Frostbike 2020 made the move from snowy Minnesota—home of Quality Bicycle Products, where bike shops get their stock of tubes, small parts, and such—to Denver, Colorado, to showcase the newest, coolest, and most exciting mountain bike gear from select brands. Mountain bike tech development has been especially active in the last few years, and if Frostbike is any indication, 2020 will be equally exciting.
With Sea Otter 2020 right around the corner, most brands were still playing a lot of cards close to the chest, waiting for springtime to show off the truly new and cool. Still, there were a few gems at Frostbike 2020. Check them out here.
Coil springs have made a grand return to mountain bikes. Take Cane Creek’s Valt progressive spring, which offers a linear feel in the top of the stroke, and a more progressive feel in the second half of the stroke. This means the shock ends up more responsive right away, and more nuanced deeper in the stroke. Photo: Dan Cavallari Cane Creek’s rear shocks are now available in air spring and coil configurations. The DB Air CS and DB Coil CS feature a piggyback setup for those in need of a higher-volume shock, ready for big hits. The DB Air CS and DB Coil CS are inline shocks geared toward more aggressive XC. Photo: Dan Cavallari Cane Creek’s venerable Thudbuster has been reborn. It now features a 330-pound rider weight limit, and 50mm of travel (compared to 33mm on the older version). A single seat clamp bolt makes seat adjustment—both fore and aft—quick and easy. And, there’s fewer parts to contend with when mounting your saddle. The elastomer is easily replaceable by simply pushing it out of the center of the unit. It costs $169. Photo: Dan Cavallari The eeWings cranks were created in response to the needs of mountain bikers who want a stiff crank that can take a beating. From there, the desire for such cranks stretched over to the road and gravel segments. The Q-factor separates the road/gravel cranks from the MTB version. Photo: Dan Cavallari Elite’s Sterzo Smart steering block allows the rider to move the handlebars naturally and steer in virtual environments like Zwift. The Sterzo Smart communicates wirelessly with your smart trainer and works in conjunction with a handlebar-mounted smartphone. Photo: Dan Cavallari Revelate promised to show off a new bag come Sea Otter, but for now, the newest goods are the Hopper, which fits in the main triangle, and the Joey, which secures to the down tube. The Joey features a soft padding that essentially molds to the shape of your down tube. This creates a secure connection without the need of mounting bolts. Photo: Dan Cavallari K-Edge showed off several new products, including this mount for Wahoo’s Elemnt Roam computer. Photo: Dan Cavallari K-Edge also showed off its integrated race mount, which features seven degrees of adjustability. The bolt holes work in conjunction with a bolt slot to accommodate a wide array of mounting configurations. It will be available in February. Photo: Dan Cavallari A nifty mounting location on a new Salsa mountain bike, with K-Edge’s brand new integrated mount. Photo: Dan Cavallari Paul Components took the early season opportunity to show off its new dropper lever. The cable runs off the front of the bars, so it won’t interfere with handlebar bags. A cartridge bearing keeps the lever spinning light and smooth. It’s available for around $110. Photo: Dan Cavallari With the rapid growth of gravel riding, and the endless component configuration possibilities, a dropper lever that mounts on drop bars seems like a logical choice. Photo: Dan Cavallari Exposure Lights, a UK-based company, showed off a wide range of mountain bike lights, all with CNC-machined casings (okay, not all; some featured CNC-machined casings along with carbon shells). The lights feature Reflex++ technology that automatically adjusts the strength of the light at higher speeds, and dims them at lower speeds. This ensures maximum illumination when you need it, and battery savings the rest of the time. Photo: Dan Cavallari Strangely enough, RockShox wasn’t the only company with RC-controlled vehicles to play with at Frostbike. Photo: Dan Cavallari How many of these forks have you ridden over the years? Photo: Dan Cavallari Five Ten’s Trail Cross Protect shoes work only with flat pedals and are designed with adventurers in mind. They’re sealed to keep water and dirt out, while protecting your feet and ankles. Bonus: they’re flexible for walking comfortably around camp. Photo: Dan Cavallari The Trail Cross LT shoes feature a recycled plastic sole. Photo: Dan Cavallari The Trail Cross LT shoes—a relative of FiveTen’s Trail Cross Protect shoes—are designed to drain moisture and keep trail grit out of your shoe. Photo: Dan Cavallari The two ports on the side of the sole help drain water. These are ideal for gravel courses and mountain bike rides that feature a water crossing or two. Photo: Dan Cavallari FiveTen’s Trail Cross XT shoe looks an awful lot like the Trail Cross Protect, but doesn’t feature the “Protect” parts. It’s lighter and less armored. Photo: Dan Cavallari Surly Bikes—in true Surly fashion—made way for a bit of the bizarre in its booth. Photo: Dan Cavallari The Hydra Hubs, from Industry Nine, launched last year, and tout incredibly fast engagement. I9 took advantage of its in-house anodizing to show off the internals of the Hydra Hub. Photo: Dan Cavallari If you’ve ever tried installing a Cushcore, you know why this tool is exciting. For those that have never had the pleasure, Cushcore installation can be a wrestling match that results in very tired fingers—and perhaps a tire lever or two thrown across the room in frustration. This tool gives you the leverage to work the tire onto the rim around the Cushcore. Photo: Dan Cavallari It may not be very glamorous, but Spank’s Hex Drive hub does the hard work when you’re not looking. It features 3.5 degrees of engagement, 102 teeth, and six pawls to help create near-instant engagement. Photo: Dan Cavallari The Hex Drive rear hub costs just $199, while the front costs $100. These will be available March 1. A singlespeed-specific version, as well as a MicroSpline version, will both be available later this year. Photo: Dan Cavallari These gloves are…bananas! (I’ll show myself out.) Photo: Dan Cavallari The Invader helmet from Kali may look like a downhill lid—and indeed the chin bar is DH-rated—but it’s actually a trail helmet, according to Kali representatives. It’s impressively light at 640 grams (size small). Photo: Dan Cavallari The upper part of the helmet is CPSC-approved. Plenty of vents ensure your dome stays cool when you’re climbing. Photo: Dan Cavallari The Invader features a low-density layer inside the helmet—they look a lot like tiny soft legos, a smaller version of what you see here—that both crumple and shear. Photo: Dan Cavallari The crumpling helps counter low-G forces, and the shearing helps protect the head against rotational forces. Photo: Dan Cavallari
Floyd’s of Leadville has infused its CBD isolate into coffee sourced from a Colorado mountain town. The name is an homage of sorts to Floyd Landis’s career. Photo: Dan Cavallari