Steamboat Springs A bicycle designed here to carry an 18-inch chainsaw, a rogue hoe and a six-pack of beer was a big hit this weekend at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show in Denver.
The concept bike, handcrafted by Moots to equip a rider for a day of trail maintenance, was named the Best Theme Bike at the trade show that attracts more than 170 exhibitors from around the world.
Online voters also gave Moots' bike a People's Choice award.
“It was very gratifying. We never really go to these shows with winning awards in mind,” Moots' Marketing Manager Jon Cariveau said Monday. “Sometimes you go there and you bring a concept bike and you find out someone in California has been working on a similar project. But it wasn't that way this time. It was completely out of the box.”
What started as an idea to make it easier for cyclists to simultaneously ride and maintain trails gradually started to become a reality in August.
The local bike company partnered with Routt County Riders bike club to design the bike that allows a rider to access backcountry trails and maintain them without a long hike or vehicular access.
“It wasn't built to be looked at,” Moots' Butch Boucher said. “Now we're getting ready to ride it and use it in the spring.”
The competition allowed Boucher and other bike designers to challenge themselves to create something a little different from what you see at most bike shops.
For Moots, that meant desiging the bike around larger tires and ensuring it could effectively carry all of the trail maintenance gear, which typically includes more than a half liter of fuel, pruners and a folding saw.
“We always try to bring a unique bike that shows what we can do in our factory,” Moots spokeswoman Cathy Wiedemer said. “Not only does this bike do that, but it has a very practical purpose for the company and the industry.”
Moots wasn't the only bike company in Steamboat to leave the trade show with an award.
Kent Eriksen Cycles earned accolades in the Best Titanium Construction category.
Boucher doesn't see Moots' trail maintenance bike being replicated in large quantities anytime soon. But he acknowledged some bike concepts can overcome some initial skepticism and become popular with consumers.
“When the first snow bike got built in this shop, I didn't think there would ever be another one,” he said. “You just never know.”
To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com