Sea Otter Classic: Cool accessories from hot Monterey

Leatt, Light & Motion, Princeton Tec, Camelbak and more

Leatt brings motorsports protection to the bicycle world

Downhill riders looking for additional protection can now call on the Leatt-Brace, a shoulder-worn device common in motorsports but only now making its way into cycling.  The shoulder-worn harness is claimed to help prevent a wide range of extreme head movements – such as fore-aft and lateral tilt and axial compression – when worn in conjunction with a proper full-face helmet

The key to the brace is the semi-rigid circumferential upper pad, which effectively transfers impact load from the neck and spine on to the rider's shoulders before it can cause damage.  Additional supports down the front and back of the upper back further prevent excessive fore-aft tilt. 

Costs are fairly high – ranging from US$225 to US$595 – though still far cheaper than the potential consequences of not wearing one.  The top-end Sport model features carbon fibre construction for a relatively light claimed weight of 780g plus a host of adjustments for tweaking the fit between the two available sizes.   The mid-range Club subs in glass-reinforced nylon for an extra 70g while the base level ADVenture offers just basic adjustments.

More juice from Light & Motion

Light & Motion have trumped their own 700-lumen Seca 700 six-LED headlamp with a new Seca 900 model with – you guessed it – 900 lumens of claimed output thanks to upgraded emitters.  Published run times on the high setting is slightly lower than the Seca 700 as a result: 3:30 vs. 4:15 with the Ultra Li-ion battery and 2:30 vs. 3:00 with the standard pack. 

Total system weight is unchanged though at 686g and 520g, depending on the battery, and retail pricing is set at US$699.99 and US$49.99.

The new light & motion stella dual pairs two 150-lumen emitters together: one spot and one flood.:

Light & Motion Stella Dual

Light & Motion have also added three new models to their popular Stella lineup.  As the name suggests, the bar-mounted Stella 300 Dual pairs two 150-lumen single-LED Stella heads together – one spot and one flood – via a hard-wired Y-splitter for greater coverage and reach.  The 300g system will run for a claimed two hours with both beams blazing while kicking things down to the 75-lumen setting (there is a medium 150-lumen option as well) will extend that to a generous eight hours.

Minimalists can tap into the new Stella 150L with its 197g total weight and tiny 7.4V Li-ion battery pack, while budget-minded shoppers now get two power settings and a flashing option for the very accessible US$129.99 Stella 120.

New LEDs shed new light on Princeton Tec

Princeton tec say new led emitters double the light output of their entire line, such as the switchback 3.: princeton tec say new led emitters double the light output of their entire line, such as the switchback 3.

Princeton Tec have upgraded their LED emitters across the board for double the claimed light outputs with no drop in run time.  The three-LED Switchback 3 remains at the top of the range with a whopping 6hr30 of burn time on the high setting courtesy of its 10-cell Li-ion battery.  Total system weight is a bit heavy at 826g but if run time is what you're after, this might work well for you.

Commuters can look to the revised all-in-one Eos with its now-50-lumen output.  Burn time is a generous 121 hours maximum with three AAA batteries and helmet, headlamp, and handlebar mounts are all included.

The Swerve continues to be Princeton Tec's top rear light with two LED emitters – one focused, one flood – for enhanced 180° visibility.  The tool-free mounting strap accommodates a wide range of tubes and an intuitive toggle switch is easily used even while riding.

No more sweaty backs from Camelbak

Camelbak adds the n.v.i.s. ventilated back panel to the new h.a.w.g. n.v. and m.u.l.e. n.v. models.: camelbak adds the n.v.i.s. ventilated back panel to the new h.a.w.g. n.v. and m.u.l.e. n.v. models.
Camelbak have added ventilatedback panels to their hydration packs

Camelbak now have two upgraded variants for their popular H.A.W.G. and M.U.L.E. hydration packs called H.A.W.G. N.V. and M.U.L.E. N.V.  Both are based on the standard versions but are now fitted with a new ventilated N.V.I.S. (say ‘envious') back panel that holds the pack off the rider's body for improved airflow.   Both also feature integrated rain covers tucked into a lower compartment. 

The new packs are available now for US$125 and US$110 (H.A.W.G. and M.U.L.E. , respectively) and the standard packs will carry on in the lineup.

Also new are stainless steel bottles for those averse to plastics – BPA-free or otherwise.  Camelbak will offer both single-wall and vacuum-sealed insulated double-wall versions, both in 750mL sizes and either with the handy flip-top lid or so-called ‘classic' screw top.  Suggested retail price is US$24 for the single-wall bottles and US$30 for the double-walled ones, both set to hit stores around May.

'Squeeze this!' says Hydrapak

Hydrapak's new softflask uses the same material as their hydration bladders for easier access to the energy gel within.: hydrapak's new softflask uses the same material as their hydration bladders for easier access to the energy gel within.

Hydrapak's new SoftFlask trades the usual hard-sided energy gel flask for one made from hydration bladder material.  In addition to being far more squeezable, the collapsible container also omits air space so the gel comes out quicker. 

Hydrapak will offer the SoftFlask in both 8oz and 5oz sizes with a handy bit valve (probably better for more diluted gels) and the 8oz size with an easier flowing flip-top.  Pricing ranges from US$7.99 to US$11.99.

Lezyne adds colour and carbon

For those of you that find black and silver awfully boring. : for those of you that find black and silver awfully boring.

My, my, where to begin with Lezyne's expanded range of stuff? 

Lezyne now have a pump – floor, mini, or frame-mounted – to suit nearly any taste or need plus an impressively wide selection of cleverly designed mini-tools.  Highlights to the pump collection include: the miniscule 84g Shock Drive high-pressure suspension pump; the Micro Floor Drive that quickly converts from a frame pump to floor pump thanks to its neat flip-out foot and flexible hose (yes, we know it's been done before but not to this degree); and the beautiful CNC Floor Drive floor pump with full CNC-machined aluminium construction and trick thread-on head. 

For those of you already with a Lezyne hose-style M or L-series mini-pump in their possession, you can now also replace the stock hose with the Pen Gauge, which adds a handy pressure indicator without adding any bulk.  Many of the new pumps are now also offered in a range of anodised colours or with carbon handles for a little extra bling.

Tool-wise, there's a new chain tool with integrated spoke wrenches for both standard and Mavic alloy-spoked wheels, larger shop-style multi-tools for extra leverage, and a handy Smart Wallet, a take-along organiser that conveniently arranges your tools, tire levers, mobile phone and other necessities into a single one-pocket package. 

The lezyne power pack offers plenty of room for lots of gear… : the lezyne power pack offers plenty of room for lots of gear…

Lezyne's Power Pack

Lezyne also offer a range of hydration packs that continue the organisational theme.  The generously sized All Pack features a ventilated back panel, two large compartments, two side pockets, a full-face helmet holder, plus a comprehensive organiser panel with clearly labelled spots for typical gear. 

The slightly smaller Power Pack omits the side pockets but retains most of the All Pack's volume and features while the more streamlined Smart Pack trims down the overall size with a single main compartment, external ‘stuff pocket', plus the organiser panel. 

All of the packs feature custom aluminium buckles and waterproof zippers with aluminium pulls, plus Lezyne's neat zip-top 3L or 2L bladder. 

Clever new inflators from Genuine Innovations

Genuine Innovations head Marty Mares and communications director Michael Drabousky didn't have a booth at this year's Sea Otter Classic but they were still hard to miss in their military-style garb loaded to the hilt with CO2 cartridges (apparently event security almost didn't let them in!).

The upcoming Mountain Pipe (just a working name for now) is based on the current Second Wind and pairs a mini-pump and a CO2 inflator but skips the drawbacks usually inherent to such designs.  The thread-on cartridge is used as the pump handle to save space and the thread-on cartridge fitting at the other end adds fast inflation capabilities without cutting into the manual pump chamber volume.  A convenient storage space is included in the pump shaft, too, and total length barely measures three cartridges laid end-to-end.

Also on the way is a new trigger-style inflator tentatively called ‘Full Metal Jacket' with an aluminium cup and cast head, plus potentially a carbon fibre trigger.  Though bulkier than simple thread-on heads, the cup design will accept both threaded and unthreaded cartridges. 

Finally there's the convenient Tire Repair Canister, which offers a ready-made take on an old pro trick of using a bottle to hold some tools and gear.  The screw-top lid secures a pair of cartridges, an inflator head, patch kit, two tire levers, and rag all included for US$29.99.

The genuine innovations tire repair canister takes the place of a bottle but includes a bunch of handy bits for roadside repairs.: the genuine innovations tire repair canister takes the place of a bottle but includes a bunch of handy bits for roadside repairs.

The Tire Repair Canister from Genuine Innovations

James Huang

Technical Editor, US
James started as a roadie in 1990 with his high school team but switched to dirt in 1994 and has enjoyed both ever since. Anything that comes through his hands is bound to be taken apart, and those hands still sometimes smell like fork oil even though he retired from shop life in 2007. He prefers manual over automatic, fizzy over still, and the right way over the easy way.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: Up in the Colorado high-country where the singletrack is still single, the dirt is still brown, and the aspens are in full bloom. Also, those perfect stretches of pavement where the road snakes across the mountainside like an artist's paintbrush.
  • Beer of Choice: Mexican Coke
  • Location: Boulder, Colorado, USA

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