Sea Otter 2009: Report #3

Back from a beautiful day at the Laguna Seca Raceway. Here’s what I saw and heard from the rest of the opening day at Sea Otter.

Another 29"er Epic at the Team tent.

Another 29"er Epic at the Team tent.

This Fox Shox clearly did not have a tapered steer tube though.

This Fox Shox clearly did not have a tapered steer tube though.

The Specialized crew had the big media wonks out on a ride on these new rigs while I was back poking around the vacated team tent. Funny what you see being pushed around behind the scenes.

A Roval 29"er wheel?

A Roval 29"er wheel?

This particular bike had an unusual front wheel. The skewer was branded “Roval”, which is Specialzed’s upper end wheel line. The hub had drive side straight pull radial laced spokes and traditional spokes and lacing on the disc side. Typically this arrangement saves little in grams and usually sacrifices some lateral rigidity, which 29″ers could use all they can get of.

Another Epic 29"er casually parked in the expo area.

Another Epic 29"er casually parked in the expo area.

This one has a pretty "special" rider!

This one has a pretty "special" rider!

And then to my surprise I see one of these Epic 29″ers just propped up along side an exhibitor’s tent not far from the Specialized Team tent. Low and behold, it appears to be Conrad Stoltz’s bike, the X-Terra World Champion, who had just given the media the run down on the benefits of the new rig.

A Ventana with a belt drive....

A Ventana with a belt drive....

.......and a swank swinging drop out design.

.......and a swank swinging drop out design.

I stopped and spoke with Sherwood Gibson of Ventana about this new swinging drop out, belt driven single speed rig. Sherwood admitted being an admirer of the Black Cat Bikes swinging drop out and wanted to take that inspiration a bit further. Sherwood adjusted his design to accommodate fixing bolts in two separate radii and not have to use such long slots as the Black Cat design did. There is also a nifty tensioning screw in the forward part of the drop out to keep the swinger from pulling forward.

While discussing the benefits and downsides of the belt driven mountain bike, it became clear that the jury is still out as to the durability and longevity of such a set up. One thing was settled though, if you are going out on a long ride, you better have a spare belt on you, just in case.

Fuji's Outland 29"er appeared witha new rocker link.

Fuji's Outland 29"er appeared witha new rocker link.

Fuji showed the rare Outland 29″er withan already re-designed rocker linkage. The newer version has a forged, hollow rocker that is somewhat shorter than the original model’s rocker link. How this has affected- or not- the travel or suspension rate is not know at this time.

That’s a wrap from the big wheeled side from Sea Otter 2009. Stay tuned tomorrow for more Sea Otter coverage on The Cyclist

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One Response to “Sea Otter 2009: Report #3”

  1. Captain Bob Says:

    No big pictures? You guys gotta stop teasing me.

    Very good coverage. Thanks!

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