Is it so easy to buy a new bike? Two wheels, a frame, a transmission, brakes - a common set, you can not bother. That's just confused in stores: a new model, modern technology, a fresh generation of attachments. Does it make sense to pay attention to this or is it not worth complicating everything - is it just a bicycle? Let's see what manufacturers offer us to ride on, and try to figure out what's new in these new products.
By and large, everything is simple. The largest manufacturers are developing the geometry of the bicycle frame, which will provide the best characteristics of the bicycle. Successful models (we are still talking about frames) live for many years without undergoing major changes. At the same time, work continues on materials and their processing. Steel has remained with lovers of retro and tourism, aluminum is still holding, but companies are eager to sell more carbon components. While the price difference is too high, and an expensive carbon bike remains the choice of a narrow segment of buyers.
Cube example. One model available with both aluminum and carbon frames. But this is not the only difference. Carbon bicycles are fitted with more expensive attachments. Well, if today you still have to fork out for a carbon bike, then the buyer wants to get everything to the maximum. As a result, the price of two bicycles differs by about one and a half times.
Another variant. Two bicycles with the same geometry, one aluminum, the other carbon fiber. And they cost almost the same - why? Because the body kit of the aluminum model is much better. It's about the highway Focus Izalco Race.
Does it make sense to pay more for a carbon fiber frame? This is a matter of dispute that will not subside in a cycling environment for a long time. What carbon is praised for: it is a light, hard and durable material that can dampen vibrations from road imperfections. But rigidity and strength are not obvious advantages. And lightness: look, a carbon bike is lighter than an aluminum analog by half a kilogram. It turns out that for each gram saved, the manufacturer offers to pay at least 1 dollar equivalent. Do you agree?
Less gear, more range
Another trend in recent years is transmission experiments. And here the ball is on the side of not bicycle brands, but manufacturers of bicycle components, there are very few such companies in the world - you can count on the fingers of one hand. In the competition with each other, American, Japanese (and in the highway version, Italian) manufacturers come to controversial decisions.
Remember how lovers chose bicycles 5-10 years ago? The more gears - the better, so it seemed to us then. And it doesn’t matter that it mattered only during the purchase, and then they still drove as it turned out, being scared due to a crunch when switching.
Today, more and more often you can meet only one star in the system. The logical solution for bicycles that require increased cross-country ability: trail, gravel, fat bikes. It is believed that a relatively small star in front and a cassette with a large range at the back in any situation will provide the necessary gear ratio. Therefore, they began to produce supervolume cassettes at 12 speeds (Sram and Campagnolo already have these) with a very wide range (from 10-11 to 50).
But recently, attempts have been made to apply this in other disciplines: mountain hardtail, even road bikes with only one front star - we have already seen this. And while the practicality of such decisions remains controversial, there is something for ordinary motorists to think about: it makes no sense to chase the number of speeds if only one can be enough. This has already happened, remember. Everything new is well forgotten old.
Is electricity the future?
One of the fastest growing types of bikes is electric bikes. The idea is excellent: simple and environmentally friendly transport, which, on the one hand, allows you to lead a healthy lifestyle, and on the other hand, does not require serious efforts on any terrain. Riding fast and long distances is what manufacturers of such bicycles promise customers.
There are two significant minuses, and these are the problems that global bicycle brands are trying to solve. Both are associated with the battery. Everyone wants the electric bike to hold a charge longer, while weighing less.
Today, an electric bike is almost an analogue of a standard model of any type, equipped with an electric motor: at least mountain, at least highway. Electricity helps to accelerate and keep speed while riding in your favorite style. But the battery and electric motor almost double the total weight of the bike. If this is a model at the rental point or the owner has the opportunity to store it in the garage - no problem. But what if you need to drag such a great to the 8th floor?
Another important point is the price. Due to the fact that electric bikes initially weigh more, manufacturers use frames designed for increased load, as well as attachments of a higher class - it works more reliably under load. Buyers will have to fork out for a bike that rides almost by itself.
Manufacturers often change the ratio of the stars used: the anterior one, by 34 teeth, “grows up” to 38 teeth, and instead of the cassette 11–36 they use a huge 11–42. Why is that? Because a large star in front will show itself better on straight and even sections of the road, and in order to also feel comfortable on difficult terrain, an option with 42 teeth at the back appeared as compensation.
Otherwise, everything remains the same: the engine (250 W) will help you feel like a real cyclist - fast and hardy.
Which color do you like more?
Changes are coming slowly to the budget segment of bicycles. Manufacturers strive to introduce all new products to the top versions of their products, provoking those who spend a lot to regularly update their bikes. Then, new technical solutions are inherited by younger, cheaper models. Therefore, the difference between two bicycles of different years of production can be negligible and will be more cosmetic in nature. The manufacturer uses a new coloring template, a different color scheme - this is the new bike.
This is neither good nor bad. Old models try to sell out stores by the beginning of the new season, then they get new ones, almost the same ones that also need to be realized in a year.
This is the paradox: when buying a budget bike, you don’t have to think about trends in the development of bicycle building at all. It’s enough just to serve your own, and everything will be in order with him. Buyers of expensive models always have a headache. Firstly, the market always offers better, easier, more modern components. Secondly, after a while, the manufacturer will launch the next generation of bicycles, which it will declare as revolutionary. But the man did not give so much money a year ago to now go on junk. And this is how it works: a successful manufacturer is not one who knows how to create, but one who knows how to sell.
What else is worth paying attention to
And finally, what other cycling trends have been observed recently.
Tires are getting wider
Once it was believed that narrow, tightly inflated tires have a better roll. But looking at professional athletes, the market is beginning to change. On the highway today, tires with a width of 25 mm or even 28 mm are considered the best choice (until recently, the generally accepted standard was 23 mm, or even narrower).
On cross-country tires are increasingly being installed from 2.25-2.35 inches and wider.
Science arrived right there. Buyers were told that wide tires have a more suitable spot of contact with the surface, in addition, they better “swallow” the bumps in the road. Where were all these tips before?
It is generally accepted that disc hydraulic brakes are the best option for bicycles of almost any type. Drives are not so dependent on weather, respond better to momentum, and indeed, this is a complex brake system, the principle of which is used in other vehicles.
Until the last, road cycling was held, but even there, disks are used more and more often. This, by the way, is directly related to the width of the tires - with the disks, you can use a wider tire, which does not fit in ordinary "ticks".
And in the case of the so-called mountain bikes, there are no questions at all. V-brake is in many ways inferior to discs, and the point is not whether you think that the rim brake can stop your bike. The fact is that the manufacturer is sure that you need drives. They are no longer expensive and are used even in budget models.