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2018 Sea Otter Classic Tech Round-up

April 26, 2018
2018 Sea Otter Classic Tech Round-up

The Sea Otter Classic is a festival of cycling held annually in Monterey, California, USA and is said to be North America’s flagship cycling festival. In addition to professional and amateur racing across multiple mountain bike and road disciplines, the festival is joined by a large outdoor trade show, which has long been a popular place for American brands to release new product early in the season.

With a solid mix of new mountain bike, road and gravel tech unveiled, thanks to our mates over at CyclingTips, we’ve rounded up our picks of the latest and greatest fresh gear from the Sea Otter Classic, in no particular order.

Syncros Silverton SL Wheelset

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Syncros unveiled what was arguably one of the biggest showstoppers of this year’s Sea Otter Classic in the new Silverton SL carbon wheelset. Aimed at Cross Country (XC) mountain bike racing, the new 29 inch wheelset features carbon fiber spokes that are co-molded together with the carbon rims. Claimed weight is a staggeringly light 1,250g for the set, but yet Syncros says they’re also twice as torsionally rigid as standard wheels, 30% more rigid laterally, stronger than everything else out there, and yet still soft enough radially to not feel brutally unyielding.

Syncros builds each Silverton SL wheel with an eight-piece mold, whereas carbon fiber rims are normally only built with two-piece ones. The spokes are not just made with three different materials, but each layer of carbon fiber is interlaced at the crossings for even greater strength and rigidity.

Rotor Vegast Crankset

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Rotor’s new Vegast road crank is a forged-and-machined version of the company's flagship crankset, the Aldhu. The Vegast uses the exact same chainrings, spindles, and spiders, but with lower-priced and slightly heavier arms. Both the top of the line Aldhu and Vegast are also available in a 1x configuration thanks to the interchangeable spider design.

Ride 100% S2 Sunglasses

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If you noticed Peter Sagan wearing some unfamiliar sunglasses during his Paris-Roubaix win, wonder no longer. 100% launched the new S2 model at Sea Otter. With a fully-framed design with ventilation ports added at the bottom of the lens, the S2 looks to be a little more traditionally styled, by Ride 100%'s standards anyway. Expect the S2 to be available around the middle of May.

Irwin AON Gravel Wheelset

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Irwin Cycling was yet another company debuting a set of gravel-specific carbon wheels at this year’s Sea Otter Classic. The new Aon GX 35 features a 24mm internal width, 1,548g claimed weight, and tubeless compatibility. Retail price is USD$1,550, which includes six-bolt rotor adapters for the Center Lock splined hub shells, a multitude of axle-type end caps, and tubeless valve stems.

Bontrager Aeolus Pro 5 Wheelset

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The Aeolus Pro wheel range, which sits under the XXX range, offers up tubeless carbon wheels in two depths for USD$1200. Each comes in a disc or rim version, and goes through the same impact testing as the more expensive stuff. The disc rim has no brake track. The Pro wheels come in 30mm and 50mm depths, both with 19.5mm internal widths. The rim-brake version gets a brake track that borrows tech from the top-tier XXX wheels. The wheels are priced at AUD$1999 a set for both rim and disc options and will be available around June of this year.

Niner Magic Carpet Ride

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The dual-suspension gravel bike featured above is a final 3D-printed prototype, however, we expect an actual release sometime later this year. Niner was quiet about final specs, including how much travel is at either end, but there will be lockout front and rear. On face value, the Magic Carpet looks incredibly fun, with short chainstays and a tightly tucked rear wheel, plus a relatively slack front end. "It’s the trail bike of gravel bikes," tells CyclingTips' Caley Fretz.

K-Edge ELEMNT Bolt Mount

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K-Edge’s new mount for the Wahoo Fitness ELEMNT Bolt GPS computer follows the same curve as the front of the computer. It’s supposedly more aerodynamic than other GPS computer setups, and is also said to be sturdier than the stock plastic mount, too. It will set you back USD$70.

Marzocchi Bomber Z1 Mountain Bike Forks

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Marzocchi is back. The company, now under the Fox umbrella, is jumping back into the ring with a single crown trail fork and a double crown DH fork. The Bomber Z1 trail fork is basically a budget Fox 36, costing USD$700 instead of USD$900 for the Fox. It uses nearly the same damper and spring internals as its more expensive brother, but uses cheaper (and slightly heavier) uppers and lowers to keep the price in check. We're happy to see this iconic brand return.

Zipp 454 NSW Tubular Wheelset

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Zipp has added new tubular versions of its flagship 454 NSW aero road wheels, in both rim-brake and disc-brake variants. Carrying over are the same features as the clincher version, including Showstopper textured brake surfaces (on rim-brake models), the unique dimpling pattern, printed-on graphics, and the speedy Cognition hubset. Claimed weight for the rim-brake set is 1,435g (640g front; 795g rear), and the disc-brake pair is slightly heavier at 1,515g (685g front, 830g rear). Retail price for either set is USD$4,000 / £3,417 / €4,000.

Knight Composites TLA Wheelsets

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Knight Composites recently released its new tubeless-compatible carbon fiber road wheels and rims, which the company developed with input from Schwalbe. Tyre installation and removal are said to be impressively easy, as is inflation with a standard floor pump. Road tubeless is heading in a good direction.

Knight Composites will offer its new TLA (tubeless aero) carbon fiber road wheels in 35mm and 50mm depths, and in both rim-brake and disc-brake formats. Claimed weight on the rim-brake TLA 35 is 1,430g per pair, and the TLA 50 is 1,510g. Retail price is USD$2,300 per set across the board.

KOO Orion Sunglasses

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Koo continues to expand its range of made-in-Italy eyewear. The new Orion sports a striking dual-lens design, Zeiss-certified optics, and a huge range of lens and frame colors. Retail price is US$200. Sliding bits on the top of the frame provide tunable ventilation, plus an opportunity for some contrasting colours.

Vittoria Terreno Zero and Terreno Dry Gravel Tyres

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Italian rubber wizards Vittoria added two new gravel tyres to its line-up, called the Terreno Zero and Terreno Dry. Both tyres are intended for use on mixed-surfaces, the Terreno Zero looks particularly interesting with its fast-rolling slick center and fish scale-like shoulder tread. Vittoria will offer it in 650x47c and 700x37c sizes. The Terreno Dry is available in the same sizes, as well as a larger 29×2.1″ size.

Jamis 3VO Mountain Bike Suspension

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Jamis debuted a new rear suspension design from Chris Currie called 3VO. The movement of the rear wheel is dictated by two short links – not unlike the Maestro suspension design seen on Giant mountain bikes – but a third link has been added to further tune the shock leverage ratio throughout the range of travel. Currie also says the 3VO suspension system lets the rear wheel move slightly backward initially for a supple feel on smaller impacts and efficient pedaling.

New Continental Mountain Bike Tyres

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Continental has revamped its entire mountain bike range with refined tread patterns and all-new casing constructions. The Continental Race King has always been a fast-rolling tire, but grip wasn’t exactly its forte. Continental hopes to correct that with the newly refined tread pattern. The new Mountain King has also seen an update with the tread pattern designed in collaboration with Adidas, who uses a similar design on its trail running shoes. The Trail King, one of Continental’s most popular models, fills in some of the gaps in the shoulder tread for even more secure cornering.

Cordura nylon is used to reinforce the sidewalls on Continental’s latest mountain bike tires, improving abrasion and cut resistance over the previous models while actually improving rolling resistance. New labeling includes recommended rim widths for a given tyre size, too.

ROTOR Kapic Mountain Bike Crankset

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The Kapic is Rotor’s new flagship mountain bike crank, featuring machined aluminum crankarms that are drilled-out lengthwise to reduce weight, a pared-down 30mm-diameter aluminum axle, and a direct-mount chainring interface similar to what the company introduced on the innovative Aldhu road crankset last year. Add-on bumpers protect both the end and sides of the crankarm, and are available in seven different colors to suit your setup. Claimed weight is 536g with a direct-mount chainring, and retail price is USD$390 (including chainring and bumpers).


Imagery courtesy of CyclingTips

Do you have an insatiable appetite for new-tech? Check out Sea Otter Tech Galleries over at CyclingTips