A walk around the pits at Sea Otter will lead you to discover all kinds of weird and wonderful bike tech, as well as a ton of fat bikes, it seems.
Boreals Echo XX1 carbon fat bike – featuring the new Rockshox Bluto fat fork – and Carbondale rims
It’s always interesting to see what the latest crazes are in mountain biking, and recently, that has to be fat bikes. Love or loathe them, they’re just not going away. And they now have decent suspension from RockShox in the form of the new Bluto fork, as featured on the super light Boreals Echo carbon fat bike. The Echo also features Boreals’ bonkers light 85mm wide Carbondale rims – they’re 615g each and tubeless-compatible. The wheels are available for about US$2,000 a pair, and the Echo XX1 retails for US$5,999.
Santa Cruz V10 fat bike
Don’t worry folks, this isn’t not Greg Minnaar’s new weapon of choice – this V10 has been converted to accept fat bike tyres by Phil Wood. We can only scratch our heads at this one.
Even more fat bikes from Phil Wood, On-One and Origin 9
Big-treaded steeds really were in abundance. Check out this chunky number from Boreals..
…this lairy orange ride from On-One…
…and this more subtle example from Origin 8.
Ibis carbon wheels
The Ibis guys are well known for making lovely carbon frames, so it was only a matter of time before they released carbon wheelsets to match. The wheels are available in two rim widths for 29ers, and a single rim width for 650b (27.5in) models. They are designed to improve ride stability by giving the tyre a wider stance. This has various other benefits, including making the rim stronger.
The 650b 741 wheels have a 41mm width, 35mm internal width and weigh a claimed 1,650g (rim weight 475g). The 941s are the first of two 29er options, weighing in at a claimed 1,770g for the pair (rim weight 490g) with a 41mm width and 35mm internal width. The second set of 29in wheels is the 928m, which is 28mm wide (22mm internal width) and weighs a claimed 1,580g (rim weight of 375g).
Fox 36 fork
Although it never disappeared, the 36 fork seems to have been forgotten about, but it’s set to return for 2015, stronger than ever.
It’s available in 26in format with 160mm or 180mm travel on the existing chassis; 650b (27.5in) with 160mm or 170mm travel; and 29in with 150mm or 160mm travel – suggesting the type of rider it’s aimed at.
With the RC2 damper, the same axle-to-crown height as the equivalent 34 model, and a light weight of 4.19lb for the 26in 60mm travel model, it looks ultra competitive. There are air volume spacers available to add progressiveness to the ride, and new seals and an ultra low friction assembly make the fork feel smooth.
The axle unit has been simplified saving a load of weight and it will accept a 15mm axle now too with the adaptors. Finishing it off are the 40-year celebratory graphics – looking back to how the brand used to in its early years. Very cool.
X-Fusion Hilo Strate seatpost
X-Fusion were exhibiting some quality components – we’ve been very impressed with the ride attributes of its forks and shocks of late. The Hilo Strate post offers 125 or 150mm travel, cable actuation and stealth style routing with an easily removable/locatable cable for installation. There’s a new twin-bolt clamp too, which is a big improvement on the older design, which could slip.
Cowan Bikes carbon jump bike
We bumped in to dirt jumping legend John Cowan, who’s been busy making his own branded carbon bikes in a factory in San Diego that also develops military products. The frame weight is as low as 3.8lb, and John can custom make frames with increased strength for the rider by increasing layering during production. Medium and long frame sizes are available for a reasonable $1,200, considering the hand construction. There’s a full suspension frame just around the corner…
Giro Chamber shoes
The popular Chamber SPD compatible shoes are available in a flat pedal version, featuring the same Vibram rubber sole and skate shoe style uppers. Pedal feel is great, and the protection and feel is more along the lines of tougher all-mountain style shoes than the simple skate shoe on which its styled.
Eligo double bite valve hose
Ever had issues drinking water and energy products at the same time? Then look no further – this hose retrofits to your current hydration pack bladder and has a clever valve that allows you to drink water, or water and energy/electrolytes together without contaminating your bladder. A neat idea that’s great for racing.
e*thirteen 42tooth climber sprocket and improved bottom bracket
Available in 40 and 42t options to suit 34 and 36-tooth 10-speed Shimano cassettes, this large outer sprocket is a great option for coping with those extra steep hills if you want a simple 1 x10 set up. It’s priced at US$69.99. Also from the Hive is a new bottom bracket with better-sealed bearings of a consistent quality and a sealed tube to keep the elements out.