2019 SEA OTTER GEAR-1: Cycling’s Best Kit from Monterey California
The Sea Otter Classic ocean-side gear fest rolls out Parlee’s latest RZ7, Repente Saddles Magnet TT, POC’s Latest Headwear and Ceramic Jersey and CloseTheGap’s new bits.
With the end of Interbike, the Sea Otter classic seems now to be the years best chance to catch new gear. With most of the major bike makers in attendance and a fleet of new and developing brands on hand, Sea Otter had to open up new areas to hold all of the companies on hand.
Just a couple of days before Sea Otter, maybe the biggest news was that Parlee Cycles would have a new bike on hand. Turns out it was in the house and the new RZ7.
This is a fully new machine from the ground up and the promise is to bring Parlee’s nearly universally appreciated ride quality to an aerodynamic frame, all rolled into an 870 Gram package (Med).
This thing is full of tweaks, and the easiest to see are Parlee’s refined disc aero treatment. The front fork gets a faring that hides the bulk of the caliper in a way that also helps trim the vortex of the front disc at yaw.
The rear caliper is also covered and shaped to wrap the air around and minimize trailing vortex.
Another small detail might escape you when you look out back.
Sure you’ll note the aero profile for the seat post and seat tube, as well as the tighter rear triangle. But here’s guessing you missed how tight the through axle package is. This whole structure is substantially trimmed down and integrated.
That streamlining heads out front as well, to an integrated bar and stem that allows for more position adjustment than a lot of bikes that require a one-piece to make the cable hiding work.
Parlee had their prototype on hand for a little more visual…
This first go is a limited edition Factory version that will run out at the century mark. This first hundred will not be “cheap”, but they’re actually less than I would have imagined at a pretty light $6599 for Ultegra Di2, $7989 for the bike I would choose in Etap AXS-12 speed trip and topping out at $8479 for Dura Ace Electronic.
This will feature Parlee’s furniture, including a reversible topped seat post that allows for a couple of offset options for fit.
There’s a LOT going on with Parlee’s own aero profiles and while this bike keeps Parlee’s usually traditional / conservative look, it’s getting the full beans by way of flow reduction…
You can learn more about the rig at: http://parleecycles.com/rz7/
Also on hand were Repente Saddles
While you’ve seen the top-swappable line up ahead of Sea Otter, Repente did bring their latest snub nosed saddle the Magnet.
An autoclave formed carbon base for the Magnet (not just press molded).
And rails that push the contacts out toward the tips and actually flare directionally to allow that base to flex in ride motion rather than just bowing in the middle.
The shape remains wide and allows the TT/Tri fit to do the typical nose ride (HELLO Organizers, YOU’RE JUST BEING SADISTIC ASSHOLES WITH SADDLE REGULATION).
Repente’s lineup all feature the large contact patch attachment at the nose and flared attachment points out back. The large pressure relief channel is there for the traditional road models.
All of these weigh damn little especially considering the swappable tops. The Magnet is a paltry 130 grams despite the wide platform and padding. The rest are around 160 grams. All of this is fabricated in Italy.
You can find them at: https://www.sellerepente.com.
POC were on hand with the newest in sheer force preventing helmets, the Ventral Air SPIN.
POC’s version of pad moving tech (most folks are familiar with MIPS) are their SPIN internal pads.
These are a soft Gel Pad (Shearing Pad IN-side…) that allows some float and movement between the helmet and your bean as the surface of the pad (rider side) moves a bit independently of the pad attachment to the helmet. This acts to soften the spinning forces that come with your head generally traveling across the road surface rather than directly into it during a crash.
Living in Arizona, where my summertime rides will start at 85+ degrees (at 5am) and go up quickly, POC up already great ventilation by bringing more “AIR” along with the HERE-I-AM!!! Colors on offer to make these purchase targets for me this year…
POC are also introducing a little more crash friendly feature to their popular Jersey line in adding ceramic to the build…
The AVIP Short Sleeve Ceramic jersey builds Ceramic into the panels you’ll most likely land on (shoulders, Arms and Hips) and makes for a tougher and more slippery surface to help resist tearing and to slide more easily.
POC have been making top quality, safety minded kit from day one of the company getting into the cycling world and they continue to innovate across the range.
You can find more at the POC website here: https://www.pocsports.com/us/home/.
CloseTheGap have jumped on to the scene with a smart product and they keep adding new twists to the standard setting “HideMyBell”.
Basically you take this cocked-up cockpit…
And streamline it to this fairly sorted set up.
The bell, well… hides. The computer (and there are several mount standards available) sits where most will sit and the light drops onto the centerline below the rest (where it cheats the wind a little more and doesn’t cast a beam across your computer face, which is nice for readability).
They also rolled out their fender and light combo, the CoverMyBack N+1.
This is a slick, well placed fender that will block the majority of the water right where it bothers you the most… It’s also relatively light weight and sits behind the saddle in a fairly Aero friendly position.
Add to it that there is a Light that can act as the mount, allowing the fender to be added and removed as needed while retaining the visibility…
CloseTheGap are fairly bright folks that have a host of head-slappingly sensible/usable ideas that have taken the shape of actual product. They’re also doing it at prices that will probably annoy the crap out of “higher end” (but lower thinking) brands that would love to have this kit as “Boutique/Haute” (no, nobody should ever use the term “haute” with a straight face) at twice the price…
These products are available in the US through: esmbike.com/closethegap
You can find more at: https://www.closethegap.cc/.
More from the shore later…
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