Sea Otter 2014. Jumping sharks with fat bikes.

I went down to Sea Otter again. I raced the downhill and spent most of my energy on practice and the race. I was able to get some time in the pits and booths for some pics.

There are several things to mention.

  • XTR Front Derailleur – Truly amazing. I’m a fan of 2X shifting and this is a great move forward for the craft. Such an incredible piece. So much love.
  • XTR Rear Derailleur – The prayer is that this new design can fix the problems with the DynaSys10 derailleurs and provide good use in 1X, 2X, and 3X shifting. That’s the prayer. Only time will tell if this is a success.
  • XTR Crankset – This is an obvious failure. I was really hoping to see something here to get me back onto Shimano cranks but this is so far from it. SRAM is owning the crank market with their cassette chainrings and 156, 168, 177mm width designs. Shimano needed to match that and simply failed. This is a tragedy. Worse, they are using a proprietary 96mm BCD for the large rings, completely blowing it for using the many choices in the aftermarket. It’s sad to see a product so poorly executed given how good the rest of the group is and how good the competition is.
  • Inverted single crown forks. There were 4 (or more) types on display. The SRAM RS1 is heavier than a SID, costs way more, and has a questionable architecture. Let’s call this ‘bling-formance’.
  • The new SRAM X1 group wasn’t on display. I was really hoping to see where this was going as the XX1 and X01 parts are priced far above sensible pockets. Info should be released by the end of April.
  • Fat bikes have officially been beaten to death. It’s become a real joke. Just stop.
  • Enduro. Enduro enduro. Enduro enduro enduro. (We all really love enduro. We just hate the marketing BS)
  • The new SC Nomad. Probably the lightest 27.5″ downhill bike you can buy.
  • Speedplay. I’m not a fan but their product is looking amazing right now. The variety of widths is something others should be paying attention to. Seriously.
  • Kids shred bikes are hot. So many micro groms on the DH course ripping!
  • Commencal Bikes. A great product with horrible US representation. Max was here for a push but he really needs someone to get his product out there because it is good. The Supreme 20″ is a joy.
  • Bosch. Not available to anybody in the US. They can’t distribute to anyone outside of Germany. Still, every two bit framebuilder in the US but me is supplied with a system far before marketing began. I want to love them but I want to tell them to fuck themselves. I talked with a rep and she was ZERO help in any way. WTF?