Here’s the scoop on upcoming Hutchinson road, gravel & mountain bike tires, brakes from an auto supplier, and an inverted EXT suspension fork…
Future Hutchinson road, gravel & MTB tires
Hutchinson has a lot in the pipeline. They’re testing new construction and tech for the Olympic athletes, with the Skeleton (rear) and Kraken XC tires running on Julia Gregoire’s BH.
The Kraken will be coming in 2.4 for next year, and a full XC line reboot is planned for 2024. There’s also a completely new down country tire coming next year.
Pro EWS racer Isabeau Courdurier is testing new versions of the Griffus. The tread pattern looks the same as the current version, but they’re always tinkering with casing construction, materials, and rubber compounds.
The Hutchinson Challenger tube-type road tire is out now, but a tubeless version that’ll be made in France and be higher end will come out next year and replace the long-running Sector, which was one of the very first mass produced tubeless tires and a very popular model for them.
The Tundra gravel tire was introduced earlier this year with 700×40 and 700×45 sizes, but will grow to have a 700×50 option in 2023.
Prototype EXT ERA Upside Down fork
No specs, no details, just a prototype EXT inverted long travel mountain bike fork on display next to the recently updated ERA V2 enduro fork.
But a closer look reveals some interesting details. The top caps appear to have pressure relief valves, helping you equalize internal chassis air pressure with atmospheric pressure, a good thing when you’re riding a lift.
One side is likely the air valve cap, and on the other are separate high- and low-speed compression damping adjuster knobs.
The dual-crown design and long lower legs suggest 180-200mm travel and downhill and bike park intentions. Fender mounts look standard.
A lock-in 20mm thru axle and oversized brake mount support the long travel action. A separate rebound compression knob sit underneath, and the other side appears to have another knob…or air valve cover.
EXT uses a dual positive air spring design on the ERA, but with both valves under the top cap. Here, the top cap is too small to hide two Schrader valves, so it could be that you fill one from either end, or they let you customize the negative air spring. Or maybe even something else. This would give Extreme Shox two forks to go with their bike-specific-damper rear shock assortment.
Bontaz getting into the bicycle brake game…maybe?
Never heard of Bontaz? Chances are they’re making your car (or Caterpillar truck) work every day. They’re suppliers to virtually every major auto brand and produce subassemblies used in hydraulic functions. Surprisingly, that does not seem to include vehicle brakes, but, you know, hydraulics are hydraulics, right?
I caught them talking to a major bike brand about their prototype mountain bike brakes, shown here in early concept and production testing versions. The plan is to offer 2- and 4-piston models to OEM customers starting in June 2023, with a wide array of design and finish options to fit commuter, cargo, mountain, and e-bikes…basically anything with a flat handlebar.
They say they’re not necessarily introducing any groundbreaking new tech, just that they’re applying their expertise to the growing e-mobility segment since more and more of their automotive customers are looking at alternatives to the car. So, why not leverage those relationships and grow into new segments, amiright?