While skiers rejoiced as a spring snowstorm pounded the Western Rockies, the rest of the country celebrated the start of bike season. Last weekend, thousands of cyclists converged on Monterey, California, for the annual Sea Otter Classic to race and gawk at the latest, greatest bike schwagg. Photographer Jim Merithew wandered the grounds to check out the new stuff. Here are his eight favorites.
Photo: Spot Brand Bicycles has built bikes since 1999, but its new Rollik 557 is its first foray into carbon. Instead of low, rear pivot bearings, the bike uses a carbon composite leaf spring, which Spot calls Living Link technology. The idea is to boost small bump compliance while decreasing weight and making maintenance easier. "We want to make a bike that gets ridden all the time," says Andy Emanuel, an engineer at Spot. "We didn’t want a bike where you had to turn off the suspension to get up the hill." The Rollik has 150 millimeters of suspension in the front and 140 in the rear. It’ll go on sale as a frame for $2,999 or in a XO build kit for $6,499 starting in May.Park Tool made its first-ever Sea Otter appearance this year. In addition to its standard bits, the company showed off its new FR-5H Lockring Tool (in the lower left corner), which fits both Shimano and SRAM components and only costs $40.Smith showed off its new, styling $99 Comstock sunglasses—a unisex frame, seen here in the Flecked Mulberry Tortoise colorway.The 13-pound Cleary Gecko is a kids’ bike that comes with the goodies you’d expect on a performance adult rig: V-brakes, three-piece cranks, a faux leather saddle, and a lifetime warranty. "We build tools, not toys" says Owner Jeff Cleary. The Gecko retails for $254.The Brooks C13 is a carbon-railed, Cambria-wrapped race saddle that weighs just 259 grams—making it the lightest saddle Brooks has built in its 150-year history.The Omata One is the world's first GPS bike computer with an analog face. "From the outset, we didn't know if we were building something people would want," says Co-founder Rhys Newman. "We just wanted to provide a choice. It seems to have resonated." The Omata displays speed, elevation gain, time, and distance. Newman says Version 2.0 might include more features, like heart-rate monitoring and power.The aggressive Yeti SB5.5C, built around the company’s well-respected Switch Infinity Link, is a 140-millimeter-travel 29er that toes the line between an all-mountain bike and a true DH rig. The X01 build costs $6,999.Ortlieb isn’t the first company to make a gravel-adventure bag setup, but its new rackless bike sacks are some of the best we’ve seen. The seat bag ($160) holds eight to 16 liters of gear, and, thanks to welded zippers and water-resistant fabric, it’ll keep your stuff dry in a downpour. It also has it's own purge valve that lets you compress the bag.