Sea Otter Classic: Our pick of the most exciting new kit

Carbon wheels, coloured cranks and Cane Creek goodies

There were plenty of new road and mountain bike components on show at the Sea Otter Classic, and BikeRadar's technical editor James Huang checked out the latest kit from Ritchey, Cane Creek, Syncros, Easton, Race Face, Rotor, Edge Composites and The Hive.

Ritchey go one step further with Superlogic

Ritchey have trumped even their own WCS kit with the new Superlogic range, which will include wheels, handlebars and seatposts for both road and mountain applications. 

The top-end road wheelset uses a Paul Lew-designed 46mm-deep carbon tubular rim bolstered with boron fibres for additional stiffness.

The ceramic-enhanced sidewalls will supposedly work well even with standard brake pads and the proven forged-and-machined hubs use interchangeable alloy freehub bodies, cartridge bearings and titanium skewers. 

Claimed weight for the tubular version is 1,171g for the pair and the Superlogic carbon clinchers are impressively only just slightly heavier at 1,221g. Retail price for the tubulars is US$2,799 for the pair and pricing for the clinchers is still to be determined.

Off-road riders get their own version as well, here built around DT Swiss 240s-based hubs and a disc-brake-only rim, again built with a mix of unidirectional carbon fibre and boron fibres. Claimed weight is 1,328g for the pair and retail price is set at US$2,250 for the pair.

WCS-level road wheels get a major revision as well with a new all-carbon ‘Apex’ clincher rim replacing the old carbon-and-aluminium one for substantial weight savings.  Last year’s WCS wheels now get rebadged as Pro-level hoops.

Other introductions seen at Sea Otter include a new carbon fibre rigid mountain bike fork with a massive hollow aluminium crown and integrated carbon dropouts, a new carbon 1Bolt seatpost, updated V5 clipless mountain bike pedals, a new Streem road saddle with carbon rails and a range of innovative flat bars with a 10-degree sweep that don’t require a stem swap.

New Cane Creek as light as air

Weight weenies will delight in Cane Creek’s new AER headset, which weighs just 46g in a traditional 1 1/8in fitment, 50g for the internal version, and as little as 33g for the integrated variety (all measured without top cap, bolt and star nut).

The bulk of the savings comes courtesy of a Norglide composite upper bushing that weighs just 1.5g; a traditional split-lip stainless steel cartridge bearing is used down below. Additional grams are shaved with the aggressively machined 7075 aluminium cups. For integrated drop-in styles, Cane Creek have developed a trick aluminium ‘sandwich’ that replaces the traditional upper cartridge bearing. 

Cane Creek's new AER headset is phenomenally light at just 46g for the 1 1/8in version

Though seemingly not quite as smooth as a traditional bearing, Cane Creek say the Norglide material is tolerant of maladjustment, cheap to replace and very resistant to contamination from dirt and water. As a side benefit, the paper-thin bushing makes for an ultra-low stack height: the standard upper cup measures a paltry 9mm high for a total stack of just 22mm.

Retail price for the AER is a surprisingly reasonable US$125 and product should begin arriving in stores on 1 June.

Carbon fibre wheels from Syncros, too

Syncros are getting into the carbon fibre mountain bike wheel game with the new FLCF-25. The 25mm-wide disc-only rims are laced with DT Competition spokes to Syncros FLH hubs, complete with double-row cartridge bearings and 9mm quick-release or 15mm through-axle front fitment options. Claimed weight is just under 1,500g and suggested retail price is US$2,075 for the pair.

Syncros jump into the carbon mountain bike wheel market with the new FL-CF25

Harkening back to their roots, Syncros have also developed the next generation of their venerable two-bolt seatpost head. The new FL v2.0 still uses a pair of opposing bolts and threaded barrel nuts but the concave and convex surfaces have now swapped relative to the original design and there is also more saddle rail support. Weights were not available as the product is still in development – though very close to completion.

Syncros have revised their FL stem and introduce a new freeride/downhill stem

In addition, the lightweight FL stem gets a revised shape and loses a few grams (down to 125g), there is a new freeride/downhill stem with a clever no-rise design, plus a new 790mm-wide FR 31 handlebar. The all-mountain lineup gets new ‘grunge’ graphics, too, and the Meathook pedals get new anodised colours.

Downsizing at Easton

Easton’s carbon fibre tubular road wheel range now has a middle child with the new EC90 SL. The 38mm-deep rim neatly slots in between the current 25mm and 56mm models for a more versatile do-it-all option for riders who can’t afford to have different wheels for various conditions.

Easton fill a gap in their wheel line with the new 38mm-deep EC90 SL

Moreover, ‘cross riders looking for something with a bit of depth to cut through mud and sand might find these to be just the ticket without having to resort to something deeper and heavier. Claimed weight is 1,230g for the pair, built with Easton’s latest R4 SL hubs, Sapim bladed spokes and hybrid ceramic bearings. 

Easton add a compact option to their EC90 road crank plus 'cross-specific chainrings

Easton have also added a compact version of their impressive EC90 road crank for riders living in hillier locales and a ‘cross-specific version of the standard crank will be on tap in time for race season, complete with 38/46T chainrings.

New chainrings from Race Face

Race Face debuted a long-awaited successor to their popular chainrings at this year’s Sea Otter Classic.  The new Turbine rings are still machined from durable 7075-T6 aluminum but now use a more refined pin-and-ramp system for faster and smoother chain movement. Expected delivery is on 1 June and the new Turbine rings will carry an impressively reasonable US$100 price per set.

Race Face's Deus component line gets new graphics plus a limited edition gold crankset

Race Face will also add an Atlas FR bar with a massive 790mm (31in) width and a revised Atlas stem with a more squared-off shape. 

In other developments, the Atlas all-mountain cranks will now be offered in seven different anodised colours (black, grey, red, blue, purple, orange, and gold) and the Deus component line gets a new graphic treatment plus a limited edition gold crankset.

Rotor Components with new road crankset and lightweight seatpost

Rotor have apparently abandoned their eye-catching ‘Swiss cheese’ road crankarm design in favor of a slightly more conventional setup based around their Agilis model. The new prototype, tentatively dubbed ‘3D’, features three channels drilled lengthwise through a significantly wider extruded and machined aluminum crankarm, in contrast to the multi-axis drilling of the previous version.

Rotor's latest crank, tentatively called the '3D' , will replace their 'Swiss cheese' design

This construction style makes the new crank nominally hollow, stiffer than the existing crank and presumably slightly easier to manufacture. More importantly, the latest design passes the stringent European EFBe test standard, which the old one did not. 

An exact weight was not available – Rotor claim it to be close to that of the Agilis – nor was a projected release date or price. For now, Rotor plan to evaluate the design with the help of their sponsored Cervélo TestTeam until September. If it makes it to production, Rotor will offer the new crank as a supplement to the current model, not a replacement.

Rotor  drill three channels down the length of the aluminium arm to effectively make it hollow

Also on tap was a feathery new SP1 post and SD1 saddle. The SP1 features a lightweight aluminium mast coupled to a clever two-bolt integrated head with angled bolts for easy access and minimal aluminium cradles. Actual weight for a 27.2x350mm sample was just 180g with steel bolts – production posts will use titanium hardware – and larger diameter sizes should be lighter.

Rotor's SD1 saddle uses hollow titanium rails, a composite shell and a Lorica cover

The SD1 saddle weighs just 136g (actual weight) by virtue of its composite shell, hollow titanium rails and Lorica cover with minimal foam padding. Though there are no cutouts or other obvious comfort-enhancing features, most users accustomed to Selle Italia’s SLR will find the shape rather agreeable.

Edge Composites move further into componentry with new stem and seatpost

Carbon fibre gurus Edge Composites debuted a new stem and seatpost at this year’s Sea Otter Classic, both of which were impressively light. 

The new stem reportedly weighs just 113g (110mm) and is built with an all-carbon body with molded-in aluminium thread inserts, a four-bolt aluminium faceplate and titanium hardware. According to Edge Composites’ Kevin Nelson, the stems are “intended to be stiff, light and simple” and at least based on appearances for now, they seem to have hit their mark. Production units will begin shipping on 1 June.

Edge Composites showed off a new carbon stem said to weigh 113g in a 110mm length

The seatpost is still in the development phase but uses a one-piece moulded carbon shaft with a hollow cylinder up top to house the guts. The upper and lower aluminium cradles are secured with a single M5 bolt for ease of adjustment and the cylindrical head offers a 360-degree range of adjustment. Final weight and pricing is yet to be determined. 

Intriguing crank concept and new hub configurations from The Hive

The Hive’s new fifteen.G mountain bike triple crankset offers a tantalising mix of features, such as a giant 30mm-diameter aluminium spindle, externally located BB30-sized cartridge bearings, forged-and-machined 7050 aluminium oversized crankarms, a race-ready 790g complete weight and a reasonable US$325 price tag.

The Hive now offer a clever-looking fifteen.G mountain bike crankset

Other details include a ‘trilobe polygon’ tapered spindle interface that is said to provide 100 percent surface contact for a slip-free fit and bottom bracket cups that install with either the supplied tool or a standard 1 3/4in 12-point socket.

The fifteen.G crank will also be available in singlespeed varieties with or without an aluminium chainring guard with prices around US$325 for all. Expected availability is 1 June. 

The Hive also showed off their new range of geared mountain bike hubs

The Hive are also expanding their range of Chub hubs with two geared mountain bike sets expected to arrive in December. Alloy flanges are bonded to a hugely oversized thin-wall carbon centre section for rigidity and light weight while a 72-point ratchet ring offers quick engagement.

The all-mountain rear hub hits the scales at 320g and the matching front (convertible between 15mm and 20mm through-axle fitments) a competitive 225g.  Cross-country versions are markedly lighter at 290g and 140g with the front hub being swappable between 9mm quick-release and 15mm through-axle configurations. Pricing is yet to be determined.

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