November 2006 ~ final entry: The Cinco is still the best 5" travel bike we offer for riders under 200 pounds. The most appropriate and needed addition to the following log is that newer Marzocchi All Mountain forks are now prefered on the Cinco due to the shortened axle to crown measurements. The Moots Cinco remains a fine bike and you can read the impressions of our own Cinco shop test bike and demo by reading onward. Since the finalizing of the design for the Dreamride Fully in early 2006, the shop Cinco took a back seat and was sold at the end of 2006. The best way to describe what happened is to say that our shop Cinco was never ridden again after production versions of the Fully arrived in 2006. No one wanted to even look at the Cinco. When we forced them they all said how beautiful it was, but no one ever prefered the cosmetics or the ride over the Fully. We just cannot keep a bike in this category in the same room as a Fully. It's just not fair, and why would we confuse people. We make more money on the sale of a Cinco, but that is not what we are doing here. We are producing and building up the best bikes in each category. The Cinco still rules in the 5" category, but the Fully at 6" of travel weighs much the same and is a much more capable rig. The Fully eats all mid-range to long travel full suspension cross country bikes alive and the Cinco is no exception. The only people who really benefit from the Cinco over the Fully are those who REALLY only need 5" of travel--smaller riders. For everyone else, why ride a 5" bike when the Fully 6" bike weighs the same, costs less with the same componentry, includes custom frame sizing and goes much faster with less effort over every kind of terrain in every setting including mountain singletrack? Hey, these are the facts of life. If you want a titanium front triange on a Ventana rear end at 5" of travel, the Cinco has definitely its place. It is a Moots and that alone is enough to create desire and a bike that will last a very long time. It is the best five inch bike we sell, but once you move up to 6" of travel, five just ain't enough, and what is most important is performance and safety at speed. At six inches of travel, titanium is not enough to keep the bike on a line, so the Fully is aluminum, stiff and rugged.
Post Script Update and 2006 Model Wrap-up 3/27/06: Look for the testing journal below to be edited down soon--Cinco testing has been completed to my satisfaction, at least until 2007 parts arrive. The Cinco has proven itself to be versatile, safe and reliable. Due to fantastic mellow winter weather and a longer-than-expected wait for a new Dreamride Fully, the Cinco was my main ride for December, January and February. Once the Fully was here at the end of February to take over as my main rig, I swapped the Cinco's wheels and tires to bring the bike back down to 25 pounds and put it in the rack with the rentals. After a few days with the Fully I found that I more than preferred the Fully in every situation. Yes, the Cinco is certainly the best titanium full suspension frame available, even if it is not ALL titanium, but I find that an extra inch of travel front and rear always pulls me toward my 29 pound Dreamride Fully--6 is better than 5. For many riders, however, the Cinco may be the best all around mountain bike available. That really depends on your size, intended use and your personal take on titanium's properties, costs and the Cinco's particular geometry, which I find to be extremely versitile. The Cinco MAX is truly a fantastic all-around ATB, capable of just about anything short of Hardcore All Mountain (remember that it can handle most All Mountain tasks just fine, if the rider is under 175 pounds or so). Up until March of 2006 I had to say that the Moots Cinco was the best XC frame we sell and the Cinco MAX certainly the best XC bike we offer, but with the addition of the Dreamride Fully ClimbMAX, the Cinco now comes in second. It remains the best 5 inch bike for riders under 200 pounds, however. That said, aside from worn and fouled brake pads, the Cinco bike has not given me a single problem since the bottom bracket pivot loosened after the first few rides (no more pivot loosening since I tightened it). The following components deserve special mention for being especially friendly to contact points on the Cinco: Moots seatpost. Dreamride bar ends (best ever--not for carbon bars). WTB Power V ti saddle (discontinued in ti version). X.O thumb shifters (incredible and incredibly expensive). Eggbeater pedals (flawless XC). Oury lock-on grips (not recommended for fragile XC carbon bars).
No fooling.Welcome to the Dreamride on-line journal for testing the Moots Cinco frame and parts combos.
This is how I tweak the parts kit for each frame: I buy a frame for myself, put parts on it, then ride. I start with new or old or prototype parts, modified or stock, selecting on-hand components I feel suitable for the bike. I keep replacing parts, substituting parts, modifying parts, tuning, tweaking, until I find a magic balance for my own needs and performance abilities of the frame and matched parts kit(s). I use this knowledge to formulate builds for the frame for specific riders. The Cinco got the parts I had put on another test bike that failed to meet expectations. The Cinco wore these parts well and was soon placed into my quiver of guide bikes.
Day 1 and 2
*A side note for those looking for a quality frame: If an aluminum frame is anodized, run away! When you scratch paint, you are scratching paint. When you scratch anodizing, you are scratching the frame. It might appear to be a harder surface, but it just depends on what is scratching the frame. Painted frames can be repaired to appear original. Shotpeening is a great way to increase strength, but anodizing negates the strength gained through the peening process. It causes lost tolerances. It is also a great way to produce a frame that you CANNOT refinish without etching, further loosing tolerances and strength. Anodizing costs manufacturers about half of what it costs for a good powdercoating. BTW, if you powdercoat a shotpeened frame, you have the best of both worlds. That said, if you get a Cinco MAX we can custom anodize your titanium frame. It is hard for the acid process to erode the tolerance of the titanium material to any great extent. We can also custom paint the Cinco.
On the first ride up Sand Flats and onto a short section of Fins and Things, I stopped to tune the air springs a second time. I pulled the pumps out of my pack and took the picture. I hope someone in the industry will produce a pump that WORKS that will pump up my tires, my fork and my shock. And, remember, I am also carrying two air cannisters and a twist valve. Technically, on this ride, I am carrying five pumps. One pumps up my tires. One is an emergency system for the tires for speedy refill. One pumps up the shock. One pumps up the positive spring of the Marzocchi AM SL. And one pumps up the negative spring of the Marzocchi. The Progressive pump is the only thing that will pump up the Progressive shock. It is a really nice pump, but it costs like a really nice pump (note: Manitou now offers the same Chinese-made pump at half the price). The negative chamber of the Zoke needs a high range pump. The positive needs a low pressure pump. And, you thought using air shocks would save weight. What it does, if you choose to be prepared to adjust or refill the systems with air, is take the weight off of the bike and put it on your back. (I later bought an Answer shock pump for half the price that works fine on the Progessive.)
I digress. Air works great on this frame. It just feels right for it. Why?
I have owned titanium bikes since the early 90's, from the Fat Chance Titanium to the Ibis Silk Ti to several Moots bikes. I love the metal's lasting quality and the Scrooge McDuck feel. Processing titanium from the sand it comes from is a nasty, dangerous process, but dammit, it is a perfect material for a bike frame, and while they are building bombers and bombs out of the stuff, I might as well have a good bike. Titanium has its GOOD purpose and bikes are it--cross country bikes. Fact of life: The front section is a bit "whippy"--meaning it will shimmy and reverberate if you pat or tweak the bars at speed. This is a titanium trait, something maybe the ti freaks don't want me to talk about, but they all know--the inherant resonance of titanium. It works to smooth out the ride, but it can set up a wobble at speed (not a good thing, something to avoid). When you get into all mountain, downhill or freeride equipment, aluminum's stiffness is truly the way to go at longer travel. This is why I have a "no coil" rule on frames like this. I really don't think this frame, or any ti frame, is suitable to a coil spring rear shocks by nature of the feel and limitations of the material. The Cinco, like most ti frames, is built to be light. Light goes with light. Air is lighter than titanium.
The second ride was with "pussies" on an easy, scenic ride with technical slickrock nearby. I played around on while the clients were busy licking their wounds. As for the Cinco, I came to the conclusion that this is truly a MOOTS frame, NOT a Moots AND Ventana. Somewhere on this easy trail I began to feel that classic Moots sweetness as the Ventana rear end merged into the Moots mystique. Eventually the feel of titanium and the classic Moots geometry dominated the experience.
I must admit that when I first saw this frame I worried about flex in the bottom bracket. It does flex a bit, nothing to complain about, but when I really pressed this bike the first time, the pivot behind the bottom bracket loosened up. I took it apart, reassembled with locktite and more torque. It hasn't bothered me since. The Ventana rear end is without flaw and works well with the Moots handling philosophy. The Cinco is a cross country bike that sneaks barely into the All Mountain category, but doesn't belong there. It kicks ass as a TRUE classic mountain bike, something you can take into the mountains and climb all day over roots and rocks. You can race it. You can take it to Hawaii. It wants to be light and it wants to work tight technical singletrack, but is more than happy on a fast fire road. A bit of limited front end flex is something that happens with titanium, as I have said. It's a fact of life with every titanium frame I have ever owned or tested, even the really beefy Fat Chance Titanium hardtail. The tubes on the Cinco seem a bit spindly for a five inch frame, but once on the trail and in situations where a light bike is a real advantage, I realized it's damn well balanced. It is a remarkably agile and light machine. It is the frame that is going to take down the Ellsworth Truth, the Santa Cruz Blurr and especially the Seven Duo. The Cinco has distinct advantages over all others in its class: It has the classic Moots geometry inspired by the Rocky Mountans. It has titanium construction that is unsurpassed in simple and refined execution. And it has a Ventana four bar rear end, the best in the business--no bullshit alphabet soup marketing, just solid, efficient performance that works to keep you on line in even the most ridiculous rough and technical situations, . . . well, it does with a coil shock, anyway.
The Cinco feels more like a Quatro to me
The Moots Cinco is a Truth, Maverick, Blurr and 5-Spot killer. The only frame out there that competes on the same level is the Ventana El Saltamontes, and that is just fine with me. In the realm of titanium, there is no competition whatsoever. Want a race bike? Get the Cinco. Want an All Mountain 5", get the X-5. Want a quick All Mountain 5" frame, get a modified El Salt. Want a custom geometry 5", get a Dreamride Fully (Ventana built, Dreamride designed for specific rider and component balance) As for weight limits, I am going to recommend that anyone over 200 pounds looking for an XC racer, opt for the aluminum of the Ventana built front triangles. For riders under 200 pounds the Cinco is as good as an XC bike gets. This is the best frame for a privateer racer. It will last a very long time and it is light and quick.
Part Two ~ MAX/SuperEgo hybrid parts kit4/5/05 ~ This morning I made the call to switch to a lighter build, figuring it was time to kick this thing a bit. With a switch to a Marathon SL 120 fork I ditched any idea of trying to fit this frame into a Moab bike category. The AM was too much for the rear end and sapped it of its potential for acceleration. I wouldn't rule the AM out, if you want a bit more leg up front for safety and stability sake, but this frame needs something lighter and more attuned to the feel of the rear end, . . . so I swapped the AM for the Marathon SL, and the Easton stem and Race Face seatpost for Moots titanium parts. I cut the fork steerer to match a 110X6 degree stem and the Titec very low rise bar. The bike lost a pound and felt like a rocket on the pavement in front of the shop. At 2PM on a beautiful spring day I took the newly formulated bike North to ride this XC racer with fat tires harder over punishing terrain.
One quick tune up to balance the collection of air springs and I lit out on the trail over soft sand. The bike felt like a feather, perfectly balanced. I had a religious experience right out of the gate, sort of a panic attack. My heart was pounding, but it was like I was not exerting myself, just freaking out over the feel of the bike, the momentum, the acceleration, the lightness and quick handling. I was going really fast--17 miles an hour over soft sand. The momentum of the bike had me in its jaws. I was flying over the sand as fast as I have ever gone in a section of trail that I have ridden hundreds of times. I settled down on the bar ends and kept up the cadence with my heart about to explode. I thought to stop and take a picture of the beach sand, but didn't. I did not want to stop. This is the best sand bike I have ever ridden!!---a total surprise. I had anticipated the sand at the start by setting a low pressure in the front tire. It had a lot to do with the float, but the overall feel of the bike was so BALANCED that I was able to put power down over soft sand at a remarkable speed. An interesting thing happened about three miles up the hill into the sand and ledges. I had settled into a position on the bar ends that kept me completely neutral over both wheels. With very concious minute adjustments I kept the straightest line I have ever been able to maintain for miles. With a gentle pull up or gentle press down on the bar ends I could steer without digging. I was able to steer a controled snaking line in the sand at will. It was uncanny.
I then came to a huge section of rolling slickrock. I stopped at the rut pictured here. I hit it a few times at different speeds. The fork and rear end love this kind of impact (read on). There is a large bumpy sidehill to descend that requires a careful use of brakes. It gets fast with some big hits in the middle. I moved back over the rear wheel and feathered the levers to control speed in the right places. The bike was reasonably stable over this demanding surface. It felt like the light weight cross country bike that it is. I loved the way it worked in the quick, tight stuff, but it was a bit skittish on the swooping surf as it is on the sidehill ripples, as would be expected for a bike with a 71.5 head angle, a spindly fork and a weight of 28 pounds. This bike can weight two pounds less with a change of wheels. The wheels I put on this rig are heavy, with wide Mavic 321 rims, brass nipples and 2.4 tires. They added that bit of stability that I felt on the fast smooth descents and over sand.
What this bike wanted to do at every turn was go UP. This bike climbs like a rocket and is very responsive when pointed up. The very same traits that create a good light weight fast sand bike, build a good climber. If I unweighted the wheels, they would bounce and skip over first impacts. If the obstacle was a smooth rock ledge, I could smack it with the rear wheel with weight back, then forward and the bike would stick like glue and just pedal over. The quick handling meant that I could pick a line around obstacles, but I was always searching for that 18 inch ledge with the rounded peak. It just felt so good to hit them. This made me think of climbing in the Rocky mountains over roots and rocks.
All this climbing had to end with a long rough downhill. The air springs slowed me down and beat me up. The sweet balance of the frame is lost when the speeds go above 20 miles per hour over bumps. If the surface is smooth or with low frequency hits, the bike will zoom. But, if the bumps are small and frequent, you get a massage. Just a week ago I rode this section on my Fully and burned it in 10 minutes. On the Cinco it took twice as long to descend. If only the Fully could climb like the Cinco and vice versa, but hey, that's the way the cookies crumble.
So, this is the best mountain bike and mountain bike racer we sell--for recreational riders under 215 and racers under 190 pounds. It is not the best "All Mountain" bike we sell, but it will more than do in a pinch. There are three better frames in the All Mountain category that we work with, the VENTANA EL SALTMONTES, the THE VENTANA X-5, and the DREAMRIDE FULLY, but if you are looking for a bike to ride in the mountains, this one is the one! It is a very fast and quick handling rig when set up the right way, It is perfect for racing in distance events, cyclocross or a wide variety of cross country courses. It is the perfect privateer racer because you are going to want to ride it all the time and it will handle just about anything as long as you can.
After the long ride, the bike did not seem to mind the thrashing at all, but my upper body was sore. The shorter, tighter air springs of the Cinco reminded me why I run 6 inches of coil travel on bikes I use for this particular trail, and most trails I ride around Moab. Even with help from the AM-SL the Cinco was mean choppy in rough stuff. The Progressive air shock has a personality that is short and snappy and agressive. It will suck up a bump--don't get me wrong. It delivers effective acceleration over most surfaces and it is very effective at gripping the earth on climbs. As for efficient comfort, it cannot compete a coil on a Salt or a Fully or an X-5. When I decided to commit to theMarathon SL I dropped all pretense at categorizing the Cinco as an All Mountain frame. It is not even relevant at this point. Once on the lighter fork, I saw the light. If you want an All Mountain frame, get one made out of aluminum. This frame's air shock and light front triangle demand it be a mountain climber, a fast cross country bike suitable for singletrack and fire roads. It really is a classic mountain bike. Look no further if you want a ti classic.