The Sea Otter Classic represents the start of the race season in North America, and serves as a venue for brands to show their latest wares to thousands of consumers roaming the aisles of the outdoor festival.
Located at the Laguna Seca Raceway outside Monterey, California, the exhibitor expo draws hundreds of brands from all corners of the bicycle industry, all set up in booths loaded with eye candy for bike lovers.
There is a lot to see and we’re checking it all out over the next three days. Here are a few highlights from day one:
Bulls Bikes USA made its Sea Otter Classic debut just days ahead of its official launch and showed its top-of-the-line Wild Edge Team 29er, the same bike the successful Team Bulls athletes rode in this year’s Cape Epic. The 100-millimeter-travel carbon-fiber XC bike comes outfitted with a Rockshox RS-1 fork, Monarch XX Air shock and Shimano XTR 11-speed two-by drivetrain and retails for $6,000. Bulls Bikes USA is a licensed company managed by Fernando Endara, who just moved to Los Angeles from Ecuador to head up the e-commerce brand. Endara licensed the name from parent company Bulls Bikes in Germany. In the first year, bikes will be sold online-only through bullsbikesusa.com.
Liv, Giant Bicycle’s female brand, introduced a range of new helmets including the Infinata, a full-coverage trail lid with an integrated goggle strap, 18 noggin-cooling vents, adjustable visor, GoPro-compatible mount, anitmicrobial padding and thin, lightweight fit straps. It retails for $130 and is also available under the Giant brand in different colors.
Venerable rack brand Yakima replaced its StickUp hitch rack with the updated TwoTimer, which fits tires up to 4 inches wide. A center mast adapts to fit all kinds of frames including those with angled toptubes, while movable wheel trays cinch down on the front and rear tire. The rack fits either 1 1/4 or 2-inch hitches and retails for $300. The downside? There’s no integrated lock so while the hitch locks to the car, you’re responsible for locking the bikes to the rack. Yakima is also offering a FourTimer with four trays for $500.
Nuun, the hydration company known for its tubes of tasty electrolyte tablets, adds Nuun Plus to the line-up. The flavorless Plus tablets add fuel to the hydration mix with 20 calories of carbohydrates per tablet. The tabs are meant to be used with Nuun or other hydration mixes as a modular system. Plus tabs release organic sucrose and non-GMO sourced dextrose to allow for harder and longer efforts on the bike. Each tube of 12 costs $7.
The new Osprey Escapist was made with bikepackers in mind. It comes in three sizes–18, 25 and 32 liter– and features a sleeping bag compartment, rain cover, external lid lock for helmet storage, adjustable harness for optimal comfort, water bottle side pockets and space for a hydration reservoir in an external sleeve.
Osprey also has a new line of ultra lightweight hydration packs called Syncro that come in 3-, 10- and 15-liter options. Each one shaves about 11 ounces off its predecessor by using a lighter reservoir and cap and lighter materials. But the best part is the Quick Connect tube, which allows you to disconnect the water hose without unraveling it from the pack in order to free your reservoir for refilling.
Light & Motion showed its Sidekick light, which fits snugly onto a GoPro and offers 600 lumens of brightness through a flood and spot light (in the $150 dual version). A single version with flood light only retails for $130.
Yeti showed its snazzy new line of men’s and women’s apparel designed for trail riders and colored in an array of ‘Yeti’ turquoise, coral and gray. The women’s shorts, which also come in black or coral, feature adjustable waist straps, rouching on the lower leg for fit and a silky-smooth material on the inside to avoid chafing as you ride. The shorts retail for $95 and the jersey sells for $70.