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By Andrew Juskaitis, VeloNews Technical Editor
Like an annual rite of spring, the Sea Otter is not only the first major outing of both domestic and international-caliber mountain and road teams, but it’s also one of the best opportunities to see next year’s product now. Here’s a quick look at an assortment of mountain bike related goodies spotted while we roamed the pits.
Photo #1 The most significant question of the day for the pro racers competing in the super XC was tire selection. Choices ranged from traditional size 26×2.0 knobby and semi-slick tires to 700x32c cyclo-cross tires. On of the race’s favorites, Trek/VW’s Sue Haywood chose to run cyclo-cross wheels and tires (Bontrager Jones at 75psi) on her Top Fuel.
Unfortunately for Haywood her risky selection of cyclo-cross wheels and tires fell victim to a untimely flat on the last lap of the 75 minute event.
Photo #2 Another example of poor tire selection was Specialized’s Filip Meirhaeghe who chose to run full-on mountain bike slicks. After his 90 minute event he admitted the bald tires were, “definitely slower in the dirt corners” and that he was, “seriously in trouble on the tires while in the turns…I made the wrong choice.”
Photo #3 The biggest “still to be unveiled” news in the pits was Trek’s new Top Fuel full-suspension bike. Using the lighter and more expensive 110-grams-per-square-meter carbon fiber, this new lighter weight version of the company’s Fuel frame is rumored to save up to 1/2 pound.
Photo #4 While details were scarce regarding the Trek Top Fuel, we were able to spot a few key weight saving details including these trick lightweight anodized aluminum dropouts. More rumor on the dusty street pointed to a new integrated disc brake mount (no more heavy bolt-on unit) and disc brake or linear-pull specific rear triangle options. Again, we’ll have to wait for the official company release for more information.
Photo #5 You couldn’t help but spot “Day-Glo Guy”, 23-year-old professional mountain biker Brandon Ott racing for Tailwind Sports from Pennsylvania.