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The 7 Biggest Mountain Bike Gear Trends in 2020, According to Singletracks Editors

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The 7 Greatest Mountain Bike Gear Traits in 2020, In line with Singletracks Editors

To say it’s been an uncommon 12 months is an understatement. Many of the standard festivals, commerce exhibits, and competitions had been cancelled in 2020, leaving bike manufacturers few alternatives to debut new merchandise in particular person. Moreover, a shock soar in mountain bike participation has left manufacturers scrambling to satisfy demand. For now, the mountain bike business is wholesome, if not booming, despite the precarious state of the worldwide economic system.

The Singletracks workers took a take a look at among the most revolutionary and intriguing mountain bike merchandise that debuted in 2020, and alongside the way in which we noticed just a few traits. Whereas it’s true that many of those have been simmering for some time now, all have accelerated this 12 months within the face of unprecedented adjustments.

Flex-stays achieve traction

Photograph: Cannondale

Over the previous few months we’ve seen a flurry of motorbike releases which are ditching the pivot that we’d usually see on the chain and seat keep on a Horst-link for a strong rear triangle with flex tuned into the chain and/or seat stays. To this point the pattern is restricted to light-weight XC-style mountain bike designs.

Cannondale featured a flex keep of their Could launch of the brand new Scalpel, serving to the model obtain a really low body weight on their go-to XC bike. In June Transition launched the primary “cross-country” bike in years, known as the Spur, and to avoid wasting weight, Transition opted for a single-pivot design with flex tuned into the seat stays. The design helps them minimize weight and create a “responsive really feel on the path.”

Specialised even added a flex keep to their newest technology Stumpjumper path bike. With the brand new single-pivot format, Specialised says it was in a position to minimize 100g on measurement S4 frames in comparison with the earlier Horst-link design, although a part of the burden financial savings can also be attributable to a brand new carbon layup course of. Both means, one much less set of pivot {hardware} is one thing we’ll in all probability see extra manufacturers exploring to shave grams on their shorter-travel bikes.

Lighter, much less highly effective electrical mountain bikes

It’s protected to imagine that lighter e-bikes are on the horizon due to sluggish however regular advances in know-how, however the actual shock is the shortcut manufacturers like Specialised and Orbea are utilizing to get there straight away. A few of the newest e-bikes are literally much less highly effective than their predecessors, as a result of designers have packed smaller motors and batteries for a extra basic journey really feel.

Since that is such a brand new pattern it’s exhausting to say whether or not it’s being pushed by riders who’ve discovered they don’t want as a lot energy, or if it’s merely a trial to see how broad the market is for eMTBs (e-bike quiver, hi there!). If this does maintain, it might fulfill critics who concern electrical mountain bikes are already or will in the end grow to be too quick to be safely operated alongside combined path customers.

Is an e-bike a bicycle or a bike? That’s a query that’s nonetheless up within the air for a lot of customers, however this pattern might tilt issues again towards bikes.

Extra coil shock choices

Path bike rear journey has slithered into the 140mm to 150mm vary over the previous few years, and lots of of these platforms work effectively with each air and coil-sprung shocks. Riders can swap in a coil shock for rougher and longer alpine driving, the place small bump efficiency and consistency are key, leaving the air can to cowl shorter descents and lofty soar line periods.

Cane Creek popped out a springy new child this season with their Kitsuma coil and air shocks. The refined damping platform provides exterior adjustment for top and low-speed compression and rebound, with an adjustment vary that Cane Creek claims is broad sufficient to forego customized tunes for many bikes. The tool-free tuning knobs use clicks and visible markings to point placement, so there’s no want to shut the compression or rebound circuit and recount the clicks each time you need to regulate one thing.

Formulation additionally jumped within the increasing rear suspension pool this 12 months with their home-tuneable Mod shock. Like their forks, the compression damping circuit on the Mod could be swapped out with three totally different valves to create the exact damping a rider is searching for. From there the shock has the standard compression and rebound clicks, preload, a number of spring charges to select from, and a climb change that just about turns the bike right into a hardtail.

With different nice coil shocks accessible from DVO, Excessive Shocks, Quick Suspension, Fox, RockShox, X-Fusion, MRP, Öhlins, Push, and others, it’s prime time to check out some squish.

On-line ordering and customization

Regardless of the relentless and spectacular advances we’ve seen in mountain bike gear design and manufacturing over the previous couple of a long time, the bike business itself has been comparatively sluggish to embrace the web and e-commerce. This 12 months Covid-19 accelerated the pattern towards extra on-line bike buy and customization choices, which appear to have largely benefitted customers.

With many bike retailers slammed and repair appointments tough to safe, MRP rolled out a program that makes it a lot simpler for residence mechanics to finish a fork swap themselves. Consumers enter particulars about their bike setup on-line when ordering a fork, and MRP will minimize the steerer tube to measurement, set up a star nut and crown race, and embody the correct brake adapter. By providing a personalized product and saving prospects time, manufacturers like MRP are discovering methods to ship extra worth on to customers.

Talking of customization, flip chips proceed to be a preferred characteristic on 2020 mountain bikes and provide patrons a method to get precisely the journey traits they need out of a mass-produced body. Firms like Cascade Parts are additionally stepping in to supply bike homeowners much more choices for customizing efficiency, and we anticipate to see different small manufacturers providing comparable aftermarket merchandise, and even bike manufacturers themselves stepping into the sport with add-ons and up to date elements for present bikes.

Lately even pump tracks can be ordered online (sorta), and whereas many direct-to-consumer manufacturers have been transport bikes to patrons’ doorways for years now, in 2020 the entire course of feels extra dialed than ever earlier than. Right now, unboxing a Canyon or YT mountain bike isn’t too far off from opening a model new iPhone, with easy-to-read directions and the instruments anybody can use to assemble the bike safely. The manufacturers even make returns as simple as potential; YT dedicates a pair pages within the included instruction handbook to re-packing the bike in its field in case it must be shipped again for any motive.

Hand-me-down tech

Like youthful siblings finally get to put on their taller cousin’s garments, mountain bike tech finally strikes down the road to make the extra reasonably priced bits higher. Shimano handed down among the high-end goodness this 12 months with their new Deore 12-speed drivetrain, retailing for roughly the worth of an XTR derailleur.

The 12-speed Deore makes use of Shimano’s new Micro Spline freehub, providing up a 10-51t metal cassette, their Hyperglide+ tech, and direct mount chainrings. For people who don’t need to purchase new hubs or freehub our bodies, there’s an 11-speed model that clicks between 11 and 51 cog enamel, and a trusty 10-speed providing with an 11-46t cassette. Each the 10- and 11-speed cassettes match the unique Shimano HG freehub physique. The complete package contains reasonably priced hubs, derailleurs, shifters, and cranks for every of the 10-, 11-, or 12-speed choices.

All of this handed down goodness permits riders to get into the game at a extra cheap worth, or to construct up their winter bike with strong, reasonably priced parts. The cherry on prime is a set of four-piston M6120 brakes that use the model’s brief freestroke and spectacular energy. The snug levers are I-SPEC EV suitable, so dropper or lockout levers that pair with different new Shimano gear will mate with the Deore brakes.

Home manufacturing

The bike business has been a worldwide one since effectively earlier than the beginning of mountain biking, and one particular person’s “abroad” is one other’s yard. Nonetheless, it appears extra corporations are discovering methods to create merchandise in locations the place it hasn’t at all times made sense to take action.

Clothes model Kitsbow cuts and sews many objects at their manufacturing unit in North Carolina, along with material masks and PPE (how 2020 is that?). A $79 shirt is probably not for everybody, however the upshot is tha home manufacturing cuts down on the carbon footprint related to transport items around the globe, which additionally ties into the pattern we’re seeing in additional sustainable and environmentally-friendly MTB gear.

Manufacturers usually select abroad manufacturing as a result of it’s cost-effective, however ENVE has discovered a method to construct extra reasonably priced gear at residence. The brand announced this year that they are going to be producing their $1,600 AM30 carbon wheel set within the USA at their Utah facility alongside the dearer $2,500+ fashions already being constructed there.

Small batch producers like Cascade Parts and Wolf Tooth make all or most of their merchandise in home utilizing high-tech machines to maintain product runs cost-effective. This fashion, they’ll profitably design and produce revolutionary merchandise regardless of going through restricted markets for issues like front derailleur mount covers and numerous “Boostinator” wheel adapters to suit all of the totally different hub configurations on the market.

Manufacturers are doubling down on sustainability

Buzz phrases like “sustainable” and “inexperienced” have elevated throughout the board in lots of markets, and recently, there was elevated speak about bike corporations making their merchandise extra sustainable. This 12 months, we noticed the primary plant-based tire sealant and we’re getting extra earth-friendly clothes, bike, and wheel choices.

Italian model Efetto Mariposa released a new sealant that’s utterly biodegradable and produced from olive pits. “Végétalex incorporates solely plant-based particles and fibers – finely floor olive stones and cellulose fibers – to ship an incredible puncture clogging impact. This combine, held collectively by xanthan gum (produced from easy sugars), fixes punctures starting from small tire porosities to greater cuts (as much as 5 mm) quick and completely.” Simply be certain that to maintain your tire sealants separate from cooking oils.

Revel Bikes can also be performing some nice issues on the sustainability entrance with their new wheels. Revel claims their new FusionFiber incorporates no environmentally dangerous epoxy and due to that, the fibers don’t must be stripped down, making recycling a lot simpler, one thing that has been problematic for carbon fiber manufacturing. So, Revel Wheels could be recycled a lot simpler than different carbon fibers, and so they have already turned loads of their wheel scrap into tire levers.

Although they debuted this new tech in 2019, Denver-based Guerrilla Gravity has additionally made strides with carbon fiber that’s simple to recycle. Mix that with their brief provide chain strategies and made-in-America bikes and GG is one other model that’s working to scale back their environmental footprint.

Regulate these traits as we head into 2021, the place the one factor we all know for certain is that issues will change!


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