Sea Otter 2016 Bikepacking Roundup
Lots of new goodies were on display this past weekend at the Sea Otter Classic. See what caught our eye…
Every April the bike industry converges in California at a bike festival, race and expo called the Sea Otter Classic. The result is often a slew of new products that get unveiled and announced to the public. Contributor Devon Balet payed the Sea Otter a visit this year and here’s what caught his eye…
Kona Big Honzo
The Kona Honzo has been around for a couple years now and has built up quite the following. Although we hadn’t had the chance to test ride one, it seems like all signs point to the fact that we should. Folks who have ridden the Honzo tend to get rather dogmatic about its playful and near-perfect geometry. And to add to its allure, Kona bumped up the tire clearance and shod the 2017 Big Honzo with 27.5+ Schwalbes. We’re not sure of the final spec of the production bike, but it looks like a good one…
Marin Pine Mountain
Marin is already revamping their Pine Mountain line with the release of a new Pine Mountain 1. The new hardtail is built around a classic double butted CrMo frame and Boost 141x9mm QR open dropouts that accommodate plus-sized Nobby Nics. It also harbors the new Shimano SLX 1×11 drivetrain and a RockShox Recon Silver RL 27.5+ fork… all for just $1,299. The original $999 rigid PM1 will now be called the Pine Mountain, and there will be a third Pine Mountain 2 in the lineup as well.
It’s not a long-travel Horsethief; it’s it’s own animal. Featuring a longer front end and shorter chain stay and 27.5 or 26+ tires, Redpoint began as an idea from the bike’s engineer Pete Koski. He basically found himself outgunned on some descents on the Horsethief and wanted a bike that could be pushed harder. That said, the Redpoint is still a backcountry bike at its core. It’s designed to climb well and reach the far corners of the wilderness. In fact, on one of its inaugural rides, several riders took a fleet out on the Gila River Ramble for a 3 day bikepacking trip.
2017 Jamis Renegade
Jamis tweaked their wildly successful Renegade line. In addition to new paint and graphics, the gravel/adventure bike now also features a Modular Thru-axle System (MTS) which allow the Renegade to accept different sized axles produced by any number of hub and fork makers. The new range also gets fork leg bottle bosses and internal cable routing.
Trek Farley Full-suspension Fat
Fat bikes are Trek’s fastest growing category—namely from the quick growth of the trend in the states such as Nebraska, Kentucky, New Mexico, Arizona and Tennessee. So to expand their lineup, they added the Farley EX full-suspension fat bike. Trek’s plugging it as an all-season bike that’s ultra versatile and uses the same design and performance of their standard full suspension trail bikes. There will be two versions of the Farley EX available in August. The carbon model features Bontrager Wampa carbon wheels, a RockShox Bluto, and a SRAM X01/X1 drivetrain for $5,500 USD. The alloy version is equipped with a Bluto, Sun Ringle Mulefut wheels, and a SRAM GX drivetrain for $3,500.
Lauf Grit Gravel Fork
Known for their curious looking but well-reviewed fat-bike ‘analog’ suspension forks, Lauf expanded their line up with the Grit, a fork specific to gravel adventure bikes. Weighing in at only 900 grams, with axle, the Grit was designed to tame cobble and corduroy alike. The Grit is priced at $789 and is available now.
EVOC FR Supertrail 20L Backpack
Searching for the perfect trail is an essential part of the EVOC story. This 20L technical backpack was inspired by the La Paz region in Bolivia. In addition to a really cool look, the Supertrail features an integrated back protector, tool compartment, and rain cover. The Supertrail 20L is priced around $200.
Revamped Osprey Hydraulics Reservoir
Osprey revamped their water bladder and created the Advanced Osprey Hydraulics system. The new bladders will come in two versions, the Hydraulics for larger packs with 2 and 3 liter options, and the Hydraulics LT in 1.5 and 2.5 liter capacities. The larger ones maintain a rigid back plate to keep a flat shape, while the smaller ones use an internal double baffle. The bladders should be available this spring and range from $28-36.
One of the more interesting bikes at the show is a new one from the Raleigh Bicycle Company—the bike inspired by Colt Seavers’ GMC Sierra from the 80s Fall Guy TV series. Is it a mountain bike with drop bars, a cross bike with giant tires, a monster cross rig, or some sort of adventure steed? Not fitting a category is part of the general concept behind the Stuntman. Priced at $1999, the Stuntman features a Reynolds 631 steel frame, alloy fork, SRAM Rival 1x drivetrain, a dropper post, Rival hydraulic disc brakes, and Clement XC Leadville 2.1″ 29er tires. Availability is slated for the summer. Photos from TwentyNineInches.com.
Maxxis Rekon+ 27.5+ Tires
Maxxis unloaded quite a collection of ultra-aggressive plus tires just prior to Sea Otter. The most interesting for rugged backcountry bikepakcing might be the Rekon Plus, a beefier version of the Maxxis Cronicle at 2.75 x 2.8″. Also, the High Roller plus (to the left in the pair below), is even toothier!
Stan’s Flow MK3 Wide Right Rims
Stan’s NoTubes has reengineered their iconic alloy mountain bike rims to be lighter, stiffer, and wider. The latter being the most interesting factor. Most notably, the Flow EX trail rim gained an internal width of 29mm which optimizes it for a 2.35 to 2.8 tire. The Flow EX uses a new flat and rounded shape that’s shallower than its predecessor, which Stan’s claims allows it to flex over terrain without lateral weakening. They’ve also updated their logo and graphics giving it a more simple and clean look. Full wheel sets are available for $679 and rims for $100/ea.
SRAM XO1 Eagle 1×12
Announced just a few weeks prior to Sea Otter, the new SRAM Eagle drivetrain group ups the ante of single ring systems, by one. X01 Eagle takes the simplicity and weight savings of the 1×11 drivetrain and adds an additional 50-tooth cog to the cassette. Many bikepackers might have a hard time committing to a 1×11 which limits the granny gear and could make loaded climbing tough. But the 1×12 system actually has a 500% range that competes with a 2×10 setup. Granted it comes at a cost; when added up, the price comes in just shy of $1,200 US (derailleur, cassette, driver, chain, chainring, cranks, and shifter).
Shimano 1×11 SLX
While the electronic Di2 XT drivetrain made the headlines, we were more interested in an update to the affordable and bulletproof SLX group. For bikepackers, the 1×11 version boasts a single ring 4-bolt crankset with the choice of 30, 32 & 34 tooth chain rings that can pair up with either an 11-42 cassette, a mid-cage rear derailleur, and shifter. There’s also a 2x crank to make it a 2×11 system. The crank will sell for $90 plus $30 for a chainring, and another $66 for the 11 speed rear derailleur.
VP Harrier Altitude
We reviewed the Harrier just a couple months ago and really liked it for it’s size, simplicity, and ease of maintenance. Now VP took it a step further with a titanium axle and post CNC machining to drop weight. But at $235, the VP-Harrier Altitude is indeed a high-end pedal.
Park Tool MT-40
Park unveiled their latest multi-tool at Interbike last year, but was showing it off at Sea Otter. The MT-40 is rather large when looking at pocket tools, but it includes a nice set of options. At $54.99 the MT-40 features 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8mm hex wrenches, T25 & T30 Torx drivers, combo cross/straight tip screwdriver, a CO2 cartridge inflator adaptor, key ring holder, and a 10spd chain tool that rivals stand-alone units used in home shops. All of that adds up to 243 grams, which is pretty high… but it has a relatively flat shape which should mean that it stays fairly unnoticeable in most bags.
Sun Ringle Duroc 40 and 50 Rims
Two new wide rims from Sun Ringle. The 40 and 50 have internal rim widths of 36 and 46 respectively.
Lezyne Micro Floor Drive (MFD) XL & Pressure Over Drive
Lezyne had their two latest pumps on hand. We love the the original Micro Floor Drive HV (High Volume) and now they’ve made an even bigger version, specific for fat bikes. The MFD XL packed in a larger chamber and could be a great option for high volume tires. Also, their new digital Pressure Over Drive has a pressure holding chamber to allow a blast of air to be injected for an easy tubeless setup. Both of these pumps should be available this summer.
Five Ten Impact VX1
Five Ten’s latest revision of their Impact VX1 appears to be a good bikepacking option. The new version is similar to the flagship model but lighter and with less bulk. It does use a softer Mi6 rubber on the sole, so it could wear faster than others.
A few more
- Jamis debuted their women’s specific 26+ Dragonfly; this could be a great ‘Baja Divide’ rig for smaller riders.
- Jamis also added a couple of plus alloy bikes to the is Dragonslayer line.
- And last but not least, Ortlieb released their new Bikepacking bags at Sea Otter. If you missed our review last week, check it out here.