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2023 cycling tech predictions — Specialized Tarmac SL8, futuristic bike computers, electronic Campagnolo Ekar, another Hour Record? + more of our top cycling prophecies for next year

Find out all about the tech trends we expect to see (or in some cases hope to see) in 2023 and beyond

2022 is coming to an end, which means we're looking towards the cycling tech and tech trends we're expecting or hoping to see in the new year. It has to be said, some of the things on our wish list at seem far more likely than others, but that won’t stop us from dreaming! 

Lighter, stiffer, more aero, more comfortable...what have we missed? Specialized Tarmac SL8

2023 specialised tarmac sl8 predictions

Oh, and it'll probably cost more too...

Lorena Wiebes and Fabio Jakobsen have both been spotted using a fully integrated aero handlebar with semi-internal cable routing, which we suspect are Specialized's new Roval Handlebars. 

> Fabio Jakobsen spotted with ‘new Specialized aero handlebars and saddle’

Given what we know about Specialized's usual frame cycle, a Tarmac SL8 is likely to be coming in time for the Tour de France next year, and we would expect to see this integrated cockpit fitted to it. 

With the relaxation of the UCI's frame regulations and the 3:1 rule, Jamie our video guy thinks that the Specialized Tarmac SL8 is likely to take advantage of this and feature a deeper headtube, thinner seatpost (as already seen on the new Cervélo S5) and beefier bottom bracket. 

> Check out the best road bikes 2022

He also predicts a new set of ROVAL wheels with carbon spokes to be launched alongside, in order to bring the Rapide wheelset down to their previous weight of 1410g, retaining their tubeless compatibility. 

Likeliness rating: 85%

The same rider to win the Green and Yellow jersey at the Tour de France because Wout...

2022 Tour de France Stage 3 © Zac Williams/

You have to go back all the way to 1969 to find a rider that won both the yellow and green jerseys at the Tour de France. It was of course the great Eddy Merckx.

Now, A few years ago we would have said no way, cycling has changed too much since 1969 for this to be possible but we all saw what a certain Belgian did at the Tour this year and it was nothing short of mental. We wouldn’t really put anything past Wout Van Aert these days and the 2023 route features numerous sprints and only medium mountain stages compared to previous years. 

> Check out the bikes ridden to every 2022 Tour de France stage victory, including Vingegaard's Cervelo & Van Aert's green machine

It seems more than likely that we’ll see Van Aert in yellow at some point but can he take it all the way? It would most likely involve some misfortune for some rivals and teammates but it’s far from impossible.

Likeliness rating: 35%

A bike computer that looks like it's from this decade - please!

A refreshed Wahoo Elemnt Roam and Garmin Edge 1040 were released this year but still have the same form factor as previous generations. Both offer new features but remain similar in appearance to their older models with large bezels. 

2023 large screen bike computer wishlist

> Check out the best cycling computers 2022 

We think that this is an area where manufacturers can seriously up their game and would like to see bezel-less bike computers with bigger screens in 2023.

Perhaps SRAM/Hammerhead have something up their sleeve for us next year!

> SRAM acquires GPS computer brand Hammerhead

Likeliness rating: 45%

UCI reversal on pin-less number pocket ban

Nopinz Pro-1 All Season Skinsuit 3

The UCI has clamped down on pin-less number pockets in their recently published ‘Clarification Guide of the UCI Technical Regulation’ in article 1.3.029, coming into effect January 1st 2023. 

Used in time trials for several years, stick-on pocket sleeves for race numbers – like the ones produced by Nopinz – have become increasingly common in the pro peloton, even during road stages.

> UCI “kindly requests” that riders stop using race number sleeves

However, it's not just the pros who opt to use pin-less number pockets, with many cyclists choosing to use them not just for extra aero gains, but for the convenience of not having to try and pin a number onto your own skinsuit in a car park.

It's also impossible for a pin to fall out leading to your number not being able to be seen properly and is far less likely for your number to be ripped off completely. 

British Cycling has confirmed that they will not be following the UCI regulations on pin-less number systems for British Cycling-sanctioned events so we hope that the UCI reverses this ban by the end of the 2023 season! 

Likeliness rating: 50%

SRAM Red to go 13-speed | 12-speed is sooo 2022

2022 SRAM Red Lars van der Haar - 1

> New SRAM eTap AXS shifters spotted: is a new SRAM groupset on the way, and what do we want to see from it?

SRAM Red, Force and Rival are all currently 12-speed systems so will we see an extra sprocket?

We’ve not seen any patents to suggest this will happen, but an extra sprocket would be the most obvious update.

Campagnolo is at 13-speed with its gravel-specific Ekar groupset and SRAM likes to make its road groupsets appealing to the gravel market too. An extra sprocket makes a big difference to a 1x setup so we’d say 13-speed SRAM Red is a distinct possibility in 2023!

Likeliness rating: 75%

The hour record to be broken (again) by Filippo Ganna

Filippo Ganna, UCI Hour Record attempt (GCN)

Another change in the UCI's regulations is their rules on time trial positions meaning taller riders can now take advantage of greater reach and more height difference between the forearm support and the extension tips.

> Rider thrown off Baloise Belgium Tour for using illegal handlebars allowing him to rest his arms on them

There are now three different categories based on height so all riders now get 80cm reach from bottom bracket to handlebar with the 180-190cm bracket getting 83cm and riders over 190cm permitted to extend up to 85cm. 

Filippo Ganna is 193cm so already benefited from being in the tallest bracket according to the UCI's previous regulations, but his reach has now been extended 5cm (from 80 to 85cm) and he can now have a maximum height of 14cm from the centre of the forearm support to aero extensions tips. 

> Filippo Ganna roars to spectacular new UCI Hour Record of 56.792km

With this extra flexibility in aero positions, we think that existing hour records could be in trouble but if Ganna attempts it again in 2023 it is likely he'll beat his current record. 

Likeliness rating: 90%

Campagnolo to offer an electronic version of Ekar and 13-speed road groupset (it's about time)

2022 Campagnolo patent Actuator device for Bicycle Gearshift - 1

Next up, Campagnolo is already at 13-speed with its gravel-specific Ekar groupset so we'd be surprised if didn't soon offer an electronic version of Ekar. 

Shimano and SRAM both offer electronic groupsets for gravel riding so it seems logical that Campagnolo would want to do the same.

> Is a 13-speed Campagnolo road groupset on the way?

Ever more road bikes are being made these days that are compatible only with electronic shifting and this situation could extend into the gravel market. Assuming Campagnolo doesn’t want to limit its appeal, it needs to offer an electronic version of Ekar at some stage.

Looking at patents released by Campagnolo, we’d say that a battery-powered rear derailleur has a good chance of becoming a reality, so for 2023, we think that an electronic – probably wireless – version of Ekar is in the works.

As well as this, since Campagnolo's 13-speed groupset is for gravel, we could also expect to see Campagnolo release a 13-speed road groupset.

Likeliness rating: 70%

More retrofit e-bike kits for an electric boost 

E-bikes have boomed in recent years and 2022 has also seen a rise in the production of e-bike conversion kits. 


> Best e-bike conversion kits 2022 - motorise the bike you already have

E-bike conversion kits are an often-overlooked option but they can give you something that measures up against the best electric bikes for lower overall cost.

Retrofitting has its benefits over a new e-bike such as being able to keep a sentimental bike but feeling an electric boost will get you out and about on it more. If you have a relatively unusual bike like a recumbent or a trike 'off-the-peg' electric options to replace it may be limited and kit options could be a good way to go.

We, therefore, expect to see more retrofit e-bike kits in 2023!

Likeliness rating: 85%

An app to tell us when to fit new components (Sales ploy or genuine innovation?)

Replacing disc brake pads Sept 2018

In December we saw Shimano file a patent for an app that can inform users when their bike's regularly replaced parts, such as tyres and disc brake pads, need to be changed.

Users simply scan their tyres with their smartphone and receive instant "objective digital evidence of each measurement" in the form of "accurate tread depth measurements".

> When to change your bike tyres — 7 warning signs to look for

You might be sitting reading this wondering what's the point when you already know when to change your tyres and brake pads, but Shimano's app proposal could offer more riders knowledge of when it is time to fit some fresh rubber, improving safety and reducing the chances of getting stuck thanks to some untimely end-of-tyre punctures.

Shimano's app patent suggests the guesswork could, some time in the not-so-distant future, be removed, or at least be better informed.

Likeliness rating: 60%

Electromagnetic brakes for bikes (why not nick some train tech)

Finally, something not very likely but one we'd like to see is electromagnetic brakes on bikes. Admittedly they are too big for bikes right now but technology will advance meaning they have the potential to become lighter and smaller.  

2023 electromagnetic brakes wishlist

> Shimano patents electronic brake system

Electromagnetic braking is currently used in trains, trams and robotics. Due to the braking being magnetic, there aren't any brake pads that will wear out or fail, meaning less maintenance. 

The fact you will never wear anything out is what appeals to us but unfortunately, we think this could be pretty unlikely, at least for now. 

Likeliness rating: 1%

What are you hoping for this year from the world of bike tech? Let us know in the comments section below...

Emily is our track and road racing specialist, having represented Great Britain at the World and European Track Championships. With a National Title up her sleeve, Emily has just completed her Master’s in Sports Psychology at Loughborough University where she raced for Elite Development Team, Loughborough Lightning.

Emily is our go-to for all things training and when not riding or racing bikes, you can find her online shopping or booking flights…the rest of the office is now considering painting their nails to see if that’s the secret to going fast…

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Off the back | 1 year ago

Ive mentioned it before, but when will a groupset manufacturer develop a self charging groupset? If you could remove the need for a battery as bulky as the Sram ones which look ugly and cumbersome or the weight of a di2 battery which could be reduced to something much lighter if they used the motion of the crank or wheels to charge them. Magnetic tech like that used in cadence sensors should be able to produce enough energy to keep a small battery topped up for simply moving a derailleur back and forth. If my Tacx Neo can provide its own power then im sure a groupset can 

Secret_squirrel replied to Off the back | 1 year ago
1 like

I agree with this. 

Even a tiny dynamo somewhere would be enough power for shifters and mechs.   Could possibly just get away with a capacitor not even a battery. 

Surreyrider | 1 year ago
1 like

There's more chance of a w**k off the Pope than Wout Van Aert winning the Tour. You really should know better, being cycling journalists and all that. 35% probability shouldn't even read 3.5%. 

AlsoSomniloquism replied to Surreyrider | 1 year ago

Obviously I'm not as well versed in all the racing as yourself, but wasn't Alaphilippe similarly ruled out as a GC contender in 2019 but could well have won it if the last two competitive stages were not cut short?

Of course I haven't compared profiles, plus DQS didn't have a top contender for it that year unlike JV have this year.

Global Nomad | 1 year ago
1 like

anything that stops disc brake rub or squeel is to be looked forward too......though i can imagine a whole set of new issues.....

Rendel Harris | 1 year ago

You can currently get odds as high as 66/1 for WVA for the tour, compared to 6/4 for Pog or Jonas. I've never seen a poor bookie yet...didn't he say the other day he wasn't even going to focus on the green jersey, let alone yellow? There's also just a small matter of the fact that he will be riding in support of the champion... Stranger things may have happened but I'm hard pushed to think of one at the moment.

emjay49 replied to Rendel Harris | 1 year ago

I sort of agree, but if the route is more favourable then why not ? There is not much he can't do....we know he can win sprints, TT well and ride away from a gasping peloton anytime he likes. All of a sudden those seconds could add up to something worth defending when they hit the big hills. 🤔

jpj84 | 1 year ago

Hang on - are actually tipping Wout to win gc at the Tour? 

That's quite a bold one 😳

Miller | 1 year ago

The campagnolo rumour I've seen is for a 2x12 road group, revised electronic shifting, fully wireless, with smaller chainrings and sprocket sets.

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