When I first went to the Sea Otter Classic it was a mountain bike event with a couple of road events plus a couple of banquet tables with wine tasting and patch repair kits to keep bored spectators occupied while their friends finished their events. The event was also in March and if it wasn’t raining, it was foggy. Which, to be honest, was still better than say Ithaca.
Fast forward 20 years and if I hadn’t promised people I’d do the ebike race, I’d have been entirely too busy to get on a bike. I’m a cyclist. It’s a bike event. To say that I was too busy to ride bikes is, at root, a terrible misappropriation of priorities, isn’t it? But at a certain level that’s been a necessary and even helpful transformation of the event. More and more brands are holding small events ahead of the Classic to introduce products or having press events during the event to show off stuff that wasn’t ready for prime time at Interbike. And it makes sense. Sea Otter is spring Interbike with consumer days. Generally speaking, you’re a pretty dedicated racer if you’re there Thursday or Friday, which makes it perfect for holding a meeting with a manufacturer. Saturday and Sunday are a zoo, but in the best possible way.
From little people to big, there are bikes for everybody.
There’s so much for kids and families now, it pains me not to be there with my family. Next year; I vow that next year I’ll take a few days with the whole fam. The bean bag games, which I saw at several different locations, were fun pack-fill. Not even the good stuff.
By modern standards, this ti GT Xixang is ancient, but it’s still in perfect working order, but with disc mounts added.
But part of the attraction of going to Sea Otter, for me, anyway, is seeing what people bring, the way they telegraph their affinities, affiliations. If the bike is our church, then Sea Otter is the Unitarian Universalist of congregations. All are welcome, encouraged, celebrated.
Topeak showed off some new pumps including one that can store a large volume of air for seating tubeless tires.
Lezyne added to their line of shop tools with these Allens.
They also showed off this multitool aimed specifically at mountain bikers with tools like a disc spreader and CO2 adapter.
The finish on this downhill pedal from Xpedo caught my eye, but I realized that the pedal would be handy for any offroader.
Loaded touring is coming back and Ortlieb, always a leader in this category, showed off some excellent and colorful bags.
The Lauf fork wasn’t a hit last fall on MTBs. But on gravel bikes like this from Masi, it got a different reception.
Eagle has landed. Sorry. It evokes a 1970s Camaro with its black and gold; this is one 1x setup that will shut even me up.
Alchemy showed off a new bike, the Hyas, an adventure road bike with discs and adaptable routing for electronics or cables.
Rolf Prima introduced three new wheels led by this 1295g (set) road clincher, the EOS 3—American made carbon for $2799.
The Alsea + is a new super lightweight, plus-sized version of their impressive Alsea carbon wheel.
Scott showed off a Foil as set up for Matthew Hayman’s recent win at Paris-Roubaix. Yep, it fits 28s.
Brooks showed off new saddles that no longer require break-in. The Cambium, left, goes lightweight with carbon rails.
Brooks is doing some lights in cooperation with Lezyne and showed off some new bags including one for the frame.
Masi is killing it. I didn’t catch this amazing touring bike at Interbike. Touring rigs need stout tubing and brazeons aplenty.
Kali gets our good guy award with their helmet trade-in program. I saw folks handing in stuff you couldn’t call a helmet.
Ergon showed off some new saddles for mountain biking with a change to the foam for more comfort on long days.
Ortlieb, once known for exclusively making traditional panniers, has expanded into bike packing bags.
Cycliq, the makers of a rear-facing camera showed off the just in production combination video camera and headlight.
With so much to do, people sometimes struggled to choose what was next.