To business, the roadcc picture of a crystal ball is out and it's time to look forward to what the coming 12 months will bring to the world of the bicycle. We have 13 predictions for 2013 (a very mystical number that). The mystical ether is looking particularly swirly after a tumultuous 2012 so we've got the full team in here hunched round their balls so bear with us, what I can promise you, as in previous years, is a sharp blast of what the future has in store and a few ball jokes… Let the prophesying begin!
As is traditional it's over to Mystic Simon MacMichael for this one.
Last year, even many of the apparent early-season bankers – Cancellara over the cobbles, Gilbert in the Ardennes – didn’t quite go to plan.
So, a big pinch of salt needed with these, but here goes.
Milan-Sanremo – the sprinters won’t let it get away this year, but the pace of the race over the Cipressa and Poggio will leave the likes of Cavendish and Greipel trailing, with Boasson Hagen and Sagan among those fighting it out.
Flanders will come down to Cancellara and Boonen – as it should have done last year – but Roubaix will be more open, a rider who has the course and distance, but not one of the big pre-race favourites. Flecha or Hayman to step up.
Gilbert will be back to his best in the Ardennes, where Nibali, Rodriguez and Valverde will be his biggest threats – watch out for Jon Tiernan-Locke, though, breaking into the top ten finishers in one or more of those races, which would be a fantastic achievement in his first season at this level.
Nibali, Rodriguez and Valverde are for me the big riders for the Worlds which features a tough closing circuit in Florence, the Italian to clinch it on home soil from Rodriguez with an outside bet – assume he stays injury and illness free – on Cadel Evans and perhaps, given the location, Damiano Cunego.
What happens in the Tour may be shaped by what happens in the Giro, where Wiggins, if Sky can control the race as they did in France last summer, can at the maglia rosa to the maillot jaune – but Nibali’s Atsana will be out to spoil the party. Cavendish will complete his set of Grand Tour points jerseys – he missed out last year after some wretched luck on key stages.
I’m also tipping him to get the green jersey back in the Tour now he will have a full team behind him, but it will go to the last day. Greipel will get a stage or two, other sprinters may pick up a win, but the battle will come down to Cav or Sagan – the former’s strength in the flatter finishes negating the latter’s ability to pick up points on tougher ones.
As for the overall in the Tour, if Contador is back to his best, that could game over, but if he isn’t, it could be the most open Tour in years… Andy Schleck and Ryder Hesjedal, among others, are among the pick of the potential challengers .
As for Sky’s two star riders… in all probability it won’t be till we hit the Alps that we know who of Wiggins or Froome is genuinely the best bet to challenge for the win, nor whether having two cards to play is an asset or a liability, even a weakness that others can exploit to undermine what is currently the best-drilled team in the sport. And of course there is still the possibility that Wiggins will decide to concentrate solely on the Giro and leave it up to Froome to try and beat Contador.
Can 2013 possibly match 2012 in terms of putting cycling right at the centre of national consciousness, what with a Brit one, two at the Tour de France, an avalanche of Olympic and Paralympic cycling gold, a knighthood and national treasure status for Bradley Wiggins? Er, no.
But cycling will continue it's inexorable march in to the mainstream of British life. London will continue to lead the way, but there will be interesting developments in Manchester in particular, we also expect big things from Bristol's 'Cycling Mayor'. With greater numbers will come greater acceptance. In 2013 cycling will start changing from the fashionable thing to do in to just something that you do.
Progress will be faster if the Government, Transport for London, CTC, British Cycling, and numerous councils up and down the land seize the moment presented by cycling's astounding success in 2012 but even if they don't they cannot stop us now! That's what the ball says.
The tech boys don't use anything so old school as a crystal ball for their futurological peregrinations… nope it's a pair of high tech aero helmets covered in tinfoil connected by what looks suspiciously like silver string helps them cube the co-efficient of their combined psychic powers so they tell me. We'll see. Take it away boys…
GPS computers even further down the price ranges. Magnets and sensors are so last century.
Cervelo will release a new top end road bike - they did the P5 (TT bike) last year, the S5 (aero road bike) in 2011, so it's the road bike next, fer shure.
The usuals: more aero components. We've had ever more aero wheels the last 5 years, Bontrager did handlebars in 2012, Rotor did aero cranks, what else can there be? People will follow Trek's lead by incorporating brake/fork systems? (or is that Ridley's lead - ed?)
Contact points - over the last few years we've seen the likes of Fizik concentrating on contact points, saddles like the Kurve that mould to your shape, super-comfy bar tape. In 2012 Prologo seemed to take things a stage further with their CPC range of saddles and gloves - these came coated in a ultra-grippy when you need it to be, vibration and heat dissipating coating made up of volcano shaped cones and they were claiming some pretty big performance gains as a result. We expect to see more very high-tech stuff going on at the point where rider touches bike.
Aero road helmets - like the Giro Air Attack. Bound to be more because not everyone is on board with this yet.
Integration: computers into stems - like the 3T but hopefully a lot cheaper.
Power meters - hopefully more options and cheaper price points... but I doubt either, to be honest. The technology isn't easy (hence the high prices). Will Garmin’s Vector finally see the light of day? It was due to be released last year but has been pushed back several times. We strongly suspect there will be an announcement at some point in the year.
Another pedal-based power meter to keep any eye out for is Brim Brothers. This company, based in Ireland, has developed a product that works with Speedplay pedals and measures the forces between the shoe and the pedal, and calculates power based on that It’s been several years in development, and their website confidently declares a summer 2013 launch.
Electronic shifting will presumably go down another level at some stage. Batteries integrated inside more frames.
All bikes will be 10% lighter and 30% stiffer. Or 30% stiffer and 10% lighter. None will be both 30% lighter and 30% stiffer.
That is all.
Much has been talked about the so-called 'Wiggo effect' this is it. Not instant but definitely there. We've seen a lot more kids on road bikes around here lately the sort of chaps that would have been riding mountain bikes to school not very long ago. We predict more - (there were certainly more at last year's Eurobike), the UK bike industry just needs to catch up (and quickly) by providing them with a wider range of well priced, well made bikes, that don't weigh half a ton to choose from… although there is one company well ahead of the game Islabikes - we predict a good year for them.
T R McGowran he man with the mystical moustache is taking over for the next bit of soothsaying…
We will see many more micro brands emerging due to the huge increase and acceptance of cycling in to every day living. More bike frame builders, more small clothing brands etc.
At the same time we are also going to see big brands re-flogging their kit but labeled for 'cycling'… due to the huge increase and acceptance of cycling in to every day living. H & M are on to it and Levi's had a half ars… not completely successful attempt at it but will come back for more. Some may worry about the credibility of cycling if the likes of M&S jump in others may celebrate such a thing as a glorious victory… er, cycling's not M&S's.
My mystic moustache is with Mat on the GPS. As soon as all those Chinese factories you see on the likes of alibaba.com see it as a mass market product the price will half, and then some, like it did for sat-navs.
…and there's more from the moustachioed one
Neon pink is the new yellow for women on the road, it is already getting popular. Blue and green fluoro will start getting popular in the later part of the year for men when they realise that they don't have to wear yellow.
Drop handlebars on commute bikes. It has been happening for a while now (check the early adopter pictured above - ed) but with the popularity of urban cross bikes we are seeing a lot more people in a racy tuck on the power commute, this can only lead to more people wanting the efficiency and the speed of a proper road bike and ditch their heavy crosser for a real road bike.
I would like to think that Nike and Adidas start making cycling shoes again and bike kit. Nike had spd pumps on some of the Olympians feet in BMX...
Middle Aged Men in Lycra with dodgy chucky/terry nutkins mod barnets with sideburns… the dark side of the Wiggo effect.
Over and out!
And he's gone leaving just the faint odour of moustache wax in his wake
Sad to say this seem to be a recurring prediction… My ball (picture of) is going black, black, black and I'm falling in to a deep hole. By the end of this winter 4000 holes in Blackburn Lancashire is going to look like a woeful under-estimate by the late ex-Beatle. The Government may have promised a bit of extra cash for councils to help fill potholes but it isn't going to be nearly enough years of under investment coupled with a short termist approach to fixing potholes is going to be horribly found out by two harsh winters followed by the wettest year on record. We've already seen an increase in the numbers of reports from across the country of cyclists being injured by potholes and many of these are on main routes, if these are getting bad the back lanes will be getting worse. 2013 will be a year for strong rims.
A lot of cyclists will become increasingly uneasy as to how mainstream 'their' sport has become and take up fencing.… thank you Vecchiojo for that one. Oddly enough had a very similar conversation with two eminent cycle journalists earlier this year who were pining for the good old days when no-one wanted to read their copy and pondering starting to write about baseball to get that old vibe back… I think they were joking.
Given the London mayor's fondness for getting his feet off the ground and vanity projects… zip wires, cable cars etc… the ball says the London Cycle Skyway might just be preparing for take off by the end of 2013.
Hmm… wasn't this in our 2012 predictions? By crikey yes it was, but hey as the wise man* said 'No-one is ever going to revolutionise bike design in a year', and over the last 12 months we've seen a steady trickle of road bikes with disc brakes, Colnago being the most notable with their C59 Disc (which we rode last year). Expect more in 2013 - there's plenty of life in callipers yet, but there's also a clear demand for discs. The promise of increased and better modulated braking performance in all conditions, better dependability and reliability, and the potential for lighter, stronger and more aero wheels, makes for a compelling argument in their favour. Time is on their side.
The year we will see SRAM's hydraulic disc brake system and they've been product testing with US-based cyclocross racers. And surely, Shimano can't be far behind - indeed the rumour is they're not.
An interesting side note is SRAM's development of a hydraulic rim brake. Since they've developed the new brake/shifter lever with an integrated reservoir, there's no reason why you can't put a hydraulic rim brake on the end as much as you can a disc brake. Magura launched a similar system last year in partnership with Cervelo, and they'll be bringing it to market this year. Systems like this could eventually be another option (and potentially lighter, and doesn't require a new frame, fork and new wheels).
Garmin need a big release in 2013 to maintain their spot at the top of the GPS pile and our psychic helmets tell us…different things, Mat predicts the Edge 500 will get an upgrade. Full colour, increased route finding capability. Dave reckons, that a new version of the Edge 800 (above) must be due for release.
That's what trying to predict the future using a psychic helmet does for you, but it doesn’t take a huge leap of imagination to envisage the 805/850/900 Edge will have a larger high resolution full colour screen, a faster processor, improved mapping and a slicker interface. The ability to download apps might also be on the cards... live weather data perhaps? Traffic information? Social capabilities? Wireless sharing?
Rumours abound of a certain groupset manufacturer beginning with 'S' offering one extra speed on their new groupset this year. As we reported just before Christmas Tiso say they've already developed a 12 spd wireless system so the race is on.
Given that we haven't seen the full fallout from the USADA investigation yet, the Padua investigation is reaching its conclusion and the Operacion Puerto trial starts in the new year, plus Katusha want their day in court with the UCI to try and get their WorldTour licence back, the one prediction we can make for 2013 with absolute certainty is that lawyers will be among the year's winners. Warms the cockles of your heart, doesn't it?
That's yer lot… the ball has gone cloudy and I'm out of this shawl for another year. Happy 2013!
road cc's 13 predictions for 2013 were brought to you by the combined psychic powers of: Mystic Simon MacMichael, Mystic Mat Brett, Mystic Dave Arthur, Mystic TR McGowran, Gypsy Rose Vecchiojo & Mystic Tony Farrelly.
Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.