I found some of BikeRumor’s 2020 predictions pretty interesting. A lot of them had me nodding my head say, “Yep, I called that one too!”
Now, I didn’t read their mountain bike predictions cause, well, I’m not really into mountain biking. But I did read their other two prediction articles. Some of their road, gravel, and cyclocross predictions didn’t really resonate with me but a few of them did.
Bigger Gravel Tires
For gravel bikes, there’s no doubt that 700c tires will continue to gain in popularity. We’re already seeing bikes coming out with even more clearance for larger 700c tires, some even as big as what’s already available for 650b wheels. Can you imagine a 700c wheel with a 50mm tire on it? Yikes!
I also see tubeless setups taking over for road bikes. I’ve been riding tubeless on my gravel wheelsets from the start and just upgraded my road wheelset with a tubeless setup. I can run my tires at a lower PSI without worries of pinch flats. Reliability is good with recovery from flats still being relatively easy to deal with. No doubt in my mind that tubeless is the way to go.
I’ve also been noticing further innovations in how gravel-specific bikes are made. Many of them are pushing the boundaries on what can be done with the geometry of a bike. So, yeah, you could say a lot of these new gravel bikes are “more progressive”. However, what I think many bike makers are doing is creating bikes that are a hybrid between a road bike and a mountain bike. Basically, a road bike that has handling that’s closer to a mountain bike.
Which explains why gravel handlebars are getting wider and wider. The drops are getting much closer to a relative width that is similar to what you would find on a mountain bike. Add that to the updated geometry of many gravel bikes and you have a bike that handles better on rough terrain.
Dropper Post Adoption
With the release of Shimano’s GRX line, I’ve noticed that the popularity of dropper posts for gravel has indeed gone up. I personally don’t have a use for one but I can understand why some riders might opt for a dropper post. With 1x drivetrains gaining popularity as well, you can expect riders to add a dropper post as well. The reason is that it opens up an extra lever that can be transformed into a trigger for a dropper post.
Aside from any gravel-specific predictions, there are a number of other predictions I definitely agree with as well.
Indoor Cycling Taken To Next Level
The popularity of indoor cycling continues to boom. And with the popularity of Zwift increasing as well there’s no doubt that competitive indoor riding will become a thing.
I’ve noticed my local bike shop doing indoor training sessions so no doubt that this will continue to increase. In fact, with the popularity of Zwift, it’s likely that they’ll start doing local competitions with on-site bikes setup for customers to use. Definitely will be a boon for the industry for sure.
More Dedicated Indoor Bikes
Along with that, all the major brands who make smart trainers are getting into making designer stationary bikes as well. Wahoo just released their KICKR Bike with Wattbike and Stages doing the same with their version of a stationary bike.
Sure, Peloton and others have stationary bikes as well but what Wahoo and others are doing is a different take. The idea is to eliminate the need to use your road bike indoors and have a dedicated machine that mimics what you ride outdoors as closely as possible. Peloton bikes aren’t exactly made for that. Plus, you can’t ride on Zwift with a Peloton bike.
Gravel-Specific Handlebar Innovations
One prediction I have that isn’t on the list is with handlebars. I predict that we’ll start seeing more innovations with gravel-specific bars. Specifically ones with flare and outsweep but with more ergonomic tops.
So...what do your predictions look like?