The trade magazine “Ad Age” usually reports benign product news, but when reporter Ethan Jacob Craft was asked to reveal emerging consumer trends for 2021, he came up with a bizarre list, including plant-based eggs and digisexuality.
Happily, bicycle riders like their trends a bit more practical and less weird — like the 5 trends Alek Asaduryan, founder of Yes Cycling, has unearthed that could wind up on your radar and, ultimately, in your possession.
1. 3D printed saddles
Closer to home, another trade publication devoted to 3D printing technology just announced that Carbon, a California 3d printer manufacturer, has just partnered with Fizik, a cycling equipment manufacturer, to roll out technology that produces bike seats via 3D printers.
This partnership is just the latest addition to the technology that has impacted the sports world. If you ride wearing Adidas shoes, that footwear may have originated with 3D modeling, say experts citing benefits of this technology like rapid production of prototypes and models.
The result is faster time-to-market and a shorter time frame for repetitive testing. “Perhaps the biggest impact of 3D printing for consumer goods lies in the potential of creating personalized products, tailored to the requirements of consumers,” say product engineers at the U.K. headquarters of Autonimous Marketing.
Mass customization of saddles for bikes is fast becoming possible at decent pricing thanks to a company’s ability to produce bicycle saddles in small batches to suit the requests of bicycle manufacturers always looking for new ways to keep riders comfortable.
2. A booming electric bike market
The pandemic has put a damper on or altered just about every lifestyle around the globe, but it’s been a boon for the bike industry.
The electric bike niche has grown in prominence during the past year, and the trend continues to explode, say industry honchos who are having trouble producing enough of these rides to satisfy demand.
Early adopters say that being sequestered, travel restrictions, plus a need for safe social interaction are all driving the eBike phenomenon.
Folks of all ages who, for one reason or another, can’t ride traditional bikes are flocking to this market segment. A Statista report projects a healthy increase to $23.83USD billion in eBike sales by 2025, while the research arm of Deloitte estimates that 130 million e-bikes will be sold globally between 2020 and 2023.
At present, there are 200+ eBike manufacturers on the planet. If the supply chain remains viable, the number could increase — and with a larger manufacturing footprint, look for price reductions, too.
3. Premium carbon bike frame price wars
The online publication Bike Radar calls this trend “The lure of carbon,” but as every bicycle aficionado understands, good gear costs big bucks, so being “seduced by carbon” happens to the best of us. It’s hard to put carbon down.
It’s the most highly optimizable material on the market, reaches new heights in terms of strength, stiffness, and tenacity, and even aluminum can’t stand up to comparisons when it comes to weight. Have price hikes deterred shoppers? That depends upon which shoppers you cite.
It’s easy to buy carbon frames direct from Chinese factories, but cheap carbon may be the devil in disguise. During the 2000s, carbon went mainstream, and while standard-bearers like Cannondale remained dedicated to quality at a price, “the black stuff” excited consumers and the industry because cost savings could be had.
That stated because carbon has such a prestigious reputation, manufacturers are charging a premium, even for lower grade material. Brand aside, Bike Radar’s Matthew Loveridge makes a good case for alloy. You may agree.
4. Shimano Dura-Ace 9200 innovations
Keep the brand name Shimano on your radar, say trend trackers who are in the business of accurate predictions. The latest edition of Dura-Ace stood out from the crowd throughout 2020.
While the manufacturer has tried its best to keep under wraps the latest dirt on this technology, we have it on good authority that bikers are just beginning to see technology at work when Shimano introduces a 12-speed bike with wireless technology plus the inclusion of coin cell batteries and wireless transmitters in shifters, wireless receivers in derailleurs and a 12-speed cassette configuration.
Also eluded to within Shimano’s patent application language is a power-generating unit that enables shifters to self-charge, thus negating a requirement for batteries. Both cable and hydraulic variants will still feature rim brakes.
There’s more in store for this iconic brand’s upcoming news, so check out these U.S. patent applications if you want to know more about these updates: 20200346710A1, US10766569B2, and 20200346713A1.
5. Will Eurobike return once the pandemic ends?
According to the organization, the “EUROBIKE 2021 schedule is up and rolling.” Friedrichshafen planners were responding to disappointment when trade shows and expos took a pandemic hit in 2020, but the 29th edition of EUROBIKE will open in Lake Constance on September 1, 2021,” say planners.
“Together with retailer association BICO, the EUROBIKE organizers are holding the “EUROBICO – Order & Preview Show” as a B2B and media season kick-off event between July 24th and 26th 2021 on the trade fair showgrounds in Frankfurt am Main.” Bone up on your German if you plan to attend.