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Here are the cycling products we're looking forward to seeing in 2017

The New Year is a distant memory, and so it's time to cast our eye ahead and ponder what new bicycle technology we can expect to see in 2017. We've listed seven products that we predict will be highlights of the year, and what we're looking forward to testing.

Campagnolo disc brakes surely ready for release?

16-march-2016-3.jpg

It has to happen soon, doesn’t it really? We’ve seen the prototype disc brakes Campagnolo has been working on since 2013 but there is still no clear indication when it’ll launch. Nevertheless, we think we'll see them in 2017. Even though Campagnolo didn't officially launch the new brakes at Eurobike, there were several bikes on show using them. The brakes certainly looked close to production readiness when we saw them, with a full hydraulic system, flat mount brake calipers and a slightly modified shifter body that retains the same Campagnolo shift paddle and lever setup.

That said, Campagnolo has form for letting production prototypes out into the world long before they're released. Years before you could buy it, versions of Campagnolo's electronic shifting system appeared on pro bikes with visible mould marks that implied Campagnolo had tooled up for production (that is, these weren't testing-the-idea handmade protos).

- Campagnolo to launch disc brakes?

There are many arguments about disc brakes in the professional peloton, but one constant one we hear is that the entire peloton needs to be riding disc brakes and not a mix of rim and disc brakes. For that to happen Campagnolo needs to release its brakes quickly.

Shimano adds power

Shimano Dura-Ace FC-R9100-P chainset with power meter

Power meters have been one of the fastest growing aftermarket product categories in recent years, but the big news in 2017 is the arrival of Shimano’s first power meter. Shimano has integrated a power meter into its new R9100 chainset and it can measure left and right leg power separately as well as cadence. It could potentially shake up the power meter market quite a bit.

It's expected to be available in April 2017 and retail for £1,300.

Shimano reveals new top-end R9100 Dura-Ace groupset

FSA enters groupset battle

FSA prototype electronic groupset - rear mech.jpg

Your groupset choices used to be restricted to just Shimano and Campagnolo, then SRAM successfully entered the market, and now FSA looks set to join them, with a new semi-wireless electronic 11-speed groupset. Details were announced at the Eurobike show in August and we got to take it for a quick spin. We found its button positions and action easy to get used to. The shifting is remarkably swift and very smooth, with no unwanted noise

There’s a lot riding on this new groupset for the Italian company, but with its large share of the original equipment market, it could, if it gets the performance and prices right, muscle in on the dominance enjoyed by Shimano.

Subcompact adventure gears

FSA SLK Adventure crankset 48/32

FSA quietly snuck a new crankset aimed firmly at the growing adventure bike market for the 2017 model year. Dubbed “subcompact” and available in a choice of 48/32t and 46/30t combinations, they sound ideal for the lower speeds and steeper terrain usually involved with adventure riding, when a compact chainset can often be too tall. And beyond adventure, we can see useful applications for touring, Audax and leisure bikes. 

The Italian company had to use a 90mm BCD (bolt circle diameter) to make it work. Pair it with an 11-32t cassette and you’ve got a really nice spread of gears that would be just ideal for an event like the Dirty Reiver 200km gravel race.

The SL-K Modular Adventure BB386EVO chainset weighs 617g with hollow carbon crank arms and aluminium rings. We don' have a price of availability yet. Here's hoping other companies get in on the subcompact act.

Which chainset is right for you?

SRAM’s wireless eTap groupset gets disc brakes

specialized-sworks-tarmac-disc-red-etap-2017-road-bike-black-red-EV279861-8530-1.jpg

While Campagnolo is stalling on its release of disc brakes, SRAM has confidently bounced back from its hydraulic disc brake recall of a few years ago with the startlingly impressive eTap wireless electronic groupset. And now there’s going to be a version with hydraulic disc brakes.

- Review: SRAM eTap groupset

2017 model year road bikes are the first to get this new groupset, which is called HydroHC and only available at Red level. We're starting to see a lot of manufacturers speccing eTap but so far we haven't seen many disc-equipped models.  Specialized is offering the S-Works Tarmac Disc Red Etap (above) which will set you back a mere £7,500

- 10 SRAM Red eTap road bikes

Aero disc bikes

cervelo s3 disc 2.jpg

Is 2017 the year of the disc-equipped aero road bike? We reckon so. Already we've seen and reviewed the Specialized Venge ViAS Disc which ditched the finicky brake calipers for hydraulic discs and thru-axles. Canadian brand Cervelo has added the S3 Disc to its 2017 lineup, and Canyon has launched the Aeroad CF SLX Disc, and we expect to see a few more being launched this year. A Trek Madone Disc? Bianchi Oltre XR4 Disc?

- Review: Specialized Venge ViAS Disc Expert

The rise of 650b road plus bikes

Mason Bokeh - riding 2.jpg

Okay not a specific product as such, but after 650b hit the mainstream with the Cannondale Slate and more recently Mason’s AdventureSport, we expect to see a lot more 650b bikes coming out in 2017. The adventure and gravel bike sector has been an interesting one, it has matured and evolved rapidly in quite a few directions based on riding styles and terrain, and 650b looks like offering a different performance benefit.

- Review: Mason Bokeh Force 650b

Why 650b? The smaller wheels in combination with a larger profile 42mm tyre provides the same outside diameter as a 22mm tyre on a 700c rim, so you get benefits such as extra cushioning for a more comfortable ride, as well as increased traction, with enables the bikes to tackle more than just tarmac roads. 

Mason Bokeh - tyre.jpg

It looks like early adopters are looking at this tyre set up not as a gravel or adventure bike, but a road plus bike, a a bike that can take on smoother dirt tracks and paths like canal towpaths or fire roads without unduly compromising the handling and performance on the road, as the geometry can be pretty close to a regular road bike. This will be an interesting category to watch.

- Is 650b the future for road bikes? road.cc investigates

What are you most looking forward to seeing in 2017?

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

19 comments

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Pauldmorgan [236 posts] 2 years ago
1 like

"Here's hoping other companies get in on the subcompact act." 

This would be super-easy for Cannondale to do - just a different after-market ring set for the Sisl2 cranks. I was actually googling for such a thing just-in-case a few days ago. Hope they read this  1

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CXR94Di2 [2687 posts] 2 years ago
2 likes

Di2 triple crank front derailleur would be nice, no more difficult setups.  Shadow plus road shifters, one disc brake bike frame, 3 sets of wheels to cover virtually every use

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fixit bicycle clinic [138 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

SRAM’s wireless eTap groupset gets (ANOTHER UGLY PENIS LOOKING SHIFTER) disc brakes

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CXR94Di2 [2687 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

DP

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kil0ran [1639 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

+1 for subcompact chainset. Perfect for the sort of riding I do. (Although would probably be cheaper to just go 50/34 11/32 instead)

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muffies [81 posts] 2 years ago
1 like

Id like a 48/34 subcompact usually. 48/32 like 50/34 is a big jump/meh chainline.. hence why crossers run 46/36.

48/34 is a nicer gravel mid point IMO, even thus I guess few will do it (because most people fear they're going to not have enough range, even thus.. 34x32t is already good enough for me to climb stuff where my 38C tire loses traction.. and quite a few may use 42t in the back 'nyway on 1x setups.

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bobbypuk [80 posts] 2 years ago
2 likes

Road plus bikes? Adventure bikes? Gravel bikes? This is all getting a bit silly now.

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bendertherobot [1542 posts] 2 years ago
2 likes
bobbypuk wrote:

Road plus bikes? Adventure bikes? Gravel bikes? This is all getting a bit silly now.

You know what, it isn't. At the end of the day manufacturers will live or die by whether they sell. If there's a market, that's great because it means even more of us. 

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userfriendly [625 posts] 2 years ago
2 likes
Quote:

and a slightly modified shifter body that retains the same Campagnolo shift paddle and lever setup

I'm going to pretend the reason it takes them longer is that they're feverishly working on making the top of the ergo bodies look less like SRAM took a big dump on them. blushI realise they probably can't make them smaller, but maybe less angular?

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LarryDavidJr [396 posts] 2 years ago
2 likes

Drop bar bikes go smaller wheeled and mountain bikes go bigger.  Go figure.

Maybe in a couple of years my 16 year old 26" MTB will be fashionable again!

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Bmblbzzz [326 posts] 2 years ago
2 likes
LarryDavidJr wrote:

Drop bar bikes go smaller wheeled and mountain bikes go bigger.  Go figure.

Maybe in a couple of years my 16 year old 26" MTB will be fashionable again!

Next year, if you swap the wheels between your MTB and road bike, you'll be right up to date! 

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Bmblbzzz [326 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
LarryDavidJr wrote:

Drop bar bikes go smaller wheeled and mountain bikes go bigger.  Go figure.

Maybe in a couple of years my 16 year old 26" MTB will be fashionable again!

Next year, if you swap the wheels between your MTB and road bike, you'll be right up to date! 

Avatar
Bmblbzzz [326 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
LarryDavidJr wrote:

Drop bar bikes go smaller wheeled and mountain bikes go bigger.  Go figure.

Maybe in a couple of years my 16 year old 26" MTB will be fashionable again!

Next year, if you swap the wheels between your MTB and road bike, you'll be right up to date! 

Avatar
CMP [1 post] 2 years ago
1 like

While I'm not sure I completely understand what an "adventure bike" is, I'm thinking that a subcompact chainring might work well on my road bike. I find that I rarely shift into my 11-tooth cog (on a 52-36 crankset) and suspect that most non-racers don't need gears that high. There are times, however, when something lower than my current 36x32 low gear would be useful (those occasional 20% grades we see around here). Alternatively, one could go to a subcompact and and 11-28, which maintains a similar low gear ratio but trades in the highest gear for closer spacing. 

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durrin [31 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

I've used a Velo Orange 50.4 crankset (46-30) for a couple of years now on my brevet bike (with a 13-29 cassette). I also use the bike for light touring, and once, for a triathlon.

I really like the gearing on this bike, while I do occaisonally want a bigger gear, I very rarely need a smaller one.

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midschool [54 posts] 2 years ago
3 likes
tsarouxaz wrote:

SRAM’s wireless eTap groupset gets (ANOTHER UGLY PENIS LOOKING SHIFTER) disc brakes

 

If your penis look like one of those shifters I suggest you go see a doctor.

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massive4x4 [48 posts] 2 years ago
2 likes

The 46/30 chain rings should really be described as sensible gearing for people not pretending to be pro cyclists.

A 46 on the front and an 11 on the back will give you the same ratio as Bradley Wiggins used to set the hour record, unless you are a pro attempting to max out a descent or capable of sprinting beyond 60kph you don't need a bigger ratio.

However with a 32 on the back you then have a 1-1 gear ratio which will allow any fat bugger to get up the koppenberg!

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wchen [1 post] 2 years ago
0 likes

funny that writer counts FSA as a drive train company with just one E-shift system but not microSHIFT which has more drivetrain line up. ..

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Gossa [100 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
Pauldmorgan wrote:

"Here's hoping other companies get in on the subcompact act." 

This would be super-easy for Cannondale to do - just a different after-market ring set for the Sisl2 cranks. I was actually googling for such a thing just-in-case a few days ago. Hope they read this  1

 

I'm reading Paul. I'll pass this onto our chief drivetrain engineer, a Scottish bloke who lives in Freiburg Germany who used to work for Middleburn many many years ago....