The main bike shows are over. Here's what we've learned about the future.
The Eurobike show finished last week and with it ended all the secrets that the bike industry’s main players and trendsetters have in store for 2017.
We’ve sifted through all the weirdness, all the e-bike hype and all the gimmicks to come up with a list of stuff that will actually impact on the average rider on the trails.
1. Pressfit has outstayed its welcome
Pressfit bottom brackets have almost become the norm on mid- to high-end mountain bikes. The idea sort of makes sense – stiffer, lighter and so on – but the reality is a bottom bracket that never stops clicking or creaking.
Lots of component companies are making new threaded bottom brackets that fit into Pressfit frames. There are also a few bike companies switching back to threaded BSA BB shells from Pressfit.
2. The return of suspension theory
The last couple of years has been all about geometry and the gradual realisation/admittance that longer bikes are better etc. We now reckon the focus is going to return to suspension frame design. We’re going to hear much more talk again of axle paths, chain feedback, mechanical anti-squat, unsprung weight and all that sort of stuff.
Canyon’s prototype Disconnect system has got the ball rolling.
3. 26+ is the next standard/scam*
At first it seems like almost a nice idea. Use your old bike – or your existing bike if you only have an older 26″ bike – and get some Plus tyre thrills. But then you realise that the tyres almost certainly aren’t going to fit in your old 26″ bike. So it’s just as much of a need-to-buy-a-whole-new-bike concept as 27.5 was.
*delete as you see fit
4. The rear mech will still be here
Gearboxes may get better and more numerous every year but the fact of the matter is that derailleur systems are so ingrained in how bikes are designed, budgeted and specced that we’re still quite a way off seeing gearbox bikes from the big bike brands.
The chink of light in the distance maybe point 2 above (‘The return of suspension’) as this may make people understand and, more importantly, worry about the negative effect derailleur systems are having on their suspension.
5. More upside down forks (no one will buy)
The upside fork story is a great example of how the bike industry is far from the all-powerful consumer-force-feeding behemoth that some internet commenters think it is.
What we mean is, the only people who want upside-down forks are The Bike Industry, the general public do not buy them. They never have and they never will. Yet the bike industry will still be unable to resist the urge to punt the concept out every few years or so.
6. More electric components
We’re not talking about e-bikes. What we mean is gizmos on your bike operated or calibrated by remote control or your smartphone. There’s going to be wireless dropper posts, fork and rear shock pseudo-telemetry bolt-ons, on the fly suspension damping adjustment via electric cable and all kinds of other tech.
7. Dropper posts will still be expensive
By now you might have thought that dropper posts might have come down in price. More competition, previous problems ironed out, less R&D to pay back and all that. This doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.
Instead it looks like the industry is focussing on bringing out ever fancier droppers, with longer drop and charging the same (or higher) fee for them. Which is fair enough but surely there’s scope there for a budget Reverb or something?
8. Hope embrace carbon
We’ve all see Hope’s swish HB211 carbon enduro bike. Could 2017 see the Lancashire CNC crew finally drop the C bomb?
The HS-22 frame looked to be pretty much a finished product (the alu swingarm perhaps needs a bit of neatening up). With the new carbon seatpost and carbon handlebars finally been given the green light, it makes us wonder what other carbon things we’ll see from Hope in 2017. Cranks? Stems? Rims?
9. SRAM still one step ahead
At the top-end drivetrains anyway. SRAM Eagle will be everywhere next year. SRAM have once again provided racers and any performance-minded riders with something they want.
Once again it seems so obvious now it’s been done. A 1x 12 speed wider range or gears. Why wouldn’t you want it?
10. 27.5+/29er convertibles are a thing
You know, bikes that you can run with either 27.5+ wheels or with 29″ wheels. It makes sense from a bike-selling point of view. It feels less committing. It takes the ‘what if’ worries out of moving to new wheel size.
11. 2.6″ tyres
Another significant development in the increasingly protracted obsession the bike industry has with anything to do with wheels and tyres. 2.6″ tyres are basically happening because they’ll fit into a lot of non-Plus frames and forks. So anyone can get a taste of Plus without having to buy a whole new bike.
2.6″ is very much a ‘gateway drug’ – we bet it’s going to do wonders for proper Plus bikes further down the line.
12. Aftermarket suspension tune-up kits
This is somewhat of an inevitable result of suspension forks and shocks being so darned expensive. We all have the urge to throw some money at our suspension every couple of years but no longer will we all be buying whole new forks or shocks.
Instead a lot of riders will be buying things to bung inside our existing kit. Replacement damping cartridges that offer a different ride feel and/or an increased amount of adjustment.