The Bikes, Products & People From The Sea Otter Classic

27 years. That’s how long cyclists have been annually flocking to Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway to attend the Sea Otter Classic. In all shapes and sizes, hordes of cycling enthusiasts flock to the famous raceway to partake in a variety of races and mill their way through an ever expanding number of expo booths. What started back in the day as one of the most important mountain bike races on the circuit has evolved into what can best be described as well oiled cycling circus. And what a wonderful circus it is this year with brilliant blue skies and an expo are packed with cyclists of every stripe.

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Over the years the Sea Otter Classic evolved from it’s pure racing roots to become America’s largest cycling trade show open to the public. In fact, the event became such a spectacle that for the first time a European edition of the Sea Otter Classic will be held in Girona, Spain in June. While there are plenty of road racing events held in the first few days, the expo is really what draws us to the Monterey peninsula every year. Here’s a collection of the bikes, people and products that caught our eye this year.

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Sage Titanium Cycles is now offering custom paint options on their line of titanium road and gravel bikes. This Barlow gravel bike was built and designed to compete in the upcoming Belgian Waffle Ride. Frame prices start at $3800.


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In addition to a fleet of demo bikes built-up with their WI electronic drivetrain, FSA was showing off this new K-Force Light compact carbon crank that will be available (later this year) with a 48/32 chainring combo. According to FSA, compact cranks (including a 46/30) are now top sellers.


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Trek had the Boone ‘cross bike that Sven Nys raced at last year’s single-speed world championships.


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Although they don’t expect bike to be available until August, Canyon Bicycles used the Sea Otter to officially mark their arrival in America. As if their presence wasn’t notable in and of itself, they relied on a daily bike and schwag give-away that created the biggest mosh pit of the show.


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In addition to the free schwag, Canyon brought along a collection of the team bikes used by the MoviStar and Katusha teams. Nairo Quintana’s Giro d’ Italia winner was a spectacle in itself.
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Canyon’s gang of four…these are the guys overseeing one of the most disruptive influences in the industry in years….and it is a good thing.


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This is Steve Tilford. Back in the day he was the one guy tough and fast enough to be a repeat winner of the Iron Otter award that went to the top finisher in both road and mountain events. Sadly, the multi-time National Champion was killed a car crash last month. Fittingly, there was a moment of silence in his memory before the start of the men’s cross-country race. A benefit fund as been created to help fun young athletes…Steve was an upstanding memeber of the cycling community for decades….everyone should donate to the Steve Tilford Memorial Fund.


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Possibly the coolest product at the Sea Otter was the simplest. No, it’s not a zip-tie. Hiplok’s $19 Z-Lok is the ultimate lightweight bike/wheel/helmet lock solution for road riders. Available in three colors…this is a great solution for theft deterrence.


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The cycling industry has a long legacy of CNC machined artistry. The best, and most recent example was the trunk mount for fancy cars offered up by Sea Sucker.


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Like all of the Sea Sucker racks, the gorgeous, single bike Komodo rack attaches with air suction cups and was designed specifically for fancy cars, hence the $1395 price. Sea Sucker has less expensive versions that hold more bikes starting at $300.


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Former UCI World Cup/World XC champion Thomas Frischneckt has been coming to the Sea Otter since the very beginning and as he gazed around the expo he quipped, “Wow, the race has become a banner exhibition!”


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