27.5, 650B, All Mountain Trail, Durango Bike Company, Moonshine -

Review: Durango Bikes Moonshine 650b

The Durango Moonshine 650b bike against a beautiful Santa Cruz sunset.

The Durango Moonshine 650b bike against a beautiful Santa Cruz sunset.

The Lowdown: Durango Bikes Moonshine 650b

Spending a lot of time with Durango Bike Company‘s founder Jeff Estes and riding the Moonshine 650b a ton, we got to know the bike and the vision behind it. What we have is a US-made, aluminum, Horst Link bike where every component and design choice has a purpose. The result is a capable bike that is feels completely at home in the chunkiest descents and the fastest corners. Suspension is supple and controlled in all conditions we tested. Climbing is a strength too as its 26+ lb weight and well-supported suspension got us up the longest and rockiest climbs.

Stat Box
Fork: RockShox Pike RCT3 160mm Head angle: 67 degrees
Shock: RockShox Monarch Plus RC3/Cane Creek Effective Seat Angle: 73 degrees
Wheelset: Crank Bros. Iodine3/Industry 9 Torch Chainstay: 17 inches
Drivetrain: SRAM XO1 1×11 BB height: 13.3 inches
Bars: Thomson Carbon 12mm rise MSRP: $5,495-$6,495
Stem: Thomson Elite X4 Rating: 4.5 Flamin' Chili Peppers 4.5 Chilis-out-of-5
Seatpost: Thomson Elite 31.6/RockShox Stealth

  • Plush travel for descending and climbing
  • Traditional looks and design not ideal for all
  • Good cornering traction
  • No water bottle in main triangle
  • Excellent in rough terrain at high speed
  • Tall head tube on smaller sizes
  • Top the line components
  • Not carbon, not flashy
  • Monarch Plus shock and Pike fork are top performers
  • Curved seat tube limits dropper post height, makes fitting difficult
  • Personalized builds and service
  • Clean external cable routing
  • Excellent welds and construction
  • Threaded BB for creak free performance
  • Traditional materials and engineering
  • Suited for XC and some enduro racing
  • Made in USA

Full Review: Durango Bikes Moonshine 650b

The Durango Bikes Moonshine is made in the USA, Durango, Colorado, to be exact. Jeff Estes and Wendy Aber fully believe in supporting their local economy and want to source a competitive product using the best components possible. It’s a bit of a throwback without carbon fiber frames and the flashy new paint schemes. But sound construction and the best engineering are harnessed to produce a good mountain bike. They have staff preparing the frame for welding that cut, miter and fixture the frame parts, pivots, links, inserts, and head badges. And they have an expert crew that welds them and puts them together. They realize that for every dollar spent on U.S. manufactured products that an additional $1.40 of economic revenue is generated in other sectors, whereas only $0.60 is generated by foreign parts. These core values are important to Durango Bike Company and its customers.

The Durango Moonshine 650b features tubes mitered and welded in the US.

The Durango Moonshine 650b features tubes mitered and welded in Colorado.

Horst Link suspension

Founder Jeff Estes believes this is the most sound suspension design possible for a mountain bike so he launched the company as soon as the patent laws allowed other manufacturers to jump in the fray. Estes has redesigned and optimized the suspension kinematics to deliver a plush and efficient bike using the Horst Link design.

The Durango Moonshine 650b in the nude finish.

The Durango Moonshine 650b in the nude finish.

Small batch spec agility

These bikes aren’t spec’d and locked in 12 months in advance like big companies. Thus Durango Bike Company has the ability to respond to market demands and component advancements. If a better brake or rear shock comes around, they can quickly change the stock spec or offer it as an option. Thus the Moonshine buyer is assured the best currently available components are spec’d on this bike. For example as soon as Estes validated that the Cane Creek DBInline, RockShox Monarch Plus, and SRAM Guide brakes are some of the best components for this bike, they quickly became available to the buyer.

Continue to page 2 for more on the Durango Moonshine 650b and full photo gallery »

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