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5 alert bike tech trends to expect in 2020

The new year is here, while we might only just be done with saying goodbye to 2019 and the last decade, there’s an agitative year ahead. Join Riding Nerdy this week, where we look advanced with our top 5 predictions for bike tech in the coming year.

1. Ebikes…. ebikes everywhere!

The past year has been great in terms of uptake, but ebikes are still yet to take over the European market. In Germany, over the first half of 2019 nearly as many e-bikes were sold as in the whole of 2018. Industry experts expect the European ebike market to triple ins size over the next five years.

As the market grows, we will also start to see a broader range of ebikes appear on the streets. Ebikes are no longer commonsensical machines to give a allowance hand on hills or around town, there really is an e-bike to suit everyone’s needs and desires. 

There are applied e-bikes that can carry luggage, children, pets, or actually annihilation if you’re Dutch. There are also e-bikes, like the VanMoof or Cowboy, that stylishly accommodate accouterments to appeal to the more aesthetically acquainted rider. There are even failing race machines with camouflaged electrical abetment for the racer that might need the safety of a get out of jail free card. Customer choice in the industry is accepting better and better every month.

Cowboy ebike with chip hardware, advised beforehand this year by Plugged editor Callum Booth

E-bike manufacturers are also starting to advance a host of other chip smart tech add-ons, like GPS tracking and navigation. These additions are making electrically assisted bicycles an even more adorable hypothesis for some.

In terms of artefact development, there isn’t much left for e-bike manufacturers to do beyond access array range and performance, and reduce the weight of their machines. With that in mind, it’s about time prices for electric bikes came down, to make them a strong value hypothesis for new customers. 

With all these factors coming calm over the next year, we’re going to start seeing a lot more e-bikes on the roads. 

2. More affordable home training tech

Over the past few years, we’ve seen the home training sector explode. Forecasts suggest this trend is going to continue. By 2025, it’s estimated the bike trainer market will be worth $140 actor globally. This is nearly double what the market’s value was in 2017.

Indoor bike trainers are not a new invention. Traditionally, they are the tools used by cyclists to countdown before races or train during the winter when the acclimate is too bad to go outside. They work by adhering to the rear wheel of a bike and accomplish attrition using magnets or fluids that change bendability based on the speed of the wheel. 

In recent years, we’ve seen a swathe of “direct drive, smart trainers” come to market — many are now in their second generation. 

smart trainer, cycling, indoor
Credit: Tacx
Tacx’s NEO 2T flagship smart trainer

Smart trainers have the adequacy to alter the attrition automatically, admeasurement power, speed, and distance. Direct drive trainers attach to the bike’s drivetrain directly, and are far quieter than acceptable wheel-on trainers. 

Smart trainers are also advised to accommodate with online gaming-cum-training platforms, like Zwift, where riders from all over the world attempt and train calm in a basic world. 

Good smart trainers can cost well in excess of $500, but prices have been coming down. Indeed, more affordable options are coming to market, bringing the befalling of technified training to more people. 

As this continues, more riders will avoid putting their bike away absolutely during the foul winter months and opt to train central with specific high-tech workouts.

3. Zwift eRacing will poke its head into the mainstream

Online gaming-cum-training belvedere Zwift has been alive hard to grow its user base in recent years, and 2020 might be the year that it starts being accustomed by more people. 

Back in early January, it saw a new record for the number of circumstantial users at anyone time with more than 10,000 active “Zwifters” riding simultaneously, Zwift Insider reported

This year has also seen the belvedere push to legitimize and take the sport of e-racing to a bigger boilerplate public audience. The belvedere held its first Australian and British Civic e-racing championships back in March, which saw the nation’s top e-racers battle it out in televised arenas to become civic champion.

eracing, zwift, wahoo, trainers, indoor
British Zwift e-racing event

What’s more, German bike architect Canyon has sponsored the first specialist e-racing team, called Canyon ZCC. This is a team that’s sole purpose is to train and race on the basic belvedere Zwift. 

Just like real world cycling, e-racing had its share of controversy. The belvedere made headlines  when the first male British civic best was bare of his title after it was appear that he ahead used hacks to unlock in game content.

However, Zwift has big plans. The indoor cycle-gaming belvedere wants to become a accustomed Olympic sport by 2024. If that’s going to happen then we’re going to be seeing much more of Zwift in the boilerplate as it attempts to ballista itself away from its niche.

4. Mad tech at Tokyo 2020 Olympics 

Earlier this month, the British Cycling track team apparent its abolitionist new Olympic track bicycle. The bike had its first outing at a recent track world cup in Minsk, Belarus but the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are where BC really want to show it off.

The new British bike has a wild and anarchistic frame design that’s already axis heads in the cycling industry.

Hope, Lotus, bike
Test ride with the new HopeLotus track bike for British Cycling. Manchester Velodrome.

But it’s not just the British team that are blame the boundaries of bike tech. Back in October, the Japanese track cycling team apparent two new bikes destined for the Tokyo Olympics. One advised for sprint events and the other for longer distances. 

The Japanese cycling alliance said both of these machines are faster, stiffer, and lighter than the team’s approachable bikes. Some of the team’s riders are already claiming to have set new claimed annal in training on the new bikes.

The Australian track cycling team also afresh appear specialist 3D printed apparatus from home-nation brand and accretion accomplishment specialists Bastion. The hardware, including handlebars and cranksets, will adorn their track race bikes in Tokyo next year. 


But why should you care? Well, many of the appearance in these pieces of tech and the accomplishment techniques used to make them, will crawl down to customer tech in the coming years. 

If these top-level machines prove their aerodynamic designs in competition, I’d put money on us seeing agnate design concepts in the customer market in the near future.

5. 3D press will bring new bike specific articles to life

The cycling industry, manufacturers in particular, are axis to 3D press at a acutely accretion rate. Over the past year, we’ve seen a broader acceptance of accretion accomplishment techniques for use in cycling accompanying products. 

3D press is being used at the top end of the sport to accomplish unique designs that aren’t accessible with accepted accomplishment techniques, and these techniques are alpha to find their way into the customer market.

Take British brand HEXR, for example, which appear its fully custom bike helmet that’s made through a action of 3D press and a unique “headscan.” By using 3D printing, HEXR says it has arrangement waste, and advised a artefact that is more environmentally affable than acceptable foam-based helmets. But it isn’t cheap, one of HEXR’s helmets will set you back around $390.

HEXR, helmet, honeycomb, cell
Credit: HEXR
HEXR’s 3D printed bore “cell” helmet

One of the world’s better bike manufacturers Specialized also caught the absorption of the cycling media when it appear a customizable 3D printed adaptation of one of its racing saddles beforehand this year. After being tested by abundant able teams, it’s due to be appear in early 2020. There’s been no acknowledgment of appraisement yet, but I wouldn’t expect a bargain.

saddle, bike, tech, 3d printed
Specialized 3D printed Power saddle

But it’s not just Specialized that’s using 3D press to make the saddles of the future. Italian brand Fizik is using the same technique, Digital Light Synthesis, to design what it calls an “adaptive” bike saddle. In short, it’s using 3D press to build a saddle that can have capricious densities of cushioning depending on what the rider prefers.

Next year will be an absorbing year for bike tech, and thanks to developments in e-racing, smart trainers, and 3D printing, it’s a year I’m very aflame about.

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Published December 28, 2019 — 16:00 UTC

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