The Sea Otter ‘Show,” Part III

The Sea Otter ‘Show,” Part III

I’ll get to the large, otherwise flightless object in a bit.


Giant has introduced several new helmets. Notable among them is the Rivet aero road helmet which is meant to be a better ventilated aero offering. After all, an aero option isn’t worth much if you won’t wear it on hot days. 

The helmet was designed in conjunction with the team at Aero Concept Engineering in France, the outfit that used to work on F1 cars and then went freelance. Development began with CFD software and then moved into their wind tunnel to make sure that the computer models worked in the real world. IMG_9708

Giant also introduced the Rail helmet, for trail and enduro riders. It’s better ventilated that many similar helmets and also featured padding superior to a few helmets I’ve worn. It accommodates a camera mount for your GoPro and the visor is a good bit more adjustable than most I encounter. IMG_9709

The Rail has good rear coverage but also features an elastic band to hold a goggle band in place.


Lake showed off some new shoes for the off-road set. The MX 168, left and center, feature a Boa closure that velcros to the tongue of the shoes. Lake makes the closure movable to accommodate people with high-volume feet, in theory making the fit in the heel cup more secure. The MX 180 is a new enduro-specific boot. It offers some ankle protection against rocks plus an exceptionally grippy sole that includes fiberglass lug inserts called Icelock that should increase grip on ice.


Xpedo showed off the Thurst E power-measuring pedals last year at Interbike. The Thrust E is now in production and retails for $1100. The pedals are said to be 385g per pair; they feature an aluminum body with a chromoly axle. It communicates via ANT+ and transmits cadence as well as wattage; it uses rechargeable batteries. Accuracy is said to be +/- 2 percent.


My favorite marketing effort at Sea Otter was this sticker for chamois cream I noticed inside a port-a-potty. IMG_9771

Velocity bike park was on-hand with a ramp and an airbag for safe landings. Given the safety of the landing, it was fun to watch people buck themselves into moves too doomed to ride out. I was always amazed when someone did ride right off the airbag.  IMG_9763

Attractions for kids were numerous, but I’m not sure any of them looked quite as fun as this. IMG_9762

Clif is known for giving out samples to its various foods at events like this. While it is certainly a self-serving marketing ploy, it’s also true that they are doing the greater good by serving as the pass at which to head off scores of bonks every day. No less a service is this tool board for people needing to do a bit of service on their bikes. It was a truly neutral spot that was in use every time I passed, save this one. 

Is there a better cycling event than Sea Otter? I seriously doubt it. You can watch pro racing in multiple disciplines, and can often see the best of the best—Nino Schurter raced the Otter this year. You can race more different bikes than your car can carry. The event is as family friendly as you can find and there are opportunities not just to look at new products, but in some cases to try them out. It’s well-worth the trip.

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1 comment

  1. Waldo

    Aero-ish helmets with large front vents are useless to most of us. Most of the time, we overheat on climbs when speeds are low. What is imperative for cooling is evaporation. The Rivet helmet can scoop air, but it doesn’t seem well designed to allow hot air to escape when one rides at a low speed, leaving steam to sit on top of a rider’s head. Similar models from Giro and Specialized suffer from the same shortcoming. The Rail helmet seems much more practical for 98% of cyclists.

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