The bike industry is a bit of a dead zone from November until February, so things take off quickly when March rolls around. On my shuttle from Phoenix to Sedona I got an email about Sea Otter being rescheduled for October.
Sea Otter is pretty much the official kick off of bike season where brands rush to launch their 2020 product, and most brand reps I spoke to in Sedona felt a mixture of confusion and relief. They weren’t sure exactly when they’d roll out their 2020 products, but at least they had more time.
On the last day of the Sedona Mountain Bike Festival, I hit the booths to check out the latest from brands who were probably doubly happy they drove up to Northern Arizona.
The folks from Canfield Bikes were in town to show off their new Balance enduro bike, and ONE.2 downhill bike. Canfield made a comeback a few months ago after taking a break for a few years. Lance Canfield has taken the reigns on Canfield Bikes and Chris Canfield is handling CBF suspension design and licensing.
This Canfield Balance pictured above is one of the brand’s first new bikes in a long time. Canfield is strictly aluminum, and this 169mm travel bike is brawny, but the CBF suspension keeps it very manageable to pedal. The Balance is rather affordable also, with complete bikes starting at $3,300. Definitely keep an eye out for what the crew out of Grand Junction, Colorado is up to in 2020.
2020 Apparel from Troy Lee Designs will have a more casual touch
Most of us are familiar with TLD. The apparel has always been race-inspired, but with a modern take on graphics and design, whether it’s made for XC or downhill. This year though, as I was walking through the vendor booths around the Sedona Mountain Bike Festival, I noticed something about the women’s clothes they had on show. A lot of TLD’s female products in the past have followed the “shrink and pink” philosophy, where the men’s designs are made smaller, and likely in pink or teal, and then dubbed a women’s jersey.
The flowery, mesh, and subtle styling of this new TLD Lilium jersey ($85, available at REI) is low-key enough to appeal to riders outside the race crowd, into the everyday trail rider segment. TLD makes the Lilium in short and long sleeve, and in several colors. There is also a Lilium line of shorts to compliment.
The Gambit glove pictured in the middle ($42, available from TroyLeeDesigns.com) is made for lady-shredders and has a D3O protective layer over the knuckles. The women’s kit on the left is from the TLD Mischief line. The kneepad on the right is the new Stage knee pad ($80). The Stage is a trail-minded knee pad with venting and silicone grippers to keep it in the right spot.
The men’s Flowline jerseys above feel a little more casual than other TLD offerings as well. The short sleeve costs $45 and the long sleeve is $10 more. They have a Merino wool appearance but are made from a “Dura Knit” fabric. Less aggressive looks that can be worn at the trail or in the bar are doing quite well right now, so it’s great to see the TLD name getting in on the action. See all the new styles at TroyLeeDesigns.com.
VelociRAX offers a new take on a hanging hitch rack
During my time in Sedona, I stayed with some friends at an AirBnB in Oak Creek, about ten miles south of the festivities. One morning I made a mission out to ride the length of the Slim Shady trail, to Hogwash for a shuttle pickup. The driver hopped out of the van and dropped the attached rack and it lowered slowly back, so he could easily load the bike in the wheel tray. I hadn’t seen a VelociRAX, but it looked a tad more convenient than hanging racks I have seen in the past.
VelociRAX was at the event showing what differentiates their racks from others on the market. The VelociRAX can hold up to seven bikes, depending on the model, and each version has a hydraulic damper at the bottom, near the hitch, which slowly lowers the rack backward for easier loading. The VelociRAX can also be mounted in the garage when it’s not in use for easy organization. The rack starts with a three-bike model for $700 and tops out with the seven-bike model for $880.
The long-awaited MRP rear air shock has two air valves
For readers who pay attention to what Western Colorado suspension brand MRP is up to, it is probably not a secret that they have been developing an air shock for a long time. It looks like they’re getting closer to production. MRP brand manager Noah Sears was testing out the shock in Sedona — as evidenced by the red dust seen on it above.
There’s no word on when the new shock will officially launch, but it looks like it can’t be too far off. MRP has been taking its time to make sure that the shock is absolutely dialed, and different than what any other brand offers in an air shock. Like MRP forks, the shock will have independent positive and negative air chambers, for precise control over the shock’s top-end sensitivity and overall pressure. It sounds as if the damping will be tunable in both open and closed modes on top of that. These are all the details we have on the new suspension, but stay tuned for more.
Get that mid-support back with the Diaz Suspension Designs Runt
Diaz Suspension Designs was on deck all weekend helping folks dial in their suspension, and showing off the Runt. The Runt is a drop-in cartridge for air-sprung forks designed to achieve a more linear coil-like spring rate without the heft of converting to a coil fork. The Runt flattens out the exponential progression in an air fork, which tends to neglect mid-support and can make for a more divey front end.
Long-time racer Anthony Diaz designed the Runt in 2012. He says it can be used by riders who really like to fine tune their suspension, but also by beginners who may have a lack of mid-support in their fork which can affect their cornering. Air forks tend to dive a little through corners which shifts rider weight forward.
The Runt is easy to install and can fit a Fox 36, Marzocchi Bomber Z1, and RockShox Revelation, Lyrik, Yari, and Pike. The cartridge costs $200.
Zoic is making patterns for the party
The Zoic booth was bumpin’ all weekend long, with riders either checking out their new lineup or meeting up for ambassador-led group rides. Zoic had some of their new patterns on display, including the leopard print gloves (and jerseys, and shorts, not pictured) and they seemed to be a hit.
Zoic also had the Flow shorts and Sessions shorts (available at REI), both $95. The Flows are a lightweight short, with welded vents for comfortable airflow. The Sessions utilize a thicker fabric, for more aggressive riding with two tone styling. Both have easily-adjustable waistbands for a proper fit and a 13″ inseam.
Rubicon Expedition Products eases hauling “rooftop” tents and bikes
Rubicon Expedition Products had an innovative product to show to people who care a lot about camping and bikes. Rather than buying a rooftop tent and trying to fit it to a roof rack, the Hitch Tent Rack system installs into a 2″ hitch receiver to carry the tent, and since that’s taking up precious bike rack attachment space, the bottom side of the system can be fitted with bike trays.
The system is made in the US and machined from 6061-T6 aluminum. Tents are easily deployable, and unlike rooftop tents, can be parked like a trailer, and left at a campsite if someone needs to stay at camp, and someone else needs to run to the store for beer.
The Hitch Tent Rack sells for $1,200, but they also offer packages with the tent, ranging from $2,200 to $2,700.
Ride Concepts shoes stick around like a bad houseguest
No real product news at the moment with Ride Concepts, but riders who stopped by their tent during the festival had a chance to win some of the Coaster slip-ons. Some of the guys at Revel Bikes picked up a pair and found out just how sticky the Rubber Kinetics DST soles are.