Sea Otter 2022: Prototypes, high-tech bits and recycled apparel from Laguna Seca
The best new and upcoming apparel and components from California
Sea Otter is back in a big way, crowding the Laguna Seca Raceway’s infield with rows of booths filled with the latest and greatest from brands from all over the world.
Here’s a selection of the best we saw at Sea Otter 2022, from prototypes to new ultra-light protection and high-tech drivetrain goods. There were also a ton of new tires on display, so don’t miss those.
Norco celebrated the Range's positive reviws with an all-gold edition for its Sea Otter display
Right down to a gold coil on the shock
The booth also had prototype frames on display from different stages of production
It was interesting seeing how the bike developed from early models to finished product
Different frames had slight - or major - changes.
It was cool to see the evolution of the design
The metal test rig included several adjustments so Norco could try different changes on trail
Like shock mount locatons
And the massive "Spam" head tube to adjust reach
Norco’s golden Range
Norco didn’t have anything new in its booth, but it was showing off its most recent success: the Range enduro (and downhill) bike. A golden Range celebrated the bike’s many positive reviews. Four prototype frames from various stages of development opened a window into how the bike was designed. If you want to know more, Norco went into detail of the three-year process for the bike’s launch.
RELATED: Sea Otter 2022: Tread tales
Bobcat vs. Wildcat
More Boomtown colour options
And the Resolve
Smith adds Wildcat options
Smith showed off three new frame designs at Sea Otter, each in a range of colours and patterns. Many riders will be stoked to see the Bobcat, a smaller version of Smith’s popular Wildcat frame to bring that design to smaller faces. The Boomtown (which I can only hope is a reference to the Letterkenny character of the same name) mixes lifestyle and performance for a frame you can wear on and off the bike. The Resolve is a classic minimalist sports look. All three use Smith’s ChromaPop lenses.
Vanquish pands and jersey
Laser-cut ventillation and a DWR coating
A gripper band inside the waist helps keep the pats in place
There's also Vanquish shorts, in men's and women's sizing
The shorts are cut longer in the front and shorter in the back so they work seamlessly with pads
Sombrio’s new looks
Vancouver brand Sombrio is back with a new line of more technical riding apparel. The brand always mixes more casual looks with performance-minded options. The new Vanquish line is on the performance side, using DWR-coated pants and shorts, cut to fit pads comfortably. Vanquish jerseys are also cut to fit while wearing pads in a riding position. It’s still a more casual look than some more moto-inspired brands, but it is not flannel. The shorts and jersey will be in women’s cut while the pants are just a single design.
After releasing its first bike last year, the Shovel, Sombrio is following up with a line of youth bikes. The Bobsled comes in 20, 24 and 27-inch wheel sizes.
Giro's Renew fabric will be used across performance and more casual apparel as well as in gloves
The Merit Spherical helmet brings MIPS' new tech to a better price point.
It uses a two-layer, ball-in-socket design
That lets Giro create more ventilation without sacreficing rotational impact protection
Giro’s new Mips and green apparel line
Giro has big new things going on. The Merit Spherical brings MIPS new rotational impact protection system down from the top-end line to a more affordable helmet. The new ball-in-socket design allows for better venting than some other concussion protection systems.
On the apparel side the Renew apparel line is, as its name suggests, made entirely from recycled material. Giro uses reclaimed fishnets for Renew materials and will be making everything from casual and performance jerseys to its staple D’n’D glove from recycled material in 2022.
Big pulley wheels are now available in blue
But it is bearings and bottom brackets Ceramic Speed is excited about
How about pivot bearings with a lifetime warranty?
Steel bearings are encased in a solid polymer to create a self-lubricating bearing, protected from the elements.
Ceramic Speed is selling individual bearings and limited kits, for Canyon and a couple of other brands, with plans to expand the line.
Ceramic Speed also has its own wheel bearing press tool kit. It uses a floating bearing press design which doesn't rotate the bearing as its being pushed into place. Smart.
The kit comes with press and punch-out sizes for any major wheel standard.
But yes, Ceramic Speed do big pulley wheels too
You can even get them custom engraved
The coated carbon cages come with a warranty as well, and Ceramic Speed promises turnaround in under a week on cages so you don't miss out on riding.
Ceramic Speed is not about big pulley wheels
Anyone who spends time on the road will recognize Ceramic Speed’s oversized pully wheels. The gigantic pulley wheels and carbon-coated cages have been available for a couple of years, and now in blue, but that’s not really what Ceramic Speed’s excited about on the mountain bike side.
The brand is making bottom brackets, headsets and suspension pivot bearings, all of which come with a lifetime warranty. It uses a Solid Lubrication Technology (SLT) design, where bearings are encapsulated in a porous solid plastic polymer that creates a self-lubricating, corrosion-resistant design that requires minimal maintenance. Ceramic Speed’s so confident in the design, it’s offering lifetime warrantys on all bearings and BBs, though the brand doesn’t expect you to need a replacement. Ever.
661 has a new D30 Ghost pad, the Recon
Very thin, but offering the same level of protection as regular D30
And very flexible for a minimalist design.
661 also has a new women's-specific compression jackt
The jacket and shorts are designed for mtb, not borrowed from moto.
There's a new high-end goggle in the works.
The new model increases peripheral vision
There's more curve to the lens, so you can see more, and a fit designed for more helmets.
The new helmet will use an even wider strap for better grip
Terra Helmet uses a low profile (and low price point)
In-mould construction, vents and a dial-fit adjustment
661: Goggles and women’s armour
A long-standing name in mountain bike armour, 661 is currently bigger in Europe than North America but looking to change that. There are several exciting products the brand is hoping will help. First is the new Recon line of trail pads. Using the new D3O Ghost insert, a lighter more flexible version of the original D3O that provides the same level of impact protection, 661 makes a very lightweight pad designed for all-day pedalling. 661 also uses D3O’s original material, including in its more affordable DBO line. That makes 661 one of the few brands making pads with D3O in a more budget-friendly pad. DBO knee pads start at US$75.00.
661 also has a women’s specific model of its EVO compression jacked and shorts. It is, as far as we know, the first women’s specific compression jacket designed for mountain biking, as opposed to carried over from a motocross line. There’s more women’s specific mountain bike apparel in the works, too. The brand’s working with female athletes, like Elladee Brown and the Commencal-Muc Off team, to design pads that work for different leg dimensions.
661 already produces the Radia goggle, mixing price-conscious and performance with a Cylindrically injection moulded polycarbonate lenses for US$50. The lenses are injection moulded into a 4-base curve, not bent to fit the goggle, so you don’t get distortion in your field of view. A new high performance version is coming soon, using a six-base curve for better peripheral vision, different foam and a fit designed for more helmets.
Finally, 661 had a new Terra dirt jump helmet. It uses in-mould construction, instead of a glue construction, with a low profile not seen in many dirt jump helmets. It adds a dial fit adjust and will come in two sizes with heat-sealed pads. All for US$50.