Project MonsterCross – Moots Psychlo-X RSL Disc Brake Cyclocross Bike!

Aaaahhh, project bikes. They can be a great way to test a bunch of products and build up a dream bike for certain situations.

For me, it all started with Cross Vegas last year and getting hooked on the sport. It was time to get a cyclocross bike. I knew I wanted disc brakes and I knew I wanted a frame that would last a lifetime. After all, we test a lot of stuff in a wild variety of conditions, so it had to be a durable frame and be something I’d want to ride year after year after year.

So, way back in February (yes, February!!!) I contacted Moots about building up a custom version of their then-forthcoming Psychlo-X RSL frame. Here it is December and my frame is finally in and starting to get built. Finally.

Bikerumor Project MonsterCross disc brake cyclocross bike with Moots Psychlo-X RSL frame

A size 58 Moots Psychlo-X RSL fresh out of the box.

PART ONE: THE FRAMESET

I wanted this bike to be something I could use year round. It needed to accommodate all manner of everything. Everything except cantilever brakes. I’m committed, it’s disc only. That means no canti tabs and 135 rear spacing.

Why Moots? Besides being sexy as hell, they last forever. I have several friends that are still riding Moots road and mountain bikes and after 10+ years they’re still in love with them. My own time on the Vamoots RSL was a dream. Plus, they offer a level of customization not generally available from mid-sized companies but (usually) without the long wait times of a smaller custom builder. Six to eight weeks is standard. In the case of the new Psychlo-X RSL, Moots was still waiting on the tubing from their supplier, which is what caused the nine month wait from order to delivery. (I received the frame in early November, actually, but as of mid-December was still waiting on the drivetrain and a few miscellaneous parts to be discussed in a future post)

While they offer full custom geometry, I stuck with their standard layout for a size 58 frame. From there, I added Di2 cable ports, fender and rack mounts and full brake hose routing to the rear. Sweetie, look away now. Those extra bits certainly added to the damage:

The upper and lower rack/fender eyelets added another $130 to the total. The ISO brake mount is indeed a free option if that’s all you get, but if you want both Canti and disc mounts there’s a $100 upcharge.

Frame weight is a respectable 1,500g (3lbs 5oz), which should allow for a fairly light build when it’s complete.

Bikerumor Project MonsterCross disc brake cyclocross bike with Moots Psychlo-X RSL frame

FRAME DETAILS:

Bikerumor Project MonsterCross disc brake cyclocross bike with Moots Psychlo-X RSL frame

Up front, Moots uses a 44mm ID head tube. This lets you run an Inset headset with a 1-1/8″ fork or a combination Inset upper cup with outboard lower cup with a tapered 1-1/2″ fork like the 3T Luteus. This adds about 3/8″ to the effective fork height compared to an Inset lower cup, the head angle should be about 0.8º slacker than the stock 73º.

Note the Di2 wire port on the downtube plus traditional shift cable runs on the top tube. I had it built to run both mechanical and electrical in anticipation of future groups.

Bikerumor Project MonsterCross disc brake cyclocross bike with Moots Psychlo-X RSL frame

The top tube starts off flat and rounds toward the seat tube, sort of opposite of what you find on a lot of other ‘cross bikes. Moots’ in-house racer and marketing guy Jon Cariveau says they found that if you’re shouldering your bike near the back of the top tube, you’re in the wrong position. If you’re holding it such that your arm is around the downtube and grabbing the opposite handlebar drop, the bike should naturally land on your shoulder at the midpoint of the top tube or slightly forward.

Bikerumor Project MonsterCross disc brake cyclocross bike with Moots Psychlo-X RSL frame

The top tube will get full length cable housing loops for the rear brake if you’re spec’ing it as a disc frame. So, when hydraulic brakes are the norm, I’ll have to disconnect one end of the system to install them and bleed it.

Bikerumor Project MonsterCross disc brake cyclocross bike with Moots Psychlo-X RSL frame

The top of the seat tube gets a separate piece of tubing with a thicker wall to hold the seatpost securely. Reaching inside the tube, you can feel the lower section butting out and becoming much thinner to save weight. Welds, as with all Moots we’ve seen, are gorgeous.

Bikerumor Project MonsterCross disc brake cyclocross bike with Moots Psychlo-X RSL frame

The Psychlo-X RSL uses a PressFit BB30 bottom bracket. If you’re planning on using a Shimano crankset, that means you’ll have to find a third party adapter.

Bikerumor Project MonsterCross disc brake cyclocross bike with Moots Psychlo-X RSL frame

The Di2 wiring ports open up all through the BB shell, lead into the driveside chainstay and open from the top to go to the front derailleur. Battery mounts are on the bottom of the downtube. The pulley wheel redirects a mechanical shift cable for bottom pull front derailleurs.

Bikerumor Project MonsterCross disc brake cyclocross bike with Moots Psychlo-X RSL frame

The RSL dropouts get a bit of chiseling on the non-drive side to save weight. Di2 wire port on the back of the chainstay has me thinking I could potentially run the rear shift cable internally using a full length housing, but methinks that might add a bit too much friction overall.

Bikerumor Project MonsterCross disc brake cyclocross bike with Moots Psychlo-X RSL frame

Disc brakes mount up via IS tabs. Cariveau says they used IS rather than post mount because they just haven’t developed it yet for titanium. He says it needs a larger landing area than what the Breezer-style dropouts can afford and the bend in the seat stays would have to be different for it to line up correctly. That said, the new MX Divide and Divide full suspension bikes were completely new models for 2012 and do get post mount tabs.

NEXT UP…

Part Two of the MonsterCross project bike will detail the cockpit build, most of which you see here, with full weights, specs and details on why the parts were chosen. From there, we’ll cover the wheels, then the drivetrain, which is still something of a work in progress.

Come off season, this will be an all around commuter and fast-as-hell commuter and dirt road bike. For now, it’s going to be one quick cyclocross rig with eyes on the endurance event put on by our friend Eddie O’Dea: The Southern Cross. Fortunately, North Carolina’s state series runs well into January.

Comments

Sevo - 12/21/11 - 4:24pm

Cool to see you are doing a monstercross project…..but…..I don’t recall Moots cross frames being able to take larger than a 35mm tire in the rear? Or that fork having clearance either. Monstercross tires are typically around 45mm….like the Panaracer FireCross 700x45c tires that are really the tire for such. Conti does make a 42c option that may fit and Kenda a 40c.

Dan - 12/21/11 - 4:35pm

Cool frame. I just with the folks at Moots were more friendly. I wanted a custom frame that incorporated an integrated seat post, so I called to ask what the up-charge would be. Granted, I was still willing to pay up to $5K for a road frame. The answer I got was “That’s stupid and we won’t do it”. Whoa…. this is a custom bike for me I thought to myself and I don’t care what they think, I just wanted to know the up-charge. To make a long story short, they would not do it, and lost a customer.

I have since found another Ti builder in Colorado who would do it and has led me to spend just shy of $15K on frames in late 2010-2011.

Custom is only custom when a company builds for their clients……Moots is missing the boat with some folks.

gary - 12/21/11 - 6:16pm

Monster cross? That would be a Salsa Fargo running 29 x 2.1 tyres

One nice frame with some tidy features. Makes me want to upgrade from my Salsa Las Cruces disc brake crosser

Brandon - 12/21/11 - 6:18pm

As Sevo said, this is a killer cross bike, but no Monstercrosser. Just adding disc brakes doesn’t make a CX bike a monstercrosser.

But, don’t think I’m knocking the bike, that’s damn near my dream bike. Just needs to be labeled correctly….

Bob - 12/21/11 - 6:30pm

Also curious on the parts spec for this but sounds like that is not determined yet?

Dan – Why would you ruin a beautiful frame like this with an integrated seatpost? I respect a company that is willing to say “no we will not build that” even if you think you know best. After 30 years in business and with other companies like Serotta currently going belly up I doubt they are missing the boat(in Steamboat). I am sure five years ago lot’s of people thought they should have been gluing carbon tubes into their titanium frames, but they didn’t cave to that thankfully.

Brendan - 12/21/11 - 7:37pm

Man no integrated seat post? What will your friends think? Might as well be on a Huffy.

Sevo - 12/21/11 - 8:38pm

Gary-the Fargo isn’t a monstercross. Even the Salsa peeps will tell ya that. Monstercross is between a cross bike and a 29er…the Fargo is a dropped bar 29er. really cool rig, but not monstercross

Robin - 12/21/11 - 10:08pm

NIce looking frame, but then Moots frames always are. I had a Moots Compact and it was a beauty to look at and ride. Hopefully Moots will be soon delving into disc brake compatible road frames. I’ll have a Vamoots w/ disc brakes, please.

Dicky - 12/21/11 - 10:14pm

Can’t think of anything witty. Will get back to you.

Notapro - 12/22/11 - 12:58am

Mediocre ride for the price. Soulcraftbikes DirtBomb makes the moots it’s bitch.

Chris - 12/22/11 - 1:47am

This looks like it will be an awesome bike, I’ve built up a similar all-purpose rig myself. However, if I was having a frame custom built, and wanted a rear disc plus rear rack mounts, then I would definitely ask for the disc tabs to be on the chain-stays instead of the seat stays. Mechanical discs in particular stick out quite a way, so you either have to choose your rack very carefully or use extra hardware to make the rack clear the disc caliper. Mounting the disc on the seat-stay makes life a lot easier. I’ll hope you’ll be sharing your solution to this with us.

Anthony - 12/22/11 - 7:30am

Everyone is going to be a hater on personal choices. Its his bike, not a review of what a product manager would spec for the masses. Wait, any option in the world and you did a pulley for the front derailleur? Hopefully you can find a direct mount derailleur adapter and using some thing 2 x 10. See you at southern cross. I will be one with the custom freeman transport with ss couplers wishing I had ordered disc tabs and squeaking with trp 8.2s. This is my actual bike but the company RIP. http://prollyisnotprobably.com/2010/03/31/Freeman-CX-PINP-thumb.jpg ( I also have a pulley front derailleur option, but went with a umlenker from speen. Works really well. This is my thrid set of brakes for this, zero gravity cx, avid shorty ultimates, and now trp 8.2. Happy building!

uglyyeti - 12/22/11 - 8:50am

It would look even better with a red 110.

Tyler (Editor) - 12/22/11 - 10:51am

All, thanks for the comments…I’m excited to share the rest of the build. It’s rideable now, but not quite in final form. Still waiting on some shiny new things.

Chris, I agree, brake tabs on the chain stay would be better, but there are limits to how much Moots can customize (see Dan’s comments). Good feedback for them, though, since they’ve indicated at some point in the future it’s likely they’ll go with post mounts.

Calvin - 12/22/11 - 11:14am

I live in CO and have owned a few Moots, they are worth every penny and they are a very nice company to deal with. I would love to buy one of their new MX Divides, but personally staying married is more important. Jon their marketing guy you reference is a bad ass at cross and is one of those who practices what he preaches. He know the product as he uses it the way it is intended. They also have plenty of other bad ass cross guys racing out here.

I like the comment from the guy who was mad they would not make him an integrated seat tube. To me that shows a lot of class on their part, they do not follow trends, they know what they are good at, and they know what they are not good at. Also why would you expect a company to do something they have not fully tested or engineered?

Tyler who did you have it set up for both regular and electronic? It is beautiful bike, but you need to commit one way or the other. If you are going electronic it just looks so much cleaner without the extra cable stops, the front der pulley, and you need to hid the battery as well.

Steve M - 12/22/11 - 12:07pm

@Dan

Just because you want something and have the dough to spend does not mean than Moots is a crappy company- bravo for Moots for holding to what they know and are comfortable with.

dimples - 12/22/11 - 12:27pm

What’s the reasoning fr the flat end of the T being up front? Wouldn’t you want that near the ST for shouldering? Seems backwards.

dimples - 12/22/11 - 12:28pm

*for and *TT. Darn typing.

Steve M - 12/22/11 - 2:07pm

That screw hanging out of the seat clamp should probably be dealt with before it is coated in thigh meat.

Tyler (Editor) - 12/22/11 - 9:40pm

Calvin, I had it built with routing for both mechanical and electronic because I need to be able to test both types of systems for Bikerumor. Yes, all electronic would be ideal, but at least I can take the pulley and cable tensioner off the seat tube when the time comes!

Mark W. - 12/24/11 - 5:48am

@dimples
throw a bike over you shoulder that is your size and you will find the flat spot needs to around the middle if you want to reach through the frame and to the drop of your bars, like is proper shouldering.

@dan
glad moots didnt do something stupid like that, but can you explain why you want an integrated post so badly? Not making fun, but i doubt anyone on a consumer lever could see any performance advantage from it at all.

i see good stuff here on this one, but i do see the third bottle cage. please tell me you are racing this piece of art, not touring on it.

Robin - 12/27/11 - 11:35am

That’s likely not intended to be a third bottle mount but rather a mount for a Shimano battery…..Di2 or Ui2.

Tyler (Editor) - 01/09/12 - 12:38pm

Yep, it’s the battery mount for Di2…not a third bottle mount.

JimmyDot - 02/12/12 - 10:30pm

Any progress on your project? Looking forward to you next updates, sounds like you are creating my Dream bike (it’s even my size). I am thinking of the Psychio with YYB and disk ready frame.

Mark - 04/01/13 - 9:31pm

Any news on part 2 of this project ?

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