For the full experience, watch our Top 5 video above. If you prefer the sound of your own voice, read on.
The Dassi Interceptor is the first bike to make use of graphene
Regular carbon is old hat these days. Sure, it’s brilliant for making those laterally stiff, vertically compliant bikes we all froth over, but the basic concept of laying up carbon with epoxy hasn’t changed all that much in recent years.
The one-carbon-atom-thick wonder material graphene appeared on the scene a few years ago promising to revolutionise everything, but we’re still waiting for it to take over in bikes.
UK brand Dassi has already made a graphene road bike called the Interceptor. This incorporates the material in the resin that binds the carbon together, producing a stronger frame for a given weight.
The process is much the same as for standard carbon bikes and its designers reckon a 500g aero frame is achievable.
Graphene also has conductive properties that could be exploited in the creation of frames with some sort of built-in intelligence. The possibilities are intriguing….
2. Self-cleaning bikes
Imagine never having to deal with this… ever again
Imagine if you never had to clean your bike, ever again. How amazing would that be? Various non-stick and water-repellent coatings have been around for years, so why couldn’t we have them on our bikes?
Magnetorheological systems use a damping fluid containing tiny magnetic particles, whose behaviour can be controlled by electromagnets.
By precise adjustment of a magnetic field, the viscosity of the fluid can be altered.
In practice, that means you could radically adjust the feel of your suspension with the flick of a switch, or a computer could manage its behaviour for optimum performance.
Like electronic gears, such a system would need to be powered, and that brings us to our final piece of tech…
Could piezoelectrics replace old-school dynamos?
Say what now? Piezoelectric materials generate a voltage when they are subject to mechanical stress, and this phenomenon can be exploited in some interesting ways.
Way back in 2008 researchers at a French university were able to demonstrate that a “piezeoelectric generator” could be used to produce a few milliwatts of power, theoretically enough to power a small LED light.
We’d love to see such a system employed to keep Di2 batteries topped up, or to power your Garmin on a bikepacking expedition. As more and more electronics make their way onto our bikes, the possible applications are multiplying.
There’s no such thing as a free lunch in engineering, but this is probably about as close to one as you’ll ever get.
These are the top 5 technologies we’d like to see applied to bikes
Matthew is an experienced mechanic and an expert on bike tech who appreciates practical, beautifully-engineered things. Originally a roadie, he likes bikes and kit of every stripe, and he's tested a huge variety of both over the years for BikeRadar, Cycling Plus and others. For a long time Matthew's heart belonged to the Scott Addict, but he's currently enjoying Trek's lovely aluminium Emonda ALR and having a torrid affair with a Giant Trance e-MTB. At 174cm tall and 53kg, he looks like he should be better at cycling than he actually is, and he's ok with that.