This week Otso Cycles launched a new line of bicycles. Otso’s bikes are from the engineers and innovators at Wolf Tooth Components, who up until now have made solutions for 1x systems and chainrings. The Exploro I’m riding and sharing stories about is spec’d with a Wolftooth front chainring. Focused on on bringing innovative bikes to the mountain bike and mixed-surface road markets (aka gravel), Otso released the Voytek and Warrakin. Of those, the Warrakin interests us the most. It’s described as the ultimate any surface drop bar bike. And, with this blurb
Native American folklore tells of a mythical wolf-like creature, the Shunka Warakin. Fierce and elusive, the Warakin evoked both fear and awe in those who encountered it. Like the legendary creature, our Warakin™ bike can take on many different forms. It can be a fierce CX competitor or a relaxed gravel adventure bike and everything in between. A beautiful and durable stainless steel frame combined with our patent-pending Tuning Chip™ system makes for the ultimate all road bike. Legendary stainless steel ride quality with modern features like carbon fiber fork, disc brakes and through axles combine for the perfect ride on any surface.
The tuning chip provides 20 mm of chainstay length adjustment and subtle changes to the bottom bracket drop and head tube angle. By moving the chip forward and back, you can change the characteristics of the bike from a fun and nimble cyclocross feel to a more stable touring handling.
I asked Mark V what his take was. He replied.
I don’t really get the hype about “legendary stainless steel ride quality”….stainless steel is a very recent trend in bicycle manufacturing and still rather rare. I’m not sure where these legends are made unless we’re talking Instagram from NAHBS. But the Tuning Chip dropout inserts are very clever. I’d love to see how they function in the field, because the feature adds a layer of versatility to the framesets that perfectly matches the flavor of all-road cycling.
In just 5 paragraphs, the trendiest niche of the bike indstry has been described 3 ways. But, wait there’s more. It’s also defined as:
- Mixed surface
What do any of those terms mean? See this post on Medium Bicycles and Google “Tomac.”
Back to the Warrakin, I’ve ask for a demo to see how well their tuning chip works. SCOTT has offered a hot-swappable geometry on their MTB bikes for a few years and I’ve never used it on the trail. Of the two features, a tuning chip v. a chainstay that can handle 650b and 700c, I’d guess I’d chose the later. Until then, every turn of the pedals on the Exploro is with a Wolf Tooth chainring.
I hope Otso haven’t bitten off more than they can chew, launching a bike line in the category where much bigger manufactures are making a play.
The market will decide, once it also figures out exactly what the category is.