Bikes & Tech
Renovo reinforces the front triangle with carbon...

Sea Otter daily debrief: Wood bikes, carbon cockpits, and The Dude

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 Thursday’s outing.

The day’s top tech

Renovo’s bikes may look merely like wood-frame bicycle eye candy. But these bikes are made for riding. The M5 prototype hardtail mountain bike is built with a variety of woods: hickory and ash in the main triangle and douglas fir in the seat stays for compliance. There are also walnut details throughout for an incredibly stylish and timeless look.

The main triangle is also reinforced with carbon, while the chain stays feature their own carbon layers. The total bike weight registers right around 22 pounds, according to Renovo. The 29er features a 100mm fork and aluminum dropouts out back for durability.

In addition to its new lightweight XC wheels, Syncros continues its play in the lightweight cross-country market with the Fraser IC cockpit. It’s an integrated stem and handlebar that weighs in at a scant 220 grams (740mm). The full-carbon structure includes a unique handlebar shape aimed at eliminating any sharp angles that could compromise the strength of the carbon layup. The Nino Schurter Special Edition version of the bar features a 25-degree drop and nine-degree backsweep with a 90-millimeter virtual extension stem. (The stem’s measurement is considered virtual due to the unique shape of the handlebar, which sweeps backward at the stem junction.) The integrated cockpit costs $329; $429 for the Schurter edition.

Abbey Bike Tools has added to its arsenal of bombproof and beautiful green-anodized tools with the Micro Press. It’s a multi-purpose bearing press that should be able to press in just about any bearing on your bike. It comes with a wide array of adapters to make the pressing process quick and easy. And Abbey will be releasing a new chain tool in the near future as well. We spotted a prototype, but the finished product won’t be ready until later in 2018.

Fat bikes aren’t dead. At least that’s according to Why Cycles, which took the opportunity to launch its Big Iron fat bike at Sea Otter. The 27.5-inch wheels make the big even bigger. The young company produces only titanium-framed bicycles, and the fat bike joins an already growing family of a 27.5+ hardtail, 29er hardtail, and road plus (gravel) model. While there weren’t many other fat bikes to be seen at the show, running into the big-tired Big Iron was like running into an old friend. What’s old is new is fat again.

Paint job trend alert: Gold is out, sorbet pink and yellow are in. We spotted at least three bikes from three different brands sporting this throwback-to-the-90s paint combo, and Specialized has its own take on the color mash with its salmon-and-yellow helmets and shoes. What do you think: ugh, or ooh?

Photo of the day

Rose Grant (Stan’s-Pivot) wasn’t racing due to an ankle injury, but she still managed to do a few laps around Sea Otter on a fat-tire trike.

Weird and wacky

The dude abides. Some dedicated fan of The Big Lebowski (and presumably of cycling) was dressed head to toe in the most accurate “The Dude” outfit we’ve ever seen. In fact, the likeness was so uncanny one intrepid VeloNews reporter followed el Duderino for a moment to see if it was really him. Alas, it was merely an excellently-disguised imposter.