We gaze into the crystal ball to look at the next 12 months in bikes

Although there are some corners of the UCI that might prefer that we were all still riding 5-speed steel bikes, it’s a fact of life that the bike world is constantly moving forward, with new inventions and innovations never too far round the corner.

But what’s in store for 2016. Of coure we’re sure that there will be a few surprises down the road, and in twelve months time we’ll probably look back at this list and wonder how we could miss this thing off, or why we thought that could possibly happen.

So without further ado, here’s what we think is coming along in the not too distand future.

1. More disc brake race bikes

focus izalco max disc

The Focus Izalco Max Disc is one of only a handful of racy disc bikes currently on the market

Wait, come back! We know it might seem like we’ve been predicting the rise of disc brakes in these articles since time immemorial, but this is something different. Disc brakes have well and truly arrived on endurance bike, but race bikes are still catching up, and with the UCI widening its disc brake trial in 2016, we’re expecting to see a flurry of disc-equipped race bikes.

>>> Everything you need to know about disc brakes

Currently the only non-endurance disc bikes out there are the Focus Izalco Max Disc, Specialized S-Works Tarmac Disc, and the Pinarello Dogma F8 Disk, so there are plenty of manufacturers who will surely look to up their disc brake game in 2016.

2. Shimano to go wireless

Since the release of the original Dura-Ace Di2 way back in 2009, Shimano has led the way in the world of the electronic gears. However, that was until SRAM stole the show with its Red eTap wireless groupset, which looks like it could be a real game-changer in the groupset market.

>>> Are electronic groupsets necessary?

Dura-Ace made the jump up to 11-speed in 2012, and since then Ultegra, 105, and Tiagra have all received an overhaul, so it’s probably about time that the flagship model got a bit of a redesign. And why not make it a wireless version? Shimano would have known that SRAM was working on a wireless groupset from a few years ago, so has had plenty of time to develop its own version.

3. Tubeless tyres will take off

Playing second fiddle to disc brakes in cycling tech trend lists for the last few years, we’re predicting that 2016 will see the road world decide that having to get a bit messy with some sealant is less annoying than spending 20 minutes stood at the side of a road trying to fix a puncture when it’s 3º and chucking it down with rain.

>>> Should you change to tubeless tyres? (video)

Think about it, what’s not to like. Performance-wise there’s not a huge difference compared to clinchers, and when you do get that once-per-year puncture then you can just put in an inner tube and it will still work just fine.

4. Bikes with built-in power meters

This year saw the release of a whole host of new power meters, such as the Rotor inPower, Verve Infocrank, and the controversial Limits system. However while these systems are all well and good, they still require a significant cost on top of what you’ve already paid for the bike

>>> Power meters: everything you need to know

Instead we reckon that the big bike manufacturers must already be working on production bikes with in-built power meter. Certainly the demand is there, particularly at the higer end of the market, and it would save all the faff of having to set the power meter up correctly, particularly if it has a complicated calibration procedure.

5. Motorised bikes for the masses

vivax assist motorised bike

If your first reaction to the news that motorised bikes might have been used in the WorldTour was “where can I get one?” then maybe you could play a part in making this prediction come true. And no we’re not talking about ebikes designed for urban riding, but instead proper road bikes that wouldn’t look out of place on the club run.

>>> Motorised wheel claims to make hills feel like the flat

Think about it, particularly if you’re not quite as sprightly as you used to be, or if you’ve piled on the pounds over the winter, then wouldn’t it be great to have a little help to make sure that you’re dropped by your mates every time the road ramps up. There are a number of systems that allow you to add a motor into your existing road bike which have proved popular on the Continent, we just need them to make the jump across to the UK.

6. Aero bikes will keep getting more integrated

sagan's specialized venge vias

Aero road bikes really turned a corner this year, with the Specialized S-Works Venge VIAS, Trek Madone, and Scott Foil being the first of a new breed of aero road bikes where integration was central to the design.

>>> Best aero bike of the year 2016 (video)

This is one trend that looks certain to continue in 2016. Surely no one can design a new aero road bike that doesn’t feature integrated brakes and cables and expect to be taken seriously. Personally we’re all for it, but spare a thought for those spare mechanics who have to deal with the super-complicated cable routing.

7. Tyres will keep getting wider…

There’s no question that 25mm tyres are now the norm in road cycling. Wider tyres are generally accepted to offer more grip, better comfort, and lower rolling resistance, and whenever we see a bike equipped with 23mm tyres, they now look pretty odd.

>>> Buyer’s guide to road bike tyres

The question is, if 25mm is faster than 23mm, what about 28mm? 30mm? Where do you stop? Pro riders already use 28mm or 30mm tyres for the cobbled Classics, and with disc brakes on their way, more bikes will be able to accommodate really wide tyres.

8. …And rims will follow them

Wheel rims wide

The thing is that you can only get the most out of wider tyres if you have wide rims to go with them, allowing you to increase the volume of air within the tyre, meaning improved grip and comfort.

>>> Will rider rims make you faster?

And then there’s the aerodynamic benefits. Not only does having a wider rim mean smoother airflow at the interface between rim and tyre, but all the big wheel manufacturers are telling us that wide toroidal rim profiles are better in crosswinds too. What’s not to like?

  • Mister Epic

    Referring on your statement, I can guess that you might just be a weekend warrior and not into racing (?).

  • John Murphy

    #5 is horrifying. At least E-bikes are obvious and for commuting.

  • Dave Levy

    “Think about it, what’s not to like.
    Performance-wise there’s not a huge difference compared to clinchers,
    and when you do get that once-per-year puncture then you can just put in
    an inner tube and it will still work just fine.”

    Funny, you just described a clincher.

  • Adam Beevers

    Don’t see tubeless working. Not sure the sealant would work at 120psi.

  • J1

    You forgot one of the main reasons wider rims are better: cornering.

    Also, I’m not convinced tubeless will be anywhere near as big as disc brakes. I’ve weighed up the pros and cons numerous times and I won’t be changing from clinchers. It doesn’t help that two of the big tyre manufacturers can’t make good tubeless tyres yet either….they fell apart.

  • Eddiepliers

    Funny that #2 is there. Shimano has already went wireless with their D-Fly transmitters. This writer is a kook..

    Also, for #1, it’s no longer a trial that’s widening, it’s a complete ban on disc brakes being lifted.

  • PsiSquared

    If you think setting up a power meter is complicated, perhaps you should instead take up bowling.

  • Jörg Hippo Thomsen

    Well, if a wheel gives vertical compliance without sacrifizing lateralstability and torque stability you basically have the perfect wheel. Tires can perform uch better… Designing things aero and backwards compatible is NOT stopping innovation. The problem with proprietary aero designs is, that it leads to a fragmented market and massive dependence on single supplier… If that supplier decides to terminate the product you will not be able to source replacement parts anymore… IF you replace your frame every other year you couldn’t care less but if you need to maintain your multi thousand euro investment for a longer period of time… Just iagine you buy a Ferrari or Lamborghini and you were unable to source spare parts after 5 years …
    Aero is truly worthwhile… but only if it does not compromise in terms of product life and sustainability…
    My everyday ride is a 22-year-old Cannondale Alumnium frame equipped with state of the art components… Believe me, legacy is not always a bad thing 😉

  • Hyun-ji Song

    If everything must be backwards compatible, then there’s no real innovation. Sure you might not be able to replace parts quickly, but they stoll use steerer tubes so you can always put on different stem/bars. More aero is more aero. Regardless whether its negligible or makes a noticeable difference, it does still make a difference; everything adds up. If you’re worried about drag of the person, that’s something you can change, not bicycle manufactures – the best they can do is through bicycle geometry. What they have control in is their bicycles, so thats where they’ll focus. I’ve ridden many carbon rims, but own enves, and I’ll say they are amazing to ride on. Wouldn’t want vertical flex anyway..thats why we went towards wider tyres.

  • Texas Roadhouse

    And when they finally come out with their wireless systems is when I will fit to my bikes, having only ever used Campag since my first “racing” bike (Claud Butler) 50 years ago.

  • Jörg Hippo Thomsen

    Well, I think the road of “aero-integration” is a terrible dead end. Just imagine you are on a cylcing holiday in the alpes an you manage to break the handlebars or stem/handlebar combo of your Specialized Venge or Canyon Aeroad or Scott Foil or Trek Madone or… Where are you going to get spare parts? Integration is fine as long as it is backwards compatible…otherwise it is a load of complete and utter crap. Same goes for the brakes. Look at the Cervélo S5: All the Aero benefits you could ever want using standard brakes in standard locations… Not only are those standard calipers much easier to maintain, they are consistently performing MUCH better than any integrated brakes I have ever tried… especially with wider tires becoming the norm, because most integrated brakes (or cantilever type aero brakes) have the annoying problem of not openeing up wide enough to let a 25mm tire pass through while pumped up… Moroever, the actual “benifits” of all that aero is negligable for basically 99% of riders, since their bodies create so much more drag than any of the eqipment they sit on… I will always recommend aero rims, although their ride quality usually sucks being ridiculously stiff with virtually no vertical flex because teh yoffer “extra speed for free” but aero frames are truly useless for most common people…

  • Andrew Bairsto

    Shimano were not the only ones to make electric gears there was a little company called Campagnolo.The early Shimano electric did not like rain or wet or cold looked ugly about on a par with Mavic who were years earlier.