2023 looks set to be another bumper year for road bike tech. Here, we’ll take a look into our prophetic crystal ball and run you through the models we think will be revamped this year.
With 2022 bringing a plethora of releases, such as the arresting Trek Madone, the initially UCI-illegal Bianchi Oltre RC and the redesigned Scott Foil to name but a few, 2023 looks set to continue in much the same vein, with plenty of models ripe for updating.
Cannondale SuperSix Evo
A new Cannondale SuperSix Evo has been spotted in the wild being ridden by the EF Education-EasyPost team. The current-generation SuperSix Evo launched in June 2019, so it’s about the time we’d expect Cannondale to refresh its flagship race bike.
Spy shots show the bike has seen aerodynamic tweaks to the tube profiles. The seat tube looks to be more aggressively shaped with a matching seatpost and the seatstays appear to be dropped further.
The front end has been simplified and tyre clearance has been boosted. Home mechanics will also welcome a move to a threaded bottom bracket.
Specialized Tarmac SL8
The Specialized Tarmac SL7 is now nearly three years old.
Specialized typically revamps its models on a three-year cycle, so there’s a strong likelihood we’ll see a new Tarmac this season.
The brand amalgamated the lightweight properties of the Tarmac SL6 and the aerodynamic – but now discontinued – Venge into a single package with the SL7.
However, the Tarmac SL7 isn’t as light as the SL6, nor is it as slippery in the wind as the Venge was.
Specialized may well double down on chasing weight savings with an SL8, although the Aethos is the brand’s dedicated lightweight bike.
The Tarmac may equally head in an aerodynamic direction, especially now the UCI has scrapped its own 3:1 frame design rule. But then, wouldn’t it make sense to just call it the Venge?
We’ll certainly be watching with eagle eyes to see which direction a Tarmac SL8 heads in.
Update (06/08/23): Specialized has now officially launched the new Tarmac SL8. Read everything you need to know about the Specialized Tarmac SL8, then check out our senior technical editor Ashley Quinlan’s initial ride impressions in our Specialized Tarmac SL8 review.
We spotted Matthieu van der Poel riding what we think is an unmarked new Canyon Aeroad in December.
In fact, Canyon more or less confirmed our suspicions when we asked the brand if this was the new Aeroad: “[we don’t] have any details to share, except to confirm that it isn’t a current Aeroad”.
The frame features aerodynamic tubing and looks to closely resemble the brand’s current offering. It appears to have a revised head tube profile, as well as a different seat tube design. We expect it may feature a wider tyre clearance, too.
Although Trek has been coy about such a prospect, the Émonda is ripe for an update.
The Madone received a radical refresh last year with its striking IsoFlow seat tube. Trek’s bump-taming Domane also got a makeover, with a lighter and slightly more aerodynamic frame.
Of its three flagship (and anagrammatic) road bikes, that makes the Émonda, last updated in June 2020, start to look a little long in the tooth.
The current Émonda saw a shift from the brand’s all-out lightweight agenda, incorporating some aerodynamic tube profiles.
We might see Trek further drop the weight, given the current Émonda SLR has a frame weight of 698g in a size 56cm – 38g heavier than its equivalent predecessor.
We also expect to see an increase in comfort, considering the current generation rides on the firmer side of the spectrum.
Giant revamped the Propel last year, significantly increasing compliance, decreasing weight and improving aerodynamic performance.
Senior technical writer Simon von Bromley came away particularly impressed in his Giant Propel review, but the changes to the bike make it unclear what role the TCR plays in Giant’s range.
It’s only a hair lighter than the Propel and has slightly wider tyre clearance, but other than that, there’s arguably little to discern between the two.
If Giant does have an update in mind for the TCR, we expect it will double down on reducing weight, seeing as the Propel covers all the other bases. Perhaps it will make improvements to the compliance too, although we already find the current TCR very comfortable.
Despite the similarities between the two, we’d be surprised if Giant says RIP to the TCR, given the model has been a staple since 1997.