Archer Components has been quietly converting cable-actuated mountain bike rear derailleurs into wireless electronic ones for the last several years, and now the company is making it easier for drop-bar riders to do the same. Professional and amateur photographers alike will likely already be familiar with Peak Design and its diverse array of incredibly clever camera accessories, but the brand is finally getting closer to releasing its new collection of mobile products – including an ultra-slick way of securely attaching your previous smartphone to your handlebars.
Interested in some bikepacking? SKS’s new waterproof bags pack some neat features together with their generous capacities, while Wilier Triestina debuted its latest limited-edition artist collection, this time centered around the speedy Filante SLR aero road bike.
Helping you to get all of your gear out to wherever you need to is Yakima’s new Stage Two hitch-mounted rack, complete with optional ramp and add-on taillights that are operated by your vehicle’s trailer wiring harness.
All that and more are included in this round of gear from the 2021 Sea Otter Classic, and stay tuned for continuing coverage in the days ahead.
Archer Components makes retrofit kits that convert any – yes, any – cable-actuated rear derailleur into a wireless electronic one. They’ve been out for several years now, and feedback has generally been pretty positive. New from Archer is an updated shifter design for flat-bar bikes (above) that’s far more ergonomic than the current two-button pod (below). Currently, the prototype shifter pods are recharged via micro-USB ports. Buttons can be placed just about anywhere on the handlebar for the drop-bar models. Drop-bar buttons are connected to a central power supply and transmitter. New “Sprint” batteries boost the power for existing Archer D1x shift actuators to increase shifting speed. Archer’s system relies on its abilities to adapt any mechanical derailleur to its system. Each index position is programmed individually so there are essentially no restrictions on what will work (provided it’s designed to work with a cable). Xpedo’s Thrust Arrow pedals feature adjustable spindle length to help fitters figure out an optimum position for their clients. These particular pedals are pretty heavy, so the idea is that the client would ultimately purchase one of Xpedo’s carbon-bodied models with the appropriate-length spindle. Xpedo isn’t all that big in terms of aftermarket sales, but much like Velo (the two companies are literally bonded by marriage), the company manufactures an awful lot of pedals behind the scenes. SKS’s Explorer EXP saddle pack incorporates a few neat features, such as the rear fender that’s directly attached to the underside. Up top is an air valve to make it easier to compress the roll-top bag. Lots of reflectivity, and lots of places to attach more stuff. The SKS Explorer EXP frame bag boasts four liters of capacity in a waterproof shell. It’s intentionally a little shorter front-to-back so you still have room for a down tube-mounted bottle. I’ve seen roll-top handlebar bags before, but not with openings on both sides like this one from SKS. SKS uses a low-tech approach to spacing the bag out so you have room for your hands up top. The SKS AirSpy transmits tire pressure to your ANT+ or Bluetooth-enabled smartphone, sounding an alarm if it detects that the pressure strays outside of the intended target range. In addition to a banana, clearly this could also be used for a Twinkie, or a burrito, or bunch of Twizzlers, or some beef sticks, or… Velo is a brand more typically thought of as a dominant behind-the-scenes manufacturer for other saddle brands (and virtually every OEM bike brand), but the company also sells aftermarket, too. And clearly, it’s not afraid of a little color. Camera buffs will recognize the Peak Design brand name, and might be excited to learn the company’s range of mobile accessories is finally – finally! – about to become more widely available to consumers. The Peak Design system is built around two interfaces: a “Soft Lock” that relies on embedded magnets, and the “Hard Lock” depicted here. The “Hard Lock” uses a pair of spring-loaded dovetails to hold your phone in place. It’s a remarkably secure fitment, and extremely easy to use. Bike mounts will come in clamp-on and strap-on varieties. Peak Design has several dedicated cases pending, but there’s also a universal adapter that sticks to the back of most other cases. This magical bit of paper reveals the location and orientation of the underlying magnets. Yakima’s new Stage Two hitch-mounted bike rack is designed with modern mountain bikes in mind – e-bikes, in particular. Can’t physicaly lift that e-bike on to the rack? Don’t worry; Yakima has a ramp you can use! Supplemental license plate mounts and indicator lights are common in Europe for hitch-mounted racks, but they’re almost unheard-of in North America. The new Yakima Stage Two rear rack has an optional light bar and plate holder that plug into your vehicle’s trailer harness wiring. Yakima cleverly designed the light bar so it’s easy to rotate depending on if the rack is in the up or down position. The wiring itself looks disappointingly homemade, though. Wilier Triestina showed off the second installment of its gorgeous limited-edition art series of bikes. This is a standard Filante SLR road racer in terms of function, but it’s covered in a luscious paint job from Japanese artist Jun Inoue designed to celebrate Shimano’s 100th anniversary. To be clear, the frames aren’t individually painted, so they’re not wholly unique (though it’s entirely clear how Wilier Triestina is reproducing the finish). That said, only 200 examples will be made in total, which makes these truly limited-edition frames.