Arktos fork
Our Pick of the Litter

Weird (some but not all) Bikes of Sea Otter

Photos Cam McRae

Sea Otter is one of the best places to see interesting bikes. There are pro riders, consumers dying for you to ask them about their vintage ride, and of course manufacturers showing off special models and their freshest creations. Here's a collection that we managed to track down and get some shots of. 

The first bike was a collaboration between Sycip Designs, Shimano and Enve. Built for Trans-Cascadia to handle massive distances of trail clearing. Enve wheels with the protective rim strip were supplied to keep builders from flatting and Jeremy Sycip designed and built custom racks to hold everything a builder needs. 


E-bikes are now unavoidable at Sea Otter. There are races especially for e-bikes, special expos and of course many companies jumping into the fray. Pivot and Kona are the latest. This one (there were three actually) was special. With an extra battery pack and mounts for a power saw and fuel, it's a trail builder's dream. Who wouldn't want builders to spend less time travelling and more time building? 

Alchemy bikes started out making everything in house. And when I say everything I'm talking about frames in titanium aluminum and carbon. The company has a paint shop capable of just about anything as well so when it came time to make a splash with Cody Kelley riding the brand new Arktos 29er on the EWS circuit, subtlety was out of the question. Cody doesn't even need a passport to leave or enter the country. He just shows the border guards his bike and they wave him through.

Cody Kelley Arktos Custom

Cody's bike is dialled but his hat game has nothing on the lady behind him. She looks a little like she's seen a ghost as well. Likely just admiration for the stars and stripes. 

The Arktos 29 produces 140mm of rear travel and is designed around a 160mm fork to tip you back with a 66º head angle. The numbers aren't cutting edge but they are solid. 

If you are looking at these photos and thinking this bike doesn't look like a 29er, you are half right. 

Arktos Geo

Here are the numbers without messing with things to ride dual slalom! Notice the Super Boost Plus rear end.

At interbike last year I couldn't get anyone to show me a diagram of how Alchemy's sine suspension system works, but there is now have a mock up in video form that will give you an idea of what's going on. The bike's designer is David Earle who has worked at Santa Cruz (early in the VPP days), Specialized and Bontrager. As head of the Sotto Group design firm Early developed Yet's Switch suspension system which has now become the Switch Infinity, so it's no surprise there are similarities between the bikes. 

For more on the Arktos 29 click here.

Danny Hart

Yes - that is Danny MacAskill's custom Santa Cruz trials bike, but that's not Danny. Santa Cruz's newest hire is Tyler Maine, formerly of Pinkbike. Tyler will be taking over for Seb Kemp at Santa Cruz Canada while Seb climbs the corporate ladder.

Richie Rude

This is the bike Richie Rude isn't racing - his SB 6. Yeti is sold out of the SB 5.5 so they decided not to bring even one to put on display. Could there be a version on the horizon with a little more than the current 135mm of travel, and a few more tweaks?

Bike of the year

Last year we held a contest for the ugliest e-bike. We had a bottle of Crown Royal to give as a prize but we drank after deciding it would have been too mean to deliver it to the... victor. This year there was no point in holding the comp because this fat bike DH sled had the category locked up. Check the custom crowned DVO Emerald DH fork to handle all that power. This was a throttled e-bike rather than a purely boosted power delivery. 

Specialized Concept Levo pedal assist bike

On the subject of e-bikes, Specialized had this motorcross wannabe concept bike out front of their booth. The bike is a concept that Robert Egger created and he really wanted to utilize the Levo technology in a bike that resembled a motorbike (Egger is a big moto fan). It's safe to say he succeeded, even going as far as adjusting wheel and tire size to represent the differences seen on an MX bike. 


Kurt Voreis is now sponsored by Niner, but he too wanted to get in on the Dual Slalom fun so he committed blasphemy by mounting some tweeter wheels. 


If you are Kurt Voreis you never know when you might want to bust out a tailwhip on your Niner.


Reduce travel and wheel size and you are off to...


This custom painted patina on this Santa Cruz Nomad - in the derelict style of Icon 4X4 owner Jonathan Ward- was one of the coolest finishes I saw at Sea Otter.

Derelict Nomad

What happens when you get patina on your patina?

Derelict Nomad

Sadly this is undoubtedly a one off. It was on display at the SRAM booth. 

There weren't many brand new bikes at Sea Otter this year but the bloom of weird machines kept it interesting. We do have some new bikes to tell you about so stay tuned.

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Just so I'm clear. A throttled e-bike is an electric motorcycle? I thought the pedelec/assist was what made it an e-bike.



Yeah, it's just one of these but electric rather than gas, plus a load of marketing:



Now I need to know what the difference between an e-KTM and throttled e-bicycle is.



Cool an electric dirtbike at a bicycle event.

+1 Metacomet

Can we just call it an abomination and be done with it?



I'm pretty sure the Arktos 29 is their first overseas-produced frame.

+2 Cr4w whatyouthink

Pretty sure? You could get the 27 in either Asian or US layup. At least that's what Joel Smith who does their marketing, told me at Interbike last year.



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A citizen's job is to work and consume...well and breed. How else will we mine this planet to the core and [hopefully] move onto a new one so we can repeat the process?


That is one of the categories of humans at Sea Otter when you are part of the circus. It distinguishes them from people in the industry, for better or worse. But I understand your cynicism and I don't disagree with it.


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