2019 Cycling Trends - from some actual experts!
Getting Tweed Bike Boxes up and running this year meant that I have been keeping a closer eye than ever on how cycling is evolving – what the trends are and how the industry seems to be changing. As 2018 comes to a close, I thought it would be fun to take a look at what we think the major trends are going to be in 2019. What we will be doing, buying or seeing more of or what might fall out of favour. To help, I have recruited some friends who are far more qualified on the subject than me! Oh...and we are going to ignore Brexit!
2017 and 2018 has seen an explosion in gravel and adventure cycling. This trend looks set to continue as cyclists are increasingly looking for new options and experiences. Martin Graham (IG: @enduranceracer) – Scottish endurance cycling legend, co-founder of Midlothian Velo Sportif and one of Scotland’s leading Gravel exponents sees the continued rise of the sport; "Events for Gravel Racing are the next big thing. There’s weekends for gravel sportives, gravel enduros, gravel expos. It’s all went full circle since the original MTB racing of the 90s on gravel fire roads"
This is echoed by Matthew Rice – founder of the innovative bike theft prevention system Veloeye and Euan Munro from the Edinburgh Road Club who see gravel races continuing to rise in popularity as the whole adventure / gravel / CX bike scenes become more popular.
Gordon Dalgleish, CX exponent and one of the driving forces behind the super popular Tweed Cross event sees more brands releasing gravel specific bikes – rather than using Cross Bikes – as manufactures look for opportunities to increase our bike collections(!)Gordon also sees further expansion of bike packing at the adventure end of the gravel scene.
Ben Diamond from Diamond Cycle Centre in Galashiels believes technology will also expand in the sector not just with the continued launch of dedicated gravel bikes from manufacturers, but dedicated components starting to come through. Martin Graham agrees - big for 2019 on the gravel scene are anodised bike components, hubs and bolt kits. Bike packing gear has made a comeback from its original touring descendants of panniers.
Tyre trends will continue to evolve. Mark Birkett from The Bike Barn Foulden sees a shift in tyre technology being big in 2019. "Tubeless will take over. Most new bikes are coming with tubeless ready wheels from the factory and most people who try it never look back. Tubulars will slowly disappear with clinchers on TT bikes coming in. Clincher tyres are getting faster and there is a huge range of disc and deep aero wheels coming in clincher form. A lot more ease for the weekend racer. Also, wider tyres on road bikes will be more popular than ever, smoother ride and no real loss in speed. 28x700 will be seen a lot more in 2019". This will not be to the cost of aesthetics though - Martin Graham adds; "Tan wall tyres have made a huge comeback and with more becoming available, we are sure to see a huge following in 2019 and beyond."
Everyone sees the march of the eBike continuing to grow in popularity in the UK. Matthew Rice predicts 2019 will see prices start to come down and as more people try them they will realise that they hold a big part of the future of mountain biking for many. This again is echoed by Ben Diamond. “we will see a continued explosion of eBikes and a movement away from eHybrids to much more full-on eMTB Full Suspension and Road Bikes." In addition to eBikes, Matthew sees eInovation on the bike continuing, suggesting we have already seen wireless dropper posts. Could suspension be next with electronic control units? Or auto gearboxes that sync with gps units or even trailforks?
Some trends from 2018 have not really established themselves and may see a decline. Mark adds: 1x gearing on road bikes was much talked about early 2018 and used by pro team Aqua Blue but didn’t really work out and hasn’t seen the rise in popularity most expected. There is a greater jump between gears making it harder to get the perfect gear every time
Road Cycling will continue to be popular with more people travelling abroad to compete or train – possibly to the detriment of UK events. Gordon believes UK road sportives may drop in popularity especially as they no longer offer anything new and struggle to justify the high cost of entry, especially those on closed roads. The club scene will continue to thrive though and remain the life blood of the local cycling scene. Euan Munro sees disc brakes continuing to gain in road racing, helped by them being sanctioned in BC races and further visible use in the Pro Peloton.
Travel with Mountain Bikes will increase with more European destinations opening up, offering great value and facilities. While ‘traditional’ destinations like Mallorca or the Alps will remain popular, cyclists are looking further afield for new adventures.
Training will evolve also, Mark believes, with an increase in great value smart trainers and programs like trainer road and Zwift. A lot more cyclists will be staying indoors for their winter training. These apps offer training programs and racing so riders can keep and even improve their fitness while being stuck in the house.
But Matthew sees possible conflict on the horizon also. Will we see stricter access controls on unsanctioned trails? On a more positive note we hope to see bike theft start to level off as more people start to register their bikes and become more aware when buying second hand.
Perhaps the last word should go to Xander Graham – promising local racer and son of Martin – who is currently tearing it up on the CX circuit for ERC/HUPcc "Cyclocross is a great introduction for kids looking to get into cycling and can be a really good way to meet new friends and build confidence and bike handling. After taking the sport up in the summer as a way to fill the off season from road racing, I’m totally hooked."
From what I saw at Tweed Cross and with the planning already underway for Tweed Cross III – I think I agree!
What do you think? Leave your comments! Have a great Christmas all, and whatever happens in 2019 – make sure it’s on two wheels.
Tweed Bike Boxes is now recovering with an M&S Turkey Feast Sandwich - #protein