The yearly rites of spring are many. For the cycling crowd, it includes the introduction of new bicycles, road and mountain.
To think that not much has changed in the two wheeled pedal powered world would be to admit that you live in a cave.
Bikes are simply evolving, still. Looking back, way back, all of them, no matter who made them or for what purpose they were made, were heavy. There’s no kind way to put it. The weight of the wheels alone is about what modern bikes tip the scales at today.
Along with the steady shedding of pounds, the material they are made from has changed too. Carbon, alloys, titanium, aircraft grade aluminum, steel, wood, bamboo, are all part of the scene today.
In general, the bikes are stronger and more flexible. Even the cheapo ones sold at big box stores fit into the better than they used to be category.
What’s new this year? More than I can put into one article. The most dynamic changes have to do with gears and drives, followed by bike geometry and saddle technology.
The internal hub is steadily making a path into the mainstream. They are a sight to behold, and with each passing season, become more affordable. In order for them to become mainstream, they’ll have to fit into a sub-$2,000 bike, and one that is the equivalent of a good sub-2k bike on today’s market.
Chain drives are still the norm, but the belts are still out there lurking. They’ll be here in force, probably in the near future. They do come with some pretty good advantages: no oiling, no chain tattoo on your calf, less cleaning.
Electronic shifting is being spearheaded by Shimano. From what I have been told, and what I’ve read, they electronic version of plowing through the gears means less hesitation and much more precise shifting.
Saddle technology continues on a forward track. Since an uncomfortable saddle can ruin an otherwise good bike, the newer research is welcomed. The entire effort is to have a seat for your situpon that contacts your sit bones, and not your perineum. Koobi, Fizik, and others, are in the business of making your ride comfortable. Check them out.
All of the manufacturers are parading their newest and best now. The Tour is on the way, and several other Continental and European tours have already been ridden. Marketing time is now, as we approach the grandest tour of all, that one they have in France every July.
Rather than read too much about what’s new, ride over to your local bike shop, or shops, and spend some time wandering about. Remember the rules though: drooling is frowned on.