Posts in the category Sea Otter Classic

SOC15: Spot Brand developing unique leaf spring-and-pivot full suspension mountain bike

prototype Spot Brand Living Link full suspension mountain bike

It’s becoming more and more rare to find a truly new suspension design these days, but small city and commuter bike company Spot Brand seems to have done just that.

Designed by none other than Avid founder Wayne Lumpkin, it’s called the Living Link suspension system. What sets it apart is the lower linkage, which is built around a titanium leaf spring coupled with a pivot. The visual effect is a very interesting rear triangle motion, and the performance effect claims to be an enhanced spring curve, efficient climbing, smooth descending, lighter weight and less maintenance. Oh, and it’s extremely stiff laterally…


Fat Chance Yo Eddy frames revised to boost tire clearance, improve cable routing

Fat Chance Yo Eddy hardtail mountain bike updated for April 2015

When they made their debut appearance at NAHBS this spring, the new 2015 Fat Chance Yo Eddy looked good, using a True Temper steel frame in both 27.5 and 29er sizes. One common attribute was the very short 433mm (17.04″) chainstays, which made for some very tight rear tire clearance on the 29er.

Chris Chance listened, and he’s reworked the 29er’s seat tube with a slight bend, opening up space for improved mud and debris clearance. It’s not enough to up the tire allowance, so 29×2.25 is still about the max recommendation. But it does lead to other changes…


SOC15: DT Swiss reboots Mon Chasseral road wheels in carbon, 27.5+ rims & carbon OPM Race fork closeup

2016 DT Swiss Mon Chasseral carbon fiber road bike wheelset

The Mon Chasseral was DT Swiss’ first real complete road wheel, which was all alloy at its inception in 2005. Now, the name is back, but it’s gone to mostly carbon with all-new carbon hubs and carbon rims.

The hub is based on their 180 but with a new carbon fiber shell. The front hub’s shell is full carbon, and the rear is mostly so with an alloy spoke flange on the driveside. It’s packed with their top of the line SINC ceramic bearings. They designed the bearings, having them manufactured and sized specifically for these hubs rather than taking something off the shelf and building the rest of the parts to fit them. The cartridge is about the same size as others, but inside, the ball is made to their spec to control the tolerances. Altogether, the hub set is about 30g lighter than a stock 180.

The rim is their current tubeless ready carbon clincher that’s on the RC28 wheelset. The spokes are DT Aerolite, 18 front and 24 rear. Wheelset weight is 1280, and price is $TBD. Available in August.

More pics and other new stuff below…


SOC15: Fox upgrades 32, 34 and 36 forks with FIT4 damper; RC2 shock damper cutaway & more 2016 suspension!

2016 Fox 32 FLOAT FIT4 suspension fork

The transition to the 2016 Fox Racing Shox mountain bike suspension fork lineup all started with the 2015 36′s switch to a new air spring. It introduced a full air system with check valves to equalize air pressure between the positive and negative chambers, dropped weight and improved performance. Now, that same air system can be found across the entire line, from the XC-oriented 32 to the trail/enduro-ready 34 and 36 to the downhill destroying dual crown 40. Likely, the same 100-130g weight savings can be expected across the line, too!

The progression continued with the announcement of the all new, fourth generation FIT4 damper on the 34 a few weeks ago. The new system moves away from the CTD (Climb/Trail/Descend) modes to Open/Medium/Firm. Similar in theory, except that they added much better support in the open mode compared to the all-but-unusable Descend mode that would simply blow through the travel way too quickly and easily. Plus, the in-setting micro adjustments have moved from the middle setting to the Open setting, giving you even more control over how the fork acts when wide open. The FIT4 damper can now be found in the 32, 34 and 36 forks as an option, and there are no more open bath cartridges on any forks.

Out back, the expanded air volume cans and upgraded damping can now be found on the Float and Float X, and we’ve got a cutaway look at the new dual high/low speed compression and rebound circuits of the DHX2 and Float X2…


SOC15: Airborne Plus Sized Takes Flight with New Griffin 27+

Airborne griffin 27+ plus sized mountain bike fat manitou sram gxIMG_7010

There is no denying that plus sized tires were a big thing at Sea Otter this year.  Whether you look at them as an addition to the evolution of mountain bikes or a branch in a new direction that has been growing for a few years now, there were a number of new bikes to check out.

Even though multiple bike manufacturers are exploring plus sized options, how each company is translating that into a finished product turns out to be quite different. While some companies like Trek are sticking with 29+ as their only options, other brands like Airborne are skipping over 29+ and going straight to 27+.  As Airborne puts it, the new Griffin was meant to be an aggressive XC hard tail with a bit of BMX influence to create a super fun and capable bike built around the mid-fat wheels and tires…


SOC15: 9point8 Drops First Infinitely Adjustable Mechanical Dropper Post

9 point 8 dropper seat post fall lineIMG_6002

Most riders that have ridden with a dropper post will agree – they can have a profound impact on the way you ride. Unfortunately, they also can present a number of durability headaches and frankly are pretty expensive. With each successive generation dropper posts have greatly improved, but in our opinion there’s still quite a bit of room for improvement.

Since introducing their first Pulse dropper post in 2013, 9point8 managed to catch our attention with their stepper style drop post which added a unique ratcheting feature in addition to the standard up and down found on most posts. Their latest design eliminates that ratcheting motion in favor of infinite adjust, but it’s still unique in the fact that it apparently is the only mechanical dropper (no hydraulic cartridge) on the market that provides infinite adjustment.

The result is a dropper that won’t require bleeding, and according to 9point8 should prove to be one of the most durable posts yet…


SOC15: Project321 lets you add Lefty Supermax to more bikes (with Plus-sized tires!), shows new colors

Project321, which is known almost as much for their unofficial anodization of third party components like Thomson stems and Cannondale’s lightweight cranks, has added a new teal color to their own product lineup. Adding to the places you can put that new color, they’re working on Boost 148 rear and 110mm front hubs. Those will come soon.

They’ve also added a couple new Lefty fork steerer adapters that’ll let you use the long travel Lefty Supermax to non-Cannondale frames…


SOC15: Specialized launches Fuse, Ruze 27.5+, new Rumor 650 trail bike, Command Post & more!

2016 Specialized Fuse 275+ 6fatty hardtail mountain bike

The new Specialized Fuse (men’s) and Ruze (women’s) trail hardtails are built from ground up for their 27.5+ (6fatty) wheels and tires, tailoring the geometry to the new tire size and introducing new parts and frame designs to go along with it.

Both bikes will come with new Ground Control 27.5 x 3.0 tires that tip the scales around 900g, and they’ll have Purgatory 27.5 x 3.0 (around 1000g) available separately if you need something more aggressive. Both have a 60tpi folding bead tubeless ready carcass, and the Pro model will have them wrapped around new 38mm wide (inside) welded alloy Roval Fatty rims laced to Boost 148 and 110 hubs.

The tires may have inspired the new bike, but it’s the unique design that makes them fit…


SOC15: GU Bites into New Big Apple and Sea Salt Chocolate Roctane Flavors

Gu Big Apple Sea Solt chocolate new energy gel flavorsIMG_5978

If you didn’t catch our last story on GU Energy Gel, the latest news out of Berkeley, CA is that the famous gel has gone vegan. By removing Histidine from the standard GU formula, the gel is now officially vegan friendly which is pretty big news for a number of athletes.

For those who aren’t necessarily concerned about the vegan-ness of their gels, new flavors are probably the most exciting developments. Thanks to our newly found appreciation for how much work actually goes into developing new flavors, the frequency which GU introduces them is pretty impressive. The latest additions the line should satisfy your cravings if you’re craving fruit or chocolate on your next ride…