The innovative, the interesting and the eye-catching: All the hottest tech from Sea Otter 2024

Here’s everything we spotted at the Californian bike show this year

Under the hot Californian sun last weekend, the world’s biggest and best bike brands gathered at Laguna Seca in Monterey. Sea Otter is an event which has run each spring since 1991 and is widely considered as the world’s largest cycling festival. While there’s races and events for professional and amateur racers alike, Sea Otter also serves as an opportunity for brands to showcase new releases and products for the first time. It’s not just about the industry giants either, with independent bike and kit brands also exhibiting eye-catching and unique tech.

From clever bottle cages, to gravel suspension forks, to wacky aero helmets, to completely new bike launches, this is everything that caught our attention in Laguna Seca this year.

Pinarello were showcasing the Dogma XC full-suspension XC race bike that the Italian brand developed in conjunction with Tom Pidcock and Pauline Ferrand-Prevot, as well as the Dogma XC hardtail. Alongside rainbow stripe and gold detailing, the bikes were specced with a mix of SRAM’s XX SL AXS drivetrain, Shimano XTR brakes and Fox’s Factory 32 fork.  In Classic Pinarello style, the geometry of both the XC suspension and hardtail frame is asymmetrical with each half of the bike’s rear end separately moulded and joined at the main pivot to give it a unique look.

Scott was showcasing Safa Brian’s special-edition Scott Foil. The Pray For Speed x Ornamental Conifer design is said to be a testament to Brian’s creative approach to capturing the cycling experience and his appreciation for high-performance equipment.

Ornamental Conifer is a British artist who has painted helmets for F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo.

This matching Kask Utopia Y helmet finished off the look.

Hunt Wheels were showcasing their newly-launched 4 Season Pro wheelset and Gravel Race Disc wheelset. They feature the brand’s new H_Ratchet double-sided system with a 40-Tooth ratchet ring which is said to result in quick and reliable 9-degree engagement.

Wolf Tooth Components had a dropper seat post remote on show which has been developed specifically to drop bar ergonomics. This means that it can be actuated both on the hoods and on the drops – is this something we could see used more widely in gravel races in the future?

Wolf Tooth were also exhibiting an aerodynamic chainring which is specifically designed for SRAM’s eight-bolt direct-mount standard. When released, the chainring will come in 46, 48, 50 and 52-tooth sizes for 1x drivetrains.

Cane Creek describes this as the ‘world’s first gravel fork’, arguing that current gravel fork offerings don’t allow enough adjustment options. The Cane Creek Invert reverses the design of a normal suspension fork as the uppers slide over the lowers, and has options for 30mm of suspension travel or 40mm of bounce. 

BMC’s Roadmachine 01 features downtube storage integrated within the ‘drag reducing’ bottle cages. Inside, there’s a water-repellent pouch for ride essentials. Smart integration was a big theme of the Roadmachine, with the rear light integrated to the seat post which is chargeable by USB.

The new Parlee Ouray was on show for the first time at Sea Otter, which is described as the ‘ultimate high-performance all-road bike’. The Ouray is a multi-purpose machine, said to be capable both on the road and gravel. 

The Parlee Ouray is built using a monocoque construction meaning that there are no bonding points where the rear triangle is connected to the frame. According to Parlee, this means that the comfort on the Ouray is much improved compared to more conventional frame constructions. 

We got a close-up look at that POC helmet which has been turning heads in the WorldTour peloton this season. While the brand’s sponsored athletes have been using the lid since the Tour Down Under, the Procen Air was officially launched at Sea Otter. The shape of the Procen Air is heavily inspired by POC’s time trial helmet and features a wide visor to ensure that a rider’s vision isn’t impeded when wearing the helmet in the peloton. Ventilation holes at the front of the helmet allow air to enter and cool the rider down, before exiting through exhaust ports at the rear.

Keeping on the wacky helmet trend, Giro were also showing their recently-released Aerohead II on a mould of Jonas Vingegaard’s body. The extremely-aero helmet extends in front of the rider rather than the back like more traditional aero helmets. There are big vents in the foam which should allow airflow and be an asset in longer time trials.

Enve is the latest brand to offer wheelsets with Classified’s Powershift hub. The system features two internal hub gears, so riders can use a 1x setup with a wide range of gears and fast shifting. Enve’s new all-road bike, the Fray was also on show at Sea Otter and can be purchased equipped with the Powershift hub as part of a full-build bike (the same goes for the brand’s other Melee and Mog models).

We were big fans of the details on the bikes from LA-based brand BlackHeart. The American company makes a road, all-road and gravel bike with aluminium and titanium options for each frame.

BlackHeart says that their bikes prioritise ‘timeless beauty, real-world usability, and customisation’

This 3T Strada was hard to miss with an eye-catching paint job. 

The multicoloured tile design also naturally, had a matching helmet from Limar.

Ritchey were showing their new Montebello model – a lightweight, fast, steel frameset for long-distance riding, built with the brand’s proprietary triple-butted steel tubing. The bike has 36mm tyre clearance with mudguards and 40mm without, as well as mounts for a front rack and dynamo lighting.

A prototype of the bike was tested at Paris-Brest-Paris – a 1200 kilometre randonneur event, so it has already been put through its paces.

Elite had new bottle cages which featured Fitgo lacing systems, allowing for different shaped water bottles.

Or wine, if that’s your thing.

Prologo’s Onetouch 3D handlebar tape made its debut at Paris-Roubaix a few weeks ago. It is the first 3D tape on the market and is said to be wear-resistant and decrease the frequency of replacements. The Scratch M5 PAS CPC saddle features the same material due to its grippy properties. The 3D polymer cones should maximise the grip when assuming an aggressive position and help to change position quickly on the saddle.

Prologo was also showing the Nago R4 PAS 3DMSS saddle. The brand launched its first saddles with CPC technology in 2013 and has extended it to the entire saddle in the Nago R4 to make an ultra-light model with multi-sector cover designed from pressure test analysis.

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