FROM disc brakes to gravel bikes, here are five trends coming to a cycle shop near you, says Abi Jackson
More and more of us have been getting on our bikes. It could be a legacy of London 2012 and heroics of Olympians such as Sir Chris Hoy and Laura Trott, the need for green and cheap transport or a love of exercise.
The bike industry has been growing too and last month thousands of enthusiasts wheeled up to the Cycle Show at Birmingham’s NEC (www.cycleshow.co.uk), to see the latest offerings, innovations and trends.
Here, the show organisers reveal five cycle highlights for the year ahead.
Road disc brakes
The technology behind braking on bikes has evolved over the years, but has always used the same basic principles. Recently however, designers have started to introduce disc brakes, which work in a similar way to the brakes on a car. They have revolutionised the stopping power of mountain and cyclocross bikes, and are currently being tested by professional road race teams, which is seeing brands like Trek and Canyon invest a lot of time in their development.
Cycling is not only on the rise as a sport or recreational activity, but is also now a regular mode of transport for many. This has brought about a whole new industry of cycle commuting clothing and accessories, that aim to make our ride to work more comfortable in all weathers and, most importantly, safer. The latest trend is for 100 per cent reflective clothing, such as the REFLECT360 jacket from Proviz (from £74.99, www.provizsports.com). The super-reflective fabric means that from whatever angle light is shone on it, it lights up a brilliant white, catching the attention of other road users. But equipment doesn’t have to be expensive as supermarket Aldi has shown with its range of good value cycling gear.
The rise in the popularity of cycling goes far beyond the elite end of the sport; there’s been considerable debate into how cycling can be made more accessible too. The first electric bikes were looked down upon by purists for being bulky, heavy and unnecessary. In recent years, however, the development of lighter batteries and smaller and lighter motors has seen their popularity rise. The likes of electric bike-makers EMU are even partnering with mainstream electronics firms like Samsung, to push their development even further.
We have our American cousins to thank for gravel bikes. Over in the US, long stretches of unused gravel tracks are the norm, to allow fire trucks to reach remote areas. While we don’t have identical paths here in the UK, we do have plenty of farm access paths and similar terrain – too technical for a road bike, but too fast for a cyclocross bike. With manufactures like GT launching the spectacular Grade Ultegra adventure road – or gravel – bike, Sportive organisers have now started to put on events that purposefully cover sections of suitable roads and tracks.
Everybody likes to treat themselves to something big and shiny every now and then, and cyclists are no exception. For 2016, De Rosa have launched the SK, which has been labelled by some in the cycling world as ‘the most beautiful bike we will see this year’. The Italian bike manufacturer teamed up with the legendary car designer Pininfarina, which has worked with McLaren and Ferrari, to produce this beauty. n