Sea Otter: Lighter and, um, ‘light’er!

Brakes, lights, pumps and saddles

Our technical editor, James Huang, has been casting a critical eye over scores of products seen at the recent Sea Otter bike show. Here's his take on some more of the latest technical developments on display in California.

TRP debuts svelte new aluminum road calipers

TRP showed off a new set of road brake calipers that supplants even its own fancy R950 carbon fibre clampers.  This time around, the new R960 turns to forged and CNC-machined aluminium to bring the weight down to just 110g per caliper, including pads and titanium hardware. 

Pivot points on the R960 are the same as on the R950 so we’d expect a similar amount of power and modulation from the reassuringly beefy-looking arms.  A novel quick-release adds minimal weight and included SwissStop pads suggest a good bite.  TRP will offer the R960 in red or black anodized finishes at a cost of approximately US$400 per pair.

On the muddier side of things, ‘cross riders might be interested in TRP’s new EuroX Mag cantilever brakes.  These share the same high-profile configuration and mud-shedding clearance as the standard and EuroX Carbon models but with magnesium plates that are nearly as light as the carbon ones and also less expensive.  Upgraded pad hardware will also allow for easily adjustable pad toe-in (usually the Achilles’ heel for this sort of brake) and a built-in barrel adjuster will make for quick clearance adjustments. 

The EuroX Mag brakes will begin shipping in July and will command about US$300 for a full bike’s worth.  TRP will also offer upgrade kits for existing EuroX brakes to add the pad toe-in and barrel adjuster features.

Fi’zi:k brings Arione weight and technology off-road

Team Maxxis rider Geoff Kabush was supposedly so enamored with the shape and feel of the normally road-specific fi’zi:k Arione that the company decided to modify the shape for a new off-road version called Tundra. 

Like the Arione, the Tundra features a rather flat top and triangular shape but the rear point has been lopped off for better off-road manoeuvrability (not to mention safety).  Naturally, the company’s trademark Wing Flex feature remains intact. 

Fi’zi:k will offer the new Tundra in white Microtex with braided carbon rails or black with k:ium rails.  Consumers will be able to pick up the sub-200g carbon version for roughly a dollar per gram while the slightly heavier k:ium railed version will be a bit less expensive at around US$159.  Both will begin shipping around June or July of this year.

Lezyne slims down for new pump line

Lezyne brings the weight and size of its novel hidden-hose mini-pump designs to the road with the new Road Drive model.  While others go with lighter plastic construction, Lezyne errs on the side of durability with its alloy construction but weight still drops down to just 103g while still retaining all of the usual functionality.  The pump clips on to the side of a corresponding integrated cage that will be available in either aluminium or carbon fibre. 

Speaking of carbon fibre, new carbon-infused versions of the original mini-pump designs are also in the works.  We doubt that they’ll be much lighter but they look cool nonetheless. 

We’re also not sure if the new Micro Caddy bags will offer much in the way of weight savings but their clever style of attachment deserves a mention anyway.  Instead of the usual relatively narrow nylon straps, the new Micro Caddy design uses broad neoprene-and-Velcro ‘wings’ that secure the bag beneath the saddle rails and also look to keep the bag (and its contents) more stable. 

Light&Motion offers sneak preview of new Seca LED lamp

Light&Motion will add another nail in the HID coffin with its upcoming Seca line of high-output LED lamps.  While there weren’t any working samples on hand to play with at this year’s Sea Otter Classic, the detailed specs and early prototype models were enough to make us almost look forward to the shorter days of autumn.

Each Seca system will feature a six-LED array and target output for the top model is an impressive 720 lumens.  According to Light&Motion, the unique beam pattern will provide plenty of usable peripheral and straight-ahead vision.  More importantly, the company claims the tuned optics will deliver real world output that finally matches the darkness-piercing ‘punch’ of top HID lamps that we’ve so often found lacking in other high-end LED systems. 

The new Seca will also signal a new design course for the Monterey, California-based company.  A new tool-free strap-type mount will more easily transfer from handlebar to helmet while also substantially decreasing its profile.  The exposed heat sink will also be shrouded by brightly colored shrouds, in sharp contrast to the drab black-and-grey schemes we’re all used to seeing.  Seca prices will begin at US$349 and climb to around the US$600 mark. Note that UK prices will reflect shipping, duty and freight charges applied to goods shipped from the US.

We’ll have to wait until later in the season for more details on the Seca but the new mounting system will also make its way on to the revised Stella single-LED systems. 

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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