It's now common practice for online retailers to list products that aren't yet ready to ship out, and we've even heard cases whereby they are showing stock online but it hasn't even been ordered from their distributor!
As we roll towards the new year there are already a whole host of 2019 cycling products available to buy already; and it's sometimes the case that you'll be all set to pop your exciting new toy in the basket, only to be told that you won't be able to get your hands on it for days, weeks... maybe even a few months in some cases. On the plus side it means you're in for a nice little surprise when your pre-ordered present eventually arrives, but problems can sometimes arise when launch dates get delayed. Whether you're in agreement with the practise of products being out there to ogle at and/or pay for long before you can really have them, here's a selection of the most highly-anticipated bikes and gear out there prior to landing on the virtual shop floor...
For those who like their forks symmetrical (see Cannondale Slate for the alternative), Cannondale have launched the new Topstone, coming in three different specs and adapting a geometry similar to their popular Synapse endurance road bike for a comfortable ride on mixed terrain. It's named after a favourite dirt road area near Cannondale's Connecticut headquarters, and touted as a gravel racer that can also be used for touring or commuting. The three Topstones available are all aluminium, all disc-equipped and range from £899 to £1,799, and with the lefty-forked Slate still offered as their high-end gravel option there are no plans to introduce carbon versions of the Topstone for the foreseeable.
ETA: 'Not guaranteed in time for Christmas' according to Tredz, and not due in stock until April '19 according to some retailers.
Hunt Carbon Spoke wheels
Hunt have massively stepped up their R+D in the past year, and for 2019 they're adding big and exciting expansions to their range. You can read a detailed rundown of all the new wheels expected from them in the new year courtesy of Mat in this link, but the hoops we're most intrigued to see are these carbon-spoked beauties currently still at prototype stage. The spokes are straight-pull and made from unidirectional carbon, with each one weighs just 3.2g. The rim is filament wound instead of using various sheets of pre-preg carbon fibre, meaning that during production a continuous length of carbon fibre is wound around a mandrel. Several other companies already make filament wound rims, claiming that it adds a higher consistency to the manufacturing process, improved performance and increased durability. Claimed weight is 1,290g for a pair including rim tape, and Hunt don't have an estimated price yet. The tech isn't exclusive to Hunt but they want to be first to bring it to market, so expect to see these in 2019, possibly even early on in the year.
ETA: Hunt are aiming to be selling production versions in 2019
The latest versions of Gore's flagship bibs were developed with the help of none other than Fabian Cancellara, and extra attention has been paid to the padding to ensure a comfortable ride. Gore used the pad as a starting point and built the shorts around it, dubbed the 'central torso architecture’ and from there Gore has used a four-way stretchy fabric to build the rest of the short with as few seams as possible to avoid irritation, and provide unrestricted movement when pedalling. The seamless shoulder straps are wide and particular attention has been given to the design of the silicone lined hems. There will be three versions, the C7 Race, C7 Long Distance and C7 Vent shorts+, which share the common design features but have different types of padding and materials to cater specifically for racing, endurance riding and hot weather respectively.
ETA: the new C7's will be available from January, but you can get the 2018 shorts at a discount with various online retailers.
It might have an odd name and odd looks, but Pinarello claim their new carbon Grevil gravel bike can do it all. The wavey shapes, concave downtube and disc cover on the front make for an appearance that verges on aero (although no claims are made about aerodynamics) and it can take 700c or 650b wheels for extra versatility. The frame is internally routed for both Di2 and conventional cables and you can fit in a 650bx2.1" tyre or up to a 42mm on 700c rims. The less expensive Grevil uses Toray T700 carbon fibre for the frame, and the more expensive frame-only Grevil+ gets a higher modulus 'Torayca T1100 Carbon 1K Dream Carbon'... sounds fancy.
ETA: We're still waiting on exact prices and availability, but understand UK dealers won't be getting stock until the new year
The top-of-the-line direct drive trainer from Tacx has been updated, with the second Neo being made even quieter than the near-silent original version. Max power output is now 2200 watts, and they claim to have improved the cadence accuracy. The ride feel is improved thanks to a new chipset that can simulate rough roads and cobbles, and power accuracy is now down to +/-1%.
*ETA: Very soon... most retailers are getting their stock over the weekend, so in theory you could have one by Monday
*Update: we understand the Neo 2 is now shipping out... we've even got one in the office for testing!
We've still no updates on when we can get hold of Giant's new power meter, that was first revealed along with their all new Defy back in July. The crank-based system will be included on the Defy Advanced Pro 0, and from what we could gather at the launch event it appeared to be accurate and integrates nicely into a Shimano chainset.
ETA: No arrival date on the power meter to buy separately, but Giant Advanced Pro 0 bikes are set to ship out early in the new year
There has been plenty of e-bikes that look like road bikes launching in 2018, and perhaps the most inconspicuous-looking of the lot was revealed by Ribble in September. It's based on their Endurance road bike and uses the ebikemotion system that Wilier, Orbea and Bianchi are also working with. It has three power settings, and in smaller frame sizes it weighs as little as 11kg... lighter than many non-assisted bikes.
ETA: Ribble are expecting frame deliveries in December according to their website, so ordering now should get you one in time for Christmas
Sram 12 Speed (???)
Okay, so this isn't officially happening yet... but this prototype of a Sram 12 speed road groupset from Sram spotted on a Katusha pro bike would lead us to believe that we might see them dropping something new in 2019. Sram's 1x 12 speed groupset is now a familiar site on mountain bikes, but this is the first time we've seen it combined with a front mech (which looks like their current eTap front derailleur on this bike). The chainrings and crankset aren't familiar and there is also a Quarq-branded power meter in there, which leads us to believe Sram are working on a new power crankset to work with the new 12 speed system. They've declined to comment on the sightings so far, but we'll be keeping an eye out for more in the new year.
ETA: we suspect some time in 2019, but this is just mere speculation of course!
Anything exciting we've missed that you can't wait to get your hands on? Let us know in the comments.
After cobbling together a few hundred quid during his student days off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story), Jack bought his first road bike at the age of 20 and has been hooked ever since. He was Staff Writer at 220 Triathlon magazine for two years before joining road.cc in 2017, and reports on all things tech as well as editing the road.cc live blog. He is also the news editor of our electric-powered sister site eBikeTips. Jack's preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking (the latter being another long story), and on Sunday afternoons he can often be found on an M5 service station indulging in his favourite post-race meal of 20 chicken nuggets, a sausage roll, caramel shortbread and a large strawberry milkshake.