Steamboat’s Moots Cycles, 36 years old, is still making its titanium rides by hand.
Moots Cycles is all about consistency, customization and a devotion to the perfect ride. Since its founding in 1981, the Steamboat Springs company has developed a devoted following, including pro racers Ruthie Matthes and Gage Hecht and bikers in more than five international markets.
What convinces them to choose one of Moots’s 18 models? Each of the 1,000 to 1,200 bikes the brand produces every year is made custom to each rider with parts that come mostly from the United States by a staff that is itself hooked on cycling. “It’s extremely common that the conversation on Monday morning is about the rides that we did, on the bikes that we rode, on the trails or the roads or whatever we trekked and how each bike performed,” says Butch Boucher, Moots president, who joined the company in 1996. “We have guys doing 150-mile rides in order to start another 150-mile ride. They’ll, for instance, ride 150 miles to get to our annual camping trip and then the next day start riding their mountain bikes.”
At the company’s launch in 1981, necessity was the mother of invention for founder Kent Erickson. “He was on a bike tour, ended up here and pretty much ran out of money,” Boucher says. “He figured out this is what he wanted to do, then figured out how to do it.” It was the Why Be Beat (YBB) suspension design—used in Moots’s signature bike, released in 1987—that took Moots to the next level. “That took us from boutique to full-on business,” Boucher adds. And it was the company’s loyalty to what was once a mysterious frame material—titanium—that kept it there.
Even after the rest of the industry moved to carbon fiber, Moots stuck with the light, stiff and durable titanium. “We were experts at it,” Boucher says. “We really like it. We also know we’re building a durable product that we can give a lifetime guarantee to.”
Today, the YBB is one of the most copied suspension frame designs in history, and Moots is recognized as one of the best titanium rides in the world, which explains why Shimano, the largest bike component manufacturer in the world, invited Moots into its Innovators in the Industry group. Sums up Boucher: “This is what we do; it’s who we are. Seriously, it’s cultural.”
2545 Copper Ridge Drive Steamboat Springs
The business: Custom road and mountain bikes
Year founded: 1981