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SOC18: Mega roundup! New stuff from Kenda, Yakima, Osprey, S’manie & Novatec

2018 Yakima Singlespeed single bike hitch mount tray style lightweight bike rack
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There was so much new stuff at Sea Otter Classic this year from so many brands, and in this recap we’re rounding up new racks from Yakima, prototype Kenda tires, S’Manie’s enduro saddle, 2019 hydration packs (and more) from Osprey, and some top-shelf enduro and gravity wheels from Novatec.

Yakima was re-showing much of the new items introduced at Interbike (recapped here), but there was one new one – the Singlespeed. Designed to do one thing and one thing only, it carries one bike and has one design that fits any size receiver. The one hook fits almost any size wheel 20″ to 29er, and tires up to 5″. It’s a fixed design that doesn’t fold. Simple, fast, light and easy for anyone that only needs to transport themselves.

It uses an adapter to fit 2″ receivers, use it without for 1-1/4″ sizes. The SpeedKnob twist-to-lock expansion wedge makes it easy to secure and keep secure thanks to the locking feature. An integrated cable lock provides light security for your bike, too. Retail is $259.

The HoldUp EVO adds a second bike capability and does fold up, retailing for $499. A two-bike extension is $369.

An oversized handle makes it easy to release for folding, and is easier to reach when the extension is installed. Here, it’s attached to the BackSwing adapter:

The BackSwing lets you swing any bike rack away from the vehicle for full, unfettered access to your trunk.

The GateKeeper is a thick tailgate pad that integrates downtube straps to keep everything in place. Check out video for most of these items in our Interbike coverage.

They’ve also added hanging clips for their Skyline roof-top tents that make it easier to accessorize or store things underneath. They clip into the rails and slide anywhere you need them to be. More info at Yakima.com.

Kenda Tires

Kenda has unveiled new branding to simplify the type of tire, making it easier to pick the right casing and feature set for you. Look for the following on their sidewalls:

  • AGC = Advanced GRAVITY Casing
  • AEC = Advanced ENDURO Casing
  • ATC = Advanced TRAIL Casing

Gravity gets both wire and folding beads with the most robust protection. Enduro gets the DH casing and sidewall so it’s super aggressive and durable for racing, but loses the Apex pinch-flat insurance and wire bead option. Trail is more of an every day tire for what most of us ride, meaning standard protection without the extra weight of the others.

The Nevegal 2 and Hellkat series had a 27.5×2.4, and now they’ll get new a new 2.6 size and will offer both in 29er versions, too. Available early summer, and look for a Helldiver 29×2.4 in late summer.

The upcoming Alluvium gravel race tire is named after a geologic feature that’s the area near river beds in the Midwest. Same sizes as their Flintridge, it’s meant to be a faster counterpart to that tire.

It’ll have a full protective cap, now called GCT (Gravel Casing Technology), sane material as their SCT, but runs bead to bead for full cut and puncture protection. Tubeless ready, available early August. Check out their US HQ here and our Kenda Factory Tours (Part 1 and Part 2) to see how their tires are made, or head over to KendaTire.com to see what’s available now.


Osprey’s new goods are a ways off (they’re all 2019 products that you probably won’t be able to buy until very late this year), but they’re impressive. After testing and meeting with athletes over the past year, they collected a lot of feedback about how their packs were succeeding…and where they weren’t. Perhaps most interesting is that they have put a ton of development time into a cycling-specific fanny pack.

Where most waist packs were designed for multisport, or more specifically for hiking, the new Osprey Seral and Savu flip the design to better hug your hips and backside while in the riding position. Where many waist packs’ straps angle upward, these go down, but allow the excess cargo to still sit high so it’s not bouncing around on your butt.

The Seral ($85) includes a 1.5liter reservoir, which wrap the hose all the way around your waist and connects far enough back to avoid getting knocked loose by your hands or arms. And the clip position is adjustable as you cinch the waist tighter or looser, so everything’s position can be adjusted to fit your particular waist size and setup.

The Savu ($55) is designed specifically for bottle carry with no reservoir, and it’s equally clever.

Internal baffling and draw cords let the bottle holster lay flat when not in use. When you need it, pull the strings and it creates a semi-rigid cage for the bottle (or can) without disrupting the cargo capacity. On the back is their AirScape padding to help keep your lumbar cool and dry(er). Both have internal tool organization in the main pocket, plus bungie cords to stash a jacket, etc., plus dual waist strap zippered pockets. They’ll come in red, blue and black.

Their Raven/Raptor and Sylva/Syncro packs will get updated colors for 2019 along with these new, shapely bike-specific shoulder straps. The idea was to reduce the likelihood that the pack would shift to one side while riding and moving about on the bike. The wider section helps keep them planted, but also spreads the load a bit. More at Osprey.com.


The Novatec Diablo XL debuted last fall as an affordable, reasonably light and very tough do-it-all mountain bike wheel for anything form trail riding to full on DH racing. And they’ve been proving that under some very aggressive pros. The XL refers to the rim’s width, a whopping 30mm internal.

Now, the wheels are finally shipping in both 27.5 and 29er sizes. For riders that want something even more affordable but just as tough, there’s the new Demon XL.

These upgrade to the same 30mm internal rim (compared to the non-XL version), but use a standard (but still very good) Novatec hub. The Diablos get the lighter Factor hubs with their new 60-tooth engagement system that’s very fast. Check out the internal details and more pricing, specs on these in this post. The Demon XL should run about $750 for the pair, and the Diablos for $850.

Both use a welded, shot-peened 6061 alloy rim with a deep center channel to ease tire installation and tubeless setup.

Shown above are their latest Factor hubs in Boost (center, purple) and standard spacing (bottom, blue). What’s new is their Boost Singlespeed hub, which pushes the driveside flange outboard to make the most of that extra space. This gives the wheel a huge bracing angle and more equal spoke tension.

Last up is the new Novatec Crisp, a 26″ dirt jump wheel that’ll be coming soon. As with most of their wheels, look for it to be bombproof and very reasonably priced. More at NovatecUSA.com.

S’Manie Saddles

The new S’Manie (pronounced smania, as in “sports mania”) N-Spire enduro trail saddle was three years in the making, starting with design and engineering in Italy, then sent to The Ohio State University for bioengineering testing in that department, which happens to be staffed by avid cyclists. Once they dissected the saddle and tested on riders and full suspension bikes, they saw that riders are in a very different position and use the saddle differently than roadies and hardtail riders.

First they tested the shell and found the pressure points. Then they added padding and tested different thickness and density options. Then the cover, testing things all along and all the ways the saddle could be changed, including materials selection.


It’s a bit shorter than other saddles, helping you get off the back easier while descending. They also found that with enduro, riders stayed in the same position while climbing, versus how an XC rider moves across the saddle more. So they could get away with a slightly shorter nose and a bit of a kick on the tail.

The padding has a slight hump in the center, around where most brands usually out a relief channel or cutout. The reason is similar to the climbing story, it puts the padding where it helped the most while sitting for extended climbs. Their OSU research showed that a little extra padding there relieved pressure elsewhere.

  • Widths: 136mm / 146mm / 156mm
  • Price: $79.99
  • Rails: Cromo (Ti Coming soon)
  • Weights: 136mm (215g) / 146mm (225g) / 156mm (236g)
  • Foam: EVA
  • Base: Nylon-Carbon
  • Cover: Microfiber

Saddles are 100% recyclable and are made in an eco-friendly manufacturing plant. Additionally, they send their employees and brand ambassadors around the world to help with various relief and related efforts.

We rode the S’Manie N-Spire for two days through Vermont’s Kindgom Trails and Burke Bike Park, and I never experienced any numbness. Sure, you’re standing and moving a lot more on a mountain, but there were plenty of sustained climbing sections between the descents. Also never snagged my shorts. Worth at look at SmanieSaddles.com.
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5 years ago

I can’t wait until the day that somebody come out with a jersey or bib short liners with pockets so we don’t have to wear fanny packs anymore…

5 years ago
Reply to  codyish

I can’t wait until the day that people just use what they want when riding and stop judging products that they choose to not use so we don’t have to read their silly internet comments anymore…

5 years ago
Reply to  boom

it’s nice when there actually is an option for those who don’t like certain things, or have different needs

5 years ago

Anyone who’s ridden on single track or even rough gravel roads with any weight in their jersey pockets, even a phone, can appreciate the stability a fanny pack gives you. Frame packs and top tube bags are not compression style, so their contents bounce and rattle. Fanny packs are a good place to hold stuff that won’t bounce, is easy to access, and takes weight off your bike for quick maneuvers.

5 years ago

is there any reliable rolling resistance info on Kenda tires? I’ve got them on a MTB and gravel bike and they grip fine, but feel slow as hell.

Greg Devins
5 years ago


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