Thomas Callahan a.k.a Horse Cycles is a custom bike builder and knife maker from upstate New York. Thomas's steel bikes are full-on dreamy with a range of road, gravel and MTB. We recently came across his electric-assist hardtail called the Mountain Moto and needed to know more. Let's go.
The lack of e-bike content on this site so far isn't a political statement or a perspective on how I feel about e-bikes. Simply put, I haven't rode many e-bikes and don't really have a lot of opinions about them either way. I do feel however, that they get a bit of a bum rap from a lot of people who like to signal their own authenticity. I love a clean machine and working for my distance as much as any of us. But, I also imagine it might be fun to hit a huge 1000km backcountry trip with an e-bike, assuming of course, you can find a way to charge it.
One of the biggest challenges for me embracing e-bikes is that they just, well sorta look goofy. Similar to how many electric cars somehow need to look dorky to stand out. I've never really adhered to this level of design for attention. Hence, I fell out of my chair when I scrolled past the Mountain Moto e-bike by Horse Cycles on Fuck Yeah Hardtail. It was the first time an e-bike stopped me dead in my tracks and got my gush on. Could this be? A sexy, slack, steel e-mtb!? The idea feels like a whole new thing—and we like it.
After seeing the Moto, we pinged Horse founder Thomas Callahan to know more. We appreciate the time he took to answer some of our questions.
So e-bikes. Yeah. Into it. Of course, there are goobers on e-bikes but there are plenty of goobs on non e-bikes as well. Regardless, I'm into it and that's why I have built numerous, trying to perfect them. This new iteration is very fun and I love fun. The Mountain Moto is stable, capable and most importantly, feels great. It's a great machine to take on a solo ride and explore places you wouldn't be able to get to otherwise. It's not my only bike but it is part of the rotation. I also use it alot for trail building.
The Moto is the fifth e-bike I've made and the second to keep for myself. I wanted something more capable and inline with current progressive geometry—more enduro than trail which was the vibe of the last bike. I wanted a bike that I was proud to ride and was bad to the bone.
It's really a quad. I just am quoting the GT bikes of old I was obsessed with as a kid. The Moto is mostly stiffer all around which is noticeable and feels great in terms of ride quality. Definitely taking notes from Oddity and Black Sheep, GT, and some other great builders.
It's a custom color we mixed up. It is close to a RAL powder coat color I found but there was something that was dead about the powder color. I wanted it to be perfect. It's like creamy Peanut butter!
On the front, I put a 140mm Fox Factory which is silky smooth and rides like butter compared to the last fork I bought from them three years ago. I'm sure the tech is getting better so I got a Fox dropper to match. GX Eagle AXS to go with the whole e-bike vibe.
White Industries sent me a prototype of a new crank arm. It is crazy legit. I love it. Maxxis tires front and rear for maximum trail hug and control. A Paul Boxcar stem, which is the only stem I'll ride on an MTB.
Every bike is made to order. Order them and I'll build them. The easiest way to get in touch is via our website. The price is competitive and starts at $4500 and just under $7k for a complete build depending on the parts chosen.
Get a Mountain Moto here.