New gear from Focus, Kenda, Mavic and Northwave

29ers, tyres and shoes from the Sea Otter Classic

The Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California is now established as the bike industry’s first yearly trade show. New model year products are around every bend.

The event is also unique because it’s not built to cater to the media; instead it’s a chance for everyday riders to find the new product scoops themselves. On our rounds, we scoped out products from Focus, Kenda, Mavic and Northwave.

Focus on 29ers

German brand Focus launched their first 29in-wheeled bike called the Redskin. The new bike comes on the heels of the German Cycling Federation's reversal of a rule banning 29ers in competition. The 1,800g alloy frame will be available in three sizes and two builds in the US for 2011.

“This is a German company embracing the US market,” said Mark Riedy of True Over Drive, the public relations firm that represents Focus in the US.

While the exact specification has yet to be set, there will be a Shimano XT equipped model and a SRAM X9/X0 equipped model. It’s a performance bike that’s meant to be raced in cross-country and marathon events.

Kenda rubber

Kenda Volare

Kenda are currently shipping their tubular road tyres, which were introduced last autumn at Interbike. The Domestique is a handmade 220tpi tyre that has a natural rubber tread and nylon casing and butyl tube; pretty standard features until you see the price, which is just US$35.

The Super Domestique sports Kenda’s most aggressive tread and ups the casing’s thread count to 300tpi. It also adds Kenda’s Iron Cloak puncture resistant Kevlar belt to its feature set. The second tier tyre costs $80.

Kenda’s flagship Volare tyre features a smoother, faster rolling, tread pattern, 300tpi casing, Iron Cloak belt and latex tube. The Voltare costs $100. Kenda’s standard tubular tyres for 2010 all measure 700x22mm.

Kenda’s road teams, Kenda Pro Cycling presented by Gear Grinder and Team Type 1, have 24mm versions of the Volare to race at the year’s Tour of the Battenkill. The teams’ feedback will play into Kenda’s decision to bring a larger diameter tubular into the line for 2011.

Kenda's Slant 6

Kenda’s Legends line is coming along, with the Slant 6, BBG and H-Factor set for a midsummer arrival in shops. The Happy Medium underwent refinements after Interbike last year in which its large side knob was replaced with an A shaped knob and the transition knobs were replaced with smaller blocks. The refinements push the tyre’s arrival date back to September.

Mavic expand tyre line

Mavic Yksion Elite

Mavic complement their K10 tyre and wheel package with their second tyre, the Yksion Elite, which is a performance training tyre meant to complement the Ksyrium Elite wheelset.

You’re definitely going to see more wheel and tyre systems from Mavic in 2011,” said Sean Sullivan, Mavic’s North American marketing director.

The tyre uses a stiffer 127tpi casing and a stronger, yet heavier, nylon puncture protection ply, but features the same rubber compound as the K10. As a package the Yksion tyres, Ksyrium Elite wheelset and Mavic tubes cost $700.

Northwave shoes

Northwave Razer mountain bike shoe

Northwave had their new Razer mountain shoe on display along with new black colours on their Aerlite SBS MTB mountain shoe and Aerlite SBS road shoe.

The Razer features a softer upper with SBS closure system, the new Omega heel cup and Aerator ventilation system. It sets itself apart from the Aerlite SBS MTB via a ¾-length carbon fibre shank. The tread, like the Aerlite, is made from natural rubber, but in a more minimalist design.

The Aerlite SBS has a five-layer carbon fibre sole with a wooden innersole that is said to dampen vibration and prevent foot fatigue. While the shoe isn’t new its black colour is and it's the choice of George Hincapie for the spring classics.

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