Not everyone who buys a road bike immediately becomes a racer or begins to actively and correctly train. Most cyclists use this type of transport to ride for pleasure, sharing or hiking. It is difficult for an inexperienced eye to distinguish between a gravel bike and cyclocross, but if you delve into the details, you can find a lot of divergences. A gravel bike has a less athletic, more straightened fit for a cyclist. The gravel rolls much softer and more comfortable, it is more stable and has more space for installing additional accessories in the form of travel bags and other tourist gadgets. This is an ideal choice for high-speed driving both on rolled tracks on rough terrain and on asphalt (and not very high quality). This segment promises a very rapid growth in 2020, almost every bike manufacturer has this kind of bike in the lineup. So, let’s talk about some more latest trends for this means of transport.
- MTB is rather dead than alive
No matter how surprising it may sound, but the mountain bike segment over the past couple of years shows the most rapid decline in terms of sales growth. Any beauty on the relationship website that knows what is a bike will tell you that. And even the new 27.5+ standards and bikes, released to cheer mountain bikers, do not save marketers from an unprecedented decline in interest in this category.
So what’s the deal? Yes, it’s in the marketing people themselves, because when they unwind and expand segments of other types of bicycle, they themselves put sticks into their wheels. It is no secret that in recent years there has been a boom in road-type bicycles (road, mole, gravel, touring), as well as the incredible growth of electric bicycles of all kinds. In 2019, by the way, road bikes with a built-in electric motor have become a thing. By the way, the class of electric bicycles just shows the most rapid growth and development. Indeed, those two-wheeled “gadgets” can also be driven by someone who had not even thought about riding a bicycle before.
- 1x transmission
This trend has gone out of the mountain bike segment because at first transmissions with one star in front were used on downhill bicycles, but soon they became widespread in other disciplines. Now they are beginning to be actively introduced into the segment of cyclocross and gravel bicycles because ease of use and maintenance is a really big bargaining chip. Now you do not need to spend time figuring out which lever and which direction to press in order to get the optimal load. You simply move the chain higher or lower on one handle and concentrate more on controlling the bike, choosing the right trajectory and position of your body. Regarding road bikes, this is a great way to lose a little extra weight, improve aerodynamic performance and the release of the first road bikes with a 1x transmission is scheduled for 2020. Although road racers are slightly concerned about the increase in the cadence between gears because by reducing the number of speeds in the transmission, the load drop between the two speeds increases significantly.
- Here is a quick look at the other trends concerning the bike industry:
1. Wide trail 2.6-inch tires
A new wave of popularity, which is reminiscent of the massive transition to 27.5-inch wheels, is gaining tires 2.4 – 2.6 inches wide. Wide trail (WT) is the development of Maxxis. WT tires are made specifically for the rim of 30-35 mm, and now it is the standard among mountain bikes.
2. Non-deadly double suspensions
Although cross-country athletes drive fast, they take change and technological progress rather slowly. But today we can already see how the angle of the steering column is increasing, the steering wheel is getting shorter, the course of the shock absorber is growing and seat posts with shock absorption appear.
A long frame and a short takeaway provide faster, more predictable steering and a confident stance on steep descents. Cross-country bikes are safer, which means you can safely ride faster.
3. Aluminum rims
You can blame professional enduro riders for this, but they prefer to ride the stage on a bent aluminum wheel than not finish the carbon race at all (and it doesn’t matter how rare this is today). But, if that means that aluminum rims will get better and better, then that’s great.
4. Not aluminum bicycles
If you have spent and arm and a leg on super expensive carbon wheels, then you can save a little bit on the new frame in 2020. Good carbon fiber will probably always be the most desirable, but steel frames come back to us. And yes, we are talking about double suspensions.
6. Modular cassettes with a large range
If you ever try to put a big star in the back, you will never give it up again. Now everyone puts a minimum of 42T, but not everyone is ready to switch to 12 speeds. We think that in 2018 there will be more than 11 high-speed 50T cassettes. We can only hope that this kind of start will get more popular.
7. Spring bike suspension forks
This point is a bit controversial, but we think that the noise around the spring shock absorbers will not capture everyone. The reality of switching to a spring fork means you can get a less responsive and frisky bike. Not to mention the difficulties of preload and negative balancing.
8. More brands enter direct sales
The recent transition of the Intense Cycles brand to a direct sales model to the consumer may push other manufacturers to such a bold step. The bicycle industry will closely monitor Intense Cycles and it is possible that many will also want to try their luck and abandon intermediaries.
9. E-bikes will get lighter
Electric bicycles are gaining popularity, which means manufacturers will release new models and improve old ones.
10. Fork Offset Options
The wheelbase becomes longer, so there is a need to shift the fork. We will not be surprised if soon we will be able to choose the fork offset we need or even change it ourselves before the purchase.