The Sea Otter ‘Show,’ Part II

The Sea Otter ‘Show,’ Part II

The expo at Sea Otter was a me-too event, started to riff off the success of the expos at the Big Bear Lake and Mammoth Mountain NORBA National stops on the mountain bike circuit. It’s not unfair or inaccurate to say that mountain bike events have always been lower-key affairs with a much higher hang-out factor. And let’s not forget that for the first few years of the Sea Otter’s existence, it was strictly a collection of mountain bike races. The first road events weren’t held until the mid-’90s.

The demise of the Mammoth and Big Bear events—indeed, the implosion of the entire series in the late ’90s—meant that the organizers (originally Rick Sutton, but more recently Frank Yohannon) had to develop their own playbook. Some of the success of Sea Otter has nothing to do with the particular brilliance of the promoter, but the leap in imagination on the part of companies exhibiting.

I snapped the image above late on Sunday afternoon. I’d missed having lunch earlier and I stopped by the Skratch Labs kitchen to get the healthiest lunch I could purchase for 10 miles in any direction. This was probably my fifth meal there in four days. Reliable, tasty, and not fair food, which is mostly what is served up at the two rows of food stands. Imagine my surprise when I see Skratch Labs partner Allen Lim. It’s late afternoon and somehow Skratch hasn’t run out of food. That’s surprising enough, but it’s also an hour in the day when most of the big bosses have left Laguna Seca. At this point, nearly everyone left at the event are the people who will be driving a van rather than flying home. Not Lim. He made my pork fried rice.  IMG_9693

The Skratch Labs trailer was also a great chance to try their new cookie mix, which was dreamt up by chef and staffer Lentine Zahler.IMG_9689

Justin Cogley, named Food and Wine magazine’s Best New Chef of 2013, is chef at nearby Aubergine in Carmel. Cogley served as guest chef for Skratch Labs, creating the menu and sourcing locally grown organic ingredients. IMG_9681

The Sea Otter Classic  celebrated its 25th anniversary with this year’s event. As a way to pay homage to the race’s historic mark, many exhibitors pulled from the sport’s archives.

If you ride bikes on unpaved roads or trails then you probably owe some of your stoke, some element of gratitude to IMBA. To highlight their longstanding support for IMBA and the sport of cycling, rather than just bring 2015’s latest models, Subaru showed up with an assortment of vehicles and period-correct bikes. Showing a couple of clunkers in the back of an ’80s Subaru Brat is a helluva way to say, “We’ve had your back, all along.”IMG_9682

An early ’90s Trimble carbon. IMG_9683

Also early ’90s, the Yeti Ultimate. I’ve still got the copy of Mountain Bike Action in which this was reviewed somewhere in my garage.


In the early ’90s very few bikes, very few cars, better symbolized the life I wanted, the thrill I chased, the creativity I admired than this car and those bikes.


Marin pulled out a number of bikes from their archive, but this ti version with the briefly lived Manitou rear suspension is rarer than a cold night in Jamaica. IMG_5086

Scott introduced a new ‘cross bike, also called the Addict. Compared to most ‘cross bikes on the market, for riders who want a bike that will handle well for mixed surface riding, the Addict presents a fresh option in five sizes. The geometry table I’ve seen is incomplete (no wheelbase, no fork rake), but the bottom bracket drop in the larger sizes is 6.8cm, which is on a par with many current road bikes.

Scott is offering it in two builds. The CX 10 includes SRAM CX1 while the CS 20 uses Shimano 105 with the RS605 hydraulic discs. IMG_5085

  • 890g/360g claimed frame/fork weight (medium)
  • 61.5 percent claimed improvement in comfort
  • 24 percent claimed increased bottom bracket stiffness
  • 32 percent claimed increased head tube stiffness
  • 100x12mm front, 142x12mm rear thru-axles
  • Front and rear disc brakes (140 or 160mm rotors, post mount or Shimano flat mount)
  • Optional lightweight single-ring chain guide
  • 1 1/8 to 1 1/2in tapered head tube with integrated bearings
  • PF86 bottom bracket
  • Convertible cable routing


Wilier showed off the new 800g Zero.7 the next evolution of the Cento model. Like its predecessors it features a BB386EVO bottom bracket, asymmetric chainstays as well as an elastic film between layers of carbon that is said to increase vibration damping for better comfort on long days.


The internal cable routing is modular to accommodate either electronic or mechanical drivetrains. IMG_9698

Saddle manufacturer Velo, which makes saddles for a number of popular brands, has been known for offering great price-point saddles. They’ve come out with a new series of seats that feature an additional slot in the saddle base that is said  to increase comfort. This is the Angel series; left to right we have the Angel Ride, the Angel Glide and another version of the Angel Drive. The Angel Glide in the middle features a carbon shell and rails, has a width of 128mm and is said to weigh only 122g. The Angel Ride has ti rails, is 127mm wide and is said to weigh 220g. Not pictured is the 143mm-wide Angel Drive, which also features ti rails and is said to weigh 245g.



Specialized has entered the plus-size market with the new Fuse and Ruze 27.5-inch hard tails. These are aluminum-frame rigs that will come in the Pro, Expert and Comp levels. Thanks to the unusual shape to the chainstays, Specialized was able to keep the chainstays to just 43cm to make sure the handling was lively. We are looking forward to the opportunity to check one of these out soon.

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  1. Waldo


    If Scott is “introducing” a cross Addict, how can it claim “24 percent claimed increased bottom bracket stiffness
    32 percent claimed increased head tube stiffness?” Increased compared to what?

  2. Hoshie99

    If it’s anything like the Addict road frame in terms of geo and ride quality, it will be excellent.


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