2022 Sea Otter Classic tech gallery: FSA, Pivot, Yakima, and more
Our coverage from the 2022 Sea Otter Classic continues. This round we’ve got a broad mix of fresh tech spanning everything from a fancy urban e-bike, to a superlight hardtail, to a range of new bike racks.
Believe it or not there’s still more tech to come. In the meantime you can catch all of our coverage from the
2022 Sea Otter Classic via the link.
FSA has joined the vibration-damping-stem game. The new AGX VAS stem uses an elastomer sleeve to isolate the bar within the stem clamp. This US$111 stem is available in 80, 90, and 100 mm lengths.
Comfort levels are adjustable by swapping between the three different durometers of elastomer provided. Meanwhile the stem works with FSA’s modular mounts for attaching a computer and/or light off the front. It’s an interesting new product, but the 291 gram weight is a little more than expected.
FSA now has its own one-sided crank-based power meter, the first of which is found on the new Powerbox SC Road Alloy crankset. The power unit claims an impressive 450 hours battery life off the single CR2450 battery. We’re told the crank-based power pod is something FSA will roll out into other cranksets.
The Powerbox SC Road Alloy crankset is only US$419 including the integrated power pod. The crankset is available in 53/39T, 52/36T, and 50/34T chainring configurations to suit 10/11-speed drivetrains. It uses a 30 mm spindle.
FSA’s top-end road race crankset is the K-Force Team Edition. This crankset combines hollow carbon fibre arms with a direct mount chainring machined from a single piece of 7075 aluminium. FSA quotes a 556 g figure for this crank with 50/34T chainrings.
FSA is offering the new K-Force Team Edition in versions to suit either 11-speed shifting or new SRAM 12-speed road (Flat Top chain).
Ever wondered who makes the Cannondale Hollowgram cranks and one-piece rings? Well, now you know.
FSA’s sister brand, Vision, is getting into the gravel space, too. Pictured is the new Vision Team i23 Aero Gravel which offers a tubeless-ready rim with a 30 mm depth, 27 mm external width, and 23 mm hooked internal profile. At US$340 for the pair it’s Vision’s entry into gravel and is said to weigh 1,920 g. It’s a wheel that realistically has been created for the OE (original equipment) market.
Saris’s new MHS (Modular Hitch System) rack separates the bike-holder from the base and by doing so aims to be a highly customizable product. There are three different base sizes available, designed to carry anything from one to four bikes.
Each bike holder can handle any bike ranging from 20-29″ wheel size, up to 5″ in tyre width, and 27 kg in weight. And they hold the bike without any contact with the frame. Currently the MHS rack is for bike carriers only, but cargo and other sporting good carriers are coming. The two-bike system (pictured) is priced at US$900.
Like many hitch racks of this style, the MHS can be folded up when not in use, and tilts down for easy boot/trunk access.
Pinarello didn’t have anything brand new on display, but rather the brand was promoting the MyWay customisation program that’s currently only available on the new Dogma F. Expect to pay a US$1,500 premium over the already premium-priced Dogma F for the paint shown, while more basic paint options will cost a little less. Pinarello is also offering painted-to-match handlebar/stems, too.
The Pinarello MyWay program is available online for playing.
Pivot has just launched a new cross country race hardtail, the Pivot Les SL. It’s nice to see them having a little fun with the naming given the company was founded on the idea of full suspension mountain bikes.
The new Les SL is said to shave as much as 200 g off the previous Les hardtail. Pivot claims an 800 g figure for a painted medium frame.
There is modular internal cable routing. And Pivot is using SRAM’s UDH (universal derailleur hanger).
The Pivot Les SL offers room for up to 29 x 2.4″ tyres.
Pivot has long used Shimano’s PF92 bottom bracket system and the Les SL is no different.
The Les SL features modern race geometry with a 68.5° head tube angle, 74.5° seat tube angle, and longer reach figures.
First seen on Prologo’s saddles, CPC technology is a series of tiny little silicon suction caps designed to improve grip and comfort. Prologo was teasing the fresh Energrip Team gloves that aim to improve both vibration damping and ventilation over more traditional designs.
Want Tadej Pogačar’s personal signature? Prologo will sell you such a thing, and you get a free limited edition Scratch M5 saddle with it, too.
The new Prologo Scratch M5 AGX saddle is intended for gravel/CX/adventure riding. The foam is subtly more dense, the rails are titanium (for more flex), and the multi sector system (MSS) offers different densities of foam in zones all while promoting more movement from the material. This model is 140 mm wide.
With the same parent company as Fox suspension, Easton’s dropper post options carry some pedigree. The Easton AX SL is pretty much identical to Fox’s supremely light Transfer SL post, but is only available in either 40 or 50 mm travel, and a 27.2 mm diameter.
Easton offers a matching EA90 AX lever for controlling that dropper. The ergonomics feel pretty good on this one.
Easton’s new flagship gravel handlebar is the EC90 AX. This US$300 flared handlebar tips the scales at just 208 g (42 cm) and has a somewhat unique approach of increasing the diameter of the top section with each size up in width.
The Yakima Stage 2 hitch rack has a number of clever features on offer. Firstly, it installs onto a hitch without the need for tools. The two-bike rack can be converted to carry four bikes, and in doing so the handle for the tilt feature moves to the end of the rack, too. And perhaps my favourite part is what Yakima refers to as Stadium Seating, where the base is pitched at an upright angle to not only greatly improve clearance height, but also to stagger the bikes so you’re far less likely to encounter overlapping handlebars and saddles.
Yakima offers the Stage 2 in black or grey. The tilt function works to store the rack upright or have it swing down for rear boot/trunk/gate access.
Another clever feature is that the optional light bar (which is cabled through the rack’s base) can pivot by 90º. This means your lights will always point in the correct direction regardless of whether the rack is in use or folded up against the car. And speaking of add-ons, there’s an optional ramp, too.
Yakima has updated its GateKeeper tailgate pad. Available in two sizes (four- or six-bike), it’s said to be easier to install, more durable, and also available in the cascade blue option (black available too).
The biggest change is the move away from velcro which can wear out with use. Instead the GateKeeper now uses G-hooks to secure the bikes.
Yakima has joined the vertical hitch rack game. The new Hang Tight holds bikes by the handlebar and rear wheel, meaning you can mount almost any style of bike to it.
Road and gravel bikes can be carried with the Hang Tight rack. Just beware that timetrial handlebars and some shapely carbon cockpits may be a no-go.
The Yakima Hang Tight is available in four- and six-bike versions. The four-bike version can also be used with the company’s BackSwing hitch accessory which allows the whole rack to swing to the side of the vehicle. Due to the increased weight the six-bike version only offers a tip-down feature.
The bikes are well and truly secure once mounted.
Last from Yakima is the EXO, a modular hitch system. This hitch rack can be converted to carry bikes, skis, storage, or even a camp kitchen. It’s capable of managing two of the things at the same time. Pictured is the storage box combined with two bike carriers.
Tacx is now offering motion plates for its Neo, Neo 2, and Neo 2T smart trainers. The Tacx Neo Smart Plates attach via magnets and when combined with the provided front wheel block, they offer a wonderfully smooth fore-aft motion.
The matching front wheel block is arguably the biggest limitation to the new Tacx Neo Smart Plates. It can’t fit any wider than a 28 mm front tyre, a strange decision for such a new product.
Remember that interesting Vaast magnesium gravel bike that James Huang reviewed a little while back? Well that same company has this rather unique urban e-bike on offer, too. It’s called the E/1 and hides an near endless list of features.
Designed to be locked up in an urban environment, the Vaast E/1 combines the seatpost and battery pack into one, meaning you can easily take both with you to render the bike almost useless to thieves.
Above that Bosch Performanceline Speed motor hides 100 mm of rear suspension for comfortable seated pedalling. The system is effectively an enclosed version of the Naild R3ACT four-bar-system that Polygon and Marin previously used on their mountain bikes.
Integrated lights and a burly rack sit at the front.
Vaast offers the E/1 with either a derailleur-based or internal gear hub with belt-drive. The rear suspension means a belt tensioner is required for the internal geared hub options. With so many features it’s obvious that these are intended to be a luxury urban option, complete bikes are priced between US$7,500-US$10,000.