Just over six months has past since writing a post regarding my 2011 Mooto X YBB bike build that ran last summer. That 2011 Moots should have been a keeper and still hanging in my garage, but shortly after the post went live, the 2012 model was announced. Year after year there really hasn’t been any major changes in Mooto X YBB model that would justify the replacement of a frame with less than 1,000 miles of riding. Unfortunately for me (or maybe fortunately for all dirt heads), the 2012 model is a bit different when compared to most other years. There are the obvious changes with the curved down tube and top tube on the 18 and 19-inch models, but it is the other changes that are not as obvious which makes the 2012 model the basis of a much different bike. There were fairly significant changes including the geometry that really made me wish that I had stalled my purchase. Then a chance arose to build a 2012 model and that opportunity was seized upon!
A 44mm head tube, geometry designed around a 100mm travel suspension fork, and the top tube being lengthened along with the curved tubes are all fairly big changes. It was the geometry changes that were the basis of the decision to take the plunge and replace the 2011 with a 2012. During a few races last year and a trip to Ashland, Oregon, one issue kept arising – the entire 80mm of travel available with the Fox F29 fork was being used on the 2011 Mooto X YBB. The travel could have been extended to 100mm, but a 5mm Chris King Tall Base headset race was already in use and lifting the front end would slacken the geometry even more – not something that was desirable, especially when it comes to riding a 29er through switchbacks.
In order to financially make this build possible, most of the components from the 2011 Mooto X YBB needed to be moved over to the 2012 model. A few parts had to be purchased in order to make the transition possible – a headset and a shorter stem. Everything else from the 2011 model could be used. A few other components were upgraded, but those was not necessary changes. The biggest job that needed to be tackled was the Fox F29 fork had to be opened and the 20mm spacer removed to allow the travel to be increased to 100mm. It was also a good excuse to change the fluids. The fork job took maybe 20-minutes to complete, and after striping the rest of the parts from the 2011 Mooto X YBB, the 2012 build could be started.
Before getting into the 2012 model, there is one thing that needs to be noted. Upon disassembly of the 2011 model, there was an issue that some Moots and frankly other mountain bike owners may not notice until a bit of time has passed. If your frame has the pass-though style braze-on mounts for the rear brake line, check underneath the line where it is in contact with the frame. The pass-through style is very clean when compared to the zip tie braze-ons, but they allow the brake line to move forward and backward acting as a file against the frame. This was the case with the 2011 frame – a small groove was worn into the frame in just over six months of use. To address this primarily cosmetic issue one the 2012 build, small Nylon zip ties were cinched down on the outside of the hydraulic line in order to keep the line from moving forward or backward. BONK! Tape is also another option if it will adhere to the curved top tube, but there was none on hand.
Building the 2012 Mooto X YBB was fairly straight forward with no hiccups. A new Cane Creek 110-Series 44mm headset and recently serviced Chris King bottom bracket were installed. Once again the Moots frame was beautifully machined in these areas allowing easy installation. A new K-Edge ACS (Anti-Chain Suck) device was installed with the King BB to help prevent any chain suck damage to the frame.
Though the frame can accommodate a 2×10 setup, a 3×9 setup was used for this build due to budgetary reasons.
The same Chris King/Stan’s Crest 29er wheels were used along with the Moots laid-back seat post from the 2011 build. A new, shorter stem was required due to the longer top tube, so a 100mm Moots Open Trail stem was installed (10mm shorter than the stem used for the 2011 build). This new stem is 10mm shorter than the one on the 2011 model. When comparing the frame geometry of the 2011 next to the 2012 Mooto X YBB, the effective top tube length increased from 23-inches to 23.5-inches or approximately 12.7mm. Shortening the stem by 10mm was ample compensation for this change.
A few other new components that were used for the 2012 build included a Moots titanium bar with an 8-degree bend, Sram Noir crankset, and Avid XX brakes. Once the brakes were bleed, it was time to ride.
The first trails that were hit with the new 2012 Mooto X YBB are fairly smooth, rolling singletrack just outside of Boulder. Like the 2011 model, the 2012 was truly a treat to ride. Pushing faster and faster through the trails highlighted the stability of the new frame and at no time did the Mooto X YBB feel out of control. Diving into switchbacks was not a problem and there was no noticeable unsteer (sometimes a problem of other 29ers). Moots designed the frame around a 100mm travel fork which provides a ‘true’ 80mm of fork travel, since there is always a little travel lost in the sag. This increase to 100mm of travel did not change the handling of the bike, but it was certainly all being happily used.
After a few rides in the area, a trip out to the Fuita and Grand Junction areas of Colorado was in order. The extensive trail network in that area offers many different riding environments including large slabs, steep climbs, loose descents, kitty litter, and flowy singletrack. Mile after mile, the Mooto X YBB gobbled up the trails with the Fox F29 fork easily handling the big hits and the YBB unit smoothing out the rear.
Climbing with the Mooto X YBB was not a problem, up the Ribbon Trail on the first day followed by the Edge Loop on the next. The Mooto X YBB was easy to pedal up these fairly steep ascents, and when a step appeared in the trail, just a little pull on the front end was all that was required to clear the section. The larger 29er wheels handle steps and rocks so much easier than 26er wheels and Moots has dialed the geometry so well, the 29er size does not feel cumbersome.
The descent down the Edge Loop really showed-off the stable geometry of this frame. When looking at the KML files of the ride in Google Earth, there were negative 37-degree points along the loop – these were on the sections that required my stomach over the seat during the descent along on a knife’s edge. Too far to the right and there was quite a fall; too far to the left was a rocky, deep rut. At no point did the Mooto X YBB let me down and went exactly where it was pointed. The 2011 was good on the descents, but the 2012 is even better.
The 2012 Mooto X YBB is another beautifully welded titanium frame from the Moots factory in Steamboat Springs. The beads of the welds are small, tight, and evenly spaced. The head tube, bottom bracket shell, and seat tube are precision machined. The bead blasted finish gives a subtitle finish that shows all of these little details, and the decals, this time around in red, are simple and timeless in their styling. It is simply a beautiful frame!
There is only one gripe with this frame – the YBB rear end. As much as I love the simplicity of the YBB and how well it works, it limits the rear tire width that can be used. It seems that 2.1 is the widest that can comfortably fit. Moots doesn’t hide this fact, and it is just an unfortunate downside of the manufacturing process. The titanium tubes used for the seat and chain stays can not be bent that tight to both work well with the YBB pivotless rear suspension and increase the area where the tire passes through those two stays. This is a minor issue, but still should be noted especially for those who like to run wide rear tires. There are some very good tire choices on the market that easily work with the Mooto X YBB and more choices seem to be always popping up. A WTB Bronson 2.2 on the front with a WTB Nano 2.1 is my personal favorite. Later in the season, the switch might be made to a Nano on both the front and rear for this year’s Leadville Trail 100. When the trails start to get muddy again, I’ll make the switch to a WTB Moto 1.9 as the Nano is awful in the mud.
The 2012 Moots Mooto X YBB is a much different frame from previous model years – it is a cross-country animal. The geometry changes that were made to accommodate a longer travel fork have turned what was already a great frame into an even better one due to the side effect of a slightly longer top tube. Every time the trails are hit on this bike, an ear-to-ear grin develops. The bike just wants to be pushed faster and faster, especially through singletrack. It climbs, descends, and handles extremely well. Those attributes, mated with the 29er wheels, allows the 2012 Mooto X YBB to rip through even the rockiest of trails often found on the Front Range of Colorado. This bike is really a ‘keeper’.
The beauty about purchasing an American made frame from a small builder like Moots is that if the stock frame is not to your exact liking, semi-custom or full-custom options are available. The 2012 Mooto X YBB comes standard with a 68mm threaded bottom bracket shell with an option of PF30. Couplers, slider dropouts, and additional water bottle mounts are just a few of the other options available. After purchasing and riding the 2011 model last year, I really thought that it would be in my garage for years to come. The 2012 model year proved me wrong.
Moots has over a decade of experience building 29er frames and this year’s Mooto X YBB truly highlights this expertise. If you are seeking a unique cross country ride and can swing the price tag of building one, take a look at what Moots has to offer for 2012.
- Geometry designed for a 100mm travel suspension fork
- Curved down tube for fork crown clearance
- Longer top tube for an even more stable ride
- Rear tire clearance still only allows a 2.1 tire width
- Rear hydraulic brake line can rub a groove into the frame
- There is no third ‘con’… the 2012 model is awesome!
Make/Model: Moots Mooto X YBB
Stock Sizes: 18, 19, 20 & 22-inches (18-inch model in review)
MSRP: $3500 (approx.) – frame only
Country of Manufacture: USA (Steamboat Springs, Colorado)