It’s no exaggeration to say that this was the biggest and best Sea Otter Classic in the event’s decades-long history. With the demise of Interbike, North America’s largest cycling industry tradeshow, Sea Otter has grown in significance. Some brands introduced revolutionary new products while others unveiled incremental advancements aimed at improving the ride. Here are five our Mtbr’s favorite products from this year’s show.
Niner MCR 9 RDO Full Suspension Gravel Bike
Niner has been hard at work on this full suspension gravel bike for at least three years and is almost ready to bring it to market. If your knee-jerk reaction to the MCR 9 RDO is “Why wouldn’t you just ride a mountain bike?” or “Kill it with fire!” then it’s probably not the bike for you, and that’s fine.
As someone who raced gravel for a decade before it gained mainstream acceptance, I wholeheartedly believe the future of gravel bikes involves some form of suspension, be it engineered flex or traditional suspension systems. The MCR 9 RDO isn’t a bike for everyone, but riders who participate in gravel events that last 12-24 hours, this could be the right tool for the job. Learn more about the Niner MCR 9 RDO here.
Trust Performance Message Suspension Fork
Mountain bikers are accustomed to incremental advancements in suspension technology — a new damper here, a lighter chassis there. But truly revolutionary suspension advancements are few and far between.
The Trust’s Message is one such product. It’s the first modern attempt at a linkage suspension fork that, pardon the pun, may gain traction. Yes, the $2700 price tag is incredibly steep, but it packs a lot of clever technology into its carbon chassis.
If Trust can expand its product line and bring the price down to a more approachable level, then telescopic forks may be a thing of the past. Click here to learn more about the Message suspension fork.
Rotor 13-Speed Drivetrain
It’s not easy to muscle your way into the drivetrain market. Rotor’s 13-speed drivetrain is a very different take on a groupset. For starters, it uses hydraulics, rather than stainless steel cables or electrical signals, to control the rear derailleur.
And unlike complete drivetrains from SRAM and Shimano, Rotor’s group is genre-agnostic. It can be adapted for use with road, gravel or mountain biking through the use of different cassettes and shifters — the derailleur is the same for all configurations. Rotor’s drivetrain might not be widely adopted, but it’s a valiant effort to take on the big guns. Click here to learn more about Rotor’s 13-speed drivetrain.
Yeti SB130 Lunch Ride Trail Bike
Yeti’s SB130 is a great trail bike, but while testing, there were times when I found myself wanting slightly more from it. It seems that I wasn’t the only one in search of a middle ground between the SB130 and the heavy-hitting SB150. Yeti’s employees were of the same mind. They found this already-capable machine could be made a bit better for aggressive trail riding by increasing the rear travel from 130 to 136mm and bolting a 160mm fork to the front instead of the stock 150.
Enter the new Yeti SB130 Lunch Ride. It’s not just about a few more millimeters of travel at either end. Yeti also swapped the stock Fox 36 with a Fit 4 damper for the more adjustable GRIP 2 Damper. In keeping with the more aggressive personality, Yeti also replaced the SRAM Guide brakes with the gravity-rated SRAM Codes with a 200mm front and 180mm rear rotor. Click here to learn more about the Yeti SB130 Lunch Ride.
OneUp Components Carbon Handlebar
I have a love/hate relationship with 35mm handlebars. I love the steering precision that comes from the oversized clamp diameter. But, as a lightweight rider, I hate the knuckle-aching ride that accompanies most of these overly-stiff carbon handlebars.
Component manufacturer OneUp sought to solve the issues that many riders have with 35mm bars by creating an ovalized profile at the rise. One-Up claims its carbon bars are 21% more vertically compliant than traditional 35mm handlebars. OneUp’s Carbon Handlebar comes in an 800mm width with 20 or 35mm of rise. Pricing is set at $138. Head to www.oneupcomponents.com to learn more.