With 55 bikes tested for our sister title Cycling Plus's recent Bike of the Year 2016 awards, we've had a great chance to assess biggest trends in road cycling: what's hot, what's not, and what to look out for.
There are some interesting things to look out for, as far as the state of the art of road bike design and production goes:
- Alloy has enjoyed a resurgence as a frame material even at the higher priced end of the spectrum. New technologies and techniques are allowing bike manufacturers to build alloy frames that are more than capable of holding their own against more fashionable carbon offerings.
- Despite the steady inroads of disc brakes into the market, rim-brake machines are continuing to do well – and will be around for a long time to come.
- Gravel bikes are becoming more and more popular, and diversifying with more specialised machines being developed such as the Cannonade Slate and the Open UP.
- Two trends we take a little time to deconstruct and discuss include graphene in tyres, and road tubeless. If you've wondered what these developments mean in practice and how they fit into the world of cycling, have a watch.
- And one of the biggest trends this year is the innovative ways the big brands are fighting back against online retail. There's still concern for survival of local bike shops, but they're getting their hands on some great bikes that offer real competition to the direct-sell bikes you can find online.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.