. More importantly, it’ll treat you much nicer and last you a lifetime.
Where on one hand the Vamoots CRD provides a beautiful blend of racer and endurance bike, on the other hand it appears to be at odds with itself.
The CRD pairs its elegant, classic brushed silver, smooth welding and round tubing Ti bike aesthetic with a beefy headtube and a very modern, impossibly thin, cockpit of the integrated aero Enve system.
Now, I personally really like the Enve aero handlebars and the way it feels and handles. I can also appreciate the clean look and ingenuity of the hidden cables. Hiding the cables, however, required beefing up the headtube width, which aesthetically sits at odds with the sleek aero cockpit above it. I don't believe the CRD was wind tunnel tested, but it seems to me that the extra width of the round headtube would negate any aero benefits gained from the cockpit. To me, the attempt at following the modern, carbon-led, trends comes at the expense of the Moots elegance.
The limitations of electronic shifting and the Enve cockpit also feel restrictive. But when it comes to performance, the Vamoots CRD captures the joys of road riding: it’s smooth, it’s speedy and it’ll encourage you to go long.
Value & Verdict
With prices starting at 13 grand, the Vamoots CRD is a boutique bike. But prices across the industry have increased rapidly over the last few years and long gone are the days when such prices carry any real sticker shock anymore.
When a high-end stock bike from the largest manufacturers cost as much as a custom, hand-built bike from a small-batch builder, price isn't the main decision maker anymore.
If you want something that'll perform with the best while offering a uniquely smooth ride, can be customized to you and will last you a lifetime, once again Moots —and the Vamoots CRD specifically— ought to make your shortlist.
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