There was so much to see at the Sea Otter Classic this year, we couldn’t fit it all in to our Otter Pops daily coverage. Consider this a “make-good” post with some things we knew you wouldn’t want to miss.
ON A CARBON ROLL | Kappius wowed us at Sea Otter a couple years ago with their magnetic, high-engagement, carbon precision hubs. But they were very expensive and were sold as hubs-only. Soon they’ll finally offer complete wheelsets and they already offer three lines of hubs ranging from practical to exotic–each sharing the same engineering prowess of rocket scientist Russ Kappius.
Their carbon rims are highly refined too, with asymmetrical construction optimized strength. They’re also well-suited to tubeless use. kappiuscomponents.com. -FC
NOT JUST FOR SNOW | One of the most exciting companies at Sea Otter was Borealis who showed off their versatile Echo fatbike. Built up with their Carbondale carbon rims, it’s incredibly light and agile, and expands the fatbike sweet spot well beyond snowy conditions. borealisbikes.com -FC
BELT BOX RACE MACHINE | The Cavalerie Falcon is a pure DH racing machine based on an internal gearbox and belt-drive design. With 200mm of travel, short chainstays, a long wheelbase and low bottom bracket, the bike offers maximum control on extreme terrain. The barrier to entry is high however, with a $9,500 MSRP. -FC
SPLIT SADDLE | As shown in our Sea Otter saddle round-up, Pivot Cyles partnered with WTB to develop the High Tail–a saddle with a cutout to gain a few precious millimeters of clearance when the seat is at its lowest position on this 204mm rear travel bike. The design is said to eliminate saddle-to-tire interference which has become more commonplace on longer-travel bikes with big wheels when the seat is lowered. -FC
DUALIE FAT BIKE | This 100mm front and rear travel Salsa Bucksaw is the first production dualie fatbike and, like the Borealis above, it’s helping expand the definition of the genre. With a RockShox Bluto suspension fork, dropper post and 1×11 drivetrain, it’s also a good value at $4,999. -FC
ON THE RISE | Polish bike brand Zumbi showed-off their available-in-the-US line at Sea Otter, hot on the heels of signing Canadian slopestyle sensation Sam Dueck (pictured below). Zumbi’s claim-to-fame is offering custom full suspension bikes at reasonable prices.
The stock Zumbi F-11 27.5-inch 160mm-travel frame is available for $2200 with a Cane Creek Double Barrel shock, but customers can custom spec the seat tube height and top tube length for only $100 more. -FC
ULTIMATE XC | The 2015 Felt Edict Nine FRD features the just-released RockShox RS-1 fork and Monarch DebonAir suspension combo. This ultimate full suspension XC race bike sports 100mm front and rear travel remote-controlled by RockShox’s XLock Full Sprint hydraulic trigger.
The frame itself is made of Felt’s best carbon fiber, created in collaboration with Textreme. Stiffness is said to be off-the-charts and the complete bike weighs around 20 pounds. -FC
KICK IT | We bumped in to our good friend Steve Domahidy and stopped for a moment to drool over his new project—a Domahidy Designs Reynolds 853 29er configured as a belt drive single speed. Steve successfully crowdfunded his new venture using Kickstarter–pop in here to get your hands on one of these well-conceived machines. -FC
SHIFTING IN RHYTHM | The new, 2014 Shimano XTR mountain-specific 11-speed cassette will be available in a single configuration that Shimano calls a “rhythm step” progression of 11-13-15-17-19-21-24-27-31-35-40 tooth cogs.
Depending on the size, the cogs are crafted from aluminum, titanium or steel and employ a carbon fiber gear carrier. Unlike the company’s 11-speed road cassettes, the mountain 11-speed works on existing Shimano 10-speed cassette bodies. Price is TBD but we expect it to be within 15% of the existing XTR cassette at $280. -FC
DH MEAT | Roger Hernandez of Kenda showed us their new 27.5-inch downhill tire, the Honey Badger DH Pro. The new model is a 2.4-inch wide wire bead tire that uses Kenda’s Stick-E rubber, and Cap protection with a butyl insert.
The tread is fairly open with well-supported side knobs. -FC
PRIDE AND JOY | We spotted Max Commencal at Sea Otter and he showed off his pride-and-joy, the 27.5-inch Commencal Meta AM Factory. Available for $6599, the Meta AM sports 150mm of travel front and rear, and has great geometry with a 67-degree head angle and a 73-degree seat angle. Commencals are famous for their efficient pedaling platform while still remaining fully active.
After seeing him on the trails in Santa Cruz trails, we asked Commencal how ours differed from those in his homeland of Andorra.
“Your trails are beautiful with berms, flow and jumps,” he said. “Our trails are very different and very rough. It opens my mind up as a designer to think about your needs in an all mountain bike.” -FC
GET (EXTRA) SHORTY | The scale of the Pivot LES 27.5 in XS size is truly a sight to behold. Despite having 27.5-inch wheels, its seat tube is only 14.5-inches and it’s compact enough for even the smallest riders. The chainstay length is a short 16.7-inches and the bike is low with a BB height of only 11.8-inches. Check out the Angry Singlespeeder’s review of the 29-inch version of the Pivot LES 29 right here. -FC