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Bikes & Tech
Sea Otter: Python-skin saddles, hydration, bike-packing bags
Tons of cool saddle options spotted in Monterey, plus bike-packing bags, and a variety of ways to stay hydrated.
Longtime pannier and bike bag manufacturer, Ortlieb, is jumping into the bike-packing game with beautiful set of fully waterproof front and rear bags. They’ll be available in late spring or early summer. Photo: Ortlieb The Seat-Pack offers an 8-16.5 liter capacity and weighs approximately 430 grams. Each detail is well thought-out and showcases Ortlieb’s craftsmanship. The Seat-Pack’s strap design includes compressive material that makes for an ultra-snug and secure fit while a purge valve lets air out for quick compression when packing things up. The rear bag will be available for $160. Photo: Ortlieb Ortlieb’s Handlebar-Pack will be available for $130 and is designed with a two-way roll system for easy access from both sides of the bag. It weights 417 grams and will be priced at $130. Photo: Ortlieb For big adventures, the Accessory-Pack can hook onto the front of the handlebar bag and provides an additional 3.5 liters of space for camping and riding gear. For smaller trips, the accessory bag can be used alone, strapping onto the handlebars with adjustable hooks. This bag weighs 206 grams and is available for $75. Photo: Ortlieb Fabric’s saddles come in three shapes for different riding styles: Flat for road and forward-riding positions, Shallow for cyclocross or mountain biking, and Radius for recreational riding and commuting. Photo: Kristen Legan Fabric’s saddles are designed so that the chassis flexes for even pressure across the saddle. The top and bottom materials are bonded together for durability in extreme conditions. Photo: Kristen Legan Fabric takes top honors for innovation with its 3D-printed one-piece carbon saddle. The carbon rails act as leaf springs for cushioning but it still looks a bit rough for bumpy roads and Fabric only recommends using this for road riding. It’s $360 too … ouch. Photo: Kristen Legan Osprey teamed up with HydroPack to create new and improved reservoirs for the company’s wide range of hydration packs. They are available in two models for each of the 1.5, 2.5, and 3.0-liter sizes. The Hydraulics model includes a back shield to keep the reservoir off your back with thinner, less structured packs. But the Hydraulics LT model is just the reservoir without any added structure for a lighter option. Photo: Kristen Legan The new reservoirs use a fold top design and the hose attachment device is located mid-hose, making it easier to take the reservoir in and out for quick refills. Photo: Kristen Legan A new, simple on and off switch on the bite valve helps keep water inside the pack, even when you throw a bunch of gear on top of it in the back of your car. And when on the bike, the pack’s magnetic hose holster keeps the hose right where you want it without buckles or latches. Photo: Kristen Legan Ditch your bottle cages with Fabric’s cage-less mounting system. These plastic bolts screw into your bottle bosses and work with Fabric’s water bottles that are built to fit snugly on the bolts. Photo: Kristen Legan Screw the bolts in extra for a tighter grip on the bottle, or leave them looser, for a more relaxed grip on the bottles for smooth road riding. Fabric’s cage-less system is available for $20-22. Photo: Kristen Legan Masi had a custom python-skin saddle on one of its show bikes. Too cool to sit on? Photo: Kristen Legan Easton’s new E100 carbon handlebar is light. 178-grams-light (size 42mm). The bar has a shallow drop and will work for a large range of hand sizes. It is currently available and is priced at $349. Photo: Kristen Legan Light and Motion lights are 100-percent designed and engineered in California. The Urban850 is compatible with GoPro mounts for easy mounting and is fully waterproof (you can even submerge it in water). Photo: Kristen Legan While Velo Saddles may not be a household name yet, they are probably on a bike or two in your house right now. Huge in the OE market, these saddles are found stock on thousands of bikes sold throughout the world. It produces 15 million saddles a year, in fact. But Velo Saddles is taking on the aftermarket arena as well. The company’s line of Angel saddles includes a range of options for all types of riders and includes a svelte 123-gram carbon model that retails for $280. Photo: Kristen Legan The Jet Stream cross bar is Yakima’s high end roof rack option. Its flat shape and rounded edges help cut air drag on the highway. Photo: Kristen Legan Yakima’s updated bike rack system means more choices for everyone. The company’s new towers work with various cross-bars so you can choose from round, square, factory, and aero bars. Photo: Kristen Legan It doesn’t need a break-in period like the leather saddle options and David Millar rode the C13 over Paris Roubaix’s cobbles for some serious durability and comfort testing. The carbon C13 model hits the scales at a claimed 259 grams and is available for $220. Photo: Kristen Legan Branching out from its classic leather saddles, Brooks’ Cambian range adds a modern touch to the company’s old-school aesthetics. The Cambian C13 is made from a vulcanized natural rubber upper that is suspended over a one-piece braided carbon frame. Photo: Kristen Legan Nuun offers three product ranges including its Active, Energy, and Plus tabs. Both Active and Energy include electrolytes to help you hydrate on and off the bike but the Energy tabs have 40-milligrams of caffeine (from green tea extract) per tab for a little extra kick. The flavorless carbohydrate Plus tabs use dextrose and sucrose to provide 20 calories per tab. All of Nuun’s products are vegan, gluten-free certified, and soon to be non-GMO certified. Photo: Kristen Legan Nuun has been reformulated over the past two years and is now made from 100-percent plant-based ingredients. The tabs maintain their portable and effervescent properties but they now use natural sweeteners like monkfruit extract and a touch of stevia. The tabs went from zero-calorie to low-calorie (10 calories per tab) which helps aid in absorption of the electrolytes. Nuun supports the efforts of People for Bikes and the Conservation Alliance with the purchase of these four-pack boxes. Photo: Kristen Legan Premium Italian saddle company, Selle Italia, is branching out with less-expensive saddle models that offer the same craftsmanship but at a more affordable price. These saddles use the same upper as the company’s more expensive range but have manganese rails to drop the cost without adding a bunch of weight. Saddles range from $69 to $129 and are around 200-250 grams. Photo: Kristen Legan Selle Italia’s Net line of commuter saddles offers an assortment of fun graphics to choose from. The Net saddles’ uppers are digitally printed and designed with fewer chemicals for a more ‘green’ production process. Photo: Kristen Legan
The Grinduo is back for 2016 and registration is now open. Giro’s enduro-style gravel race — the most fun I had racing bikes last year — is set for a second year in Quincy, California. The race will take place on October 8 and will include a new shorter, non-racer event for anyone who wants to just ride instead of race. Registration opened on Sunday and is expected to sell out fast. Photo: Kristen Legan