Ah, yes, where would a big event like Sea Otter be without a handful of companies making a big (or small) debut of something cool? For some companies, the new stuff shown will be available in a month or two. For others, well, if it says 'prototype' on the side, then don't hold your breath.
While we didn't notice as many new product debuts this past Sea Otter, there was plenty to gawk at for most spectators. What the industry saw for the first time at Interbike in Las Vegas last September was totally new and exciting for the teeming masses rolling through Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. But we, just like you, love to see new stuff unveiled whenever possible, regardless of its availability. The bike industry loves to gain feedback on new innovations (open-sourced oversize bottom bracket, or BB30, adjustable head angles on all-mountain bikes, tubeless tyres, etc.), then roll them out when the timing (or demand) is right.
Sea Otter is a feast of products, and beyond the star-gazing ('hey, that's Gary Fisher!'), new products will always take center stage, despite who's on the podium. Here's a smattering of some of the new and cool stuff we discovered while roaming the dirt paths last weekend.
Did you know John Tomac once raced the downhill and cross country for Yeti in the dirt, while racing for Team 7-Eleven on the road? Here's a limited-edition modern version of Johhny T's downhill (yes, downhill) bike.
After launching the new Tomac line with two models at last year's Sea Otter, owner Joel Smith (son of "On Any Sunday" motorcycle star Malcolm Smith) and crew launched four new models this year, no mean feat for a small company based in Nebraska. Here's the all-carbon Type X hardtail.
Another Tomac hardtail, the aluminium Cortez.
Sure to be a hit, the all-mountain Tomac Automatic.
Now that Trek and Nike have ended their footwear and apparel licensing deal, the folks in Waterloo, Wisconsin have developed a Bontrager line of shoes and apparel. Trek test monkey Travis Brown was sporting these prototypes throughout the weekend. Look for a full line launch in August.
Oh yeah, here's Brown's latest Trek 69er singlespeed, in polished aluminium with Maverick fork.
Never a sight for sore eyes, the Oakleymobile, powered by sports marketing guru Steve Blick (and always chock full of goodies).
And for you Jamiroquai fans, a pre-loaded pair of Oakley Split Thumps.
And speaking of 29er, Syncros rolled out its first set of 29er wheels, resplendently white (not to be used before Memorial Day in the US).
Which, of course, matches nicely with some sic new rizer bars...
...totally redesigned all-mountain and cross-country saddles...
...and never-before seen Syncros clipless pedals!
Remember the brand Corsair: this small Seattle-based company has several tricks up its sleeve, and many innovations sprinkled throughout its line, starting with this Maelstrom...
...and continuing with the Marque. Our man at What Mountain Bike, Steve Worland, hopes to get his hands on one of these soon (can we blame him?).
Titanium and carbon maestros Titus are moving into more custom work, as evident by this titanium and Exo-Grid carbon hardtail with open-source BB30 bottom bracket.
Dangling in the Magura booth was this Pivot Mach 5 beauty with tasty Magura brakes and fork.
And for the devout Yeti Tribe members, this prototype was close enough to touch but not raw enough to race, looking mighty fine with the new Shimano Saint kit. The 303R-SS pictured was raced to a 3rd place finish in the pro men's DH by Justin Leov. There were several delightful Yetis on display.