E-bikes and tubeless and 3D printing, OH MY!
While races may not be on the calendar this year, the bike industry is still booming. And, not surprisingly, leaders in the industry are continuing to pump out exciting new technology to help more people ride faster, farther and get stronger.
1. E-bikes galore!
As they simultaneously become sleeker in design and more affordable, e-bikes are changing the landscape of who can ride, where they can ride, and for how long. Despite early upheaval against the e-bike trend, they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. While barred from most cycling competitions and even from some public access trails, e-bikes have opened the door to more people getting on bikes and staying on them later into life than they normally would.
Providing additional power assistance, e-bikes are leveling the riding field, whether that’s on road, mountain or townie bikes. It increases accessibility by helping new cyclists keep up with their more experienced friends, allowing riders to get on more technical trails, and simply removing some of the intimidation factor of getting into a new sport.
2. Is gravel riding the next road riding?
If you’re a roadie or a mountain biker, chances are at least one of your riding buddies has made the investment in a gravel bike - and are you even shocked? Gravel riding combines the luxury of quieter rides (less cars, anyone?) with the speed of road riding for the ultimate ride experience. And, with the new technological innovations being made on the newest gravel bikes, riding on bumpy gravel roads is more comfortable than ever.
For example, take a look at the most recent version of the Specialized Diverge. With their Future Shock spring loaded headset and CGR seat post, the bike has what is essentially a mini-suspension system - dialed in for ultimate comfort without any major power loss.
3. Will indoor riding + virtual racing be the new mainstream?
As the COVID-19 pandemic has shaken up the racing schedule for 2020, virtual racing has emerged as the best alternative to in-person racing. And what’s more is that, with a lot of major cities on stay-at-home orders, outdoor training has become increasingly complicated, forcing a lot of athletes to their indoor trainers or treadmills.
While not an ideal situation for most athletes, it has presented an excellent opportunity for a different kind of racing. Providing a safe space for sparking the competitive spirit, platforms like Zwift and IRONMAN VR are offering a variety of weekly and monthly international competitions for their subscribers.
4. Tubeless makes the move from mountain to road.
Tubeless, while widely used in the mountain biking world, has only recently made its appearance in the road scene. Tubeless made its first major appearance in road riding with Fabio Jakobsen winning the fourth stage of the Tour of California in 2019 on tubeless tires, and the UAE Team Emirates riding tubeless in the Tour de France later that year as well.
Boasting advantages like flat prevention, increased speed (due to decreased rolling resistance and an ability to run a lower tire pressure) and improved comfort, the benefits of tubeless for roadies are hard to resist.
5. They are 3-D printing WHAT????
As new technologies arise, more and more cycling companies are taking advantage to produce new, exciting and innovative products - including 3-D printed saddles!
Yep, you heard that right. Both Fizik and Specialized have promised new, 3-D printed saddles. With new technology comes new opportunity, and we are hopeful 3-D printed saddles will not only improve comfort but may also lower the price on getting a saddle that fits properly. And who knows, maybe we will see 3-D printed helmets and bikes soon too?
Have a cycling trend you are most excited about for 2020? Drop us a comment below and let us know!