Bike highlights from the 2016 Sea Otter Classic

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CyclingTips is back from three days of roaming the expo at the annual Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California, and there was no shortage of new gear on tap. Here are some of the complete bikes that caught our attention, with components and accessories in a separate post, here.


Masi Bicycles releases updated 2017 road and ‘cross collection

California-based Masi Bicycles has revamped its road and cyclocross range with no less than three all-new platforms released this year. Headlining the road collection is the Evoluzione carbon road racer, which sports a bigger lower half and slimmed-down upper half with the aim of boosting drivetrain efficiency while simultaneously making the frame more comfortable as well. The top two models also gain advanced TeXtreme carbon fibre for claimed frame weights of just 830g (56cm, unpainted).

Other features include direct-mount rim brakes, convertible internal routing for mechanical and electronic drivetrains, and PF86 press-fit bottom bracket shells. Despite being aimed at competitive riders, official tyre clearance is rated at 28mm — which means wider ones will likely fit, depending on one’s risk tolerance.

Regardless, prices are impressive across the board with even the flagship model costing less than US$6,000 with a Shimano Dura-Ace mechanical transmission, Rotor cranks, Ritchey WCS alloy cockpit components, and Mercury M5 carbon clincher wheels.

Riders looking for similar value with more of an endurance-minded focus can instead look to the company’s more progressive Vivo. The Vivo’s carbon fibre frame features the usual relaxed riding position, 12mm front and rear thru-axles, dual flat-mount disc brakes, wide-range gearing, hidden fender mounts, and fatter tyres (up to 38mm without fenders, or 32mm with fenders) mounted on tubeless-compatible Stan’s NoTubes Grail aluminium wheelsets. Good value is once again a theme with the Shimano 105-equipped model (with hydraulic disc brakes) coming in at a reasonable US$2,400.

Perhaps the most intriguing model in the company’s road range is the steel Legacy Gran Criterium. TIG-welded in the United States with oversized Columbus Life tubing, it evokes the spirit of the old Masi 3V Volumetrica. With a claimed frame weight of 1.8kg (56cm, unpainted), the Legacy Gran Criterium isn’t particularly light, but it’s quite the looker with its classic panelled paint scheme and traditional proportions. Retail price is US$2,300 with a finished-to-match Enve 2.0 tapered carbon road fork, Chris King InSet headset, and Masi cycling kit made by Castelli — not to mention a paint job by Jim Allen, the same man who painted those 3Vs back in the 1980s.

Finally, last year’s aluminium cyclocross bikes are now joined by a carbon fibre family called CXRc. Two models — one with SRAM Force 1, the other with Shimano 105 — will feature the same composite frame and S-bend full-carbon fork, both with 12mm thru-axles, flat-mount disc brakes, internal cable routing, room for 40mm-wide tyres, and modern ‘cross racing geometry with 425mm-long chainstays, 71-71° head tube angles, and 68mm of bottom bracket drop. Retail price ranges from US$2400-3200 and refreshingly, Masi plans to have bikes in stores no later than June.

Focus updates 2017 cyclocross range

Just two years after introducing the revamped Mares range, Focus has given its cyclocross line a modest refresh for this coming season. Carrying over are the basic carbon fibre frame shapes, trick RAT thru-axle design, moulded-in ISCG chain guide tabs, and refined handling. However, the current version’s post mount tabs are now replaced with flat-mount disc brake interfaces across the board, while the all-new fork now uses internal hose routing for a cleaner look.

Also worth mention are the new paint schemes, which add a bit more colour and flare without going too over the top. Single-chainring drivetrains are more prominently featured as well.

The limited-edition Colnago C60 Tricolore

The Colnago C60 debuted just two years ago, yet some might say it was already behind the times. Its carbon fibre lugs and tubes are bonded together with glue, the dropouts are made of metal, it’s somewhat heavy (with a claimed frame weight of 1,050g), and its true made-in-Italy pedigree puffs its cost up to a jaw-dropping US$6,000. And that’s just for the frameset! For others, however, there’s no need to justify the C60’s appeal — and therefore, no need to explain the latest C60 Tricolore edition, of which only 100 will be made worldwide.

The C60 Tricolore is functionally identical to the standard C60 but with an eye-catching gold-accented paint scheme highlighted with the colours of the Italian flag. Colnago will only sell the C60 Tricolore as a complete bike, built with a Campagnolo Super Record groupset finished to match and Campagnolo Bora Ultra carbon wheels. The price? Well, if you have to ask…

Marin brings adventure riding to the masses

It seems there’s no shortage of high-end options to satiate the growing curiosity with adventure and gravel riding. With the promise of long in the wilderness, new roads to discover, and blissful hours off the grid and away from traffic, what’s not to like, right? Well, in some instances, the price tag — particularly for those who are just “gravel curious.”

Enter Marin’s $769 Nicasio ‘Beyond Road’ bike. It’s built around a durable double-butted chromoly frame and matching steel fork, outfitted with a Shimano Claris 2×8 transmission, FSA Tempo compact crankset, and Tektro cable actuated disc brakes. The stock Schwalbe Spicer tyres may ‘only’ be 30mm-wide but Marin says tyres up to 40mm-wide will fit nicely.

Is the Nicasio heavy? Almost certainly, yes. But at well under $1000, it’s also a reasonably easy way to dip your toe into the (gravel) road less travelled.

Franco Bicycles gets grimy with the Grimes Disc

Franco Bicycles cut their teeth on carbon fibre road racers, but the most interesting bike in the range is arguably the Grimes Disc — a bike first previewed at last year’s Sea Otter Classic, but only recently available to prospective buyers. Franco bills the Grimes Disc as a do-all adventure/cyclocross/gravel bike built in Portland, Oregon, with double-butted True Temper chromoly tubing, interchangeable PolyDrop dropouts from Paragon Machine Works for quick-release or thru-axle compatibility, and an oversized 44mm-diameter head tube for straight or tapered steerers.

Those versatility claims are backed with an enormous range of options, too. Buyers can choose from four different forks, nine build kits, and two stock paint jobs, plus an additional option for custom finishes. Don’t get your heart set on the one Franco had on display at this year’s Sea Otter Classic, though. That special one-off collaboration with the folks at Bicycle Crumbs is apt to cost a pretty penny.

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