PRE-OTTER: Fox // Mavic // Marin // Sage // Chris King // Wilde // Intense & more!

wilde rambler sl steel gravel bike for bikepacking

Sea Otter Classic kicks off tomorrow, and there are at least sixteen seventeen too many products being announced Thursday morning. I’ll have a mega recap tomorrow with the best of them.

Fortunately, a few brands were smart enough to get out in front of that, so here’s the best new stuff announced before Sea Otter Classic kicks off:

  • Wilde Rambler SL
  • Fezzari Shafer T-Type
  • Intense Gravel Bike
  • Diamondback Haanjo & Yowie
  • Sage Powerline v3
  • Marin Rift Zone eMTB
  • Fox FLOAT SL shock
  • Cane Creek Helm Works
  • Chris King Purple Ano!
  • Mavic X-Tend
  • Restrap Hike-a-Bike Strap
  • Strava x Spotify

Wilde Rambler SL steel adventure gravel bike

wilde rambler sl steel gravel bike with carbon fork and bikepacking accessory mounts shown from various angles
Click on any image to enlarge it.

Offered as a more affordable option than their US-made Earth Ship, the new Wilde Rambler SL features a made-in-Taiwan, double-butted chromoly steel frame with their 1-1/8″ straight steerer carbon Wayfinder fork.

The downtube has 3-pack mounts top and bottom, as does each fork leg, plus bottle bosses on the seat tube and top tube for a bento box. It clears 700×50 tires (or 650B x 2.2″) and has a snappy front end with a low BB and longer chainstays to keep it stable. Frameset is $1,500; bikes from $3,100 to $3,950.

Fezzari first to ship gravel bikes w/ SRAM Transmission

The Fezzari Shafer gravel bike was one of the first drop bar frames to get the SRAM UDH, and now it’s the first one I’ve seen shipping with the new SRAM XX Transmission direct-mount rear derailleur. Available in two builds, check their blog for details and a sweet custom-painted version to show it off.

Intense 951 Gravel bike debuts; it’s cheaper at Costco

intense 951 carbon gravel bike is available at costco

The Intense 951 Gravel Bike just dropped for $2,999, unless you go to Costco, where it’s $2,499 and might also ship to you a couple weeks earlier than ordering direct…and it includes lights.

The frame and fork are full carbon, with a few accessory points on the legs and stays. It gets Shimano GRX mechanical 11-speed with hydraulic brakes, WTB rims & 700×40 tires on house-brand hubs, and house brand alloy cockpit with Fizik Alpaca saddle. Average weight is ~23lb 4oz (10.55kg).

Diamondback Haanjo gravel bike updated…

new diamondback haanjo gravel bike comes in commuter and performance builds with suspension forks

The next Diamondback Haanjo gets more bottle cage and accessory mounts on the downtube, top tube, fork legs, and dropouts. The internal routing is tidier, now running through ports off the side of the headtube, and the seatstays lose the bowed design.

Models range from a $1,000 commuter model to high performance builds with dropper posts, suspension forks topping out at $5,700. Available later this year.

…and Yowie short-travel MTB hits the trails

diamondback yowie short travel downcountry mountain bike is new for 2024

In development for five years with Eric Porter logging thousands of hours of trail time, the all-new Diamondback Yowie is for riders that want a fast but playful mountain bike. It’s tight 110mm-travel 29er with 130mm forks and a 67º head angle, built on their pedal-friendly Level Link full suspension design.

Two carbon and three alloy models will range from $3,100 to $5,500. Read the full development story on their blog, and check the action video here.

Sage Titanium Powerline gets downcountry shreddy

sage titanium powerline hardtail mountain bike with 130mm forks for trail riding

Hovering between their XC and Trail bikes, the 3rd gen Sage Powerline uses a svelte 3D-printed titanium chainstay yoke to increase tire clearance to 29×2.6″ and slacker head angles to make it more capable than ever.

Updated geo fits modern (taller) 130mm forks, with a shorter head tube and tweaked top tube length to keep stack & reach similar to before. Shift cables, if present, now run fully internal, and you can choose internal or external rear brake hose routing. Frames $5,200; BYO complete bikes average $10k to $13k.

Marin Rift Zone E-MTBs get trail ready w/ nice prices

2023 marin rift zone e-MTB trail mountain bikes with shimano STEPS EP6 motors and cush core tire inserts

As a shorter-travel alternative to their recent Alpine-E MTBs, the new Marin Rift Zone E takes their popular mid-travel Rift Zone trail bike and adds Shimano STEPS motors and 11-speed drivetrains. Fox and Rockshox suspension handles impacts, and prices run from $4,499 to $6,299.

Three models share the same alloy 140mm-travel MultiTrack suspension frames. The base E model and E1 models get EP6 motors with 504Wh and 630Wh batteries, respectively, The E2 model gets an EP8 motor/630Wh battery for more power, plus TRP DH-R EVO brakes. The top two models get CushCore tire inserts and tubeless setup out of the box, too!

All-new Fox Float & Float SL ultralight rear shock

2024 fox float inline rear shock for trail and downcountry mountain bikes

The new MY24 Fox Float shocks get a larger piston and new valving and IFP to increase tuning range and improve damping control, with a larger air spring allowing lower pressures for less friction, better small bump performance, and a more linear spring curve.

A new two-position switch and full Open (as in, zero preload on the valving stack) mode combines with a tunable Firm mode and smaller volume spacers for “ultra-precise” tuning. Basically, it takes Float X performance and slims it down to an inline format to fit more frames (and water bottles).

Begging the question why we’ve been racing “trail” shocks on our XC bikes, the new 2024 Fox Float SL rear shock replaces the Float DPS SV shock and borrows the MY24 Float’s new internals and wide adjustment range but packages it in a smaller, 58 gram lighter chassis.

It keeps the usual three-position switch (or Open/Firm with remote), EVOL spring, and is tuned for XC and marathon bikes where pedaling performance is paramount. Claimed weight as low as 235g (170×35).

Cane Creek Works Series Helm short travel trail fork

short travel cane creek helm works fork with 130mm travel

The Cane Creek Works Series Helm forks is a ~100g lighter, shorter-travel, limited run version of their MKII trail fork. Compared to the 130-160mm MKII, the Works Series has 100-130mm travel (user adjustable in 10mm increments).

It uses the same super-plush damper, seals, and oils, with external high/lo speed compression damping, low-speed rebound, and dual-air spring. Claimed weight is 1995g with axle, 29er only with 44mm offset. Available while they last for $1,099 in gloss black with gold graphics.

Chris King 3D Violet brings purple back

chris king 3D violet purple anodized headsets hubs and bottom brackets is the new color for 2023

Following last year’s Midnight Blue, Chris King’s latest color is 3D Violet. Or as we all like to call it, PURPLE ANO!

Available on their hubs (including the recently re-released 6-bolt MTB hubs), headsets, bottom brackets, and wheelsets. Pre-orders open now for builders, shops & distributors (so, order through your LBS), shipping in June.

Thule

Mavic X-Tend aims to revolutionize e-bikes

sneak peek of mavic xtend e-bike motor that uses standard road bike cranksets

Designed to be small, quiet, and virtually invisible, the coming-a-couple-years-from-now Mavic X-Tend e-bike system has two novel features. First, it uses strain gauges (like a power meter) rather than torque sensors to measure and adapt to rider input and adjust assistance more smoothly.

Second, it barely requires any frame modification, using a standard 24mm BB spindle standard, and works with front derailleurs, making it perfect for high-end, aero road bikes. Assist comes in three levels (30/60/120%) plus a 150% turbo boost. Claimed weight is just 3.2kg including 360Wh battery & control unit. (full story here)

Restrap Hike-A-Bike Harness

restrap hike-a-bike harness turns your bicycle into a backpack for bikepacking adventures

Make those unridable sections easier (but still probably not fun) with the Restrap Hike-a-Bike Harness. It mounts to your top tube, then unrolls into backpack straps so you can wear the bike and keep both hands free to catch yourself from stumbles and climb up stuff.

It attaches with Velcro straps, so you could even store it in another bag if you don’t wanna ride with it between your legs. Weight is 235g, measurements are 270mm x 70mm, price is $79.99.

Strava adds in-app Spotify controls

strava adds in-app spotify music controls

No more switching between apps to control your music while viewing your workout data! To get Spotify controls in your Strava app, just go to “Record”, click on the new “Music” icon, and authorize your Spotify account, then you’ll see your playlists available through Strava.

Recommendation

I’ve been on a not-drinking-so-much kick lately, and Athletic Brewing’s Trailblazer has been one of my favorites because it has that distinctive IPA bitter hoppiness, lending it credibility as a “beer”, with an exceptionally crisp, clean finish.

They claim notes of peach & citrus & florals. While I can’t specifically pick any of those out, it does have one of the most complex flavor profiles of any NA beer I’ve had. If you’re looking for something that comes closer to approximating the real thing and enjoy that IPA bite, this is it.

Small Bites

Deals

Get ready for tomorrow. It’s gonna be bananas.

B-A-N-A-N-A-S.

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