Zap’s Sea Otter Photo Gallery

A road trip with plenty of new bikes and old faces

Wait, has it already been ten days since we got back from the Sea Otter?! Indeed it has, thus the delay brought about by the double-duty of keeping a magazine and web site au currant. For Troy and I, our Sea Otter weekend actually began four days earlier when we first headed to Specialized for a private look at and ride of their new Roubaix in the wind tunnel.

From Morgan Hill we made the trip to Monterrey where we attended a succession of new bike and product launches (some we still can’t talk about due to the silly embargo business). Once on-site at Laguna Seca Raceway we faced a cavalcade of new bikes unlike we’d seen in previous years. Running on a “divide & conquer”  strategy where Troy went in one direction and I another, herein lies only the bikes and peeps that I captured.

ON THE ROAD

With a company as rich in new product history as Specialized it’s only fitting that the lobby include a museum to provide the highlight,
Robert Egger has been the man behind many of Specialized’s most famous concept bikes and the upstairs atrium is filled with a wide array of his visionary bikes.

 

I still remember when I scoffed a the results the day after a World Cup DH race in Italy where snowboarder Shaun Palmer was the top American.  “Snowboarder?! It’s a fluke!”  It wasn’t. And it was only later on in the year when I was face-to-face with him that I realized he was the real deal as both a racer and human being.

 

Back-in-the-day Lisa Muhich was the class act queen of the NORBA XC circuit. Here’s a shot off the wall of the former National and World Champion  leading around some old dude from Durango, CO.

 

Another beautiful Egger creation. Remember when SRAM tried to be in the wheel business?!

 

Soon enough we will all be hearing about some new products from Wahoo...until then, how about these new color accented Bolt GPS computers.

 

Being out on the road always means missing out on home life…to make up for not being with his family to celebrate his birthday, Troy chose the next best thing…ice cream!

 

Just as we were finishing up a test of their new titanium Ronin gravel bike, Alchemy launched a carbon version that is also handmade in their Denver, CO factory. The carbon frame & fork will sell for the same price ($4500) as the titanium model.

 

Selle Italia rented out an ocean-front house to install a virtual fit lab to launch their ID Match bike fit system that is intended for dealers to use. The whole system was a bit much to digest, but it speaks to the Italian saddle makers investment beyond just designing new saddle shapes. Bike fit is important.

 

Anyone remember Neil Shirley? The former pro racer and RBA editor is now in charge of Enve’s sports marketing and, as always,, still ready to lend a helping hand to build a booth. We love Neil. Everybody loves Neil. 

 

Speaking of things we love, how about this delicious carbon FiftyOne from Dublin, Ireland that sat all pretty in the Enve booth. Two wheeled beauty! Custom carbon, and obviously beautiful paint, are the order of  the day with FiftyOne.

 

Scot Nicol (aka Chuck Ibis) is the founder of Ibis bikes. He lives a life most of us can only dream of. Jealous as we are, it was nice to see him performing some domestic duties at the booth. His Haka MX gravel bike continues to be a great choice.

 

Famed east coast carbon builder Bob Parlee was showing-off his latest aero road creation. The RZ7 was turning heads with its shapely tubes and disc brake fairing brought over from his tri bike Bob’s Chebacco gravel bike remains an RBA favorite.

 

Found amid all the booths hustling for sales was one quasi-secret booth that was home to Wick’s Funk Abides Speakeasy where adult beverages were served up to all his old-school industry pals with a smile. Thanks for being there Wick.

 

Many of you probably never heard of Neil Pryde bikes. They were really cool bikes – once featured on the cover of RBA – but got lost in the world of buy-outs. Well, Mike Pryde is back with a new brand Chapter 2 (get it?) – and some really interesting bikes. The Tere road frame is available in five sizes and an array of colors with disc or rim brake options for $2515/$2354.

 

Mike’s  newest Chapter 2  model is a gravel bike that hits all the right notes with a snappy design with asym chainstays and multiple bottle mounts. Chapter 2 also sponsors the Bigla pro road team.

 

This is Zach Vestal in the midst of giving his presentation for Niner’s new full suspension MCR gravel bike. The presentation was notable for being one of the more low-key, enjoyable and BS free bike presentations we’ve sat through in ages.

 

In addition to their Tour de France winning Dogmas, Pinarello was also showing of a new E-bike and this Grevil+ gravel bike that uses flex stays and asymetrical chainstays for compliance and wheel clearance. The standard Grevil uses Toraya 700 carbon versus Toraya 1000 used on the higher-end Grevil+.

 

Before we headed up to the Sea Otter we got an invite to cone by and visit the Vielo Bike booth. But we never saw the invite until we got home. Then someone came by the RBA booth and asked if we’d seen this crazy bike with odd seatstays. We hadn’t. So, out we went to find this bike…and here it is. The design impetus behind the Vielo R+1 is to increase BB stiffness by relying on a 1x drivetrain. Unique to say the least.

 

Vielo is run a father/son duo with long experience in the bike industry who decided to forge out on their own. Good thing they did because they are bringing some fresh designs to the sport. Their V+1 gravel bike is also a 1x dedicated frame with some pencil thin & concaved seatstays to add compliance. This bike was spec’d with a SRAM Eagle cassette and AXS wireless drivetrain & dropper seatposts. More grist for the traditionalists to chew on!

 

After attending the Sea Otter for the last 150 years, I’ve watched a lot of good racing, seen a lot of new bikes and stood around in some awfully bad weather. Through it all, one thing has remained a constant attraction – friends and heroes. Over at the Abus helmet launch  my old friend  and Abus company man Colin (l) was quick to grab some German racer -Erik Zabel  for a photo. Zabel, who time and time again remains one of the friendliest pro racing heroes I’ve ever encountered had us all in stitches  telling us about his “man cave” where he keeps all his bikes (the wife says no bike at home) . Zabel will be at the upcoming Belgian Waffle Ride.

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