Sea Otter has always been more of a mountain bike show than a road one, but with the lines blurring between the two in recent years, it’s no surprise to see a more diverse spread in the bikes and gear that are showcased in the expo, too.
Dave Turner, of Turner Bikes — long a legend for his US-made aluminum dual-suspension mountain bikes — showed off his latest Nitrous titanium hardtail, featuring dramatically shaped tubes, progressive-but-not-too-progressive frame geometry, and heaps of clearance for the biggest tires you’d ever want to run on a trail bike.
If you want to get off the beaten path wherever you happen to be traveling, Ritchey displayed a fun build for its
Outback Steel Break-Away travel bike, complete with a versatile 1x mechanical groupset with lovely Paul Components Klamper mechanical disc brakes and oodles of polished aluminum goodness.
Meanwhile, Hunt has been busy in the past few months, offering us a preview of its upcoming ultralight (1,200 g!) Aerodynamicist carbon fiber climbing wheels and its Proven range of carbon fiber mountain bike wheels — one set of which supposedly survived this entire season of the Enduro World Series. Despite the purported strength, claimed weights are as low as 1,300 g per pair.
Also in this round are another look at Classified’s two-speed rear hub transmission, some neat builds from Benno Bikes, and some trick road bits from Kask and Koo.
More to come soon!
Turner’s new Nitrous titanium hardtail sports a 66.8° head tube angle and long reach dimensions for a more modern feel. The plate-style chainstay section and dramatic tube shaping boost claimed tire clearance up to 29×2.6″ or 27.5×2.8″ while still maintaining short chainstays. Chainstay length is size-specific, too, ranging from 420-430 mm. The bottom bracket is designed for T47 threaded cups. The dropouts are lovely, as are the welds. The seat tube is rather dramatically flared as it meets the bottom bracket shell. Clearly Dave Turner has opinions on how many bikes you should have. The top tube bag mounts are also a handy place to attach a GPS computer should you prefer to keep it somewhere a little less vulnerable than your handlebars. Thru-axle threads are integrated with the replaceable rear derailleur hanger. Ritchey markets its Outback Steel Break-Away as a sort of go-anywhere, do-anything travel frameset for bikepacking and adventure riding. We’ve reviewed this model previously – albeit in drop bar format – and it’s a favourite of my colleague Iain Treloar in Australia. As has always been the case with the Break-Away, the frame splits into two halves for easier packing, particularly by plane. It even comes with a suitcase to fit. The White Industries crankset and Microshift rear derailleur make for an interesting combination. Looks fun! I’d ride it :) Polished Paul Components Klamper mechanical disc brakes in a beautiful polished finish. Hunt is about to release a whole bunch of new carbon wheels, such as this latest ultralight road model for climbers. Details are sparse at the moment, but the shallow rim and carbon fiber spokes supposedly keep the weight of these down to a scant 1,200 g – and that’s for a disc-brake set, no less. More weight savings come from the newly pared-down front hub. T-heads keep the bladed carbon fiber spoke ends from rotating during truing. The 21 mm-wide hookless rims (internal measurement) are tubeless compatible and adhere to the latest ETRTO guidelines. The new wheels will be part of Hunt’s “Aerodynamicist” range, so aero efficiency is still part of the play. These rims are obviously shallower than others in the Hunt catalog, but they still boast U-shaped profiles that presumably maintain some drag benefit. Also coming in Hunt’s new Proven carbon wheel range are a variety of mountain bike models. These trail/enduro-focused wheels are supposedly just 1,300 g, and survived an entire EWS season. Multiple widths will be available, all with hookless profiles. The rounded shape is said to offer not only a softer and smoother ride, but one that’ll be less prone to tire damage, too. Not a fan of the bold white lettering? Never fear; Hunt will supposedly have a dark option, too. It’ll be interesting to see how well unidirectional carbon fiber spokes hold up for off-road use. Otso – the bike and frame sister brand of Wolf Tooth Components – showed off its new Fenrir stainless steel adventure and bikepacking rig. The plate-style chainstay section boosts chainring and tire clearance on the Otso Fenrir (and it looks pretty slick, too). Otso says it’ll clear a 29×2.6″ or 27.5×2.8″ tire with a 40-tooth single chainring. Sorry, folks, no doubles here. Otso’s Tuning Chip rear dropouts allow for 20 mm of chainstay length adjustment. The tall front end is designed for long days of fully-loaded traveling. Lots of bottle cage mounting options to help fine-tune your frame bag setup. The brushed stainless steel tubes provide a perfect canvas for color accents, no? Ports are provided for an internally routed dropper seatpost, but the rest of the lines are secured externally to the underside of the down tube. Belgian upstart brand Classified was on hand showing off its novel two-speed internal-transmission rear hub. It’s a slick-looking system that we’re going to get to sample ourselves very soon. One intriguing feature is how the guts can be very easily swapped between different hub shells (or wheels), meaning you could potentially have a set for training and a set for racing, but at a lower cost than it might otherwise be if you had to buy everything twice. Classified’s two-speed rear hub is actuated wirelessly, but the company doesn’t have its own integrated controls, nor its own buttons. This one is a modified Shimano Di2 sprint shifter. The transmitter plugs into the end of a handlebar, and incorporates indicator lights and the battery. Signals are sent to the proprietary thru-axle, which are then passed along to the rear hub. The onboard battery is rechargeable, and the threaded ends are interchangeable to accommodate various frame configurations. The planetary gear design requires a torque arm to keep the hub from trying to spin inside the dropout. Kask’s new Wasabi road helmet is finally starting to ship to stores. The novel open-and-close vent presumably helps on the aero front, but it’s meant more to be a way for riders to quickly regulate temperature on the fly. A sample just arrived on our doorstep, so stayed tuned for a review soon. Lots of internal channeling promises good airflow – at least at speed – while the wool-blend padding promises a comfy fit. When the forward vents are open, it actually looks like airflow will be pretty decent. We’ll find out soon enough. Kask’s sunglass sister company, Koo, was showing off its new Supernova sunglasses. They weigh in at just 21 g, and look pretty good. The Zeiss-certified lens promises good optical performance, too. Nosepieces are interchangeable to help fine-tune the fit. The Benno Boost mid-tail cargo bike has been around for a little while now, but seeing it in this configuration just brings up all sorts of fun adventure ideas. Just think about how far you can go with those dual batteries! Benno Bikes’ RemiDemi has often been copied given its compact design. Something like this seems great for urban dwellers.
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