Sea Otter Classic first day tech gallery

Sea Otter Classic Tech Gallery header Image
(Image credit: Josh Ross)

While much of the cycling technology we see makes its first debut on the bikes and bodies of the pro peloton, there are a few times a year where technology comes first. The Sea Otter Classic is one of those times. The expo associated with the event has often been a place where we get a glimpse of the latest releases. 

This year, major themes have been delays and incremental updates. We've done our best to help ease your pain and help you figure out where to buy a bike in these challenging times, but it seems the industry has been struggling with supply issues just as much as customers have. 

Brands of all kinds have had to dial back the big plans and there is a lot of discussion of new stuff coming soon. Small updates and special editions abound and the focus is on getting things that currently exist into the hands of the consumer. 

Despite the challenges, there have been some bright spots. New brands and old brands have brought what they have to share with you. The show opened this Thursday and we spent some time wandering the vast aisles and picking up what we could to share with you. It's a vast sea of booths but here are a few items we had a chance to take a look at.  

Kask replaces the Protone helmet

Kask Protone Icon road bike helmet

(Image credit: Josh Ross)

Some of the first news of the day came from helmet manufacturer Kask, with the launch of the new Protone Icon - The venerable Protone has been replaced after eight years. The changes are subtle, with Kask sticking to a tried and tested formula for its popular all-rounder. The previous Protone made our list of the best road bike helmets and after spending a few short hours riding along the beautiful California shoreline we expect the Icon will soon take its place in that lineup. 

Hunt lightens its hubs

Hunt SL hubs

(Image credit: Josh Ross)

Hunt wheels ride on a reputation of being ultrafast by slicing through the air as efficiently as possible. Guided by the talent of Luisa Grappone, an Italian specialist in composites and aerodynamics, the brand brings wheels like the Hunt 42 Limitless Gravel Disc and the Hunt 60 Limitless Aero Disc to consumers who want aero focus and clean aesthetics, with quality enough to make our lists of the best road bike wheels and our best gravel wheelsets

No bike company can rest on its laurels nowadays though, so the Sprint hubs and their SL siblings which roll on the same internals, are getting a refined hub shell. This is taking the form of a switch to a higher spec 6066-T6 alloy (rather than 6061), saving ~20g per hubset. It might not sound like a huge difference but every gram counts and given these hubs feature on a lot of Hunt wheels it'll have impacts across its range.

Ridley brings a special edition colour to the table

The best gravel bikes continue to diverge in their focus, with a spectrum from adventure bikes designed to haul the kitchen sink over a mountain pass to race bikes designed to carry a rider as fast as possible over dirt roads. Ridley's Kanzo range seeks to cover both bases, with the Kanzo Adventure at one end, and the Kanzo Fast at the other.

The Kanzo family is currently the only range available with the Classified Powershift hub, which effectively brings 2x to 1x bikes with additional internal hub gearing. It's a system we are getting ready to bring you more coverage of, but until then feast your eyes on this limited-edition paintwork on a Kanzo Fast.

A fully recyclable gravel saddle

Thinking about the best gravel bike saddles, sustainability isn't always the first feature considered. Selle Italia thinks it's time to change that, and as such its new X-bow model starts with a no-glue construction that allows for 100 per cent recyclability. Sustainability can't be the end of the story though, as it has to also ride well, and so in this case the X-bow uses a variety of small design details to make sure that it can handle the forces of riding off-road. The rails affix right at the edge of the saddle promoting flex while also sandwiching shock absorbers between the rails and the top. Topping things off is a wallet-friendly price of £49.99 / $64.99. 

The low tech solution to rear visibility

If the high tech world of the Garmin Varia radar and light setup is too much for you (paired with one of the best cycling computers you can see on your head unit exactly when cars are coming without looking), then perhaps a simple mirror might be more your thing? The folks at Trieye think they have the right solution with their range of sunglasses. While they look like smart glasses at first glance, they are simply cycling glasses with a mirror in the corner so you can see what's behind you without taking your eyes off the road ahead.

The Canyon Aeroad is back

The Canyon Aeroad is one of the most capable bikes on the market. When we reviewed it, the rating was nearly perfect, so naturally, it made it into our best aero road bikes list. In early 2021 though, following a high profile bar-snapping incident manufacturing faults meant Canyon issued a stop ride notice on the Aeroad. It's never the story anyone wants to tell but it's also telling how a brand handles that kind of a challenge. Testing showed that the problem had to do with proprietary clamps for the controls and a lack of reinforcement on the drops. At the same time, an issue popped up with a lack of sealing at the seatpost. Both design issues have seen redesigns to fix them, and all current owners have had fixes offered. If you were thinking about the Aeroad it's once again ready to make its way into consumer hands.  

Wolftooth Axle Handle Multi-Tool

Wolftooth Axle Handle Multi-Tool

(Image credit: Josh Ross)

The best bike multi-tool is the one you have with you. We've got our list of options that cover a wide range of needs but if you leave it at home, none of them will be of much help. With that in mind, Wolftooth Components has a clever new option that is useful beyond the 10 tool functions it covers. Instead of needing a tool to remove a through axle, the Axle Handle Multi-tool stores in plain site masquerading as a handle. Pull it off and you'll have access to a 2, 2.5, 3, and 4mm hex; flat head #3.5 and Phillips #2 screwdrivers; and T10 and T25 Torx-compatible bits.  

The best helmet is the one that fits you

Our list of the best cycling helmets doesn't have any 3D printed options on it; the technology isn't widespread and none of the big companies have jumped on board yet. There is innovation happening in the space though, and one of the brands that is on the forefront is a small American company called Kav. 

The Kav Portola Helmet starts with a fit kit sent to your door. From there the company remotely helps you get the numbers correct to order a helmet. Each helmet is custom 3D printed using a design that meets CPSC standards using a nylon composite material. There is no foam padding, just a spring backed closed cell foam, and when paired with a hexagonal structure the result is a type of integrated rotational protection, rather than an add-on MIPS liner.

Smith Jetstream TT Helmet

If you are looking for something a little racier than a 3D printed helmet, Smith has the newly introduced Jetstream TT. Our list of the best time trial helmets has the Smith Podium but if there's an area that innovates fast, it's aerodynamics - the Jetstream TT replaces the Podium as the fastest helmet in Smith's lineup.

The shape gets a revision, as you'd expect, but so do the materials used. Koroyd technology continues to be a trademark of Smith helmets, and the Podium TT also sees the addition of MIPS similar to the Podium. Although we haven't spent time racing in it, the helmet was impressively well balanced and light on the head in a brief test fit.  

Ergon CF Allroad Pro Carbon seat post 

Ergon CF Allroad Pro Carbon seat post

(Image credit: Josh Ross)

The Ergon CF Allroad Pro Carbon seat post isn't new but it's also not old. For years you could find the same design included with many Canyon bikes, but otherwise it was unavailable for purchase. It was always an Ergon design but under Canyon it went by the name of VLCS (Vertical Comfort Lateral Stiffness). It was an impressive piece that we included in our list of the best road seatposts

Ergon has now renamed it and brought it to market for the gravel market with the name CF Allroad Pro Carbon. The dual leaf spring design remains and there are options for zero or 25mm setback options with a 27.2mm diameter.  

American Classic Aluminium wheels and updated tyres

American Classic launched an entire new line of tyres less than a year ago. We covered one of those tyres, the Kimberlite gravel tyre, and while the performance was impressive, the weight was a drawback. Despite the short time on the market, the lineup of American Classic tyres is already receiving an update that addresses weight as well as brings other improvements. 

The brand is also teasing something that brings them back to their roots. For many road cyclists there exists a deep emotional connection to American Classic aluminium wheels. The brand is now teasing three new options that bring memories of the brand's heyday. If they are anything like what they once were, expect to see them on our list of the best road bike wheels

Woom Now, a commuter bike for kids

Our list of the best kids' bikes featured the Woom Up as one of the only electric bikes in the world that's designed for kids. Making a bike that's unique in the marketplace isn't unusual for Woom. It's also not unusual for them to make bikes patterned closely after adult bikes, so it's no great shock to see them release a children's version of an adult cargo bike.

The Woom Now is the only kids' commuter bike on the market. It's got a front rack, the ability to add rear panniers, fenders, mounts galore and even a generator hub to power integrated lights. 

goodr Wrap G Cycling Glasses

The best cycling sunglasses can represent a hefty investment. You want a pair of quality comfortable sunglasses that look great. goodr is an American brand that is all about fun without a hefty investment and they are stepping into this market vacuum. 

The goodr WrapG will be available in a variety of fun colours, at a price of only $45 in the US, starting May 20th. We haven't had a chance to spend a lot of time putting them to the test but the way they fit and feel is far beyond what you'd expect at the low price they will be selling for.  

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