As you make those critical choices about holiday gifts, race bikes and fashion for next year’s riding season, make sure you are familiar with these five trends that will dominate cycling next year.
Gravel riding is going to grow even more this year. Your local cycling club will start doing mixed terrain rides (if it hasn’t already). These events welcome all levels of cyclists and can be performed as a beginner or as a professional, which should be very helpful for getting more people on bikes. In terms of big races, Dirty Kanza, one of the longest-running gravel events, was bought by the company that owns the famed Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race, which is a testament to the staying power and business potential the discipline has. On the flipside, many new events are popping up and gravel-purists quickly snap up thechance to find the next hot-event before they get too popular. Steamboat Springs and the Vermont Overland are two to watch. (But I didn’t tell you!)
Tubeless tires have been around for many years for mountain bikers but they have not really caught on in other disciplines. Look for more road, gravel and cross bikes with tubeless technology in 2019. A big push for this tubeless tire technology is coming from the popularity of adventure and gravel cycling. To take your bike off-road you need to know you will be comfortable, safe and you will reliably make it home for dinner (or back in time for the podium ceremony).
Tires in most disciplines also continue to go wider as riders push the boundaries of where bikes can go and as technology like tubeless, wider rims and disc-brakes make room for more tire experimentation. If you are still using the same tire width you were using five years ago, 2019 is the year to do some research and try a bigger tire.
While you are either very excited or very upset about bikes with electronic motors, or E-bikes, the reality is these bikes are huge for the cycling industry and have the potential to bring cycling to many more people. From bike shares and super commuters to enduro pros getting extra runs on technical descents. In 2019, e-bikes will be sold at more locations and offered at lower price points, but they will also continue to get lighter, go further and be more capable in the higher price points.
While the concept of aerodynamics for cycling is old news, the ability to bring aerodynamic equipment — that works — on your normal rides is really exciting. Aerodynamic accessories include helmets that don’t look crazy or require perfect posture. The Trek Ballista and Specialized Evade are two popular examples of helmets you could ride in often. I use my aero helmet on colder days and anytime I need to go fast, even on some mountain bike courses.
Aero bikes like the Scott Foil or Trek Madone are pushing aero bikes to be lighter and more compliant. Many models are following the trend toward disc-brakes on all road bikes, all of which make for a versatile category of bikes. Whether you want to go fast or explore some old roads, these bikes are ready to adventure with you every day.
Events that are not officially races are becoming quite common. There may be a podium but the majority of participants are there for an experience. These events include gravel races, mountain bike stage races or marathons and even gran fondos. These events offer a range of challenges but focus on experience with enough adventure and finish-line partying to make for a great weekend. This participation model is going to be even bigger in 2019 with most events selling out, so you should register for events like Moab Rocks or Quebec Single Track Challenge before they sell out.