Lucky last! Our tech coverage of the
2022 Sea Otter Classic comes to a close with the below gallery. Within you’ll find a bunch of interesting new products from major brands including MicroShift, Giro, Stages, Met, Thule, Reynolds, Crankbrothers, Lizard Skins, and more. Enjoy!
Tubolito has greatly expanded its range of thermoplastic elastomer (TPU) tubes. Pictured on the right is the heavy-duty X tube in a new CX/Gravel-size. The X tube is effectively double the thickness (and double the weight) of a regular Tubolito, something that aims to provide greatly improved puncture resistance and durability – so much so that Tubolito provide a one year warranty against punctures. This new size is suitable for 700C tyres between 30-50 mm in width.
Met’s big news is that they now have major distribution in the USA, and for the first time, the entire range will be available to those within the 50 states. Pictured is Met’s top-tier Trenta 3K Carbon MIPS helmet, just like what Tadej Pogačar’s tufts poke through. It’s a helmet that James Huang previously positively reviewed with his only major complaint being a lack of MIPS, something this latest model corrects.
Compared to the Trenta 3K Carbon MIPS, the lower cost Trenta MIPS helmet does away with the carbon fibre reinforcement skeleton. It also uses a more basic MIPS system that likely has a negative impact on the internal channeling.
The regular Trenta MIPS uses a more traditional MIPS C2 liner.
By comparison, the premium Trenta 3K Carbon MIPS uses a MIPS Air system. The Air system is basically just pads with a super slippery backing material.
This is the MIPS Air from the Trenta 3K Carbon MIPS. Simple, eh?
Giro is going all-in on reducing its carbon footprint. The latest Chrono range of clothing uses only materials with recycled content. This new Chrono range is also more performance-oriented than previous versions with far more compressive cuts. The Chrono range is available in men’s and women’s, each with three colourway options in jersey and bibs. And then there are the limited edition Studio Collection options. Pictured on the left is the latest Studio Collection, something that is the outcome of putting a sound file into graphics software.
Designed to sit beneath a bottle cage (or just bolt to where one can go), the LobsterLock is an intriguing option for commuters. Plus, the name alone is enough to buy one.
The LobsterLock is rather similar in concept to an Abus Bordo 6000-series lock. It features 5 mm hardened steel links that add up to a total weight of 1.27 kg. This product sells for US$80 plus shipping.
Stages has two wholly new GPS head units, the L200 and the M200. The difference between the two pretty much comes down to screen size. The computers are fully-featured, with high resolution screens, competitive battery longevity, and Garmin Quarter-turn mounting. One feature I particularly like is the Automatic Profiles that knows which bike you’re on based on the sensors it connects with. Giant is also offering the same two computers for sale under its own branding, Stages will handle firmware support.
Thule has just released its new RoundTrip Road case. It’s effectively a downsized version of Thule’s regular RoundTrip case that has been designed specifically for road, gravel or small mountain bikes (up to 110 cm wheelbase).
Like the original RoundTrip Case, the most unique feature is that the mounting base for the bike doubles as a repair stand. That tripod base folds into itself when putting the bike and attached stand base into the bag. Of course such a feature adds to the price and weight of the case, which sit at US$900 and 12.5 kg (27.5 lb) respectively.
The Thule repair stand base works with all common axle types.
Meanwhile the bottom bracket cradle offers a secure strap to ensure the bike stays in place during transit.
The handles are kept low profile and double as bag padding. Smart.
The storage areas feature these neat disc rotor protectors.
The bag has plastic reinforcements for rigidity and bike protection, while the bike within is protected from the wheels with a well padded integrated blanket. Overall the bag is surprisingly compact and squishes down flat, but it’s important to note that you need to remove the handlebars for this case, and so a number of new and heavily-integrated dropbar bikes won’t get along with it too well.
MicroShift’s new Advent Super Short is a kids’ specific 1x mini group (BYO chain and crank). Designed for use with smaller wheeled bikes (20″ and up), this mini 9-speed group features a clutch-equipped short cage rear derailleur that moves the chain over an 11-38T cassette range. Meanwhile the shift actuation is said to offer a short throw. In many ways this is a scaled down version of the Advent and Advent X groups. Even in its most premium configuration, the Advent Super Short rear derailleur, shifter, and cassette retail for just US$126 combined, and there are cheaper options from there. Brilliant.
Reynolds has a new range of gravel wheels in the form of the G700 (700C) and G650 (650B). The hookless carbon rims offers a 25 mm internal width and 26 mm depth. The wheels roll on Sun Ringle SRX Center-Lock hubs (3-pawl ratchet design), and Reynolds includes both Shimano and SRAM XDR freehubs in the box.
The G700 is claimed to weigh 1,545 grams and retail at US$1,450. The carbon rims carry Reynolds’ lifetime warranty, which includes banging them on rocks.
Manitou’s latest dropper seatposts are produced by experts Bike Yoke. Pictured is the Manitou Jack, effectively a Bike Yoke Devine with a different actuator that holds a cable head versus the original method of clamping the cable. This 90 mm travel version is available in 30.9 and 31.6 mm diameters.
Cannondale had its new Topstone Carbon on display. One thing I hadn’t previously seen in person was how the SmartSense battery docks to the frame. It clips in place with ease.
Cannondale Synapse Carbon and Topstone Carbon models without SmartSense come with this strap-based carrier. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it keeps your spares secure and the weight at a low point.
Aeroe is a young New Zealand-based company looking to bring a point of difference to the bikepacking, commuting, and flash packing market. Many years ago its creators were first movers in the space with a product called the FreeLoad, something that was acquired by Thule. The Aeroe is a versatile injection moulded cradle that can be mounted to the handlebar or placed on Aeroe’s own seatstay-mounted rear rack.
The Aeroe Handlebar rack and cradle weighs about 400 grams and allows you to carry any cylindrical shaped bag or item on the front of the bars. It works with both mountain bike and drop handlebars.
Aeroe also sell its own drybag for use with its cradle system. However just about any drybag, sleeping mat, sleeping bag, growler, or tent can be carried.
The Spider rear rack is designed to fit onto the seatstays of any bike, as long as its not a super light carbon thing with pencil-thin stays. From there the modular design allows you to mount a cradle on top or one on either side. The rack is rated to carry up to a 16 kg load on any terrain, and adds under a kilogram to the bike (one cradle included). The whole system feels extremely rigid, is easy to attach, and is designed to reduce the swing weight compared to having a loaded saddle.
Now here’s something I hadn’t expected to see. It’s Crankbrothers’ new flagship HighLine 11 dropper post that employs a carbon fibre shaft in an effort to produce what’s easily one of the lightest infinitely adjustable (not fixed dropper heights) dropper posts. The carbon shaft saves 80-100 grams, has no weight limit and carries the same four year warranty. It’s currently only available in 30.9 and 31.6 mm diameters. The 30.9 mm version is quoted to weigh under 400 grams.
Crankbrothers has really expanded its range of cleats since the days of it having just a single choice. The company now has four different cleat options between 6°/0° float, and 15°/10° release angle.
Jagwire has updated its Pro Dropper cable kit to be even easier to route and slip through tight internal bends. The kit now uses a dropper-specific 3 mm housing and .8 mm inner cable. I’ve been a fan of this product ever since I personally experienced how much easier it can be to route a smaller diameter cable through an impossible bend, And the fact that it makes those bends with less resistance means the action at the remote is typically lighter, too.
Kate’s Real Food. I sampled the peanut butter dark chocolate, and it was real good. All of the bars are organic and gluten-free, but most importantly, they taste like real food. I’ll have to try to pick some of these up when I’m next in the USA.
Did you know Oury grips is now owned by Lizard Skins? Gone is the holographic sticker that the grips came with for the past 20+ years, but otherwise they’re still the same classic.
Lizard Skins doesn’t have anything new going on in the dropbar world. Meanwhile, mountain bikers now have another single-side lock-on grip in the Strata. The multi-direction rubber pattern sure felt comfortable in hand.
The Lizard Skins Strata is available in a bunch of colours.
Lizard Skins’ DSP was arguably the first rubber-based grippy bar tape on the market (it pre-existed Supacaz, if memory serves). The company has really bolstered the range of DSP products in recent years, one such example being the Lever Grip which is intended to be stuck to your brake levers. Currently the company doesn’t do a dropbar-specific version, but I suspect the mountain bike grippers would work just fine.
Lizard Skins has branched out beyond cycling with its DSP bar tape products. I’m told the Baseball category has proven to be a hit.
Even Gamers can run Lizard Skins tape.
Gu seemingly never attends a trade show without a new flavour in tow. The latest is salted lime Roctane, a combination that Gu claims has the benefit of reducing the feeling of thirst.