The successful release of the £99 / US$130 GoPro HERO last year got us thinking: wouldn’t it be cool if there were more value offerings of the best bike tech? Newcomers or those without large bank accounts could at least sample a taste-test version of the good stuff normally out of reach for your average cyclist.
The huge success of the budget GoPro HERO (with early batches of stock selling out) shows there’s a market. Obviously, these items would carry a weight penalty or feature limitations, but something is better than nothing, right? And with manufacturers selling more products, everybody wins.
So here are five items that may or may not happen, but ones we’d sure love to see.
Shimano’s electronic groupset Di2 is used by the pros and those of us lucky enough to be able to fork out several grand (read our guide here for more groupset info) on our components.
As Di2 is already available on the road via Ultegra and Dura-Ace it would be logical for Shimano to push out a motor-driven derailleur system at a more basic level. The 105 groupset would fit the bill as the point where things start to get serious.
A slightly heavier option might work for those wishing to sample pinpoint, powered shifting, while reduced battery power or making the set-up frame mounted (with premium lines remaining hidden via internal routing) may be a way to keep costs down.
Will it happen? Probably not for a while, as BikeRadar‘s Australia Editor Dave Rome explains: “My guess is it’s unlikely to happen as the bulk costs are not in the different metals and forging used.”
And what works for road should work for mountain bike too, right? XTR Di2 may have only just come to market (check out our wishlist for 12-speed Di2 here incidentally), but again, it sure ain’t going to come cheap, but there’s more than likely a whole heap of riders wanting to give electronic shifting a good thrash.
If it was offered in XT groupsets then it could be priced cheaper but with that aforementioned weight penalty and/or limited use, but offer a great entry route for those of us who want to try the top tech but not have to sell a child to do so.
Tiagra hydraulic disc brakes and levers
Road disc brakes are in vogue and are popping up on endurance bikes across the globe. However, hydraulic disc brakes were launched by Shimano at Ultegra-groupset level two years ago and we think it could be time for the system to find its way down as far as Tiagra systems too.
This year, the likes of the Cannondale Synapse Ultegra Disc has seen the addition of Shimano’s hydraulic RS685 brakes, which is a step in the right direction.
Granted, there are already cable-operated disc brakes out there, but we’d still like to see hydraulics offered at a lower starting point.
Tubeless setups on budget bikes
Simple as that. Would certainly work for beginners as they wouldn’t have to change flat tubes, which might in turn then encourage more people to ride.
Then there’s the benefit of entry-level bikes being able to use low air pressure for better traction, of course. More versatility would surely be of huge benefit to cycling newcomers.
Entry-level Garmin (with Bluetooth and ANT+) at budget price
We’re thinking at a price point similar to the Edge 200 here: £110 / US$129 / AU$149. If Garmin replaced that unit with a version with wireless capability (so we could get cadence and heart rate at least) then this would sure have five star-potential as a value-based entry-level option.
As per the Edge 200, this would remain easy to use, supplying just the essentials like time and distance, but having easy wireless upload.
Bearing in mind that the best cycling apps are consistently improving and that many riders are using their phone to track data, this may not be a bad direction for Garmin to head.
What do you think? Would you like to see any other pieces of tech at a cheaper price point but with entry-level functions? Let us know via our community!