The road.cc team are in Germany this week for Eurobike, the world's biggest bicycle show. Before they start trawling the stands, here are their predictions for what they expect to see over the following days.
There's a lot of talk about gravel bikes but for me the great thing about them is that they're so many different things: they start in the 29er bikepacking hinterlands and stretch all the way to the fast road disc bikes. So there's something for everyone. Bikepacking/adventure racing wasn't really a trend last year even though races like the Transcontinental were getting a bit of traction: I expect to see more people offering lightweight luggage in 2015. It'll be interesting to see if the current trend for lightwieght adventure touring is reflected in the bikes of any of the more traditional manufacturers.
Road discs are here to stay. There'll be masses of road disc bikes. Campagnolo haven't got involved thus far but they can't keep out of the game for ever. Will this be the year they launch their disc brakes? there's been plenty of talk.
Rotor's new hydraulic groupset caused a few stirs, and of course we'll be looking out for SRAM wireless too. The groupset market is an interesting place right now. Will we see an unveiling of FSA's electronic groupset this year? I hope so. There's no other new groupsets in the offing that we know of from the big three, but maybe someone else will join the party...
Power meters continue to proliferate, and get cheaper. I expect we'll see more again this year. Until now no major groupset manufacturer has offered a power meter as a stock option, and the bike brands don't build bikes with them on as standard either. Sooner or later, that will change.
e-bikes are huge over here on the continent. The focus has largely been on utility bikes but it seems to me that the leisure sector is where the big growth is. The bike shop near our apartment here in Friedrichshafen is chock full of electric mountain bikes and I expect to see a bigger concentration of them – and electric fat bikes, of course – at Eurobike. Retrofittable electrics will be making a splash too: the Copenhagen Wheel – batteries, motor and control unit all in the wheel, controlled by your smartphone – is finally here and i doubt it'll be the only one of its kind.
Colours? I went with neon red last year and only Cube really came through for me. There's life in neon yet though
Gravel bikes, Adventure bikes, Gnarmac bikes, Agro Tourismo, all of that. The cyclo-cross bike continues to evolve, or actually turn into a touring bike with fatter tyres, or a 29er mountainbike with drop bars. Take your pick as which way the lines are going to get fuzzied. Still, bikes that you can go do big things on, across the Great Plains, trans continents, to the shops the back way. And there will all the rugged accessories, frame-bags, £250 shoes, titanium tyre-levers.
I’d like to see a light, no holes barred, rack-mount free, cantilever braked, fast, for racing only cyclo-cross bike. Might be an ask nowadays.
One-by road bikes. Who’d have thought that would be a thing. Last one of those I saw was my Dad’s 5-speed back in the 80s. And more alloy road bikes, nice ones with lots of funky tube shapes going on that will kick cheap carbon into the gutter in both looks and performance.
Lots more neon clothing and dazzle-ship patterns, all over the place, shoes looking like they’re made out of Lego. It’s going to be whacky. Next year it will be back to black.
And trend of the show will be FatBikes, probably electric ones.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been to Eurobike. So when Dave asked me to write a few words about my predictions for this show, I started by looking back at some of my older show reports. It’s only by looking back, that you can really look forward. And my, how bicycles have changed in the last decade.
So what can we expect this year then? While change isn’t always that well received when first presented, it’s clear that bicycles have changed for the better. There’s more technology at the top-end, more value at the lower end. Change, in the cycle industry at least, usually benefits us all, eventually. The big changes this year will likely revolve around readily identifiable trends: disc brakes, gravel bikes and wider tyres.
It’ll be interesting to see how some of the more Euro bike companies, if at all, approach the gravel and adventure segment. Might we just see a lot of last year’s cyclocross bikes with new decals? Will the just ignore it as a US led trend?
Make no mistake, tyres are getting wider, not just on race bikes but on recreational bikes as well. There’s a clear demand for bikes that can accommodate wider tyres, to better cope with deteriorating roads surfaces. As I’ve often repeated every year, I really want to see more tubeless options as well. There’s no shortage of tubeless-ready wheels now, it just needs a few more tyre companies to get behind it as well.
Of course we’re going to see a lot more disc brakes on everything. With disc brakes now being tested in the professional peloton, we can expect to see more WorldTour sponsoring brands (the likes of Cannondale, Trek, Canyon et all) gearing up with a widespread rollout with suitable bikes. We’ve seen a lot of new race bikes launched this year, so this could be the last hooray for the conventional, non-disc, road race bike. Next year could be very different.
It has looked for a good few years that Shimano has won the once hard fought groupset wars. There’s a fightback coming though. SRAM’s new wireless groupset should be launched this year, as will Magura’s UNO hydraulic groupset. FSA is also looking to launch groupset, when we don’t know, the photos we’ve seen look very proto. And there are rumours Campagnolo will finally unleash its long-awaited disc brake groupset. What lessons will it have learnt from Shimano and SRAM’s disc brake systems? It could be an interesting few years for the groupset war.
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.