Nine cool things at Sea Otter Europe and two winning bikes

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We went to Girona, Spain for the fourth edition of Sea Otter Europe and a weekend filled with group rides, offroad racing and, of course, plenty of tech to dive into.

From new wheels and bikes to shoes made from recycled automotive windshields, we’ve also stumbled across Tom Pidcock’s BMC Fourstroke that he took to the Tokyo Olympics – but let’s not anticipate, here are our nine highlights. of Sea Otter Europe 2021.

1. Fulcrum Rapid Red Carbon wheels

Fulcrum Rapid Red Carbon Wheels Badlands 2021 winner bike

(Image credit: Avenir)

Fulcrum’s first dedicated carbon gravel wheels may not have been launched until four days ago, but they’ve already proven their worth after being won by Mattia de Marchi in the Badlands Gravel Race on several days at the beginning of the month.

The main features are the internal rim width of 25mm, an undrilled rim tape which does not require rim tape for tubeless and the use of “mini-hook” technology which, according to Fulcrum, provides Similar weight saving benefits to hookless, but without the same sacrifices for tire compatibility.

These were fitted with 40mm Pirelli Cinturato Gravel M tires and fitted to a 3T Exploro Racemax “Founder’s Edition”, entirely made in Italy. It’s a theme that continues throughout the build, with Campagnolo Ekar 1×13 specified as a group (with 40t chainring and 10-44t cassette) and Miss Grape bike bags.

2. BMC URS 2022 gravel bike with integrated suspension

BMC URS 2022 Gravel Suspension Bike

(Image credit: Avenir)

Launched just this weekend, the BMC URS LT adds 20mm of front suspension to its “unrestricted” gravel platform. Unlike the elastomeric rear suspension, the front end is hydraulically damped and is available with three different spring stiffnesses for riders of different weights.

With its placement under the head tube, this suspension system differs from Specialized’s Future Shock or Trek’s Isospeed front decoupler in that it’s actually the bike that’s suspended, rather than just the rider. This should allow the front wheel to follow the ground more closely, increase grip and control, as well as improve comfort by absorbing impact – or at least, at best a fork with 20mm of travel. .

BMC URS suspension fork

(Image credit: Avenir)

BMC has kept the geometry identical to the previous model, which we are happy to see, as it struck a pretty good balance between efficiency over long distances and quick handling.

But doing it while adding 20mm of suspension under the steerer tube isn’t entirely straightforward.

The crown of the fork had to be slimmed down so as not to lift the front end, while the brake hose previously fully routed inside had to be removed on the outside so that the shock absorber and spring could be accommodated. inside the steering tube.

3. Supergiara sport cargo jacket

Sportful Supergiara cargo jacket

(Image credit: Avenir)

Sportful’s latest Supergiara winter jacket has been “designed specifically for gravel riding” and maximizes load capacity. In addition to the eye-catching mesh chest and arm pockets, there are the three standard fabric pockets on the back. But for a final party twist, these three back pockets are also each lined with an additional mesh pocket, bringing the total to nine different pockets.

By sporting the Supergiara nickname, the jacket is naturally more than just places to stash things. Polartec Alpha insulation is used on the front, back and sleeves to increase its resistance to the cold, while a water repellent treatment of the fabric is designed to provide some protection against the rain while being more breathable than a shell. traditional hard.

Sizes range from S to 3XL for the men’s version and XS to XXL for the women, while the price is $ 250 in the US and £ 235 in the UK.

4.CHPT3 x Vielo Gravel Bike

CHPT3 x Vielo gravel bike

(Image credit: Avenir)

British bike brand Vielo launched the second generation of its V + 1 gravel bike in the spring of this year, but now the father and son duo have teamed up with former CHPT3 pro David Millar for a limited run of 50. bikes.

Each was given a unique painting by the Catalan painter, Eduard, using a technique that involves “several thin layers which are then slightly removed to create a disruptive identity for each frame”.

Millar also decided on the specification, with Campagnolo elected to the group. Part of this is due to its mechanical simplicity (no batteries or motors) but nostalgia also plays a role – Millar’s first professional bike was fitted with the brand’s Record groupset.

5. Uyn Naked Carbon Shoes

Uyn Naked Carbon Shoes

(Image credit: Avenir)

The idea of ​​a shoe exoskeleton isn’t a new concept – there’s Mavic’s Comete Ultimate and Specialized Ares, for example – but Italian brand Uyn has added an eco-friendly touch to its design.

Using herbal castor oil for the sock portion of the shoe obviates the need for yarns made from petrochemicals, such as nylon. While the “shell” part of the shoe is made by recycling the laminate that is used in car windows to give them strength.

A dial closure system is used to bind the foot to the carbon sole for efficient power transfer and this model would set you back $ 499. Alternatively, there is a composite sole version for $ 311.

6. Suntour suspension

Tom Pidcock BMC Fourstroke MTB

(Image credit: Avenir)

To briefly step away from the world of suspension bars, Tom Pidcock’s BMC Fourstroke from the Tokyo Olympics was on display, courtesy of SunTour who supplied the fork and rear shock.

Full Disclosure: This wasn’t the real bike Tom Pidcock won gold on.

But it was still Pidcock’s spare. If he had canceled the other bike on one of the reconnaissance tracks, it was the bike he would have ridden in the XCO race – and as such, the setup is the same.

Continental Prouta Tarp prototype tires wrap around a striking Syncros Silverton SL wheelset that features a full carbon one-piece construction. The transmission is Shimano XTR with a 36 tooth chainring associated with a 10 to 51 tooth cassette. Wires, rather than mechanical cables, connect the fork and the shock absorber and seek to control the compression damping.

For a look at all the details we spotted during the Olympics, you can find our full article on Tom Pidcock’s Olympic gold-winning bike here.

7. Technomousse tire insert

Technomousse tire insert

(Image credit: Avenir)

Technomousse has adapted its mountain and motorcycle tire insertion technology and applied it to gravel. We’ve seen a similar product from Vittoria in the form of their Airliners for gravel and road, but Technomousse claims to have made some key improvements.

If you’ve been unlucky enough to get a tubeless puncture that won’t seal, Vittoria airliners are only designed to run flat for up to an hour, after which the insert will need to be replaced. Technomousse, on the other hand, claims that their Red Poison Evo inserts can be ridden completely flat for 50km and still look like new afterwards.

Which will be a relief considering the retail price of € 84.99 – per insert. In terms of compatibility, they will work with 700c tires from 32mm to 50mm (internal rim widths should be between 18mm and 25mm). There is currently no 650b option and the 27.5 inch MTB insert is unlikely to work on a gravel bike with its minimum tire width of 2.35 inch and minimum rim width of 27 mm.

Inserts are not yet available in the UK, but Technomousse is working to change that.

8. Ranked Powershift Hub

Powershift hub classified

(Image credit: Avenir)

The Belgian brand Classified recently added a 12-speed cassette to their range improving compatibility to cover both SRAM and Campagnolo groupsets of higher level. With the launch of the 12-speed Shimano Dura-Ace and Ultegra at the end of last month, the hope was to confirm compatibility there too, but supply difficulties have delayed this.

The Powershift system essentially removes the need for a front derailleur by taking over the shifting internally in the two-speed rear hub. Aside from just a cleaner looking construction and (usually) straighter chainline, we have found the shifting to be much faster and will still perform under much heavier loads than a traditional front derailleur and chainrings. .

9. SP Connect phone holder

SP Connect phone holder

(Image credit: Avenir)

It’s nothing new, it’s on a mountain bike and yes it’s just a phone holder – but even so, it still caught our attention.

It has a built-in damper which is supposed to stop up to 60% of the vibrations transmitted to the phone. In recent weeks, reports, such as those from our partner site TechRadar, have indicated that mounting iPhone on the handlebars can damage optical image stabilization components and ultimately degrade performance. of the camera.

Now those reports were about motorcycles rather than push bikes and we also don’t know if the mount’s vibration damper would definitely protect the phone.

But that said, it still seems like a good idea if you mount your phone on a bar for driving on gravel – or even on the road, given the condition of much of the UK tarmac.

The SP Connect Handlebar Mount Pro MTB with vibration damping costs $ 49.99, but you’ll need to factor in either a phone case for $ 29.99 or the universal inference adapter for $ 19.99.

Stay tuned for more Sea Otter Europe content.

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