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Sea Otter 2016: Grab Bag of Tech

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April 15, 2016 – The Sea Otter Classic expo. It’s a mountain bike mecca – booth after booth of six inch travel, full face goodness. If that’s not quite your cup of tea there are still plenty of road and gravel products to see, you just have to look beyond the empty Redbull cans and flat brim caps.


Lauf gets gritty.
Lauf debuted its new gravel fork, the Grit. Like the Icelandic brand’s mountain fork, it relies on leaf springs to deliver travel, but only 30mm compared to the mountain fork’s 60mm. The gravel fork weighs under 900grams and graced a gorgeous Open U.P. frame.

Park Tool’s been busy.

2016 marks the very first Sea Otter for Park Tool and they debuted the brand new MW-1 – Mobile Workshop 1 – a trailer kitted out with every Park tool product in one place. With over two dozen new tools we got a chance to see the highlights.

New steel insert tire levers leave the head exposed to slide under a tough bead, but keep your rim safe with a soft plastic body. Park’s new line of torque wrenches feature all metal internals and are made in house in Minnesota. Removing cassettes just got easier with a new chain wrench designed to replace the whip and a hollow head puller that lets you keep your skewer on and has a handle attached. In the multi-tool line new CO2 inflators are stored on a threaded head.

Lezyne’s portable pressure gets digital.

Lezyne showed us some prototype mini pumps with digital readouts, a great addition to any gravel kit, when adjusting pressures road side can make a huge difference in how your bike handles the changing terrain.

Open U.P. to different wheel sizes.
Speaking of the Open U.P., it’s a gravel bike we’ve been dying to ride since seeing it at Eurobike. Owners, Andy Kessler and Gerard Vroomen, were there and showed us the bike’s versatility kitted with both 700c and 650b wheel set ups. We also learned an Open U.P. test bike was just delivered to our HQ with both wheel standards from 3T as part of the package. We’ll bring you that review soon.

Will SRAM’s Eagle soar to the road?
Even some of the mountain products at Sea Otter hint at what is to come for road and gravel riders. SRAM showed off its new Eagle 1X mountain group with a massive 10-50t 12 speed cassette (pictured here with plenty of Sea Otter dust). We expect to see the 12speed cassette show up on SRAM’s 1X road and gravel groups soon. We may not need the 50t, but an extra cog will help the 10-42t cassette shift a bit more smoothly and efficiently with tighter ratios.

SMITH dials Mips.
Smith is still hanging its road hat on the Overtake helmet, but it has delivered a batch of new colors, including the camo finish that was exclusively for the mountain Forefront previously. While we knew Smith offered a Mips version of the Overtake, we didn’t know Smith designed its own liner to integrate better with the helmet’s unique venting and ensure it didn’t affect sizing.

Speedplay takes low drag to Zero.
And finally, we’ll close with a shot of Speedplay’s Zero Aero. We’ve seen and covered the pedal before, but we continue to be amazed by how it looks mounted to a four hole shoe and the new walkable cleat. No other pedal and cleat come close to creating such a clean, aero profile.