2022 Sea Otter Classic tech gallery: Cane Creek, Ergon, Ortlieb, and more
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2022 Sea Otter Classic continues with a mix of new products that span a wide spectrum of cycling. This gallery takes a look at what’s new from KOO, Ergon, Ortlieb, CeramicSpeed, Cane Creek, and a number of other random finds.
Cane Creek has taken steps to simplify its range of headsets. The Hellbender Slamset and AER II are now the Hellbender 70 Slam and Hellbender 70 Lite respectively. With the exception to the 70 Lite which uses aluminium bearing races, the 70 range features the same bearings as the company’s 110 series headsets. The premium 110 series still demands a greatly higher price due to its more premium cups and lifetime warranty.
Cane Creek had a number of bikes on display, including a super interesting rim-brake gravel bike from English. Pictured is a LiteSpeed belonging to Cane Creek’s CEO, Brent Graves. And as you may expect, there are a few special parts on it.
Painted to match eeWings cranks? Sure, why not. Also note that anodised spider.
The oil slick ano isn’t something that Cane Creek currently offers. Perhaps a sign of things in the works?
The purple and black “El Real” eeBrakes were a limited edition option in late 2019.
Cane Creek’s latest eeBrake limited release is the El Verde. There aren’t many other rim brakes on the market that make me stop and think about how these would look on my personal road bike.
Pirelli recently started manufacturing its own tyres in Italy (previously done by Hutchison in France). The P-Zero Race 4S is the first model out of the new factory, with more expected to follow as the company ramps up its production capabilities. The P Zero Race 4S is Pirelli’s all-season road tyre, it’s currently only available in clincher, but a tubeless version is expected to follow.
CamelBak recently launched a new line of zip-closure hydration bladders. The Fusion range shares the same hose as the company’s Crux bladders, but introduces a larger opening that should make cleaning easier. Meanwhile the hanger tab at top has been redesigned to work with a far wider variety of bags.
Kask has launched a new flagship aero road helmet, the Protone Icon. We covered this new lid last week. Follow the link for more details.
Kask’s sibling brand, KOO, has a fresh pair of frameless eyewear called the Supernova. This wrap-around eyewear uses a Zeiss lens and at just 21 grams it’s said to beat Oakley’s EVZero in the weight game.
You may not be able to race Strade Bianche, but you can wear the signature eyewear. The KOO Demos is currently available in this limited edition version to celebrate the original gravel championships.
There are now a staggering number of options when it comes to handlebar bags. ALMSTHRE (Almost There) is a relatively newcomer offering a few twists on a well-copied design.
The San Diego-based company also offers a compact frame bag (one size only). A unique feature is the “garage” pocket at the back that aims to keep your spares seperate and easier to access from the main compartment. The labels had me thinking these bags were made in San Diego, but I can confirm that manufacturing is outsourced to Asia.
Chances are you’ve previously seen the 3D-printed SuperStrata pop up in a YouTube advert. It’s a bike that raised more than US$2.5 million in crowdfunding.
The SuperStrata frame is 3D-printed as one-piece with a machine that winds carbon filament while injecting thermoplastic as the bonding material. I was far more intrigued by the technology rather than the bike, and no doubt such manufacturing tech will find wide-spread acceptance in the cycling space.
Speaking with a representative from the company, it seems the bike’s biggest goal was to serve as a showcase and perhaps funding tool for the 3D-printing technology, with the company looking to become a contract manufacturer across all kinds of industries. In fact, they’re currently in the process of building out what is likely to be the largest 3D-printing farm in Vietnam.
Muc-Off’s range of products has grown by many factors since the days of it being a bike wash brand. The Rain Shield Re-Proofer spray is designed to refresh the DWR (Durable Water Repellent) coating on your wet weather gear. Such sprays have existed for years in the outdoor industry, now Muc-Off is making it available to a bike store near you.
Muc-Off offers an inner-tube specific sealant. Injecting it requires inner tubes with removable valve cores. Compared to tubeless sealant, this water-based product aims to be far longer-lasting and easier to inject, with the trade-off being that it can only seal smaller holes. I won’t lie – the product description sure reads awfully similar to the original Slime sealant, although this one is looks more like a strawberry milkshake rather than an off-putting lime flavour.
Ortlieb’s new Seat-Pack QR is a high-capacity saddle bag that offers an impressive level of rigidity and stability (it won’t sway like many other bags). It achieves such stability through a unique mounting method and bag reinforcements that run top and bottom. The bag offers up to 13 litres of capacity.
The pack is quick to install and remove. A small protective brace is provided that allows this bag to be used with a dropper-post (it’ll limit available travel). Expect to pay US$190 for this bag.
Backpack or pannier bag? Yes. Ortlieb’s Vario PS is both. This 26 L waterproof roll-top bag features a padded laptop compartment and is available in four colours.
Ortlieb offers its Vario PS with either Quick-Lock 2.1 (common pannier mount) or 3.1 (newer cleat-style mount, limited rack options) mounting.
Ergon is getting into bar tape. There are three models which differ in thickness and texture to the grip: Road (2 mm), All Road (2.5 mm), and BT gravel (3.5 mm). Each model is available in a choice of five colours.
The bar tape uses the same AirCell foam found in some Ergon saddles. The textured grip is directional; think like a cat’s tongue. Another neat feature is that the pattern has been designed to work as a guide to help with consistent spacing.
Ergon’s new BT OrthoCell pad set sticks onto the bar and sits beneath the bartape to add additional comfort. Such padding isn’t a new concept, but Ergon seems to be approaching the concept with higher-end materials.
Did you know the founders of Ergon and Canyon Bikes are brothers? That certainly explains the collaboration between this carbon leaf-spring seatpost that used to be in Ergon’s catalogue and remains a common sight across a number of Canyon’s bikes. Now Ergon is once again selling the impressively comfortable CF Allroad Pro Carbon post, something that is now approved for “light off-road usage”. This Ergo-branded post is only available in a 27.2 mm diameter with straight or set-back options, and sells for US$250.
POC has a released two new road jerseys. Pictured is the Prestina, a US$120 jersey offered in men’s and women’s cuts. This race-cut jersey is made with recycled polyester, offers mesh zones for breathablabiltiy, and has a little reflective tab with room for your emergency contact information.
Cerakote finishing is rapidly rising in popularity due to its scratch resistance and low weight. CeramicSpeed is dabbling with the finish on some of its off-road OSPWs (oversized pulley wheel system).
The limited edition Cerakote OSPWs will soon be available in a few different colourways to suit specific off-road derailleurs. Expect these to sell for a small premium over the already high-priced pulley wheel cage upgrades.
CeramicSpeed is now offering its pulley wheels and OSPW assemblies in a blue ano colour.
CeramicSpeed’s maintenance-free SLT (Solid Lubrication Technology) headset and suspension pivot bearings are already finding plenty of uptake in the high-end OE market. Now the company is offering its limited size range of bearings for purchase aftermarket. One interesting tidbit is that the ball bearings inside are stainless steel, not ceramic. After all, these bearings are designed for applications where high-speed spinning is not a requirement.
Walking the endless rows of Sea Otter would often have you turning your head at some random piece of cycling history. This old Rock Lobster had me asking if I could take photos. The frame apparently has 50,000 miles on the clock and counting, while almost all of the parts have been changed a few times over now.
Real brake levers were a rather desirable option in the ’90s.
Sometimes they do still make things like they used to.
Pit Viper is a rather out-there brand from the snow sports world that is becoming increasingly popular in cycling. “The 2000s” is the company’s most popular riding model and is available in a huge variety of colourways, many of which made me feel old.
Pit Viper has launched a photochromic (tint adapts to conditions) version of The 2000s eyewear.
Updated for 2021, the Bombtrack Hook EXT-C is a versatile carbon bike made with gravel racing in mind. Stock of this German-designed bike is finally becoming more readily available within the United States.
The Wilier Rave SLR gravel race bike was released last October. Supply chain issues mean the new model has only recently landed on US shores. It’s a model that Wilier pitches as a versatile all-road and/or fast gravel bike.
This particular model comes equipped with Wilier’s J Bar, a one-piece carbon handlebar and stem with a somewhat unique aesthetic. Unfortunately the hole in the centre can’t be used to hold a GPS head unit, something that feels like a missed opportunity.
The Unico series is Wilier Triestina’s celebration of Shimano’s 100th anniversary, with art by Japanese street artist, Jun Inoue.
This Wilier Filante Unico is #89 of 200. Offering 200 of these to celebrate 100 years seems a little odd, but I guess it lets more people enjoy one.