Written by Don Seib Monday, 27 April 2009 01:00
Tester: Don Seib, Team Bikeman.com Rider, Certified Bikeman Product Tester
Conditions: Roots, rocks and race courses across New England.
This past season I got back into mountain bike racing for the first time in over 10 years. Because I had not raced in so long I opted to race in Sport class for the first couple races. After two wins I bumped up to Expert for the last race of the year. In New England, the 40-49 Expert category is pretty darn fast and knew my 28 pound full suspension rig wasn't going to be the hot set-up for the 2009 season. To shed some weight over the winter I pulled the trigger on a new Salsa Moto Rapido frame. Salsa refers to the Moto Rapido as their 26-inch wheeled 'go fast' bike. The small frame weighs in at just a whisper over 3 pounds and is a work of art from the welds to the paint and pin striping.
The parts... I love building up new bikes and while I planned to re-use a bunch of older parts, I upgraded more than I moved. My wife refers to this phenomenon as bike math. I built the frame with a combo of XT/XTR transmission, Thomson post/stem, RaceFace Next SL Bar, Chris King Headset, Stans ZTR 355 rims laced to DT240 Hubs, Fox F32 with 100mm of travel, Avid BB7 mechanical discs and topped it with a Fizik Gobi XM saddle. Goal was a durable package that worked well and came in fairly light. End result is a 23.1 pound hardtail which feels even lighter. With full weight weenie wheels, fork and complete XTR group you could get the bike in the 21.5 pound range...which gives me room for more bike math next winter.
The fit and tech... Over the years I've ditched the 130mm stems and long top tubes for bikes which work better in New England's technical terrain. Since the Moto Rapido comes with traditional race geometry I opted for a size small to get the 22.5" horizontal top tube length. To make the small frame work for me I had to compensate with a 410mm seatpost. Going that long you want the best seatpost you can get and with Thomson stuff you have no worries. Last change from traditional race geometry was going with a 100mm fork to slacken the head/seat tube angles a hair. End result is a hard-tail which has excellent manners in technical terrain and fast descending. The carbon seat stays are a thing of beauty, and while looks are important, the carbon stays give the bike a far more compliant ride than a full aluminum rig.
A big two thumbs up for the Moto-R. Notable mentions on the parts spec are the Fizik Gobi XM saddle which is a break from 18 years of Flite saddles for me. The Gobi was super comfortable, has a nice shape and is only 20g heavier than the Flite. The other component which is worthy of mention is the Race Face Next SL Riser carbon bar. Besides being wicked light, the comfort of this carbon bar is really outstanding, and from a durability perspective I've been running one on my seven inch travel free ride/DH bike for two seasons without issue.
Winding Trails is known as a fast roadie type of mountain bike course. Not optimum for a guy who skis 60 days a winter and works his way slowly into the riding season. Anyhow, excuses aside for the poor performance, the course was pretty darn fun. Jill and Chris of Root66 put on an outstanding race regardless of venue. As stated earlier in this review the 40-49 Cat 1 class in New England has some serious horsepower. In the front row of the start were the usual heavy weights, Jonny Bold and Kevin Hines sporting stars-n-strips Corner Cycles jerseys along with their other partner in speed John Mosher. I decided to follow the fast guys out of the gate, and while the pace was fast, it didn't feel nuclear. First lap felt ok and settled into a pace that I thought I could sustain for four laps. Traded spots during the first couple laps with NEBC'rs Mike Good and Wayne Cunningham a couple times. Towards the end of lap two I could feel the wheels on the bus starting to come off. I opted not to carry water and was taking a bottle from my daughter Melissa at the feed each lap. Unfortunately in lapse of common sense I never put a water bottle cage on the Moto Rapido and due to the heat drank a few sips and poured the rest over my head. Bad idea as it was the first very warm day of the year and I had done two laps earlier that day that left me a bit dehydrated. The last lap was everything I could muster just to finish. Ended up 15th of 15 finishers, although with three DNF's I can rationalize I wasn't last.
On the super positive side of things my 12 year old daughter Melissa won her first mountain bike race ever in the first timer 12-18 womens division on her new Carver Mini. To say I'm a proud dad is a huge understatement. She'll be doing a review of the Carver when she's done with her homework. :)
NOW ON SALE!
|Salsa 08 Moto Rapido Frame: XS, Gold. Moto Rapido is our 26-inch wheeled ‘go fast’ bike. Crafted of custom-drawn scandium and ca...|
|Salsa 08 Moto Rapido Frame: SM, Gold. Moto Rapido is our 26-inch wheeled ‘go fast’ bike. Crafted of custom-drawn scandium and ca...|
|Salsa 08 Moto Rapido Frame: LG, Gold. Moto Rapido is our 26-inch wheeled ‘go fast’ bike. Crafted of custom-drawn scandium and ca...|
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