For those that don't know, the Sea Otter Classic is a giant cycling festival consisting of mountain and road races of all kinds and an outdoor exhibit area for bike companies to showcase their wares. It's open to the public so it attracts quite a mix of people from regular old cyclists, pro and amateur racers, industry insiders, and the media. Given that the event is really the first major cycling event of the season manufacturer's use the occasion to rollout production ready products revealed at Interbike in the Fall as well as introduce prototypes of new product for the upcoming model year (would you believe companies are already introducing 2008 products?!)
There's so much new stuff being introduced that it's difficult to keep up with all of the news and rumors breaking with each day of the festival. As a result, I thought I'd do a little round up to get you caught up...and...because I'm jealous as hell that I'm not there covering the event for you like I have with Interbike in years past.
Without a doubt the most exciting stuff is coming in from Twentynineinches.com. Guitar Ted and Tim Grahl are soaking it all in and spitting it out just as quickly as they can. I love this post from Grahl where he talks about the fact that he is posting content from a media event live on his laptop, while all the mainstream media guys have the old steno books and pencil taking notes (early bird catches the worm, right?)
Anyway, here's a rundown of what I've caught so far from Twentynineinches and beyond:
Ever the 29er innovator, Niner Bikes pushes the envelope yet again and reveals a 23 pound full suspension 29er cross-country race bike named the Niner J.E.T. 9. Niner continues to break new ground in this space, proving that the 29er platform can overcome nearly any of the criticisms thrown about the big wheels. What's next in 2009 Niner? A downhill race bike?
A few weeks ago a memo from Specialized to it's dealers was leaked over the Internet, saying that the company will be rolling out a line of 29ers in 2008. Guitar Ted confirmed that this line will at least include Rockhopper and Stumpjumper hardtails and captured these photos. This will be good for the platform as these are lower end bikes in Specialized's line and will provide more options for more people to get started on a 29er.
Guitar Ted posted a rumor about Redline going to all 29ers in '08 and dropping 26ers all together from its mountain bike lineup. If true this would be a good move for Redline as it would simply be too difficult for them to maintain a full lineup of bikes across multiple platforms. Let's hope they remain bikes for the 'everyman' though and don't try to go too far up market.
Gary Fisher is clearly so far ahead of the pack when it comes to 29ers - at least in terms of major manufacturers. In 2008 they will add to their already robust lineup of 29ers with three new bikes including an aluminum hardtail, carbon hardtail, and 29 inch version of it's successful full suspension HiFi.
Giant is simply non-existent on the 29er front. What's up with that?
Going beyond the 29er platform...
Singletrack Magazine from the U.K. has some pics of three new bikes from Tomac. Tomac is positioning itself for the high-end racer, debuting a cross-country, trail, and downhill race bike - now that it is back from the living dead. Bike Magazine has some shots and quotes as well.
MTBR put together a special site covering the entire event. If you ask me it looks a lot better than their regular site. Maybe this is a harbinger for what's to come...we can hope, right? Anyway, they'll be covering the actual races that go on at Sea Otter as well as industry news. They even have a few booth babes too!
Pinkbike's got the goods on all things SRAM, which includes Truvativ, RockShox, and Avid.
So there you have it. All the news and analysis that's fit to blog. Have I missed any thing significant? Point me to it in the comments and I'll link it up. Thanks.