Are all of the new products launched recently quite as new as they make out?

In recent weeks we’ve seen a flurry of new releases as brands rush to get their new products out in time for the first World Cup XC and the Sea Otter Classic in California – the traditional season opener for team, industry, and public as racers pull on their new kit and pull up to the start line on their new bikes.

Fox Podium Gold fork line-up

Jackson Goldstone shreds the new Podium Gold 36 Grip X fork

Some of these big launches have included Fox’s new gold forks with upgraded dampers and a radical new 32 Step-Cast XC fork that its hoping will be at the front of the pack at this year’s Olympic XCO race. There’s been a new Forbidden Dreadnought high-pivot idler bike, a new Rocky Mountain Altitude enduro bike – using a very similar design to the Intense Tracer – and two new Norco high-pivot e-bikes. We’ve also been out riding Mondraker’s new ‘lightweight’ e-enduro bike; the Dune.

Fox 32 Step-Cast fork MY25

What’s old is new: Rear mounted brace on the Fox 32 Step-Cast fork

But not all of this kit is as new as it seems. Gold forks have been around since the early days of suspension, forks with rear mounted braces are also as old as the hills we ride them on, and another Canadian brand other than Norco has been making high-pivot e-bikes for years now.

And much of the impetus behind these new products comes from the expiration of patents that have previously given brands exclusivity. Now these designs are open source, other brands are free to adopt them. Of course, you wouldn’t know this from reading any of the marketing material that accompanies them!