It’s that time of year again, when we start looking forward to what we think will be the hottest trends in road cycling for 2020. Will your prediction be on this list? Watch or read on to find out.
Road bike trend predictions for 2020
More people will be riding indoors
We think a lot more roadies will take to the pain cave.BikeRadar / Immediate Media
Could 2020 be the year that everyone heads indoors for all of their road cycling needs? From the looks of what training brands have been pushing in 2019, and the latest report from Strava, it certainly seems that way.
With the ever-increasing popularity of indoor cycling apps such as Zwift, it was only a matter of time before the rest of the industry caught up. And caught up they have with SRM, Tacx and Wahoo all releasing indoor exercise bikes next year.
We all know the BikeRadar commenter who says indoor cycling is cheating and that there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing, and that they go out riding even in freezing conditions, and even on the moon. Well, we think it’s time to stop with the tough cyclist image.
Some people like to ride indoors, and some people don’t have a choice but to ride indoors, whether it’s due to time constraints or any other number of reasons. That is totally fine by us. The important thing is they’re having a good time and getting their cycling fix.
So, having more options for people who ride indoors in 2020, we say bring it on.
Aero is everywhere, aero bikes not so much
The new S-Works Roubaix shows you don’t need an aero bike to be aero.Specialized
Now we head outside to the world of aero bikes, or rather, the lack of them.
After years of major brands designing aero-road bikes alongside lightweight race and endurance bikes, we now have aero features being rolled out across all types of bike.
This obviously leads to the question, do you need an aero bike at all? We’ll let you decide that one in the comments.
More pros will turn to gravel racing
We reckon more roadies will opt to get mucky in 2020.Robert Smith/Immediate Media
Right now, gravel is one of the booming disciplines within cycling, with plenty of rides and races popping up all over the world for us all to enjoy.
What might change for 2020 is that we’re likely to see a few more of the pros rocking up to try these races.
EF Education First riders such as Lachlan Morton and Alex Howes have already ridden at various off-road events during 2019, and with the likes of Trek’s Peter Stetina leaving the WorldTour road scene to go full-time gravel, we can’t see that trend slowing down anytime soon.
Just imagine the headlines: ‘Alejandro Valverde switches to gravel for 2020, and now plans to retire in 2030’. Very, very unlikely, but we think you get the gist.
What will this mean for us mere mortals? The races will probably be much faster at the front, which pushes everyone to a higher level, and in our eyes that can only be a good thing.
Tubeless will go mainstream
Tubeless setup and maintenance can be messy at times, even if you do everything right.Jonny Ashelford / Immediate Media
It feels like we’ve been saying this for a while, but could 2020 finally be the year that tubeless goes mainstream on the road?
2019 saw Schwalbe release it classic Pro One tubeless model, and it also conforms to the ETRTO (European Tyre and Rim Technical Organisation) standard. This should, in theory, mean that it’s nice and easy to install, so no more sore thumbs.
Companies such as Giant have been selling their bikes with tubeless tyres setup and already installed, so we suspect there could be more brands doing the same in 2020.
What are the benefits? The conventional wisdom around tyres now leans towards tubeless being the fastest in terms of rolling resistance, so, if you’re all about speed, that’s a tantalising proposition.
With the sealant inside, there’s also less chance of getting an untimely flat, so if the cycling industry can finally get tubeless for the road right, we think they’re on to a winner.
With 38c tyre clearance on the new Trek Domane, we expect to see more tyre clearances on road bikes.Mildred Locke / Immediate Media
Remember the heady days – we’re thinking maybe around 2014 – when a 28mm tyre was considered pretty wide? Those were fun times. All we had to worry about was 23, 25, and the aforementioned 28mm of width.
Case in point: Trek’s new Domane – categorised strictly as a road bike – now comes with clearance for up to 38mm tyres. That’s well into gravel territory, and we suspect other brands will follow suit soon.
When will it stop? And where is the sweet-spot between just right and way too wide for road riding? Who knows, but don’t be surprised if you see more bikes coming with wider rubber as standard in 2020.
What do you think of our list? Did we get it right, or should we have picked something else? Let us know your thoughts and predictions in the comments.
Mildred’s a utilitarian cyclist at heart, determined to do everything on two wheels, whether it’s shopping, commuting or moving house. She’s spent the past three years volunteering as a mechanic and workshop coordinator at the Bristol Bike Project, and now sits on its board of directors. Her expertise in bikes — and what people want out of them — comes from working in real-world bike shops and learning the ins and outs of the industry. At home on slicks and knobblies alike, Mildred’s ideal ride covers long distances through remote countryside, on mixed terrain that offers a bit of crunch. She’s easily won over by steel frames coupled with a 650B/plus-tyre combo, and is currently riding a Surly Bridge Club.