Another year, another Eurobike. It’s the largest gathering of bike brands, big and small, and takes over the vast Messe Friedrichshafen in Germany. Every year road.cc heads to this show full of anticipation for the newest and highest tech unveilings (and consume a lot of pretzels and unidentifiable meat along the way) and while most of the new product announcements are a secret until the show opens, there’s nothing stopping us taking a guess at what we might see, and wondering what we’d like to see at the show.
It’s no secret the show isn't as big as it was five or so years ago, with the noticeable absence of some big brands like Trek, Specialized and Cannondale, but then we’ve already seen most of their new 2018 bikes and products this summer. But that still leaves lots of other brands to use the show to unveil new products, and the organisers boast there are some 4,000 brands exhibiting, so rich pickings hopefully.
You can compare our trends and predictions with those from last year if you’re interested, and if you want reminding of all the shiny new stuff we saw last year, here are all the articles in one handy place
Disc brakes standard equipment - can Campagnolo gain market share?
Disc brakes have undoubtedly been the biggest tech development in road bikes over the last few years and they’ve become far more standard and less a standout feature with each passing of Eurobike. The big expectation last year was for Campagnolo to enter the game but the Italian brand actually released its disc brakes earlier this year when Mat flew out to sunny Gran Canaria for the world first ride on them. What will be interesting at Eurobike is to see how many bike brands will be choosing to spec the new Campagnolo disc brakes, as it's the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) deals that are going to be critical for the company if it hopes to reverse Shimano’s huge domination of disc-equipped road bikes.
Adventure and bikepacking gets serious
The adventure bike market spawned from the gravel bike racing scene in the US and has been growing in the UK and across Europe incredibly quickly, with the versatility of the bikes well suited to many sorts of riding including adventuring, touring, bikepacking and commuting. As the category rapidly matures we’re seeing better-designed bikes and many more components – adventure bike tyre choice, for example, is increasing all the time. Bikepacking bags are also big business. Racks and panniers are so old fashioned darling. We saw lots last year and we expect to see more this year, and don’t be surprised if there are some unconventional luggage solutions as events like the Transcontinental Race push product designers to meet ever more demanding requirements.
Aerodynamics still hot right now
Aero is still a hot buzzword in road bike design, and there will likely be many aerodynamic road bikes on display. Colnago launched its first proper aero road bike, the Concept, at Eurobike last year, and we reckon they might have a disc version out this year. Parlee also showed a disc-equipped time trial bike with aero fairings for the disc calipers. Will this have spawned a few imitations? We’re starting to see the lines blur between regular lightweight road bikes and aero road bikes, as bike brands gain ever better understanding of managing airflow, so we'll be keeping a keen eye open for the new direction in the aero battle.
It's not just bikes, we're now seeing most products touched by the aero wand, from handlebars to helmets, jerseys to wheels, and we fully expect to see a lot of accessories being promoted as offering lower drag compared to regular products. We’ve seen snippets of a new Lazer aero helmet on social media so that’ll be one to lookout for. Kask also launched its new Valegro helmet so we’ll be taking a closer look at that during the show.
And what of the radical Argon 18 aero concept bike that was designed to provide real-time aerodynamic feedback? It was one of the most interesting developments at last year's Eurobike show and we’re keen to see how the product has progressed in the 12 months since we last saw it.
E-bikes start to look like normal road bikes
Eurobike has seen a big increase in the number of e-bikes on show over the years - I remember a couple of years ago you couldn’t move for e-bikes. They’re clearly massive over on the Continent, but the UK is starting to wake up to the benefits and the design and technology is improving at a rapid rate. We expect to see some e-bikes that we’ll be hard-pushed to pick out of a line-up wit regular road bikes. Focus showed the potential with its 12.5kg Project Y e-bike recently.
Dropper and suspension seatposts on adventure bikes
Dropper posts (height adjustable hydraulic seatposts) are pretty much standard on most full-suspension mountain bikes, and we can see a use for them on adventure bikes, especially if you want to ride very challenging and steep trails. Specialized has added a dropper post to its top-end new Diverge, and we reckon a few other brands might be showing something similar. There’s some interesting tech in the dropper post market at the moment, with some baked completely into the frame (Eightpin) and some packing electronic gizmos for wireless control (KS and Magura).
Perhaps more useful on an adventure bike will be suspension seatpost. The Lauf Grit and Fox AX fork have opened some eyes to the possible benefits of adding front suspension to an adventure bike, but what about a redesign of the old USE suspension seatpost for modern adventure bikes? We reckon there could be some interesting developments in this area.
Smart training gets smarter
Another growth category has been the smart trainer. For years and years and years the turbo trainer was a hated and evil torture device that only the very dedicated could muster the motivation to embrace. But smart trainers, and in particular direct drive trainers which provide a very realistic road feel, and along with training services like Zwift and TrainerRoad, have really opened up this category to many more cyclists. Now it seems everyone is bashing out miles on an indoor trainer than ever before. Even grumpy old John Stevenson has become a smart trainer fan! Last year Tacx went to another level with a dedicated treadmill for cyclists, and we hear whispers that Wahoo, famous for its genre-defining Kickr, has something new up its sleeves.
Power for the masses. Well, nearly
Closely tied to the growth of smart trainer is the growing power meter market. Once dominated by Powertap and SRM, there’s now a wealth of products with prices slowly falling. Shimano unveiled its first crank-based power meter that is expected to really shake up the market, but it’s been delayed thus far, so we’ll be heading to the Shimano stand (it’s huge and blue and hard not to miss) to find out when it’s going to be available. There’ll be other new announcements from other brands, we already revealed the leaked news of the third generation Garmin Vector 3 pedals of course, which look to embrace come of the Powertap P1 pedals simplicity. And we'll be heading to Luck's stand to see how the shoe-based power meter is progressing.
Garmin Edge 1030 and more computers?
We recently got wind of Garmin’s replacement for its range-topping Edge 1000, the so-called Edge 1030, and will we get to see it at Eurobike? We’ve no idea, but the show is a good place to launch new products so we’ll be making a beeline for the company’s stand as soon as we arrive to find out. We know that the new Edge 1030 will have a bigger screen and better battery, and there also look to be lots of beefed up features including increased communication tools.
New groupsets - will Rotor UNO finally see the light of day? And what of FSA’s WE groupset?
It’s been a busy couple of years in the groupset battles. Last year FSA unveiled its first full groupset, WE, a semi-wireless setup and we had a first ride on it and came away impressed. It’s been a quiet 12 months since that first encounter, and we’ll be intrigued to see if the groupset is now officially available and whether any bike brands will speccing it on 2018 bikes. FSA is a big company and supplies components (stems, bars, seatposts and Vision wheels) to a large number of bike brands so it should have reasonable opportunity to see its new wireless groupset being chosen.
There hasn’t been much news from Rotor and its Uno hydraulic groupset. It’s all gone a bit quiet really since we first saw it two years ago, but maybe they’ll have some news this year? As for Shimano and SRAM, the former has recently launched Ultegra 8000 do we don’t imagine it’ll have much up its sleeve this year. And SRAM? well it’s still working to deliver RED eTAP HRD, the disc brake version of its wireless groupset, to market for 2018. Could there be news of a Force and Rival eTap groupset? The US company is famously quick at trickling down new advancements to its more affordable lines in short order. The other thing I’d like to see is an eTap 1x11 adventure and gravel groupset.
Is the groupset future 1x?
Could we be about to see a lot more 1x groupsets in 2018? SRAM has nailed its colours to the 1x flag with huge success and market share in the mountain bike industry and has helped confine the front mech to the history books in many quarters. It since followed up with Eagle, 1 x12 groupset with a monster 10-50t cassette that offers a huge 500% gear range, almost matching that of a conventional setup. There was talk at the launch of the 3T Strada launch, a bike which is designed around a 1x groupset, of more options coming from Shimano and SRAM, and 3T has even developed its own cassette to meet its needs.
And will SRAM launch a 1x11 version of its popular eTap wireless groupset? It would be a natural move for the US company.
The colour of 2018 will be?
Always the most fun part of the show this one, trying to put a finger on the colour trends for 2018. The huge clothing hall packed with the likes of Gore, Castelli, ALE etc provides a glimpse at the clothing colours for the year ahead, but it’s the bike colours we’re most interested in. Stealth black has been king for a number of years and will it continue its reign for another year?
What do you want to see from the show? If you've got any punts or requests do let us know in the comments below, we'd love to hear them.
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.