The story behind Bruce’s titanium Monster Moots is more a tale about a bike that’s no longer here—Bruce’s original custom gravel rig: the Teesdale Monster bike built in 2004 by designer Tom Teesdale from West Branch. The idea for the Teesdale was born out of years of riding gravel, which he started doing in the early to mid 90s as a way of conditioning for single track racing.
Tired of the common hardtails of the day, Bruce collaborated on a design he dreamed up for himself (and a second for fellow rider Greg Aronson, owner of Coffee Hound). The Teesdale started with countless different setups due to its ability to swap not only between flatbars and dropbars but rigid and suspension forks. “It did everything ‘OK,’ but not quite perfect,” Bruce said.
Finding components to work between the different setups was a challenge in the early 2000s. At one point the Teesdale had Campy Record shifters, a SRAM rear derailleur and Shimano front derailleur. “That’s why they called them Monster bikes,” he explained, “because they truly were Frankenbikes. With that setup, “I actually had to change the rear derailleur angle so it would throw right,” Bruce said, laughing. “That’s the kinda shit you do to your own bike to make it work right.”
Over eight years, Bruce would put the aluminum Teesdale through paces few frames would survive: placing 27th in the open mens field at the 2010 Dirty Kanza, several Chequamagon mountain bike races, Leadville 100 and the first TransIowa, to name a few. Bruce then leaned into the singlespeed zone, eventually selling the Teesdale frame to the designer’s daughter. “I actually raced singlespeed for three years and started riding full suspension mountain bikes.”
After the Teesdale was gone, Bruce rode stock geometry bikes all the while chewing on bike specs and what he’d do differently, given the chance. That chance came along in 2015 while talking with previous employee Jeremiah Ganzer, now working for Moots in Colorado. The designing began and in 2017 the titanium Monster Moots hit the gravel.
Built up with an old school XTR 2x crankset with 42/28 chainrings and a newer XTR rear derailleur and newer Di2 shifters, Bruce polished off the build with Roval Traverse SL carbon wheels set up tubeless with the semi-slick mountain racing tire from Vittoria. “I built it not just to be fast, but to be fast and comfortable.”
Like the Teesdale, the Monster Moots can run rigid or suspension forks, “but I have enough mountain bikes that I just haven’t found the fork with the amount of shorter travel that I want.” It can only run drop handlebars. Bruce has yet to put the longer distances on the Monster Moots like the Teesdale, “When I leave here, I’m usually going through the dirt trails of Crow Creek Park and heading straight for the gravel between here and Princeton.
“Sometimes I’ll even take it for a lap at the college. I’m going to be out for at least a couple hours.”
While the Teesdale “did everything OK,” the Monster Moots appears to do EVERYTHING better. “It rides at a level higher,” Bruce explained. “The geometry is better. Everything is better on it.”