The First TBD x Moots Vamoots RSL: A SRAM AXS 1x Race Machine
I’m not sure exactly why, but I have always been drawn to metal bikes. When I was in high school, my first ‘proper’ road bike, purchased used from a local racer with my summertime lifeguarding wages, was 9/11 edition Cannondale CAAD5. It’s been so long that I don’t recall much about the performance of that bike, and perhaps it is nostalgia, but it is the one bike that I regret selling more than any other. In fact from time to time I still scan eBay looking for one of these bikes that hasn’t been eaten away by a decade plus of wear and tear (most are in rough shape these days).
In the fifteen odd years since selling that CAAD5 I have owned a few additional metal bikes including a steel Keith Haring inspired Coarse and a Cannondale CAAD10. But with the general industry shift from aluminum to carbon, I have spent more time riding carbon than metal in recent years. Despite this, if there is one brand of bike that I have watched from afar it would be Moots. The simplicity of their aesthetics and the beauty of their welds has always caught my attention. Which is just one of the many reasons we were excited to partner with Moots for the 2019 season (the opportunity to work with a smaller framebuilder with US manufacturing was certainly another). All of which eventually led to this moment: the arrival of our first of several TBD x Moots Vamoots RSL’s that we’ll be racing this year.
Full disclosure: I have yet to ride this bicycle. In the midst of spending all day Sunday in the rain at the Zach Koop Memorial Crit I have barely even had the chance to mount pedals and cages on it. But what I can say is that I find the bike absolutely beautiful. The welds are nothing short of what you would expect from a builder with Moots’ heritage and reputation. And the polished finishes that I selected (several of the TBD bikes have alternative finishes) have an absolutely brilliant mirror effect. Could I be any more excited by this build? I honestly don’t think so.
Groupset: SRAM AXS 1x HRD with Quarq
Gearing: 48 chainring, 10-28 cassette
Cockpit: Zipp SL-70 bars (44) Zipp Sprint Stem (130)
Wheels: Zipp 454 NSW
Build and fit: ACME Bicycle Co
PS - why did I go with a 1x build on a road bike? Simple: when I borrowed an AXS equipped Tarmac for a few days a few months back I was really impressed with AXS and decided I wanted to make the switch from Di2 for my Vamoots RSL. The only problem was that, for whatever reason, SRAM decided not to manufacture any 2x 165mm cranksets in their first run. Thus, in order to keep my current fit the only option was to go with a 1x crankset. Is it ideal? No, maybe not. But the AXS cassette options provide a surprising amount of range when paired with a 48 chainring - especially given I am a flat lander living in NYC. And going with 1x comes with the added benefit of faster shifting. Of course I’m eager to see how this theory holds up in the real world…