Right, okay here we go, this could end up contraversial… The years from 2010 to 2020 have seen quite a few changes in road riding technology.
So what are the best road bike improvements?
Here goes – In No Particular Order…
The ‘swiss army knife’ of bikes has caught the imagination of bike riders around the world. Whether to hunt down new terrain or get away from distracted drivers or increased traffic, gravel bikes have opened up off-the- beaten-track riding opportunities for former road riders.
Power Meters for the masses
More cost effective power meters have opened up a more accurate method of measuring rider output, for more riders. Accurate, crank based power meters make monitoring gains while training and racing much more straight forward. Rather than telling people it was ‘really, really hard’ you can accurately tell them wattage output, if they are interested…
Wider Wheels and Tyres
The move to wider tyres and rims has increased comfort for many riders. This is good because bikes have tended to get stiffer while roads have got worse, in the UK at least. Running wider tyres at lower pressures can offer increased performance too.
The features and performance of groupsets from the big manufacturers have greatly improved. Compare Shimano 105 R7000 with Shimano 105 5600 of 10 years ago. As well as an extra sprocket, the 11 speed R7000 works amazingly well – shorter shift throw, more direct changes, improved braking performance, nicer finish and lighter.
Hydraulic Discs on Road Bikes
Unnecessary overkill ? Or amazing modulation and performance?
Wherever you sit on the Disc Brake acceptance / approval spectrum, it is surprising how quickly disc road bikes have become mainstream. Will rim brake road bikes still be around in another 10 years time?
Before GPS, finding new roads and working out where you are, could be a tricky affair – unless you carried around a paper map. With GPS you might never get lost on the bike again, just remembeer to keep it charged up. The last 10 years has seen bike riders rely more on GPS and more manufacturers in the GPS market.
Ten years ago, Zwift would have seemed quite ‘far-fetched’. However, Zwift is real. Well, sort of… A few years ago you had to train with clubmates like ‘Smelly’ Derek or ‘Bullshit’ Brian. Now you can ride with Maxwell Cheeseburger from the US of A. Or even real-life actual pro rider super-stars. Be sure to draw a line between your Zwift life and real life – How many Zwift riders have tried to plan a holiday on Watopia Island?
While manufacturers are still offering predominantly cable operated groupsets and components, demand for electronic groupsets has grown steadily in strength through the decade. Will cable operated groupsets still be around in 10 years time? Will all manufacturers move to wireless technology?
As the popular saying goes… ‘If it’s not on Strava it didn’t happen.’ The popularity of GPS computers and smart phones, led to the Strava app becoming phenomenally successful. Nerdy bike rider types, like me, used to log mileages on charts or commit them to the ‘Ron Kitchen Cyclist Log’ on ‘paper’ from a tree. Strava has made it a whole lot easier to record mileage and routes.
This could be the most contencious item on the list. If they work for you they are awesome. If they don’t. they are the work of the devil. However as the technology develops and standards become more unified, more tyres should seal up nicely on more rims. Self-healing punctures, lighter weight, lower pressures on rougher surfaces, are the major benefits of tubeless.
Before 2010, electric bikes were a bit niche, and largely used by German people on campsites. Today, electric bikes are everywhere. They allow more people to ride bikes and get enjoyment from cycling which is a really great thing.
Mystic Rick Predicts… 2020 – 2030
Thought-powered Groupsets will take over*. A small electronic chip, once implanted into a rider, (At the Merlin Workshop if we get Lee trained up) will be calibrated for braking and gear changes. No more cables or shifters required! So, for example, by merely thinking;
Brake Hard- 60/40 front rear – Will bring you to a stop fairly quickly.
Gear shift – 30 sprocket, (I have blown) -Will shift to the 30 sprocket.
The implanted thought chip will connect to receivers on the front / rear mech’s and brakes to apply the thought. There will, of course, be teething issues, but bikes will be lighter, neater and gear changes quicker, just don’t daydream while you are riding.
(*this might not happen)
Don’t agree? What Have I missed?
Let us know in the comments box below.