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To find out, we reached out to our friend Nate Bradley, general manager at Moots Cycles in Steamboat, Colo. Moots is like a sister brand to us because they handcraft high-quality custom bikes with the best materials on the market. And, also like Wagner, every employee doesn’t just work there—they live to bike and are on the forefront of trends. (Gravel biking? Pssht. They were all over that a decade ago.)
Bradley, who started in 2010 in an entry-level position, has done pretty much every job there is to do at Moots, which makes him the ideal guy for running the show. Moots, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, has 12 stock models from which they build custom bikes. The stock model sets the customer in the right direction, and then the designers hone the perfect build from there. And, just like with Wagner Custom skis, you don’t have to be a pro to benefit from a custom build.
“I would say it’s not based on ability or skill level, but on what’s held you back in the past,” Bradley says. Mostly, it’s about comfort. “Getting the fit so that you’re comfortable is one of the hardest parts of cycling. You have aches and pains, and there are all kinds of different factors that need to be taken in. From flexibility to aging or different things that have happened in life. Maybe someone got injured and now one leg is an inch longer than the other leg. We tailor the fit for the individual.”
One other thing that makes Moots unique is their use of U.S.-made titanium tubing for its frames. Making bikes out of titanium allows them to tune the ride with different diameters and wall thicknesses, so people of all abilities and sizes can get the same riding experience.
“We can make a bike stiffer for someone who’s bigger and stronger or light and flexible for someone who’s lighter or less powerful,” Bradley says. “Other companies are looking at the mass-production value, but we know who our end customer is before we even begin to build it. We make bikes for individuals.”
All the design and manufacturing is done at Moots’ Steamboat headquarters. “It’s really important to be able to control and manufacture out of one building,” Bradley says. “We go downstairs and say, ‘What the hell are you guys building now?’ and they come upstairs and look in the fridge and say, ‘What the hell do you guys have to eat today?’” he says, laughing.
The Moots team is super close-knit—27 employees who work and play together. “Everybody’s really good friends,” Bradley says. “We go out camping on the weekend, we ride together a lot, and a lot of our significant others are close. It’s a small town, and that helps the work environment. We make sure our brand is really about our people. So many big bike companies out there are driven by marketing. Ours is driven by culture.”
If you’d like more information or want to order a Moots bike today, go to their website and check it out.
If you want to check out our story at Wagner Custom Skis, read our Interview With Pete Wagner.