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Anticipation for the Sea Otter Classic has been building for weeks – even months – and so many brands have chosen this as their moment to reveal their latest and greatest products. We’ve rounded up here a selection of the glitziest launches, timed precisely for the curtain lift.
In the meantime, we’re out on the ground, hunting around for the weird, the wonderful and the most innovative products we can find – so stay tuned for those tech gems!
Ortlieb Seat-Pack QR
The German bike bag manufacturer, Ortlieb, might be best known for its robustly engineered pannier bags – beloved by round-the-world tourers and commuters alike – but has also clearly been devoting a lot of time to honing its bikepacking range too.
Great though most giant saddle bags are, there are a few perennial issues with the majority of the systems out on the market.
First, relates to packing a saddle pack – it’s much easier to get your kit to fit with the bag off the bike, but then you have the faff of strapping it all back on again. Second, concerns the swaying – although some brands have systems that manage to limit this to levels that are no longer annoying, small movements can still lead to chafing that ultimately reduces the lifespan of the bags.
Ortlieb’s vision is to eliminate both those issues with the introduction of its quick release system. The idea is that this makes the bag fast to take on and off, for easier packing, and that it holds the bag much more securely and without the chafing.
There’s a range of extra little features, such as a bleed valve to make it easier to roll the bag tight and elasticated webbing for storing extra layers. The bag comes in just one 13-litre size and has a claimed weight of 625 grams.
Pricing stands at £155 / $190 and more details are available at ortlieb.com
Mason Exposure gravel bike
You can trace the genealogy of the Exposure to Mason’s award-winning Bokeh, a versatile gravel bike that treads a balance between speed and burliness – but this is more than just a steel reimaging.
Firstly, the tyre clearance has been boosted up from 50 to 58mm in 650b (2.35”) and from 45 to 50mm in 700c. The bike’s also spawned new attachment points for carrying even more kit, with no fewer than four bosses on the inside of the downtube and triple bosses on the underside, the seat tube, and each fork leg.
The Exposure will come in two production colours, a soft greyish green and a warm ochre yellow – which is already being used on Mason’s made-in-scotland hardtail frames. But to celebrate the release of this new frameset, there will be a limited run of 10 ‘Launch Edition’ frames which will be available in two exclusive colourways: DarkRoom Red Metallic, and Diffuser Black Metallic.
The frame in the images here is Mason’s final sample and raw-finished with just a coating of beeswax, clearly showing the welds and brazes of the tube junctions and frame components. Sadly this won’t be an option for the production models as the frames will need to be corrosion treated, primed and painted to ensure their longevity.
More information on the bikes can be found on Mason’s website here.
New Rapha Brevet collection: long-distance all-weather kit
Rapha’s Brevet collection was inspired by the Paris-Brest-Paris audax, a 1,200km epic that dates back to 1891 and is currently held every four years. Challenging the spirit of randonneuring, Rapha’s Brevet kit is designed for long-distance riding in changeable conditions.
New and improved for the 2022 men’s collection are the Brevet Bib shorts (top right) which feature Rapha’s most supportive pad, boast UPF50+ sun protection and reflective strips for extra visibility when riding at night. Taking a leaf out of Rapha’s cargo bib shorts, the Brevet Bibs also have a subtle slip side pocket for extra storage. Pricing stands at £215 / $290.
In both a men’s and women’s fit, Rapha’s got new colours of its Brevet Gilet (bottom left), a water resistant and windproof shell that packs down into its own internal pocket for easy storage and costs £105 / $145.
Also in both men’s and women’s, there’s the Brevet Jersey (top left), which is now uses recycled fabrics within the merino wool blend. Rapha claims that this combination offers the sweat wicking and natural antibacterial properties of merino wool, whilst still beng durable enough to “go the distance”. It costs £130 / $145.
Next is the women’s Brevet Flyweight wind jacket (bottom right), which features a similar construction to the Brevet Gilet, utilising a lightweight windproof fabric and a durable water repellent treatment to fend off light rain. As well as packing into its own pocket, the jacket has two zipped side pockets. This comes in at £135 / $185.
And finally, there’s the Men’s Brevet Gore-Tex Jacket (bottom middle), which combines lightweight packability with a fully waterproof construction. This comes in at £265 / $360.
For more information you can view Rapha’s full Brevet collection over here.
Fizik Argo Adaptive
Fizik’s releases are coming thick and fast at the moment. The new Argo Adaptive continues with the short nose and central recess design that spans the whole Argo family of saddles, but combines this with Fizik’s “Carbon Digital Light Synthesis 3D printed ‘digital-padding’”.
We’ve seen the lattice style design used in Fizik’s Antares range, as well as Specialized has with its Power saddle. This’ll be the first time Fizik has brought this 3D printing technology to a short-nosed saddle, opening up the benefits of ‘zonal cushioning’ to those who prefer this style of saddle shape.
That ‘zonal cushioning’ refers to Fizik’s ability to tune the 3D structure for different loading patterns across the saddle, which Fizik claims helps to “reduce peak pressure” while the saddle shape is designed to “offer greater stability and weight distribution”.
The Argo Adaptive R1 with carbon rails will be available in 140mm (190g) and 150mm (196g) and will be priced at €299 | £299 | $299.
The Argo Adaptive R3 with K:ium alloy rails will be available in 140mm (224g) and 150mm (230g) and will be priced at €259 | £259 | $259.
Both the saddles with be available to consumers from the end of the month. More information can be found on Fizik's website here.
Giant/Stages Dash 200 series headunits
Power meter specialists, Stages and the bike brand Giant have collaborated to produce a new bike computer – the Dash 200 series.
It comes in a choice of two sizes, a 2.2” or a 2.7” display and features a full colour screen along with pre-installed cycling specific maps. Neither device has a touchscreen, both being controlled only by a total of five concave buttons.
As you would expect for head units of this price point – £239/$279 for the smaller and £289/$329 for the larger model – both come with full ANT+ and Bluetooth compatibility and will sync routes and rides to and from third party apps such as Strava and TrainingPeaks.
The battery life is claimed at 10 hours when displaying full backlit maps and with one sensor connected. This goes up to 18 hours with reduced power mode enabled. For those that wish to, the headunits can also be used in landscape mode, as well as portrait.
For more information, you can find our full launch story here.
Fizik Ferox gravel race shoes
The latest addition to Fizik’s gravel footwear range, the Ferox are designed for the rigours of off-road racing. Weight has been shaved – relative to Fizik’s all-rounder Terra Atlas gravel shoes – by opting for a laminated-mesh upper, whilst the sole optimised for maximum stiffness, scoring a full 10/10 on Fizik’s stiffness scale.
Despite their claimed rigidity, Fizik still recommends the shoes for “all-day gravel events”, and so clearly must have a lot of confidence in the shaping and support of the shoes. Pricing stands at £299 / $299 and our full launch story can be found over here.
Vielo wireless only and 1x specific gravel bike
British “Indy-Boutique” bike brand, Vielo, had already made a name for itself with its 1x specific gravel bikes – most brands will use an asymmetric chainstay to accommodate both a double crankset and wide tyres, but the V+1 Alto’s symmetrical ‘stays enable weight savings to the tune of a 880 gram (claimed) frameset, whilst also accommodating tyres of up to 50mm wide.
But with that idea of uncompromising specificity for the setup at hand, Vielo’s taken the same approach to the cabling. The Race Edition V+1 is designed for wireless groupsets only, with no ports or holes for routing cables to a rear mech, making for a distinctly clean and minimalist builds.
Pricing starts at £5,899 / $7,890 for a SRAM Rival groupset and goes up to £9,999 / $13,000 for SRAM Red. You can read more in our full article just over here.
That's all for now, check back later for our round up for the weirdest and most wonderful tech we've been able to find.
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After winning the 2019 National Single-Speed Cross-Country Mountain Biking Championships and claiming the plushie unicorn (true story), Stefan swapped the flat-bars for drop-bars and has never looked back.
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