While cycling’s technological future was on show this week at the world’s top cycling expo, Eurobike, everyday cyclists lit up the Chain Reaction Cycles Facebook feed explaining how modern tech was starting to grind their gears.
According to Eurobike, “digitalization and electrification are mega-trends”, and the emphasis on electronic augmentation was certainly evident from the morning of the event on Sunday, July 8 at its German venue in Friedrichshafen.
The reason battery-powered assistance, especially at the urban end of the industry, dominated this year is because the bike is increasingly replacing automotive transport, according to Eurobike’s general manager Klaus Wellmann.
“Even transport and delivery vehicles no longer represent an exception,” he said.
However, the exhibition also housed a diverse range of mechanical innovations, with the event’s major talking point being CeramicSpeed’s eye-catching DrivEn drivetrain system.
Such was the excitement surrounding the system, event judges presented CeramicSpeed with Eurobike’s Design Award, while early footage of the mechanism hosted on Chain Reaction Cycles’ Facebook page resulted in over 1,000 shares and 2,000 likes.
Also on display were the latest concept bikes, futuristic clothing, innovative saddles and bike locks, and next-generation tyres from Maxxis and Continental.
There were also a few gasps at Rotor’s futuristic 13-speed hydraulic groupset for MTB and road bikes.
Meanwhile , many cycling enthusiasts were stunned at the sight of a new front fork suspension idea.
However, despite industry excitement around the headline inventions and sweeping lines of concept engineering, everyday riders remain concerned with more practical matters when it comes to the next generation of bike components.
An impassioned discussion on the Chain Reaction Cycles Facebook group revealed riders were more concerned with compatibility and basic maintenance than space-age solutions to the drivetrain.
Responding to the eurobike related question Chain Reaction Cycles posed on Facebook on Monday, July 9, “which areas of the bike would you like to see get some real development, or a technical overhaul?”, many cyclists bemoaned the lack of joined-up thinking between manufacturers.
User Matt Old said he’d like to see, “more interchangeable parts”.
“It seems that most new ‘standards’ are just designed to make people replace perfectly good parts,” he wrote.
Mark Freeman called for stricter international standards among components, especially for bottom brackets.
While many echoed the points raised by Matt and Mark, there were a range of other practical changes on the cycling wish list.
Ian Goodsell shared his idea for the dropper post, an idea that would enable riders to hold their position on a descent.
Philip De La Rey’s comment, meanwhile, sparked a discussion about maintaining cadence using an auto-shifting system.
Another interesting concept came from Steve Hislop, who shared a unique thought on stems.
Adam Craig, meanwhile, called for more innovation in belt drives.
But while the discussion for practical advancements raged on, Stephen D Purnell expressed a simple thought about his appreciation of cycling.
The discussion, as ever, will continue on the Chain Reaction Cycles’ Facebook page, where you can share all your cycling tech ideas. And feel free to post your thoughts on cycling’s engineering future in the comment section below.