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Sea Otter Best of Show Award 2024: The Best New Bike Products from Monterey

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This might have been the biggest Sea Otter yet, so of course there was plenty to see. Judging by the onslaught of product release emails leading up to the show, the bike industry is fully ready to get all of their newest products out there and Sea Otter 2024 did not disappoint. Of all the new we saw at Laguna Seca, the following were some of our favorites.

Madrone Cycles

Madrone Cycles is a brand-new company that has a lot going for it. Not only are they offering replaceable parts for certain SRAM MTB derailleurs, but they’re also including or selling the tools needed to perform the swap. If that wasn’t enough, Madrone was also showing a rear derailleur of their own design that can use SRAM or Shimano shifters and is customer-rebuildable.

KAV Nova Helmet

We first covered KAV helmets about three years ago, but their new Nova 3D-printed helmet is by far the best yet. Now third-party tested including a 5-star Virginia Tech safety rating, the Nova includes a dual-density honeycomb core that includes a shear plane that’s built-in. It’s also 20-25% lighter, more comfortable, better fitting, and now fully customizable with their color configurator and still custom fit to your head.

FiftyOne Sika Road bike

The FiftyOne Sika is the latest stock bike from FiftyOne Bikes, and it’s a beauty. Calling it a modern performance road bike, the Sika has clearance for 40mm tires, but also includes a 690g frame weight for a medium. The frame also has a taller stack height without giving up on the race look and without requiring riders to run a huge stack of spacers to get comfortable. Also? The finish is gorgeous in the sun.

Trek CarBack Radar Tail Light

The Trek CarBack radar tail light launched just before the show, and Zach had a chance to try it out on the way to the show – literally. The radar performed surprisingly well on the roads from Pescadero to Monterey and did a great job differentiating between riders in the group and oncoming cars. The light includes an easy-to-see battery gauge, and lasted all day, on a long day, having left at 8am, and rolled into the venue near 6pm. On one of the lower settings, the light wasn’t blinding to other riders, but was still plenty visible.

Prevelo Zulu 

Prevelo ZULU Crankset full

The Prevelo Zulu is the bike that first drew us to the Prevelo’s booth at Sea Otter years ago. Now better than ever, the new Zulu received a makeover, not just a color refresh (excluding the Zulu 1 and 2). The shred-it-all hardtails are now 15% lighter, come with Heir kids specific pedals, and an optional (and first ever) Pivotal-compatible dropper post developed by Prevelo, KS, and Pivotal. So your kiddo can slam the seat and get the absolute most bang for your buck out of the bike. 

If you want the absolute package, the Zulu has many cool upgrades, including carbon kid-sized cranks and shin-friendly-er (rounded pin) flat pedals. The Prevelo bikes come highly recommended because of excellent customer service and a passionate team of cycling parents. They are live now on the Prevelo site if you want a summer ride for the kids. 

Vision SC 45/60 Wheels 

The new Vision SC wheels (45 and 60 models) will share the exact same rim as the top-of-the-line Metron 45/60SL wheels, bringing added value to the rider. Like most who take this wheel approach (Roval being one of them). The SC wheels arrive with a beefier build and a slightly heavier hub with less engagement. The Metron version arrives with the PSR hub, with 5° of engagement. The SC wheels arrive with the newly redesigned Vision 6-pawl hub with more significant bearings.

The easy-to-service hub is the same one used on the SC AGX 30 gravel wheels. When manufacturers don’t dumb the rim down for the middle-tier wheel offerings, riders get to experience the full value of the wheel at a nice price. If they say “I wish this was lighter” they can plot on how to upgrade to the Metron SL versions.

New Clog-Free Tubeless Valve Designs

What’s the most annoying thing about a tubeless setup? If you don’t have a compressor, I’m guessing you’re coming to say “airflow.”” Once you set the tires up and ride, the next issue is clogged valves keeping the flow open or preventing you from getting air in. Well, tubeless valves seemed to be having a moment at Sea Otter with new high-flow, clog-free valves from Stan’s, Muc-off, and Bontrager.

Each brand has gone about it a bit differently, but the end result is better airflow, reduced clogs, and improved durability. Note that for Muc-Off and Stan’s have completely redesigned the presta valve using new method of controlling the airflow. The Bontrager option is a high-flow adapter that you add to the valve once the core is removed.

Omnium Cargo Bike

Stuff I Liked at SOC Omnium cargo bike
Omnium Mini-Max V3 (Photos/Ron Frazelle)

This cargo bike was a bike that we could see ourselves enjoying. Omnium was started in 2012 by founder Jimmi “Jimbo” Bargisen, a bike messenger since 2002. He designed his dream bike in the Omnium cargo bike. This was nice to see a lot more cargo-type bikes at the Sea Otter this year.

The frameset for the Mini-Max V3 retails for $1530. With a full SRAM Apex 1×11 build the complete bike retails for $3130. Both it and their full-size cargo bike are available to be purchased in titanium.

Po Campo Crescent Bike Basket

Stuff I Liked at SOC Po Campo Cresent Bike bag front shot
(Photos/Ron Frazelle)

The Po Campo Crescent Bike Basket is named after the Capital Crescent Trail, a rail-trail that runs from Washington D.C. to Maryland. It’s a cool, well-thought-out little soft basket – the perfect bike companion for the rider who doesn’t want a large bulky, hard basket.

The Crescent is easy to attach to any bike and with a 5-liter capacity, it’s the right size for just about any small to small-ish errand. The basket has a wide opening allowing you to store and grab your goods easily, and comes with a flexible mesh lid that attaches to the basket at four points, making it safe for your goodies when the road gets rough. A zippered pocket and key fob for the important pieces, and it retails for $55.

5DEV New Road/Gravel/XC Cranks

Best of SOC DEV5 Cranks full aero chainring
(Photos/Ron Frazelle)

The new 5DEV road/gravel/XC titanium cranks are pretty darn sexy. These hollow laser-welded titanium cranks are CNC machined and laser welded in San Diego, California. With a road spindle and 170mm length arms, they weigh in at 446g. They use a three-piece spindle interface and can be used with 68, 73, or DUB Wide Widths for Road, Gravel, and XC bottom brackets.

Retail is $999.99 and they are available now for pre-order. 5DEV says they will be shipping in late April.

Zeno ReactionEX floating brake rotor

zeno floating disc brake rotor

Most floating rotors let the braking surface slide slightly but without any real resistance…it’s just a gap, and a way to trap it from sliding too far out of the carrier. Zeno’s new ReactionEX rotors add a small clip with a leaf spring-like backside that gives it a larger range of lateral movement, then pushes it back to center when you’re done braking. Very cool, and you can check the full post to see more detail photos and other cool gadgets they had on display.

OnGuard’s grinder-proof U-Lock

onguard rock solid u-lock with grinder-proof coating

The new OnGuard Rock Solid U-Lock was continually attacked by an angle grinder throughout the show, but you couldn’t tell. The pile of spent grinding discs lying next to it showed how well its diamond-ceramic shackle coating resists cutting attacks, helping justify the $199 price point.

Gulo’s ultralight wheels

prototype gulo xc mountain bike wheels with ultralight rim and carbon spokes

A 29er mountain bike wheelset with tough composite spokes, wide rims with pinch flat protection, and a complete front-and-rear weight that’s less than some rear wheels alone? Yes, please, sign me up. Gulo’s new XC wheels have a claimed weight under 1,150g, but are fully featured and made for modern wide tires.

They also showed off prototype gravel wheels that are wide enough to give you aero benefits even when you’re running 40-42mm wide tires. Check it all out in this post.

AHHA Toaster folding bike stand

ahha folding bike stand

They’re not cheap, but AHHA’s Toaster folding aluminum bike rack packs down flat for easy transport and holds up to five bikes. Inserts adapt them for skinnier road bike tires, and they’re working on a fat bike version and other options, too. They’re made in the USA from aluminum with steel pivot and latching hardware.

Cane Creek Invert Gravel Fork

cane creek invert gravel suspension fork custom painted in blue

We covered the new Invert fork before the show, and you can read Tyler’s first impressions here, but Cane Creek showed off a custom-painted version that matches their Chroma Studio blue headset that looked amazing (and also slightly reminiscent of a SID!). The fork is fantastic not just for being different, but for combining performance and aesthetics in a way that should appeal to everyone from hardcore roadie converts to rowdy mountain bikers looking to build base miles on something other than tarmac.

Parlee Ouray road bike

The new Parlee Ouray launched just before the show opened, so we’ve seen the studio shots and read about the unique monocoque construction. And then it totally lived up to the hype when we saw it in person. The carbon layup was spot on, and the bare finish made it easy to appreciate the work that goes into making each frame. We can’t wait to ride this bike!

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28 days ago

Just curious, what’s the advantage of titanium cranks? I think they look cool, but just wondering what peoples thoughts are on them and what the attraction is?

Big Doug
Big Doug
28 days ago
Reply to  Mig

When done correctly they are lighter, stiffer, and obviously more durable than cranks made of carbon or alloy/steel.

carbon weights + metal durability…

22 days ago
Reply to  Mig

100% Bling. You wouldn’t notice from your saddle but when you hold a pair of Cane Creek Sweet Wings in your hands, you want them. Bad.

Mike Grant
Mike Grant
26 days ago

I’m in the process of converting from butyl tubes to TPU tubes to save weight and get lower rolling resistance on my road bike. As I was patting myself on the back for saving 300 grams or so (including the extra tube in my saddle pack), I realized that my multi-tool may be the heaviest thing on my bike…LOL.

I’ve seen some more compact versions that sacrifice leverage for a roadside repair but did you see anything at Sea Otter that might work? Maybe a review in the future?

Martin Navarre
Martin Navarre
23 days ago
Reply to  Mike Grant

Check out Rides of Japan … he covers the lightest saddle bag contents.
I use the Topeak ratchet and bit set … light, but time consuming in the event of use. There’s also the Wolftooth pliers.
You can also remove un-needed tools from your typical multi-tool. Like I don’t need screw drivers any more.

C Malt
C Malt
22 days ago

Been eyeing Kav Helmets for awhile. This looks like the next-level. Cool.

22 days ago
Reply to  C Malt

I too am intrigued by them but I wonder how it goes when a wasp or bee flies into the helmet and there aren’t channels or grooves along the inner side of the helmet to blow it through and out the back?

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