Top 10 Cycling Trends for 2020

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Donny Hazard during a Main Salmon River whitewater rafting trip in Idaho.

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The start of a new year—and a new decade!—is the perfect time to think about new trips, tech, and trends that will change the way we ride. Every year at [company name], we scour the cycling landscape to make safe observations and bold predictions about what to expect in the coming 12 months.

2020 promises to be an exciting year for cyclists. New tech will make riding safer and more exciting, and we predict this new year will really be the year of the e-bike (more on that below).

As always, we’d love to know what you’re seeing on the road and in your cycle clubs; are our predictions on target or do you see things we need to add to our list? Be sure to let us know.

But for now, here’s what we’re seeing in cycling trends for 2020.

A man whitewater kayaking on the Kern River located near Sequoia National Forest and Kernville California.

1. Wearable tech is in

Cyclists have had a great selection of sports watches and fitness trackers for years, but in 2020, wearable tech takes it to the next level. The Garmin Fenix 6X Pro is a top-of-the-line pick for power geeks: It auto-syncs with Training Peaks and a bunch of other third-party apps like Strava and MyFitnessPal. With its huge selection of downloadable maps, built-in GPS and Glonass, altimeter, accelerometer, and a vast array of sensors, you could actually replace your bike computer with this wristband wearable. It also holds 2,000 songs and has an NFC chip for contactless payments.

Then there’s the Hovding airbag, a device that zips in place around your neck and tracks your movements 200 times a minute. It detects any abnormalities in your ride—it knows the difference between curb bump and true accidents—and deploys in the event of a fall. It’s designed for urban riders and replaces your regular helmet.

Finally, the Moov Now fitness tracker is an innovative fitness tracker/sports coach you wear around your ankle. It offers active coaching that gives you tips based on real-time pace, distance, time, range of motion in your legs, g-force in your foot, and cadence. You get audio feedback such as “change gear now for optimum cadence”. It gets top marks as a virtual training system.

Kern River Whitewater Kayaking

2. Foldable e-bikes transform the daily commute

The clunky folding bikes of the 1970s bear no resemblance to today’s sleek, feature-packed foldable e-bikes. Besides collapsing down to an easily manageable size for public transportation or carrying it up and down a flight of steps, the new models even come in manageable weights—some weigh as little as 15 pounds. It’s now completely possible to origami your bike and stash it under your desk.

We’ve seen e-bikes make huge inroads in the European market; the e-bike market is expected to triple in size over the next five years. This surge in popularity means new innovations that increase power and battery life. The new 250-watt hub motors have higher torque ratings that produce surprising acceleration. You can even find foldable e-bikes with full-sized 700c road wheels for a smoother ride. 

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Kern River Whitewater Kayaking

3. Gravel bikes are the new all-rounders

Racing and off-road hybrids have been around for years, but the addition of hydraulic disc brakes turned the old-style cyclocrosser into a modern, versatile gravel bike. The frame geometry means a more comfortable upright position, and the elevated bottom bracket means the chainring clears most obstacles. Burled tires slow gravel bikes down just a bit on asphalt, but they are greyhound fast compared to mountain bikes.

Manufacturers are adding features such as mudguards and luggage racks to their gravel bikes to make them suitable for touring bikes. In other words, your new gravel bike is a speedy commuter bike, a comfortable multi-day touring bike, and the perfect ride for a family trip around the park.

Then there’s the Hovding airbag, a device that zips in place around your neck and tracks your movements 200 times a minute. It detects any abnormalities in your ride—it knows the difference between curb bump and true accidents—and deploys in the event of a fall. It’s designed for urban riders and replaces your regular helmet.

Finally, the Moov Now fitness tracker is an innovative fitness tracker/sports coach you wear around your ankle. It offers active coaching that gives you tips based on real-time pace, distance, time, range of motion in your legs, g-force in your foot, and cadence. You get audio feedback such as “change gear now for optimum cadence”. It gets top marks as a virtual training system.

4. Aesthetics overtakes over-the-top branding

The bike-as-billboard has been a mainstay for decades with manufacturers slapping their branding on every tube. The in-your-face advertising is anything but subtle and some might say it detracts from the overall look of the bike.

It seems some manufacturers are taking aesthetics seriously, and favoring style over abrasive branding. Take the new BMC Unrestricted gravel bike, for instance: It’s free of logo clutter, save for a tiny label on the tube. The Cannondale SuperSix EVO is also aesthetically pleasing, clear of branding other than a tiny logo on the toptube. 

We expect to see more manufacturers follow suit in 2020, which represents a welcome change. 

The bike-as-billboard has been a mainstay for decades with manufacturers slapping their branding on every tube. The in-your-face advertising is anything but subtle and some might say it detracts from the overall look of the bike.

It seems some manufacturers are taking aesthetics seriously, and favoring style over abrasive branding. Take the new BMC Unrestricted gravel bike, for instance: It’s free of logo clutter, save for a tiny label on the tube. The Cannondale SuperSix EVO is also aesthetically pleasing, clear of branding other than a tiny logo on the toptube. 

We expect to see more manufacturers follow suit in 2020, which represents a welcome change. 

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Kern River Whitewater Kayaking

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Manufacturers are adding features such as mudguards and luggage racks to their gravel bikes to make them suitable for touring bikes. In other words, your new gravel bike is a speedy commuter bike, a comfortable multi-day touring bike, and the perfect ride for a family trip around the park.

Then there’s the Hovding airbag, a device that zips in place around your neck and tracks your movements 200 times a minute. It detects any abnormalities in your ride—it knows the difference between curb bump and true accidents—and deploys in the event of a fall. It’s designed for urban riders and replaces your regular helmet.

Finally, the Moov Now fitness tracker is an innovative fitness tracker/sports coach you wear around your ankle. It offers active coaching that gives you tips based on real-time pace, distance, time, range of motion in your legs, g-force in your foot, and cadence. You get audio feedback such as “change gear now for optimum cadence”. It gets top marks as a virtual training system.

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