SECURITY, SURVIVAL & A POWER PLAY: NEW GADGETS FROM OTTO, HIPLOK, SEALSKINZ, PRAXIS WORKS, 4IIII AND WOLF TOOTH – SEA OTTER 2017

Gadgets

The Sea Otter Classic consumer expo is the spring venue for a lot of companies to introduce new products. Even if we see some new products at Interbike in the fall, we may not see them in production until the spring at the SOC. 2017 was no exception, and at Laguna Seca, we got previewed, poked and prodded new products from Otto Design Works, HipLok, Seal Skinz, Praxis Works, 4iiii and Wolf Tooth.

Ottto’s Otter Leash

The Ottolock was a product that began as a Kickstarter project by Otto Design Works. We first tangled with the Ottolock at Interbike 2016. The lock cinches like a zip-tie, but has a customizable combination lock. It’s steel and Kevlar-reinforced core is more difficult to cut than a cable. It is also more compact and can cinch tighter, making it harder to get any tools in place to thwart the lock.

The steel and kevlar core OttoLock can be cinched tight for security. The lock combination is customizable. 2017 Sea Otter Classic. © C. Lee / Cyclocross Magazine

The steel and kevlar core OttoLock can be cinched tight for security. The lock combination is customizable. 2017 Sea Otter Classic. © C. Lee / Cyclocross Magazine

It is not meant for high security, rather portability, competing against what has become one of our favorite gadgets, the Kuat Bottle Lock, which fits in a water bottle cage. Most stolen bikes are unlocked and the Ottolock is small and light enough to be easily portable in your jersey pocket or mounted to your bike, so even on a long ride you can feel a bit more secure when stopping to grab an extra snack or drink the convenience store. $50-65 USD, depending on length.

More info: ottodesignworks.com

A Hip Zip Lock

In similar fashion, HipLok, the British company that produced the wearable high security chains we featured in Issue 28, has introduced a zip-tie like security system. Called the Z/Lok, it is truly more zip-tie like than the more robust Ottolock described above.

This is one step better than the “helmet lock” that some of us have become accustomed to using on a ride when we stop in to get a coffee or snack. John Abrahams, founder of HipLock, says he had friends that used actual zip-ties rather than the helmet strap and would simply cut the zip-tie when finished.

Reusable zip ties! The HipLok Z/Lok features a double sided ratchet with a steel core, with the two prong 'key' that unlocks it. The Z/Lok by HipLok.

Reusable zip ties! The HipLok Z/Lok features a double sided ratchet with a steel core, with the two prong ‘key’ that unlocks it. The Z/Lok by HipLok.

He thought a steel core reuseable zip-tire might be the ticket. The Z/Lok has a double sided ratchet and is released with a two prong ‘key’ that is universal to all Z/Locks (just don’t tell the thieves). Abrahams said the Z/Lok might be a bit more difficult to cut that the thin cable of their own FX lock. $20 for a twin pack.

A Universal 2-prong 'key' releases all Z/Loks, but don't tell the thieves. 2017 Sea Otter Classic. © C. Lee / Cyclocross Magazine

A Universal 2-prong ‘key’ releases all Z/Loks, but don’t tell the thieves. 2017 Sea Otter Classic. © C. Lee / Cyclocross Magazine

More info: hiplok.com

A Seal’s Thin Skin

Sealskinz, also of the UK, was on hand with a new version thinner of its waterproof sock. We loved the Sealskinz stretch dry socks based on our last review, despite being a bit bulky. The new versions looks to have all the same features but is a thinner model to better fit into your cycling shoe. A sample we have proves the sock to fit more closely and be a bit thinner to better fit into your normal cycling shoes, and riding through knee high wet grass in overgrown spring trails has shown the socks do keep our feet dry even if our shoes are soaked. The thin version of the sock still has the hydrostop gasket at the top to keep rain water running down your legs and entering the top of the sock.

The new thinner Seal Skinz waterproof socks look like a thick sock, but will keep you dry in a storm. 2017 Sea Otter Classic. © C. Lee / Cyclocross Magazine

The new thinner Seal Skinz waterproof socks look like a thick sock, but will keep you dry in a storm. 2017 Sea Otter Classic. © C. Lee / Cyclocross Magazine

Sealskinz also introduced a new pair of lightweight full finger mountain bike gloves for summer riding with a ventilated synthetic suede palm and a woven fabric back. Being experts in water repellency, the back of the glove is woven to repel water without the use of a DWR (durable water repellant) that would eventually wear off. It is a breathable uncoated weave. Brushing through that same wet grass, I found the water beads up on the back and the glove sheds much of the moisture.

Sealskinz new Dragon Eye ultralight mtb glove is a light and breathable summer glove with a bit of water shedding technology on the back. 2017 Sea Otter Classic. © C. Lee / Cyclocross Magazine

Sealskinz new Dragon Eye ultralight mtb glove is a light and breathable summer glove with a bit of water shedding technology on the back. 2017 Sea Otter Classic. © C. Lee / Cyclocross Magazine

More info: sealskinz.com

Praxis’ Power Play

Praxis Works has teamed up with 4iiii Precision to offer a crank arm-mounted power meter, similar in concept to the Stages crankarm-mounted power meter. The 4iiii power meter meter is mounted on the non-drive arm of a Praxis Works Zayante crankset. The crankset is a 712 gram crankset with hollow-forged arms and the option for any ring configuration the buyer wants, similar in concept to the lightweight Easton EC90 SL crank.

crank arm mounted power meter by 4iiii (four eyes)

crank arm mounted power meter by 4iii (four eyes)

The crank alone is a mere $240 usd, but with the 4iii Precision power meter the complete set is $530 USD. All you need to add is the bottom bracket of your choice and a ANT+ compatible head-unit.

The 4iiii Precision power meter is available as a one or two arm unit separately. Stay tuned for a planned test.

More info: Praxiscycles.com, 4iiii.com

Thirsty Like the Wolf

Wolf Tooth has sunk its teeth into making sure riders aren’t hydrated at the expense of being well-equipped for the inevitable. The company now offers its B-RAD System mounting base to make sure that your two bolts offer more than just bottle carrying capacity.

The Wolf Tooth B-Rad competes with similar products from Specialized and Topeak to extends the useful real estate of your frame's bottle cage mounts. 2017 Sea Otter Classic. © C. Lee / Cyclocross Magazine

The Wolf Tooth B-Rad competes with similar products from Specialized and Topeak to extends the useful real estate of your frame’s bottle cage mounts. 2017 Sea Otter Classic. © C. Lee / Cyclocross Magazine

The three different lengths of B-RAD mounts that double your bottle carrying options and offer spare tube or multi-tool storage room. The mounts vary from $17.95 to $22.95 and have add-on accessories including the Double Bottle Adaptor that boasts the ability to carry two side-by-side bottles, and a strap hold down the kitchen sink.

One optional accessory to bolt to the B-Rad is the double, side-by-side bottle cage mount. You'd think you'd hit your knees, but you don't if they're mounted correctly and your quads aren't like Nelson Vails'. 2017 Sea Otter Classic. © C. Lee / Cyclocross Magazine

One optional accessory to bolt to the B-Rad is the double, side-by-side bottle cage mount. You’d think you’d hit your knees, but you don’t if they’re mounted correctly and your quads aren’t like Nelson Vails’. 2017 Sea Otter Classic. © C. Lee / Cyclocross Magazine

Wolf Tooth’s B-RAD option competes other products including Topeak’s Ninja Cages we saw at Interbike and Specialized’s minimalist Rib Cage with Tool as used by Cody Kaiser at Sea Otter. It’s an increasingly crowded market for products designed to help you safely escape the crowds and explore, and we’re grateful.

More info: wolftoothcomponents.com

See our ever-growing stream of new cyclocross and gravel-oriented bikes, wheels, tires, components and cycling gear from 2017 Sea Otter here.

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Written by Loknath Das