Bikes and Tech
Argon 18 launched its dedicated gravel bike, the...

Sea Otter daily debrief: Quarq’s PSI sensor, full-suspension gravel

Our reporters are on the ground at Sea Otter Classic 2018, scoping out all the new and cool bike tech in Monterey, California.

Our reporters are on the ground at Sea Otter Classic 2018, scoping out all the new and cool bike tech in Monterey, California. Here’s our daily debrief from Friday’s outing.

The day’s top tech

Tire pressure monitoring has long been a feature on automobiles. Now Quarq brings it to the world of cycling with the TyreWiz. This tiny, 10-gram piece screws onto a specially-designed valve stem and pairs with your Garmin or Wahoo head unit to monitor your tire pressure in real-time. You can set parameters to indicate whether you’re staying within a certain pressure range. If you go outside of that range, the flashing lights on the unit will tell you. Quarq tested the unit with tubeless sealants to ensure such sealants would not affect the +/-2% accuracy. The TyreWiz measures pressures ranging from 0-150psi, and it will hit store shelves in June. The only bummer: It’ll cost you $200 for the pair.

File this one under must-have. The Storage Drive tool from Lezyne is essentially a hollow tube with screw-on caps. Tool bits are stored within the tube. When you need one, just unscrew the cap, slide out the bit, attach the driver to the tube, and you’re ready to torque on some bolts.

The driver slides freely on the tube so you can position it wherever you need it, and the bits fit into the driver magnetically. When you’re done, put the bits back in the tube, slide the tube and the driver in the Neoprene sleeve, and Velcro it to your seatpost or seat tube. Want, want, want.

While the stretchable, medical-grade material Evoc uses for its waist strap is certainly nifty for its exceptional comfort and breathability, we’re most excited about this pack for the quick-adjust straps that tighten the waist for descending and loosen it for climbing.

To tighten, just pull on the front straps. To loosen, pull on the rear ones. This is a well-thought-out system that has the potential to find the elusive balance between comfort and stability among hip packs.

Argon 18 Dark Matter
Argon 18 launched its dedicated gravel bike, the Dark Matter. It’s full of smart features like a weep hole at the lowest point in the frame to allow moisture to escape. Photo: Dan Cavallari | VeloNews.com
Argon 18 Dark Matter
The Dark Matter also shares some design features with Argon 18’s endurance bike, the Krypton GF. Photo: Dan Cavallari | VeloNews.com
Argon 18 Dark Matter
The Dark Matter uses a similar head tube spacer system as Argon 18’s endurance bike, the Krypton GF. Photo: Dan Cavallari | VeloNews.com
Argon 18 Dark Matter
The frame has a chain suck plate that doubles as a weep hole for moisture. Photo: Dan Cavallari | VeloNews.com
Argon 18 Dark Matter
Photo: Dan Cavallari | VeloNews.com
Argon 18 Dark Matter
Photo: Dan Cavallari | VeloNews.com

Argon 18’s crack at a gravel bike sure looks snazzy. But it’s the details that really make it tick. For starters, the Dark Matter uses a similar head tube spacer system as Argon 18’s endurance bike, the Krypton GF. This allows the rider to customize the head tube size.

There’s also a bolt-on mount for a front derailleur if you want to run a 2x setup. And one of the coolest features is a chain suck plate that doubles as a weep hole for moisture.

Though the company wasn’t attending Sea Otter, we spotted a Danny Shane cycling kit that caught our eye. The blue tartan pattern looks amazing, and the jersey is made from a bamboo weave that’s anti-bacterial and incredibly soft.

Weird and wacky

Niner full-suspension gravel
Is the world ready for a full-suspension gravel bike? Photo: Lennard Zinn | VeloNews.com
Niner full-suspension gravel
Niner showed off its prototype MCR 9. MCR stands for “Magic Carpet Ride.” Photo: Lennard Zinn | VeloNews.com
Niner full-suspension gravel
To get the right fork, Niner customized a Rock Shox RS-1. Photo: Lennard Zinn | VeloNews.com
Niner full-suspension gravel
Short, short travel. Photo: Lennard Zinn | VeloNews.com
Niner full-suspension gravel
The prototype fits 50mm tires. It employs Niner’s Constant Varying Arc suspension, a design found on its mountain bikes. Photo: Lennard Zinn | VeloNews.com

Photo of the day

We spotted Erik Zabel loitering about the Canyon booth with a t-shirt that reads, “Talent Scout.” American Idol, Sea Otter edition?