16 Oct 2013

NCC X MOOTS MINOTAUR – featuring Whisky Parts Co, Chris King, Shimano, and Bontrager

No Comments FreeRoading, MOOTS

Behold. The Minotaur.

Named after the legendary half man/half beast, this half cross bike/half 29er, half Ti/half carbon, half matte/half gloss wonderbike is fully amazing.

We had started talking to Moots this Spring about a gravel specific bike with some variations from their stock Psychlo-X model. We had some ideas, and they had some ideas, and this is the result of all of those ideas. The idea was simple – wide tire clearance, stone-solid steering, disc brakes, and dark. The iconic Moots logo is always white. We wanted this bike to stand apart, so we procured “Black-out” decal kits for them. The result is stunning. 

The frame is unique in the Moots family for a few reasons. All of these features are available on other models, but this one alone has them all. We knew that we wanted an oversized 44mm headtube to accommodate the ascendant standard of tapered steerer forks. Whisky Parts Co. released their No. 9 fork last year, featuring a 15mm thru-axle instead of a standard quick-release. Paired with the tapered steerer, this would give us an incredibly stable front-end.

Naturally, we went with Chris King hubs, bottom bracket, and headset. Naturally. We also had the good fortune to see the new TRP Spyre become available just in time for this build. The Spyre is one of those designs that come along and everyone wonders why it didn’t come sooner. The dual-pull caliper pushes both brake pads against the rotor evenly. The current standard on mechanical disc brakes is to push one pad into the rotor, pushing the rotor into the other pad. The Spyre is better. It is. 

The Whisky No. 7 rims were also fresh on the market as this was being conjured, so we laced them up. We’ll also be adding Whisky C2 cages as well.

The cable routing was something we wanted to handle differently as well. As is common on gravel-oriented bikes, we wanted full housing placed under the top tube, as opposed to traditional housing placed on top of the top tube (standard for cross bikes). The result is a much cleaner, more weatherproof bike. 

We chose the Schwalbe Smart Sam 29×1.75 tires after a survey of the netherworld for forgotten middle sized tires. The selection of wide 700c tires and narrow 29er tires is smaller than you might think. And we learned gauging a tire’s height is as important as width when selecting a tire from this small category. Some of the tires we considered were simply too tall. Odd. The Smart Sam’s were perfect – a connected center tread with no-nonsense knobs everywhere else. We’re not sure what Schwalbe uses in their tire casings, but it’s magical. Even at full pressure, they ride incredibly smooth. The added volume in this tire devours variables in the road. The Minotaur has a longer chainstay than a typical POX, but it’s still a lively whip. It’s a great ride – one that will surprise you for a bike with this much meat on it’s bones.

We went with Bontrager Race XXX Lite components for stem, seatpost, and handlebar because they are the best performing, lightest, and aesthetically pleasing parts for the dollar. They expanded the Half/Half story into more of the build – they are all half gloss/half matte. The handlebar is the Isozone model, which features added padding under the bartape for better vibration dampening.

We are extremely excited to see more of these come in and go out in the near future. If you’re interested, please give us a call sat 815.758.2403 or shoot us an email. Each one is custom, so we build it to your liking from the ground up. We are honored to work with such a renowned company like Moots to create something unique and geographically relevant like this. We plan on having some iterations of the Minotaur on the floor ready for test rides, so give us a call if you’re interested.

For more pictures, check out our Flickr page.

All photos by Joshua Arends Photography. Hire him. 

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