It didn’t take longer than 15 minutes in the Sea Otter expo to realize something – we had made a huge mistake. After we heard eight “optimized for enduro”, six “check out our new fat bike”, and four “27.5 inch wheels are the future” we fully understood, Sea Otter is for mountain bikers. There may be road races around the famed raceway, but the expo is all mountain.
Undaunted, we searched high and low for some road news, for some road products we could get excited about and we found a few. What follows are four favorites we can’t wait to ride.
1. Lake CX402
Kangaroo leather, two boas and a heat moldable Custom Fit Carbon Fiber sole, the CX402 is the latest from Lake and we got our hands on a fresh new pair. Designed by Chris Hutchens, a man with 17 years under his belt at Lake, each CX402 size (men’s, women’s, wide sizes and half sizes) is designed to have almost exactly 20 mm of adjustability which means the shoe will fit with the perfect amount of wrap around your foot. We’ll be molding our pair up very soon and putting in some big miles. Stay tuned.
Price: $530 More: lakecycling.com
2. Zipp SL-70 Aero
Based on Zipp’s all new bar shapes designed with improved ramp angles for more comfort in the hoods and control at the levers without compromising your position in the drops, the new SL-70 Aero adds Zipp aerodynamics to the mix. Stiffer than the previous Vuka drops and thankfully with much improved internal routing, the new carbon SL-70 Aeros have already ridden to solo World Tour breakaway victory with Tony Martin. We’ll be seeing what we can do with an extra 6 watts very soon.
Price: $350 More: zipp.com
3. Raleigh 2015 RXC Pro
We fell in love with this bike last cross season and in the process learned why it helped Raleigh carve out a spot at the head of the cross field. Redesigning such a beloved bike can be a dangerous proposition, but it appears Raleigh has done it very successfully. They lowered the BB slightly for more aggressive cornering, they trimmed the seat post to 27.2 for more comfort and added through axles at the front and rear. Raleigh is now using an RXC specific fork benchmarked on the ENVE CX fork and improved the cable routing for better protection from the elements. There‘s more but we’ll tell you about that later, after we get to ride it. What there isn’t more of is price, while it hasn’t been locked down just yet, it will still be less than $5000 with a full Ultegra 11 speed Di2 package.
Price: TBD More: raleighusa.com
4. SRAM CX1
Full disclosure, we have actually ridden CX1 before, briefly, at a press event in January and haven’t stopped thinking about it since. It’s a smart extension of the 1×11 concept. The chain management, the mud clearance and the pure simplicity make it ideal for cyclocross. For a deep dive on the tech behind CX1 take a look at our launch story here. We’ll be building up a 1×11 cross bike soon and telling you if our fond memories last over a long-term test.