Bike industry, make them happen
Pedal bicycles have been around for 200 years yet there are still some things that need to be invented and made. Come on bike industry – sort it out!
1. Automatic gears
Ideally telepathic gears. Mind-control drivetrains. We mountain bikers want as few a controls on our handlebars as possible thanks. Surely now that we have electronic (maybe even wireless) drivetrains available we can get a noggin implant to make mental shifting a reality.
2. Bib shorts with built-in knee pads
Maybe it’s just me but I cannot find knee pads that stay in place. The fundamental issue being that legs are tapered cone shaped and anything is going to slip down over time, especially if the legs are moving up and down (pedalling). The solution? Keep your knee pads up with shoulder braces ie. 3/4 bib tights with built-in knee pads. It doesn’t have to be hard shell knee pads, just knee sleeve style padding would be great.
3. Non-stick paint
A frame finish that mud cannot adhere to. Imagine that. Much less post-ride bike cleaning. Just shake your bike around (like a dog ridding its coat of water) at the end of ride and… done.
Once you’ve experienced how rear suspension works and feels when it’s not encumbered by chain forces and the weight of cassettes (that get bigger and heavier every year, don’t forget) the experience is somewhat addictive. Gearboxes are a good idea in theory but they’ve still quite some way to go before they iron out their own problems (excess drag and ropey shifting). Can we have something as light, low-drag and universally-fitting as a derailleur but with no chainpull and unsprung mass, please?
Yes okay, this probably should have been included in no.4 above, but chains need singling out specifically in our opinion. To be fair, the chain was arguably the best invention ever for bikes. Strong under force, with lateral leeway for shifting up and down cassettes, yet adaptably bendy to wrap around chainrings, sprockets and jockey wheels. Chains are ace. But they are surprisingly heavy. And they rust. Let’s have something lighter. That never needs oiling.
6. Magic tyres
Tyres that are actually suitable for every terrain/surface/season/weather. Tyres that can be ridden really hard in corners without folding, yet are supple enough to form themselves over light cobbles. Tyres that grip like stink to everything, don’t drag and also last forever.
7. Brake pad-wear early warning system
Who hasn’t been caught out by letting their disc brake pads run down to the metal? The result often requiring a full system bleed, scored rotors and, in the worst circumstances, a full calliper strip down and corroded piston polish/replacement. The solution? Maybe some sort of tab that rubs on the rotor before things get too bad?
8. Genuinely durable water repellency
Expensive waterproof jackets work amazingly… for a few months. Then the DWR coating breaks down and things are never the same again. Sure, you can try tumble dry melting the fractured fabric membranes back to its original state. You can also try retreating the garment with a re-proofer. But deep down we all know it never really works again. At the moment it makes more sense to buy cheaper jackets and replace them after a year. Not good. Let’s have a wonder-jacket that stays wonderful.
9. Aerodynamic bike rack
Have you ever owned a car bike rack? Chances are you’ll remember the initial joy of transporting your bikes around with such ease. And then you’ll remember the increasing disillusionment you feel as your petrol station visits become increasingly frequent. The solution? Some sort of aerodynamic fairing maybe?
10. Winter gloves with thin palms
You may think these already exist but the existing examples of these hybrid gloves suffer from having the thin palm material also being used for the thumb and fingertips. The result being that your fingertip and thumbs get chilled, sometimes painfully so. We’d like to see full finger and full thumb insulation with only the grip-facing palm area being thin material.
11. Light and breathable enduro helmets
I wore a road cycling helmet the other day. Wow! It was so light and airy I actually forgot I was wearing it. Until I got to a tricky bit of trail (yes, I was mountain biking in road lid, don’t tell anyone) and suddenly felt a bit vulnerable as regards my rear-of-head protection. Best of both worlds required please!
12. Stow-away bar ends
We’re all agreed that bar ends are never going to come back. But how about bar ends that can be pulled out of the end of your handlebars, fixed into place for the climbs and then quickly folded back out-of-sight for the other trails?
Any other suggestions?
Do you have an idea for a bike product that doesn’t exist but really should? Let us know in the comments below or via the usual social media channels.