SOC14 Final Roundup & Randoms
If you’ve never been, the Sea Otter Classic is a great show. No other event seems to be able to seamlessly combine such great racing with a massive expo area which seems to have become the launch pad for many 2015 products. In addition to checking out all of the latest gear, spectators are also treated to performances like Trials demos with Mike Steidley and his announcer/ride partner Dave Campbell. The two put on a great show and attracted an audience every time.
They might have been there to provide entertainment, but even they had some interesting parts to show…
Now don’t expect this to ever make it to market (at least any time soon), but when you’re an 11x national Trials champion who is sponsored by Kenda you get some special treatment when it comes to tires. In this case, Mike Steidley was running some Kenda Nevegal DH tires marked Prototype. Apparently, they are a DH casing tire that is running a folding bead to drop some weight. Also, since grip is more important than rolling resistance when it comes to trials, Mike runs the Nevegals backwards on the rear.
Mike has also just released the first episode on the second season of Summer Sessions from EpicTV. Definitely worth a watch, especially if you are unfamiliar with trials. Mike is also Birzman’s most recently sponsored rider with the company stating:
“We are excited to announce that Mike Steidley will be riding with Birzman in 2014. Mike Steidley-one of the most prolific Stunt, Trials and Free-Riders in the USA- is an 11 times winner of The North American Trials Series Championship. His ability to maneuver and manipulate his bicycle requires skills beyond what most can comprehend. The fact that he has performed at the highest level of his chosen discipline to have won 11 National Titles, speaks volumes for his athletic ability. While his dedication and commitment to his supporters, and his humble approach to his profession, speak volumes for his character.
In Mike’s own words, ”Birzman tools offer all the elements I need from my tools- precision, luxury looks, functional design, and durability in the field. When you are constantly on the road you need tools that can keep up as you are chasing your adventure from competitions, to video shoots and traveling the globe to stunt shows.”
We wish Mike all the best for the rest of 2014 and look forward to contributing to his continued success. ”
Speaking of racing, Carla from Niner pulled us over to check out Evelyn Dong’s Niner Air9 RDO. Ridden to a 3rd place finish in the women’s Pro race by the BackCountry.com team athlete, Carla wanted to show that even at just 5’2″ Evelyn is comfortable on an XS Niner. Evelyn runs a flat bar with a Syntace FlatForce -12mm stem to get the grips where she wants them. Congrats on the podium spot Evelyn!
Thule may not have had any new racks on display, but they did have some sweet iPhone cases. As part of a growing line of luggage, bags, and accessories largely in part due to their acquisition of Case Logic Thule is launching a line of Atmos cases. This version is called the Atmos X3 and offers advanced drop protection with its Bi-Component Armor construction. Offered in 5 colors, the case is available for iPhone 4/4s, 5, and the Samsung Galaxy S3 and S4 for $39.95. Future cases will include the X4 and X5 which will be water resistant and then completely submersible.
Ryders wins the booth design again, this time with an western themed saloon, complete with gunfights and plenty of whiskey.
It’s becoming hard to pass by a pro mechanic’s work bench without seeing a Crombie tool and Whip It combo from Abbey Bike Tools. If you like pro level tools, you owe it to yourself to check them out.
In addition to the newly redesigned Podium bottles which are finally shipping, Camelbak is offering a second women’s color option on the L.U.X.E. NV hydration pack. The packs include a 100 oz bladder and use the extremely comfortable Camebak NV back panel. Other features include a built in rain cover, media pocket, and Velvetex harness lining all for $135.
This was my first time seeing a Tepui Tent in person, which of course means I now want one. The tents fit on a standard roof rack with a collapsible design that folds up to about the size of a small mattress. Which is probably because there is a small mattress inside. Each Tepui tent has a high density 2 1/2″ foam mattress which combined with a flat, level surface will probably equal the best sleep you’ve had in a tent. Tents weigh about 95-150 pounds depending on the size and hold 2-4 adults. Tents have an optional vestibule package so you can set up house on top, and your garage down below. Tents retail from $750-1800.
There was also a number of products cruising the expo that were nearly as unusual as seeing a carbon fat bike get flipped. We saw a number of people cruising on this Ride by Side tandem adapter thing.
The initial install requires some time, but once done, the Ride by Side can installed or removed quickly via QR hardware.
Once installed, the system allows the bikes to easily dip back and forth when turning at speed, while actuating a lever prevents the bikes from leaning, which made navigating crowds easy.
While not as svelte as a Thomson stem, the Stem Park does perform a nifty trick for the space starved. Pushing in the side of the top cap and giving the entire mechanism a quarter turn allows the bars to turn independently of the wheels, so you can quickly lock the handlebars into the space saving configuration pictured above.
See you at SOC 2015!