While Fall Outerbike in Moab tends to draw many more riders and vendors as well as provide full access to The Whole Enchilada, Outerbike’s Spring edition is still a nice way to spend some time stretching the legs, pick up where Fall bike releases left off, and excuse yourself from the not-quite-ready trail conditions of Spring. I did not demo bikes, but rather perused the expo, took note of anything new, annoyed vendors, and of course, rode some trail.
Pivot Cycles enjoyed a steady stream of spectators, Yeti couldn’t turn over their line of SBs (Super Bike?) fast enough, and you couldn’t ride five minutes without running into someone all smiles on an Ibis. Interestingly, while the new Mojo 3 was in high demand, the Ripley seemed to garner just as much (if not more) attention. Speaking of running into things, Specialized was there too, but unless you were sentenced to a slog up and down the 4×4 trails, you wouldn’t have felt their presence, as nearly 70% of the Specialized demo fleet were in the form of electric assist. Marin, Cannondale, and Rocky Mountain were also in attendance.
Some smaller, yet no less interesting mountain bike companies were present as well. Durango Bike Co. was in full-force including their Moonshine a la graffiti; Guerrilla Gravity was showing off a prototype of their new Pedalhead, a steel hardtail 29er featuring square tubing that also accommodates a 27.5 plus size tire; and perhaps the most sought after of the little guys was the full squish 29er Riot from Canfield Brothers.
And then, of course, there was the riding. While most demo bikes are limited to Moab’s Brand trails, a complex network of both slickrock and singletrack adjacent to the expo, some demo bikes (and certainly any paid participant with their own bike) enjoyed some of the best Moab has to offer.
We slid into town a couple days early to get our Porcupine Rim on and, although a recent disturbance dropped some snow just below The Rim, we were still able to get it all in by combining the shuttle and an unplanned 3.5-mile jeep road climb. Another new-to-me Moab trail, and one you should bookmark, is named Alaska and lies within the Klondike Bluffs system. Added during summer 2013, Alaska is a four-mile bidirectional trail hanging off the north end of Mega Steps and features an addictive mix of singletrack, slickrock, and amazing views to the east of the bluff. Although Mega Steps is a tempting downhill, we chose it as our climb and ended up circling through Alaska twice in under three hours.
Day one of Outerbike, we were shuttled to the Amasa Back Area trails where most indulged on Captain Ahab. A short connector trail from the Hymasa climb puts you in halfway on the Ahab loop if you’re not interested in the full loop. We did the half option to save some legs for the arduous journey up and around the Amasa loop to Rockstacker and Jackson later that day.
On the second day, shuttles would drop us off at the top of Magnificent 7 where a new section has been added to the top of Bull Run, starting about 50 yards from Hwy 313. This newly-added trail is pedally, fast, and flowy, ending at where Mag 7 used to start adjacent to the 7 Up trail.
Between shuttled rides on some of the best trails in the world, you get lunch. An amazing lunch, I might add. After riding, you get beer (no comment). You’re constantly swarmed by the ever loving grace of a grip ton of mountain bikes, people who love mountain bikes, and all this in the mountain bike capitol of the nation. What else you want?!
When you’re in the market for a new bike and if you haven’t been to Moab, Outerbike is a great introduction to both. Vendor representatives take the time explaining theories behind each of their bikes, will set one up for you, and may even have a little swag to send you on your way. While the shuttles aren’t particularly necessary for all of Outerbike’s trails, it’s a nice way to access trailheads you’re unfamiliar with and connect with like-minded folks.
Fall Outerbike is September 30 – October 2, 2016, and will include a bonus day, September 29, descending The Whole Enchilada.