5 New Bike Tech Trends in 2021
Technology is shaping the way we engage with cycling more and more each year. As new and old companies try their hands at cycling tech, the products themselves are becoming more accessible.
Products like anti-theft GPS units, smart helmets, android-based bike computers, and superlight e-bike batteries are all shaping the future of cycling worldwide. Additionally, since the Covid-19 pandemic, the bike industry has grown hugely. This should mean more innovation and amazing technology for us to take advantage of.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most popular emerging tech trends.
1. Electric Bike Batteries and Design
Since the pandemic started in early 2020 the sale of bicycles, especially electric bikes, has seen a huge spike. The World Economic Forum stated that e-bike sales were up 145% in 2020 compared to 2019.
This increase in sales likely means we are in for accelerated improvements and changes in e-bike manufacturing. More changes to legislation and regulations are also likely.
With a growth in popularity in recent years, e-bikes have become more accessible in price, and better quality across the board. Direct-to-consumer manufacturers like Ride1UP, Lectric, and Rad Power Bikes are all selling quality e-bikes for well under $2000.
These manufacturers are able to provide long-lasting batteries with solid capacities. They are stylishly integrated into the frame in a non-intrusive manner.
Given their increase in popularity, we expect even faster innovation to come. There is also the potential for e-vehicle manufacturers to begin applying their expertise to this ever-emerging industry.
2. Smart Trainers & Exercise Bikes
In 2020 MyxFitness released their Peloton competitor. Their product is a significantly cheaper premium quality exercise bike that works as a complete home gym with on and off-bike workouts integrated into one.
Additionally, the 2021 Wahoo Kickr has added a whole host of new impressive features. Most notably the new version can measure ride power with 1% accuracy. It does this without the need for a spindown and it allows side to side motion to simulate real cycling feel with a new AXIS feet design.
We expect competing companies to begin introducing similar and even more advanced tech at lower prices than Wahoo over the coming year, as MyxFitness has done in the stationary bike market.
3. Tire Upgrades
Early in 2021, NASA and SMART Tire Company released a statement detailing their work together developing tires for the Rover space mission to Mars.
The two groups have developed a tire with the use of a new compound called NiTinol+. With this compound, they have made a tire that has the elasticity of rubber yet is strong like titanium. This material maintains a perfect shape memory without ever going flat.
SMART said in their statement that these tires will be available to the cycling community by 2022. Then they will likely go on for usage in the motor industry and beyond.
Additionally, there are promising advances in tubeless tire inserts like these, along with lightweight puncture-resistant rubber designs. Hopefully, that will help us reduce our plastic consumption and take the headache of punctures out of the picture.
4. Bikepacking & Bicycle Touring
There has been a big increase in people returning to cycling due to the pandemic, along with investments from many governments to improve cycling infrastructure. As a result, we predict that cycle tourism like bikepacking and bike touring will have a big jump in popularity.
If you are a regular cyclist, you will probably already have heard about or seen bikepacking bags that fit on the frame of your bike, over the handlebars, or large saddlebags that stick out from under the saddle.
These bags are not only useful for day-long adventures, but they are the foundation for bikepacking. This is a longer, somewhat self-supported trip where your bicycle is the main mode of transport.
In addition, with an increase in the popularity of gravel bikes and cyclocross bikes, bike touring should see a further boost. This type of bike is excellent for long distances with varied terrain, having the capability to support either bikepacking bags on the frame or pannier racks and bags.
5. Disc Brakes Becoming Universal
The 2021 Tour de France is an early indicator that the use of the beloved rim brake is well and truly coming to an end. The only team in the tour this year that is using this technology is the Ineos Grenadiers.
Obviously, we can’t completely correlate the pro peloton with casual cyclists or bike commuters. However, in the 100’s of reviews we’ve done so far in 2021, only a very small percentage (of adult bikes) seem to be still using rim brakes.
The safety advantages of disc brakes are very clear when it comes to overall stopping time and effectiveness in wet weather or on muddy trails. Given that, we’re glad that this technology is becoming ubiquitous. Another advantage for us as consumers is the more common they become, the better and cheaper they will be. This also reduces the base price of bikes using them.
By following developments from cycling brands and technology companies we’ve noticed these interesting trends developing. However, we could be wrong about how they will eventually pan out.
If you have noticed or heard of anything innovative or exciting coming down the pipe, we’d love it if you let us know in the comments!
image courtesy: unsplash.com