Sea Otter hasn’t officially started, but we were poking around the expo to get a feel for the setup today as teams and industry folk prepped for the insanity that is Sea Otter. We slipped in as Redline was setting up its booth and our eyes were immediately drawn to two frames being unwrapped. Both were Redlines, but they were as different as night and day. Tim Rutledge explained to us that we were seeing history unfolding: Redline has been building ’cross bikes for 20 years now, and he was unwrapping a mint-condition never-been-ridden Conquest from back in 1994. Next to it, the new carbon Conquest Flight was looking more modern than ever in comparison.
However, Redline has been pushing the boundaries with ’cross technology since the very beginning, and maybe that explains how it has 75 National Championship titles to its name, including Katie Compton, two times, and most recently, Justin Lindine’s 30-34 title.
The first ever Conquest frame came out 20 years ago and was already ahead of its time. On the picture below, note the top pull derailleur mount, though that technology for ’cross wasn’t even available at the time! Also of note is the routing designed to go on the side of the top tube, leaving the bottom clear for easier pickup. Rutledge was a racer in the early days of ’cross and he can relay plenty of stories of the horrors of mud-cakes down tube cabling back in the day.
The new carbon Redline Conquest Flight is still pushing the boundaries of cyclocross technology, 20 years later. One of the first adapters of the thru axle in the front (Focus was the first big player with a rear thru axle its new Mares showcased back in January, and the latest offering from Foundry had a front thru axle with its Whisky fork—see our review in Issue 23 and Issue 24). Disc equipped and with an updated graphics scheme, the Conquest Flight will be available for next season’s racing, though we’re betting a few people would love to get their hands on the earliest Redline model as well!
Stay tuned for more details on the new Conquest Flight as we dive back into the show today.
Check out all of our tech goodies from Sea Otter 2014, and keep checking as we start to get rolling into the long weekend.
Check out the slideshow below for more details, and check back soon for more from Sea Otter!