Here at BikeRadar, we are all about the new and shiny. We are primarily a news and reviews site, so it’s inevitable that we focus on the latest products. It’s our job to give you the low-down on that hot new groupset or that beautiful new bike, but do you sometimes suffer from new-stuff fatigue?
When we post a big product story, one of the reactions we consistently get, alongside the enthusiasm and offers of organ donation in exchange for bike parts, is: “I’m happy with what I’ve got and I see no reason to buy this.”
That’s a pretty rational response in many cases, especially if what you’ve got right now is pretty good and working just fine.
If you’re currently riding Shimano Ultegra 6800 for example — an excellent groupset — you might not see much point in shelling out a load of cash to get the new R8000, even if it’s promising to be an upgrade.
If you’re a fair weather rider who’s happy with their rim brakes, maybe you don’t actually need those discs.
Ultegra 6800 is still an excellent groupset, even if it’s now been superseded Matthew Allen / Immediate Media
Bike tech takes baby steps
It can sometimes be hard to get excited about bike stuff when the new products we’re seeing are so… predictable. Don’t get me wrong, I love new stuff, but there haven’t been many announcements in the last year that have really taken me by surprise.
Road discs are great, but they’re hardly a novelty these days Matthew Allen / Immediate Media
Currently, the bike industry is making loads of incremental changes and trickling down existing tech. Here are some predictions about 2018 and 2019 bikes that I’m pretty confident making:
- Power meters will get cheaper, and you’ll see more of them integrated with groupsets
- Electronic shifting will get cheaper, SRAM will release Force eTap and maybe an electronic MTB groupset
- Road disc brakes will get cheaper and ubiquitous
- The average width of the rims on road bikes will increase slightly
- New road bikes that are very slightly faster, lighter or more aero than last year’s road bikes will be released
- 1x will become more common on road bikes
- Road tubeless will continue to grow, but not take over
- More brands will jump on the gravel/all-road/adventure bandwagon
- Electronics will be added to more dropper posts and suspension forks
- Someone will launch a new MTB tyre size and try to call it a new standard
- More brands will release Plus bikes
- More brands will release e-bikes
- More brands will release 29er downhill bikes
Some of this tech — like electronic shifting or hydraulic disc brakes for the road — was huge news when it first appeared and is still considered highly desirable.
Remember when Di2 installations looked like this? James Huang / Immediate Media
It’s not exactly groundbreaking anymore though, and the latest releases all seem to be evolutions and refinements of existing ideas. Mountain bike tyres get Plus-ified, everything gets disc brakes, more things are integrated and electrified, and so on…There are exceptions of course, like Rotor’s insane hydraulic-shifting road groupset, or maybe Schwalbe’s ingenious Procore tyre system for MTB, but they seem few and far between.
Schwalbe Procore is one of the more original ideas we’ve seen in recent years Courtesy
Are you bored with latest bike tech? What new product would get you really excited? As ever, let us know in the comments. Bonus points if you post badly drawn diagrams of your brilliant ideas.