I know there’s a large contingent of riders who prefer all-black bikes (or at least a general lack of bright hues), but if color is your thing, this year’s Sea Otter Classic confirmed recent trends that big and bright is still very much en vogue.
You may also have noticed more coverage of mountain bike stuff from us in the past few days (from the XC side of things, in particular) – and that most certainly is another trend you can count on moving forward.
There’s still a lot more to come from the 2023 Sea Otter Classic in the coming days (and my blood sugar is now back to its normally elevated levels), so check back soon for the latest coverage. And if you need to catch up, you can find all of our coverage from the show
here. I wasn’t expecting to be treated to a mini-handmade bike show at this year’s Sea Otter Classic, but that’s just what I was treated to at the No.22 booth. No.22’s stunningly discreet couplers make me pine for a titanium travel bike. No.22 does some of the best anodizing treatments in the business. The integrated titanium stem (and matching computer mount) are both custom 3D-printed by Silca. The 3D-printed titanium dropouts directly incorporate the disc brake mount so there’s less chance of it warping relative to the dropout as with more conventional multi-piece construction. Note the neatly hidden rear fender mount, too. No.22’s titanium seatmast toppers are also 3D-printed by Silca, and utilize Enve cradles. 3D-printed parts often include intricate internal structures that wouldn’t otherwise be possible with conventional forming methods. This can aid with component strength, but it also allows for handy features such as the built-in hose guides inside the stem shown here. Check out how the threads for the wedge clamp are printed right into the back of the stem body, too. The couplers are works of art in and of themselves. Just a single bolt is all that’s needed to hold everything together since it’s the coupler halves themselves that are shouldering the load, not the hardware. So pretty. One advantage of having carbon forks made to your specifications is the freedom to add fun details like this bolt-on titanium badge. Does it add any function? Definitely not, and if anything, it makes the fork heavier. But it sure does look cool. The anodized-to-match titanium fenders are outrageously decadent. This was absolutely the stuff of my young adult dreams. The matching CNC-machined Manitou aluminum stem. The Chris King headset. The Manitou 4 suspension fork. The Ringlé aero carbon wheels and aluminum bottle cage. So many memories here. Why have just one suspension fork when you can have two? Mountain bike suspension design sure has come a long, long way. These old Control Tech cantilever brakes used a solid wire instead of a traditional straddle cable, with the return spring incorporated in the middle. I never got to use these back in the day, but I sure wanted to. Note the period-correct Kool-Stop brake pads, Panaracer Dart front tire, and White Brothers snap-on supplemental wiper seals. We didn’t use to run bars this narrow because it was aero; it’s because we didn’t know any better. Hayes only produced a few hundred of these purple-anodized Dominion A4 hydraulic disc brakes, and – no surprise – they’ve all been snatched up. If you’re lucky, you might still be able to snag a set at various retailers. Anyone else remember Protaper? Hayes is working to bring the storied brand back to prominence with two ultralight carbon fiber riser bars, both tipping the scales right around 200 g. And of course, there are also aluminum models utilizing a modernized tapered-wall construction that originally earned the brand its reputation back in the day. To aero or not to aero? Kogel’s got you covered whichever way you decide to go with your oversized pulley wheel setup. Although I haven’t yet tried the more conventional design at right, the impressive cage stiffness at least suggests those marginal friction savings might not come at the expense of shifting performance. Purple was everywhere at this year’s Sea Otter Classic – and I’m totally here for it. Chapter2 debuted its Kaha gravel race bike just a couple of months ago, and the stark white paint job on this particular sample sure provides a nice backdrop for some color accents. K-Edge is getting a lot more adventurous with its laser-etched graphics. It perhaps helps that K-Edge’s graphics person is also a tattoo artist, and they’ve apparently let him loose with the laser-etching machine. New from K-Edge is a dedicated puck for Hammerhead computers, complete with a system of shims to get the fit just right on various mounts. Looking to dress up your Bosch-equipped e-bike? K-Edge says these are some of its most popular models. It wasn’t long ago that K-Edge thought the demand for its cyclocross-focused chain guide had dried up, but the rise in 1x drivetrains for road and gravel (plus a refresh with a smaller and more compact cage) has apparently brought these back to the fore. A late puncture may have cost Wout Van Aert a chance at the win at this year’s Paris-Roubaix, but Wolf Tooth’s new minimalist 1x guide at least helped him keep his chain from dropping on the cobbles. This prototype uses a 3D-printed cage for now, but production models will feature more conventional molded construction. Wolf Tooth Components’ latest dropper seatpost remote includes a newly rotation-adjustable lever, more lateral adjustment, and an updated cam with a lighter initial feel. Retail price remains the same as the previous version, which will continue on in the lineup with a nice little discount. In addition to the extra adjustments, Wolf Tooth Components says the new dropper remote is also easier to set up thanks in part to its more accessible cable anchor bolt. Wolf Tooth Components has offered foam mountain bike grips for a while now, but the company is now branching out into lock-on models (with a wide range of color-anodized aluminum collars, of course). TRP dipped its toes into the mountain bike drivetrain market just a few years ago, but is now making a more concerted effort with its new 12-speed system. I’ve got one inbound for a review. The TRP rear derailleur incorporates some novel features, such as the Hall Lock (which firmly keeps the derailleur from rotating at the upper mount), a serviceable clutch, and a pulley cage that can be easily decoupled from the clutch for easier wheel installation and removal. And yes, it also comes in black if gold isn’t your thing. TRP is offerings its cranks in both aluminum and carbon fiber construction, both with narrow-wide chainring technology borrowed from MRP. Regardless of material, retail pricing is a fair bit more affordable than comparable setups from SRAM or Shimano. The 12-speed cassette features aluminum construction for the largest two sprockets, with the rest machined from steel. Worth noting: TRP’s drivetrain isn’t tied to a dedicated chain (this one’s from KMC). Altangle’s unique double-jaw design allows you to set up a light-duty repair stand in a whole bunch of different situations. Altangle showed off a new wall-mount option for its repair stand, providing a convenient (and presumably secure) place to anchor the thing if you don’t already have something to attach it to. Doormate has expanded from its original bar-end-mounted garage door opener to a new top cap model that can control two separate overhead doors instead of just one. They’re currently available for the US, Australia, and New Zealand markets. Very slick. 5Dev is bringing back the CNC vibes of yesteryear with its distinctive crankarm design. The crankarms sure look neat, but I’m also old enough to remember why CNC construction fell out of favor two decades ago. 5Dev is among the first to offer aftermarket chainrings for use with SRAM’s latest mountain bike drivetrains. Lezyne’s new heavy-duty tubeless plug kit is designed to reliably seal the most challenging punctures. The automotive-inspired design plugs the hole itself, but also effectively adds a patch for the whole area of the casing. This looks like it might make for a nice addition to your backcountry pack. Hardwired e-bike lights are a hot category for Lezyne. The new Mega HB-E 2000 (middle) is said to put out a whopping 2,000 lumens on the high setting, and it includes a bar-mounted remote to easily switch between different modes. And yep, that’s really what it’s called. This one probably won’t be ready for another six months or so as Lezyne is awaiting European certification. Looking for some more rear visibility on your e-bike townie? Lezyne says its upcoming Rack Pro STVZO E40 offers a healthy 40-lumen output, but no flashing mode for the US market. This one’s expected to drop around July. What did you think of this story?
😐Meh 😊️Solid 🤩Excellent