The Sea Otter Classic, which takes place at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California, each spring, is the ultimate gathering of bike fanatics, racers, and brands, which unveil their latest and greatest cycling gear, including innovations in road cycling, mountain biking, and everyday commuting.
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Here are 21 lust-worthy pieces of cycling gear and gadgets, including everything from exciting evolutions in suspension, transportation and storage, and apparel. These are the upgrades and breakthroughs you need to make your ride more fun, comfortable, and efficient for 2019. (Also check out our favorite bikes from the show, here).
1. Hydroflask Journey Series Hydration Pack
Known for their double-walled, insulated bottles, Hydroflask has developed their first insulated hydration packs: Journey Series. The pack’s Cold Flow system combines an insulated reservoir with a tight-fitting neoprene sleeve to keep water cold for up to four hours of adventuring. The packs are constructed from durable, waterproof fabric and boast taped seams, as well as a suspension system to help distribute weight and increase airflow. The 10-liter size offers a small external pocket for snacks and keys, while the 20-liter pack has an extensive array of pockets for stashing tools, sunglasses, and other essentials. We also like that you can choose from S/M or M/L to suit your torso length.
— Jen See
2. Assos TRAIL LS Jersey
A long-time fixture in road cycling, Assos brings their carefully sourced fabrics and meticulous workmanship to their mountain-bike line—TRAIL Collection—designed specifically for warm-weather mountain biking. The TRAIL LS Jersey features a circular-knit textile that’s lightweight and breathable, with mesh along the underarm for added ventilation. The jersey’s forearms include a proprietary dyneRope fabric, which is densely woven to provide durability and protection against branches and brush. It’s also rated to UPF 35.
3. Hornit Clug
Considered the world’s smallest bike-storage rack, the Hornit Clug is a plastic cuff with a silicone lining that hugs and grips your bike’s wheel. It attaches to a wall with just two screws, but is surprisingly sturdy. You can either keep your bike fully on the ground, pushing the rear wheel into the Clug to keep it upright, or bring the bike totally vertical, pushing the front wheel in the cuff so the floor supports the rear. It’s available for road bikes, fat bikes, and everything in between.
— Berne Broody
4. Smith Attack MTB
Add some color and zest to your mountain-bike rides with the new Smith Attack MTB. The sunglasses feature a wide field of vision to keep obstacles on the trail clearly in view. Smith’s MAG technology uses a magnetic connection to hold the two included Chromapop lenses in place, making it easy to switch lenses on the fly as the light shifts. Two-position adjustable nose pads and auto-lock hinges allow for a secure fit to boot. Available in six colors.
5. Trust Performance Message Trailing Multi-Link Front Suspension
Trust Performance’s unusual-looking suspension fork isn’t just a conversation piece. It’s the brainchild of veteran suspension designer and industry legend David Weagal. (If you’ve ever ridden an Ibis or a Pivot, you’ve ridden Weagal’s high-performance rear-suspension designs.) With The Message, Weagal set out to create a front fork with the same consistent performance of a multi-pivot rear-suspension system. It offers 130mm of travel, specifically designed to pedal uphill efficiently like a cross-country fork and descend with the forgiveness of a longer-travel trail fork. The all-carbon construction aims to eliminate flex from the bike’s front end and create a fork that tracks as precisely as possible. Available for 27.5″ and 29″ wheel sizes.
6. Tasco Recon Ultralight Cycling Gloves
Gloves help you hold onto your bar, and protect your hands from sun and scrapes. But some gloves are thick and bulky, and not only reduce your ability to feel the terrain but make your hands uncomfortably hot. These ultralight gloves are the lightest on the market, and they beat the heat without compromising protection. The palm side is made of a cooling material with a touchscreen-compatible index finger and thumb, as well as silicone grip printing. The back side is tear resistant nylon. Open mesh between the fingers maximizes cooling, and the fitted cuff means no Velcro tabs to snag your jersey. Even though they’re super minimalist, they still come with a microfiber thump nose wipe.
7. Poc Omne Air Spin Helmet
Swedish-brand Poc is known for their bright colorways and distinctive designs. Their new Omne Air Spin is a road helmet designed for everything from racing to commuting (it’ll even hang tough on a gravel ride, too.) The low-profile design aims to ventilate, while retaining a sleek look. It might be reminiscent of leather hairnets that pre-dated helmets, but the Omne is packed with top-notch safety features. For instance, the EPS liner varies in thickness to better protect against injury. It also includes Poc’s Spin technology, which is intended to provide additional protection from angled impacts.
8. Stages Dash L50 Computer
The new Dash L50 computer from Stages features a uniquely bright, colored screen, customizable data fields, and a cycling-optimized GPS system. It packs an impressive 15+ hours of battery life, and you can even juice up mid-ride, if you’re planning an extra-long session or backcountry adventure. The new Stages Link app is available for Android and iOS, and is designed to provide easy data transfer to Strava, TrainingPeaks, and other apps. The Dash can also receive calls and text message notifications—though you can turn them off to go off the grid.
[$349, coming soon;
[The more compact Dash M50 is available for $249;
9. Nuun Rest
Good sleep means more energy for your rides and workouts—and all the other things you cram into each and every day. New from Nuun, Rest is designed to relax tense muscles, reduce inflammation, and help you drift off to a restful sleep. It contains magnesium, potassium, and tart cherries, which science suggests aids sleep and muscle recovery. Each tube includes 10 tablets (you’ll dissolve one at a time in 4-6 ounces of water). Available in Blackberry Vanilla and Chamomile Lemon.
10. Topeak Ninja Cage SK
Topeak wants to keep you organized with their Ninja Master Series. It combines a waterbottle cage with a collection of accessories. Pick a cage for road, mountain bike, or gravel, then add the accessory setup that suits your needs, whether it’s a box with an enclosed multi-tool, a CO2 kit, or a container to securely carry spare tubes. Free up pocket space for snacks or leave the bulky pack at home. Topeak’s Ninja accessories use their QuickClip mounting system for easy access.
[$14.95, accessories sold separately;
11. Latchit Rack
This truck rack holds up to six bikes, no hitch required, by forming a tripod with your tailgate and the sidewalls of your truck, clicking into and locking onto both sides of the mechanism that holds your truck gate closed. The rack moves with your bikes as you’re rallying to your nearest trailhead, reducing the rubbing that some riders complain of with typical truck pads, and it effectively extends the length of your bed. The pad itself has Velcro-close pockets for storing shoes, tools, or some post-ride brews, and attachments to keep the bikes from bumping each other. When you’re not using it, the 15-pound rack folds flat to hang in your garage or stash in a closet.
12. Gore C7 Long Distance Bibshorts
Best known for their wet-weather gear, Gore also makes meticulously designed cycling clothing. For spring, the brand’s released three new bibshort designs. If fondos and centuries are your game, Gore’s Long Distance bibshorts are worth a try. They feature a soft, silky fabric; minimalist leg grippers to prevent sausage leg; and external seams to prevent chafing. Gore also includes a stretch chamois, designed to conform to your body, and lightweight straps for all-day comfort.
13. Giro Renew Series Chrono Expert Jersey
For spring 2019, Giro is doubling down on sustainability. The Santa Cruz-based brand has developed the Renew Series, which uses fabric woven from reclaimed nylon—one such source is fishing nets. The Italian-made fabric, Econyl, offers a UPF 50+ rating for sun protection and is nice and breathable. The Chrono Expert jersey has a tailored fit designed for road cycling, with colorways that include a geometric print in collaboration with Santa Cruz-artist Jeremiah Kille. Mesh side panels provide ventilation and a full-length zipper makes on/off/opening mid-ride a breeze.
14. Giant Shuttle Flat
Designed for riders who like the comfort, confidence, and versatility of flat pedals, Giant’s Shuttle Flat is a high-performance off-road shoe. The sole has sticky rubber in the pedal contact area but high-abrasion rubber in the heel and toe. You’ll get grip and control when you’re riding, but you won’t wear them out just walking around. It has a reinforced toe guard with heavy-duty stitching and a quick-drying, breathable upper so your feet don’t get sweaty. And even with all of its features, it’s still super light.
15. OneUp Droppers
Stop using a shorter-than-optimal travel post or using a quick release to get your seat low enough. Cable-actuated OneUp droppers have the shortest stack height and total length of any dropper post with the same travel. For example, their 180mm post is shorter than other 170mm on the market, and even some 150mm posts. They’re easy to install and service at home, and 20g lighter than OneUp’s old posts. The 120mm-210mm lengths can be shimmed down to fine-tune your fit.
Tubolito replaces heavy, space-consuming standard tubes. They’re a quarter of the weight and a fraction of the size of a standard tube, and lighter and more compact than a latex tube. The thermoplastic elastomer (TPU) Tubolito is particularly suited for tubeless riders, who infrequently require trail repair. The tubes are nearly paper-thin—a 29er mountain bike tube rolls to the size of a stack of quarters—and the stem comes out for easy storage. In your tire, Tubolitos also reduce the chance of pinch flats.
17. Osprey Metron
An eye-catching carry-all for urban commuters, the Metron is easy to get into and comfortable to carry, with a body-hugging shape. External compression stabilizes your load; an integrated rain cover keeps the bag’s contents dry; and the pack has a main shoe/clothing pocket, laptop sleeve, and a hidden helmet carry. We love the large U-lock-specific front pocket and another to keep your shades scratch-free.
[$160, coming soon;
18. Vittoria Graphene 2
Vittoria’s Graphene 2.0 tires, made for all disciplines, quadruple the mileage you’d get from a non-graphene tire, and triple the speed, air retention, and grip. Graphene is an additive that interacts with rubber by filling in the space between the molecules. Vittoria is able to tune each tire’s properties for varying needs, from road to mountain and gravel to commuter. Graphene 2.0 also gives Vittoria’s new tires wet-weather performance we can’t wait to try.
[Starting at $40;
19. Blackburn Outpost Bike and Camp Light
Designed with bikepacking in mind, the Outpost is as versatile as bike lights come. Attach it to the handlebars while riding in low-light conditions and it offers 400 lumens of illumination. Thanks to a nifty built-in silicon shade, the Outpost can also sit on a table and serve as a camp lamp. And a retractable drawstring turns the Outpost into a headlamp (it can be dimmed to 100 lumens to avoid blinding your camping buddies). It’s also handy for early-morning commutes—and surviving that roadside flat fix. We like that it’s charged using a micro-USB.
[$59.99, available in July;
20. Northwave Clan Mountain Bike Shoes
In collaboration with Michelin, North Wave’s released its first shoe for flat-pedal mountain biking. The Clan features Michelin’s Extreme Outdoor Compound that’s designed to stick firmly to pedals—even in wet conditions. A shank through the center of the shoe provides stability, while a flat area on the sole aims to offer a solid contact point for pedals. The upper features thermowelded reinforcements constructed from TPU and there’s an EVA midsole for added comfort. The durable shoe is perfect for bike-park romping.
21. Kali Pace
Get maximum protection at a steal with Kali’s new Pace helmet. Kali’s founder and owner believes helmets are too hard, and that having a softer inside combined with materials that lessen rotational forces in a crash will better reduce the chance and severity of a potential traumatic brain injury. Inside, there’s spongy, dampening low-density foam, a lot like what’s found in mountain bike knee pads, to slow rotation in a crash. There’s also low-density EPS (the stuff that looks like a grocery-store cooler) covered in an interlocking composite shell to protect it from damage. A micro-fit closure system and locking sliders enable a snug fit, and anti-microbial pads keep it from getting stinky.
[$65, coming soon;
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