Whether you are an avid and experienced cyclist, or a newcomer wishing to explore a new passion, road bikes trends in 2018 are full of exciting high-tech advancements in cycling speed and durability. Like with the ever-popular mountain bike, there has never been a better time to leave behind four wheels for two, put on your helmet, and get out on the open road to experience the thrill of cycling on your chosen bicycle.
eBikes: Gaining Momentum in 2018
While some of the more hardcore cyclists may scoff at the eBike (as they used to do the same with safety helmets), there is no denying that it will only increase in popularity in 2018 and beyond. The eBike appeals to a wide variety of cyclists, though it should not be considered a lazy way out by any stretch of the imagination.
The eBike, or pedelec as they are also known, is basically an electric bike that can be operated in pedal mode only for a pure cycling experience. Even when using the motor, the cyclist is given a “boost” but not a “free ride”. The motor, when used, acts to help cyclists on a tough uphill climb or even ease an older cyclist back into the sport. The use of the motor might mean somewhat diminished physical exertion for the rider, but equally, it is still a workout of sorts, contributing to overall physical fitness.
eBikes still provide an effective workout for those whose cycling passion is specific to fitness, and even the staunchest cycling purists are often pleasantly surprised once they decide to give eBikes a try. Four specific obstacles that are overcome with eBikes include automatic shifting decisions for the nervous cyclist (because the motor “knows” when to assist you), managing steep hills or difficult rides with greater ease, keeping up on a group ride if the cyclist needs an added boost to reach more advanced members of her party, and overall safety on the ride, as the eBike allows you to better regulate the cycling levels you are capable of achieving (reducing the fear of a crash caused by fatigue!)
Rim Brakes Make Way for More Disc Brakes
While disc brakes were once primarily limited to the mountain bike, they are now seen more often in the road model equivalent and it is not unlikely for disc brakes to eventually become the standard.
Rim brakes and disc brakes differ in where the force is applied: a rim brake’s stopping force occurs when applied by calipers to the outer edge of the rim. A disc brake, which is closer to what you would see on a motorcycle, moves the braking surface to a rotor. While rim brakes are lighter and more aerodynamic, disc brakes offer stronger stopping power, which explains the growing appeal for adventurous cyclists. Still, they come with a higher price point so they are not the ideal choice for a cyclist with a limited budget, and those just starting out may opt to stay with the traditional rim brake.
Aerodynamic Advancements, Integrated Cockpits, and Digital Shifting
As manufacturers continue to produce bicycles that are more aerodynamic and push the boundaries of speed, integrated cockpits (or the integrated handlebar and stem) are seeing more widespread use among the cycling community as well. From an aesthetic point of view, integrated cockpits hide cables and present a cleaner look on the cycle overall. They enhance the overall aerodynamics in cycling and will continue to be a standard in newly launched cycles in 2018.
Digital shifting is also becoming more widespread on higher-end road bikes. These systems allow cyclists to shift by using electronic switches versus control levers and mechanical cables. The pros of using digital shifting are the ability to shift faster and also the fact that the system can calibrate itself (meaning less overall maintenance for the cyclist). However, this is another costly option that may not be within reach for all cyclists just yet.
The Wheels Are Still Getting Wider
Most road bikes have a standard 25 mm tyre, but with the growing use of disc brakes, there is also now more space for a wider tyre and wheel on cycles. Some manufacturers are starting to use 28 mm as the standard for tires on road bikes.
The days of narrow tyres on your bicycle are in the past, and manufacturers claim the wider tyre saves energy and reduce rolling resistance, not to mention providing a more comfortable ride overall for the cyclist. Greater traction from a wider tyre is a benefit to the cyclist riding in wet conditions as well.
Overall, the newest trends are encouraging for all cyclists, with aerodynamic and technical advancements that allow us to achieve greater speeds and a more thrilling (and even safer) ride. Not all of the newfound technology is within the reach of every cyclist’s budget, but as the advancements become more widespread we will see some of these features trickle down to the lower-end road bike models as well. Whether trying out an eBike for the first time or upgrading to wider tyres, cyclists are sure to find many ways to enhance their experiences in 2018.