First Impressions: Durango Bike Company Moonshine 650b

27.5 Enduro

Durango Moonshine Side

First Impressions

We had the opportunity to meet the owners of Durango Bike Company and try out their Moonshine bike in our local forest. First, we were impressed with the knowledge and enthusiasm that Jeff Estes displayed. He knew every inch, every bolt on his bikes and how they contributed the ‘radness’ of his bikes. As a small manufacturer, he tried to optimize the key details so he could offer a competitive advantage. He also set up the business right with enough capital so he could gain the purchasing power of bigger companies and get the best spec on his bikes. His aim was to deliver really competitive bikes for the money.

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We got to try out the bikes and our first impressions are that the bikes and branding have a little bit of a homegrown feel to it. The logos, colors and lines aren’t quite as dialed as the modern crop of All Mountain bikes, but that may be part of the Durango Moonshine’s appeal to the right buyer with the lack of carbon, internal routing and ‘enduro’ colors. Going through the spec, one notices that every single component is dialed in with Shimano brakes, Reverb post and 1×11 drivetrain. Geometry seems just right too with a 67 degree head angle, 17 inch chainstay and a nice and low 13.3 inch BB height with 160mm of travel.

On the ride, we noticed the seatpost or seat dropper couldn’t drop down very low because of the curved seat angle. So the buyer should absolutely get a dropper post and get the optimal drop seatpost that will allow the perfect seat height for the rider. There is no water bottle mount in the front triangle too, so hydration pack is a must with this one.

Rear Suspension Swing Arm

The rest of our first impressions are mentioned in the video, as the bike delivers the goods as promised. It climbs, rails and jumps well as it has all the right geometry numbers and all the best components. The Horst Link rear suspension with Cane Creek Double Barrel seems dialed in as well, as it was easy to climb with and it seemed so capable on the fast downhills. Again, these are just first impressions, but the Durango Moonshine seemed easy to ride well on fun terrain.

Wendy and Sean Estes of Durango Bike Company

In the video below, industry veteran and Durango Bike Company Owner Jeff Estes gives us the rundown on the Durango Moonshine 650b. Hand-built in the U.S., the Moonshine is a 6.3-inch travel full suspension bike that utilizes a modified Horst Link design most often seen on trophy trucks, Formula 1 race cars and in the motorsports world. Estes tells us this suspension design contributes to a bike that pedals more efficiently on climbs and descends better overall. Simple, lightweight pivots aid in allowing the aluminum six-inch travel bike to weigh in under 28 lbs.

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Specifications
  • Fork: RockShox Pike RCT3 160mm
  • Rear Shock: RockShox Monarch Plus RC3-or Cane Creek DBair CS (optional)
  • Wheelset: Crank Bros. Iodine3- 650b –or Industry 9 Torch (optional)
  • Tires: Schwalbe Hans Dampf TrailStar 650b-2.35
  • Brakes: Avid XO Trail 4 piston 160mm
  • Crankset: Truvativ XO1 1×11 – 175 length
  • Shifters: SRAM XO1- 1×11 trigger or gripshift
  • Front Derailleur: N/A
  • Rear Derailleur: SRAM XO1 Type II Med. Cage 11 Speed
  • Cassette: SRAM XO1 11 speed
  • Chain: SRAM PC-XX1 11 speed
  • Headset: Chris King Angle 7
  • Handlebars: Thomson Carbon 12mm rise
  • Stem: Thomson Elite X4
  • Seatpost: Thomson Elite 31.6 or RockShox Stealth Dropper (option)
  • Collar: Thomson 34.9
  • Saddle: SDG Ti Mountain
  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Price: $5,495-$6,495 (call for option pricing)

For more information visit durangobikecompany.com.

First Impressions: Durango Bike Company Moonshine 650b Gallery
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Durango Moonshine Front End

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Durango Moonshine Rear End

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Durango Moonshine with Cane Creek Double Barrel

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Durango Moonshine Side

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Durango Moonshine Rear Quarter View

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Rear Dropout with Horst Link

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Rear Brake Cable Routing

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Rear Suspension Swing Arm

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Wendy and Sean Estes of Durango Bike Company

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Durango Hooey Fat Bike with Inverted Fork

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Durango Hooey Seatstay

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Durango Hooey Fat Bike

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Sean Estes Brought Some Fine Durango, CO Beers

About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.


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  • Liberty555 says:

    The intro talks about Shimano brakes but the spec lists Av(o)id. Which is it?

  • Shawn says:

    Wow, it’s the fastest, quietest, best descending and most efficient climbing mountain bike. All this time, I’ve been missing out. Who knew!

  • Kitty Bumblenuts says:

    I wish these guys nothing but the best, and a I recognize that the components checklist is awesome, but $5,500 seems like a tough point of entry for a new manufacturer. There is a TON in that price range, and all of it is incredible, and some of them have excellent value to offer, ie Fezzari and Niner.

    Just sayin.

  • Kevin says:

    I really wanted to like this bike. A 6+6 Horst link with a lifetime warranty from a small American Manufacturer. What’s not to love? Sadly there’s a lot to be disappointed with: Craftsmanship, and customer service for starters. I received two poorly welded and misaligned frames. The customer service was great until they had my money in hand. Sadly I can’t recommend Durango.

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