We gaze into the crystal ball to look at the next 12 months in bikes
2016 was one hell of a year, wasn’t it? In the ever shifting world of cycling there has been some pretty exciting changes. There’s always some new invention and innovation just round the corner, no matter how controversial.
So, what will 2017 hold for the cyclists of the world? We’ve got some ideas, some you might love, some you might hate.
Let us know either way what you reckon 2017 has in store for us all.
Lightweight disc brakes
We all know the arguments surrounding them. Do bikes need them, or are they waste of time? Do they have a place in the peloton, or are people going to get hurt?
Well, either way disc brakes are becoming more and more popular. Bike companies are even beginning to release wholly re-designed bikes, purposely built to accommodate the additional braking power.
Now, with the recent proclamation by the UCI that they’ll give the brakes a second go in the WorldTour we reckon we’re about to see plenty of race bikes released with some lightweight stoppers.
While disc brakes are becoming increasingly popular on consumer bikes, there are other questions to be considered at a professional level.
For example, if the UCI revised their weight rule to allow lighter bikes, could that kill off the heavier disc brake? Perhaps 2017 will hold the answer…
More sophisticated carbon
Cycling is dominated by weight weenies, and gram shaving is a full time job in the cycling industry – and it could be about to take another big step.
A graphene bike frame was debuted last year by Dassi. However, we think sophisticated carbon is probably a better term, as the bike only contained one per cent of graphene. The rest was made up of standard carbon, albeit in a different layup.
Regardless, it was skimpy number. The frame, according to Dassi, weighed 750 grams. Although the bike company claims this could drop to 350 grams in the future.
Watch: Cycling Weekly’s list of bizarre products
Increased bike integration
2017 could be the year where bike companies really jump on the integration bandwagon.
While top tier bikes like the Trek Madone have been pioneering integration, will we see these ideas trickle down to the lower level models?
We also reckon that the area where bike meets computer could become increasingly blurred. Last year we saw the likes of the Argon 18 smart bike, a bike that uses over 30 sensors to find the best aero position for you.
Shimano is jumping on the bandwagon, too, with its latest Dura-Ace groupset features an integrated power meter, supposedly 10 years in the making.
Wider tyres and wider rims
It’s a fact that bike tyres are getting wider. But the question now is how wide will they go?
The advent of disc brakes has meant that clearance between the wheel and the frame is no longer such an issue – allowing companies to spec wider tyres.
Having said that however, perhaps 2017 will mark the time companies really begin to update frames to accommodate the bigger rubber?
Come Paris-Roubaix in April, professional teams will spec 28mm tyres (or wider) for the added grip and comfort. Throw in the fact that they inspire greater confidence and how long will it be until we start seeing these become the norm?
In that case, we should also expect to see even wider rims, too. Speccing a wider tyre to a narrow rim is no good – the tyre mushrooms out which derails any aero gains.
Having a wider rim allows a wider tyre to sit flush, allowing aero gains and reduced rolling resistance.
Watch: How to puncture proof your tyres
3D printed bikes
Remember that Argon 18 ‘smart bike’ we spoke about earlier? Well, not only is it smart, but it’s also 3D printed.
Well, we reckon 2017 could be the year when we start seeing bike companies experimenting with the advantages offered by the tech.
Growth of gravel bikes and adventure bikes
First there was cross, and now there are gravel bikes. This particular trend has seen bikes with more comfortable, upright positions as well as clearance for wider tyres become vogue.
It’s not hard to see why. The option of travelling both on and off road mixed with the opportunity to splash some cash on a new ride can be quite the cocktail.
Either way, we expect the trend to blossom in 2017.
Everything will become more expensive
This one is a bit of a given considering the turmoil of 2016. Sadly though, it’ll affect us all.
Political events such as Brexit have affected the strength of the pound. When we spoke to Canyon in October, they said that they “have been closely monitoring the situation, and when we set pricing on our 2017 bikes several weeks ago, we worked with the best analysts to ensure we continue to offer the fairest pricing possible.”
“For this reason, prices on many UK bikes increased around 10 per cent over their 2016 counterparts”.
The price hikes are already becoming visible on some products. The Shimano S–Phyre shoes, for example, have been hiked by £20 to an eye watering £320.