2016 has been a busy year for the road.cc tech team with more new bikes and products launched than ever before. There have also been some other big tech stories not involving new launches, with the ongoing disc brake rollout causing much controversy and a small matter of mechanical doping rocking the headlines as well.
In no particular order, here are some of the biggest tech stories of the year.
2016 will be remembered as the year when motor doping was added to the lexicon of the cycling world when a motor was discovered inside the cyclocross bike of young Femke Van den Driessch during a race in January. The UCI has since stepped up its scanning of race bikes and no other motor has been discovered since. A one-off?
The mechanical doping story led to much interest in gritty details of how you actually go about installing a motor into a bicycle frame, and our explanation of what power assisted cycling is all about answered many questions.
One of the biggest tech themes throughout 2016 was the will-they won’t-they race disc brakes in the professional peloton. The UCI introduced a formal trial at the beginning of the year and then Movistar’s Fran Ventoso binned it on the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix and blamed the subsequent injury on a disc rotor. The UCI has since reintroduced the disc brake trial for 2017.
Our coverage from the Tour de France always goes down very well but this summer it was the strange setups of the bikes and components that caused the biggest reaction.
Shimano Dura-Ace launches aren’t that frequent so it was with much anticipation that the Japanese company unveiled its brand new flagship groupset earlier this year. Synchronised Shifting, integrated power meter, hydraulic braking, new wheel profiles and wireless connectivity all feature in the latest update.
Campagnolo may have lost the groupset wars but it’s not going down without a fight, and in 2016 its attempt to claw back some of the mid-range market resulted in the brand new Potenza groupset. Mat went to Gran Canaria (tough gig) to put it through its paces.
We’ve written about many interesting (and some bonkers) Kickstarter campaigns through 2016, but by far and away the most popular was the SpeedX Leopard road bike. One of the most interesting features of the bike is the Smart Control computer that mounts very neatly – almost seamlessly – to the front of the stem. It gives you your speed and cadence (thanks to magnetic sensors) along with time, distance, altitude, temperature, and more. The info is shown on a 2.4in display. You can scroll through the data by pushing a button at the top of the fork’s steerer tube, where the headset top cap would usually be.
We’re grateful to some professional cyclists sharing photos of their new bikes and equipment on social media, and back in April Alexander Kristoff posted a photo of the brand new Canyon Aeroad CF SLX Disc road bike that he had been training on away from the races. It was the first glimpse o the bike, which has now been properly launched for 2017.
It’s been a busy year for the popular US brand Cannondale. It launched the brand new SuperSix Evo race bike, redesigned the CAAD12 with the option of disc brakes, and introducing the ground-breaking Slate gravel/adventure bike.
Emulating the bike and components of the professional cyclists has long interested regular cyclists, but it’s the sometimes unusual lengths they go to in preparing for the cobbled races that resulted in one of our most read articles. If you want tips on how to make your bike more comfortable, this is the place to start.
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.