Opinion: The Pace of Change in the MTB World is Slowing Down, and I'm All For It

Sep 24, 2022
by Mike Kazimer  
Spinning Circles column Mike Kazimer

What comes next in the world of mountain bike technology? That's a question I've found myself asking lately, since it seems like the frenetic pace of change in the mountain bike world has slowed down a little. It's hard to say if this adjustment period would have been as noticeable without the pandemic – supply chain shortages have delayed countless product launches - but either way, the vast majority of the bikes that have been released lately fall more into the 'incremental enhancement' category rather than receiving dramatic, wholesale revisions.

Personally, I'm not opposed to the more gradual updates. It might not be as exciting to see another Santa Cruz released that looks a lot like all of the other models in the lineup, but if it's not broken, why fix it? Mountain bikes have evolved to a point where it's hard to imagine what type of change could come along that would be as dramatic as the introduction of disc brakes, suspension, or dropper posts. I suspect we're approaching an evolutionary plateau, a time when the focus shifts more towards refinement rather than reinvention.

Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of new products on the horizon, it's just that I don't think they'll alter the riding experience to the same extent as some of the larger advances of the past.

New drivetrain technology is exciting, but it doesn't have as much impact on a bike's overall ride quality compared to something like disc brakes, or suspension that actually works.

How Did We Get Here?

Geometry has progressed dramatically over the last decade, and today's bikes are all the better for it. The steep and short 26"-wheeled bikes of yesteryear look like children's toys next to the longer and slacker options they've been replaced with, and the performance benefits that the updated geometry has brought is very noticeable, especially when descending.

However, there is a point at which bikes can't get any longer or slacker (Grim Donut excluded). Sure, someone could make a 100mm cross-country bike with a 62-degree head angle, and while I'd be really curious to give it a try, it's unlikely that would ever catch on. Bikes are still being released that are longer and slacker than their predecessors, but the changes aren't quite as drastic – lately it's been half-degree head angle changes here, a slightly longer reach there, which I'd say is an indicator that we're getting close to the limit. After all, climbing is still a large part of the mountain biking experience, and trying to pilot a big barge of a bike around a tight, technical climb isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea.

The wheel size debate has pretty much subsided too, with most companies settling on some combination of models with 29" or mixed-wheel setups, with a 29" wheel up front and a 27.5" rear wheel. That's caused some consternation amongst the 27.5" 4 Lyfe crowd, but I do think the mixed-wheel configuration makes a lot of sense on longer travel bikes. I was skeptical at first, and I still throw up in my mouth a little bit whenever someone says, "It's the best of both worlds," but after riding a decent number of mixed wheel options I've come to appreciate their handling on enduro and DH bikes, especially in steep terrain. It's also an option that can be offered relatively easily on a bike, since going to a smaller rear wheel is a whole lot simpler than going to a bigger one when it comes to frame clearance.

Mixed wheels are popping up everywhere, and I don't think they'll be going away any time soon, at least not on longer-travel bikes.

More Adjustments & Refinements Rather Than Dramatic Overhauls

To that end, we're seeing more adjustability built into bikes – Specialized's Stumpjumper EVO is a prime example of how to make an incredibly adaptable bike, and the recently launched Trek Fuel EX seems to take a page out of that playbook. Giving riders the ability to steepen or slacken a bike's head angle by a meaningful amount, and to raise and lower the bottom bracket height is a great feature. Sure, plenty of riders won't ever deviate from the stock setting, but for those that want to tinker, or fine-tune their bike for a trip to a different riding zone it's a great option, and acts as a way to future-proof a frame's geometry.

As radical geometry chances subside, it's going to incentivize companies to look towards new features to help their new models stand out from the old. In-frame storage, anyone? Again, this isn't a bad thing - there's no rule that says the next model of a particular bike has to be longer and slacker than the one before, even if that's pretty much always the case. Personally, I think it'd be refreshing to have a company say, "We nailed it with the geometry on this bike, so we're leaving it alone for the foreseeable future... and adding an aluminum version into the lineup."

Photo by Alex Hinkson
Even if you never use them, geometry and progression adjustments help make a frame appealing to a wider range of riders.
Photo by Alex Hinkson
I'm sure plenty of companies are currently working on their own in-frame storage solutions.

What about e-bikes? That's a whole other can of worms, but it also happens to be where a lot of product development is taking place. That makes sense given how well modern mountain bikes work, and how much room for improvement there is in the battery / motor department on an eMTB. Love 'em or hate 'em, e-bikes are a part of the landscape now, and they're only going to become increasingly common, especially as more relatively light mid-power options are released.

Of course, as I'm writing this there's probably someone out there toiling away in their garage on the next best thing, a drivetrain that never needs to be adjusted, or tires that are impossible to flat. I'm all for innovation when it leads to improvements, no matter how big or small. Even if there aren't any massive upheavals to mountain bike design in the near future there are still more than enough areas with room for refinement.

A Buyer's Market Could Be On the Way

A slower pace of change means that riders with bikes that are a few years old won't feel like they're missing out on something special every time a new model is announced. It's all too easy to start feeling that new bike envy, but it's a lot easier to keep those feelings at bay if the latest and greatest doesn't look like it's much different from what you currently own. Sure, a storage compartment in the downtube is handy, but for many riders that's not going to be enough incentive to rush out and upgrade.

In addition, a wave of newcomers entered the world of mountain biking over the last couple of years. While many will be in it for the long haul, others may not be as sold on the sport. What does that mean? Well, as supply chain issues subside and the used market starts to fill up with bikes from riders trying to offload their pandemic purchases, a buyer's market could be on the horizon. Despite all the doom and gloom in the financial world, it might be prime time to score a good deal on a bike that won't be outdated any time soon.

Posted In:
Other Opinion



391 Comments

  • 365 1
 As much as us PBers like to complain, it's a beautiful time to be a mountain biker and most of the current bikes being released are really good.
  • 158 24
 you spelled "pinkers" wrong
  • 162 0
 Despite the crappier old bikes, it has always been a beautiful time to be a mountain biker!
  • 102 2
 New bikes are so damn good. Young folks have NO IDEA the crap that used to be offered as a highend bike. I love bikes and still don't have any real interest in super highend stuff now, cause a solid alu bike with midlevel components kills. Sure, there are some drool worthy bikes out there for $$$, but for my budget and skill level, midrange builds do the job in spades. I'm down with this levelling off of 'innovation' and hope it just leads to better made longer lasting stuff without increased cost. Everyone deserves a good bike!
  • 14 4
 @st-lupo: Ignorance is bliss. I remember the first time I rode a 36mm fork.
  • 10 2
 If we don't complain, we won't get our framestorage embikes!
  • 76 43
 looking back, 2017-2018 was a beautiful time to be a mountain biker. bikes were cheaper, lighter, smaller, and 27.5.
  • 10 0
 @kirny6: *Spelted
  • 26 0
 I remember the first time I rode a Flextem
  • 46 0
 I would definitely agree with you on the bike tech and development side. On the image and lifestyle side...not so much. The last few years have seen this huge uptick in vloggers and influencers and they can be so cringe but worse than that, the influence of being an influencer seems to work extremely well and you have so many wannabe influencers in a sea of established influencers and it's all pretty gross haha.
  • 13 0
 You seem to have used the word beautiful instead of expensive
  • 19 35
flag notthatfast (Sep 23, 2022 at 14:13) (Below Threshold)
 @fjopsys:
interpreted that's:
In 2017 bikes were cheaper, broke all the time, had crappy geometry and tiny wheels.

I'll take today's bikes thanks.
Also 'cheaper' is true yes, but it's also relative given inflation.
  • 8 0
 I just bought a Kona Unit rigid singlespeed. I totally agree with you. Im serious.
  • 18 5
 Completely agree! Out of all the communities I have been a part of Cars, boats, Bikes etc. Pinkbikers-MTBers are the biggest complainers/crybabys
  • 46 0
 @jesse-effing-edwards: Screw the bikes,you should have seen what my 20yo legs could do!
That's the only thing I miss from the old days.
  • 16 1
 @mooseindahouse: it all started going downhill when mtb'ers started caring more about their riding fashion choices and imagery, more than the ride itself.
  • 16 0
 @slabba53: I remember the first time I rode the first orange Z1 Bomber.
Touted as a budget down hill fork at 100mm of travel!
  • 13 0
 @wake-n-rake: I remember the first time I rode a suspension fork. Guess we're old.
  • 19 0
 @slabba53: Eight years ago I upgraded my 98 or 99 Specialized FSR for an 2014 Enduro and couldn’t believe the difference. My old bike has zero damping anymore, rim brakes, and the handlebars were so narrow I felt like a roadie. Of course, none of that was even remotely apparent to me until I upgraded.
  • 9 2
 @jesse-effing-edwards: tbh is suspect 99% of people
On high end bikes would be Jsut as good on a mid level alu bike. Fair enough if you just love collecting new bits as a hobby, but if you think your 10o bike is making you a faster then someone on a 5k commnecal, yt,etc etc you just kidding yourself.
  • 4 0
 Agree with MK and top dog commenter. Now make mountain bicycles with more adjustmenting and more lighterer.
  • 5 2
 Yeah I've gotta disagree...frames are better, but (and FFS, this is a big but) they quadrupled in price and mostly come with throw-away components...
  • 16 1
 Hindsight is always 20-20. Back then nobody thought the bikes were crap. I used to drool after the new full sus bikes in the bike mags. And Bike magazine had amazing photography and editorials. It was a fun and exciting time then with all the leaps and experiments. Now all we have to get excited about is kinematics gadgets and expensive electronics and every bike looks the same.

The thing is that you take a bike from today and ride it on the majority of old school XC trails and they will be such overkill. Trails have evolved along with the tech so it’s a bit like apples and oranges to judge an old bikes performance on todays trails.
  • 2 0
 @st-lupo: true that, but I do prefer my current bike over the one zi started on, which had Biopace and an under the chain stay U brake.
  • 7 6
 @fjopsys: This guy knows what’s up. Saying 29” wheels are an improvement is false because it’s 100% relative to the individual. Factually speaking, 27.5 bikes are obviously more versatile. Still not a lot of 29er banger edits popping up despite their takeover. Interesting..
  • 2 1
 @notthatfast: username checks out
  • 2 0
 @multialxndr: shhhhhhhhhhh, they'll fine you and your family if you keep talking like that.
  • 2 3
 @emptybe-er:
Negative prop me for telling the truth, see if I care Wink
  • 2 1
 @notthatfast: I guess if you’re coming to mtb from fatbikes or gravel bikes 27.5 would seem tiny.
  • 7 0
 Idk what you all are talking about! I remember when, back in 2007, I bought my first Cannondale Rush Carbon.

What a bike!
It had super slack head angle, maybe even below 70°, short 10 cm stem, wide 2.25 tyres.. no dropper, but man, it was gorgeous.

That bike could shred. I could ride down to several stairs in complete control!
  • 13 1
 @fjopsys:
Agree. I’m lucky enough to be able to afford several bikes at the same time. And my favourite? Transition scout with 27.5 wheels and 430mm chainstays...
  • 1 0
 @st-lupo: Well put
  • 4 0
 @mooseindahouse: don’t watch them then, it’s like they aren’t there at all
  • 2 0
 @olafthemoose: I have given you my soul; leave me my name!
  • 2 0
 @n2deep: Been on a construction site?
  • 7 0
 @fjopsys: still love my V2 Bronson in pink. I foubd I could throw it around better on some technical tracks and set faster times than my megatower. If your bike is 5 years old or less then you dont really need a new one. Im keeping mine another 5 years
  • 3 0
 @notthatfast: in the last 5 years i've cracked an i9 stem, an i9 hydra hub, a OneUp dropper, and 2 sets of Tenet pedals. i haven't cracked anything on my 2017 Bronson
  • 1 0
 @fjopsys:

How did the tenet warranty treat you?
  • 3 0
 @slabba53: I got AXS and I'm never going back!
  • 6 0
 @jesse-effing-edwards: The same trails they bomb down with 160mm of travel we did on fully rigids without all the grooming.
  • 10 0
 @rivercitycycles: At 1/4 the speed and blowing thru corners with wet rim brakes mind
  • 9 0
 @zyoungson: Those were the good old days
  • 1 1
 @mooseindahouse: Most of them are jus so cringeworthy.I don’t think I ever had any of them influence my opinion of them or their brand in a positive or favorable way.

It’s the other way around actually. Certain influencers have actively driven me away from buying products from certain brands.
  • 1 0
 @slabba53: Is that fork travel or stanchion diameter?
  • 7 0
 No. I remember, it was much more beautiful 20 years ago. I was 22, my girlfriend was 20, I was able to get drunk 3 days in a row. Yes my bike was shorter, heavier, but i was faster on it.
  • 1 0
 @materials-guy: we still have that orange fork on the pump-track bike that doesn't get used much
  • 2 0
 Bikes are good but most of the progress has been in the enduro area. Suspension was good for DH bikes in 2010. Geo? Well the top tubes should have been longer. Add some big wheels and done.

The issue is entry level companies entered the market with really competitive prices and now they have raised their prices so that the difference between them and traditional companies is much smaller which makes the sport less affordable than it was 5-10 years ago. And I say this as someone who has bought a less afordable direct order bike in 2022
  • 1 0
 @codypup: you get it, I had to pedal the last downhill sections just to keep moving if I wanted to complete a muddy race back in the day because of said ubrake
  • 1 0
 @beardedindian: Just as bad or worse?
  • 1 0
 @n2deep: I'm gonna have to go with worse on this one.
  • 2 1
 @nozes: At 65 my new eBike has taken 40 years off those legs....a justifiable Use Case.......wait for it....
  • 1 0
 @rocsipeti: That’s a helluva recap for a lot of us. Nice one. Haha
  • 1 0
 @Velocipedestrian: You still remember that far back? A Cannondale HeadShox or whatever it was called.
  • 1 0
 @Socalmtmbiker: yup, I was 19 when I got my first. Indy xc.
  • 1 0
 @materials-guy: back when that first came out people thought I was crazy to run it (4 inch travel) on a hard tail lol. Coming from a Judy DH the Z1 was so burley and plush there was just nothing like it at the time.
  • 1 0
 @kaybeee: ya can't beat going down hill...
  • 234 1
 The only innovation we need now are 3k mid tier builds worth buying.
  • 96 6
 The current gen Ibis Ripmo AF is on sale online for just under $3k USD with Deore drivetrain, a Marz Z1 coil fork, and a DVO Diamond rear shock

I can't imagine terrain that would need more bike than that outside of Val di Sole
  • 70 3
 @Mugen, the new Norco Fluid would like to have a word with you.
  • 5 0
 @sjma: have to agree. Great bike, had 2 carbon versions but for this money it's a steal
  • 31 0
 @sjma: Deore should be on everyone's budget build
  • 36 1
 aka SRAM discontinuing SX and ideally making NX compatible with XD drivers or something.

eventually Deore has to pressure SRAM into doing something. i... i hope.

or manufacturers biting the bullet and speccing microshift instead of sram SX for their 2k-3k builds.

but we live in bulk componentry rockshox/sram world Frown
  • 11 0
 @sjma: I've been riding my AF since fall 2020 and the bike is still great, and it's spent two summers in the park! Sure, I've had to fix & replace stuff, but no chance it's anything that would have been saved if I'd have dropped 1000s more on the carbon version with fancier drivetrain etc.
  • 16 2
 Specialized Status is worth buying for 3k. NX isn't great but it works and once the cassette wears out you can get a new freewheel to upgrade to GX.
  • 3 5
 @mikekazimer: A fam member has a 2020 Fluid FS1 - my only complaint is its weight - needed to trim a few lbs.
  • 14 29
flag HeatedRotor (Sep 23, 2022 at 13:47) (Below Threshold)
 @sjma: but, then you own an IBIS lol.
  • 31 11
 We don’t want too many people taking up MTB. Just enough growth to increase trail funding and keeping our bike shops profitable. Anymore than that and it will explode the whole system. Physical fortitude used to be a pretty big barrier of entry, but now there are e-bikes, and that’s more of a financial barrier. We can’t just have anyone that can fog a mirror clogging up all the trails and buying up all the parts.
  • 4 6
 @jepc: Or, grab a Shimano Saint 10 speed shifter, XT derailleur and a Microshift Advent X 11-48 10 speed cassette. Get a Spank wheel when the Specialized one gets trashed and be all set for a long time.
  • 8 7
 @txcx166: We seen this in 2020 and 2021 because of covid. Ebikes are like SUV's. Brands make $$ from it so they will continue to push them... despite peoples hate for them they are in theory a bike for someone who wants to just have fun on a MTB... and many have issues with that lol
  • 2 0
 @jepc: and a coil shock…
  • 7 3
 @sjma: I got a AF with a Jade X and Diamond 160 and find it easily overwhelmed on rough tracks compared to my Privateer 141. The AF pedals nice sure for laps. Like the 2020 optic. You will beat your friends to the trailhead. Only thing is I think the Optic beats the AF on the way down too.
  • 12 0
 @lepigpen: Microshift Advent X with a SR Suntour Auron 35 or Durolux 36, depending on the bikes intentions, would be a fantastic budget spec.
  • 6 0
 @txcx166: mountain biking is not a zero-sum game, lol
  • 3 0
 @mikekazimer: I hadn't seen the pricing on the new Fluid until now. If Norco can make a more aggressive Sight (Range is too much) with a similar spec level and similarly aggressive pricing, they can take my money.
  • 2 4
 @zacjob: "more aggressive sight" im sorry what? that bike needs a better suspension curve and be less aggressive if anything...
  • 4 0
 @mikekazimer: And there is PB's review of the new Norco Fluid
  • 11 0
 @Stihlgoin: Or keep it all Shimano, they do make a 11-46 10sp cassette (M4100). That's what I run (Saint shifter, XT der, M4100 11-46 10sp cassette). Works awesome.
  • 2 0
 @vitaflo: Either way is a huge improvement. The Saint shifter, when it could be had for $47, was an easy choice for me. With the way the Status pedals uphill, I figured 32 tooth ring to 48 tooth cog would be all my son would want to handle for a low gear. I run the same setup on my hardtail which is considerably lighter. I could probably swing the 11-46 on that bike, but I’m happy with the 11-48.
  • 4 0
 The number of people who actually ride their bike away from the most popular areas is so small. More the merrier! They help keep it fun and maintained. If you Push a tiny bit further or harder you’ll see very few other people. those who revel in the suffering are my kind of people anyway. All outdoor activities are similar. Put in 10% more effort and your above the average. @txcx166:
  • 3 1
 @Stihlgoin: spank wheels fir a long time??? Really?
  • 1 0
 @ybsurf: longer than the now trapezoidal stock Spesh….and for $240 with a relatively high engagement hub they’re pretty high return for the $. Maybe under different circumstances they would be suboptimal for some riders, but on a $2600 Status for a fifteen year old who continually pushes limits the choice works (and has worked well) for us. If he races DH next year likely DT Swiss will be laced up to whatever bike he rides. We ride sub 4k USD builds and still find some way to have fun on them. Smile
  • 3 0
 @chileconqueso: Agreed. It seems, we as a community, should pressure manufacturers/retailers to commit a small percentage of each sale to trail development and maintenance… like a local tax (even though, I hate that word).

I have to admit… currently, I rarely ever feel trails in my region are overcrowded. Sometimes quite the opposite. 90% of the time I only encounter another person at a trail head or connector.
  • 3 0
 @njcbps: See Friday Fails for why that weight is staying put. Overbuilt is the way of the safe manufacturing. But it sure would be nice...
  • 3 9
flag olafthemoose (Sep 24, 2022 at 7:22) (Below Threshold)
 @baconforce: get rid of the dvo crap it will ride better.
  • 4 0
 @jepc: Been riding my status for this past season and I think it beats the crap out of any other new offering in its price range.
  • 5 1
 @ThatOneGuyInTheComments: I have been down the road of $8000-$10000 bikes. I believe I have learned my lesson… Just as much fun and health benefits with a $3000-$5000 bike!
  • 1 0
 For a budget build, would anyone be opposed to aluminum frame, DVO/ Marzochi suspension, Microshift advent x & TRP brakes from any MTB manufacturer (priced below deore or NX)? I'd buy that and it should at least shave -$500 by some napkin math...
  • 2 0
 @lepigpen: that would be the best thing sram could do. SX just doesn’t last long at all, and NX works just fine, but it’s frustrating that the cassette doesn’t work with XD. Sure it’s not that expensive or hard to upgrade a freehub body but not every single hub allows you to do that and buying a new wheel just for a better cassette is expensive…
  • 4 0
 @jepc: needing a new freewheel to upgrade a cassette on a crappy groupset doesn't sound like customer friendly design and spec choices...
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: there is no issue of affordable trailbikes but somehow if you want a full on enduro bike it's much more rare to find something affordably priced. True there are some exceptions but most "deals" seem to be in the 130-140mm of travel area.
  • 1 0
 There's a lot of companies hitting that mark now.
  • 80 6
 Suspension designs that don't make your shock explode every 2 months?

I think suspension design and components have a long way to go, but people don't get excited about that. Actually most people seem rely angry about suspension innovation.

I know we are only allowed to say bad things about transmission gear boxes, but if someone solves that issue, that could truly change a lot of stuff.
  • 5 0
 Two really good points you have here.
  • 17 1
 a gear box that shifts under load and doesn't cost 20 rear mechs is innovation I can get behind. Front forks are pretty great now, though, and my coil shock is set and forget.
  • 1 1
 Brands have to do some progress on spare parts, had to buy a new clamp cuz' I lost the screw (yeah I could have found one but it's not acceptable that you can't get spares from the manufacturer).

If things settle down, then it's time to bring back fat bikes now Smile
  • 24 11
 Trunnion needs to die
  • 17 2
 Gearboxes must be the next big thing. Whist the current crop of drivetrains are good they're still very maintenence heavy and fragile compared to a gearbox.
  • 8 0
 I hear that about shocks, especially trunion style. I can see how trunion shocks could be more highly stressed but I have to say I've had one on a bike for 3 years and it's been fine. To me it's as much a problem with bike frame design as it is with the style of shock mount. I guess if you had a non-trunion mount shock you could get away with a bad frame design?
  • 7 5
 Accessibility in MTB suspension is pretty incredible. If you want suspension as good as say, a dhx2 on your car or superbike you better be a professional race team with a healthy budget, because that stuff simply isn't available to your average Joe. Also, compared to motorbike stuff, MTB suspension is crazy cheap, an ohlins ttx motorcycle shock with hydraulic preload adjust, which is arguably a design with a lower performance ceiling than a super deluxe or float x, retails for 2.5 times the price
  • 10 4
 Derailleur drivetrains are so overrated as an important piece of overall bike performance. I have a couple of buddies with Zerodes. They are totally reliable and the gearbox never seems to slow them down or prevent them from getting up some hella nasty tech. They fly downhill as well. I can't really see any advantage of the X01 or SLX drivetrains on my bikes beyond the trigger shifters.
  • 9 5
 Really? Mtb rear shocks seem like a solved problem to me. Have been for years. Air or Coil. As long as they are somewhat regularly serviced.

There are edge cases, obviously. Like a handful of badly designed or manufactured frames or very heavy riders. But otherwise, they are fine.

Brakes on the other hand could use some improvement in the reliability sphere.
  • 2 0
 yes stop making parts that break
  • 10 2
 @Ttimer: Nope, yoke designs put a significant amount of stress on shocks and cause premature failure. Meanwhile, most shock companies don't even offer spherical bearings that would counteract this and in fact have made it worse by going with the even stiffer trunnion design. But, if you don't want to take my word for it, contact someone like Craig from Avalanche or similar and they'll tell you about the problems created by these shocks.

So, absolutely not a solved problem. Also true about shocks like the X2 that suffer from hysteresis.
  • 1 0
 @Will-narayan: this is exactly why you should visit your bike shop! Spares galore, and for things like screws they are often free (but used). Or walk into Home Depot and go to the hardware wall, with the part the screw needs to fit
  • 7 3
 @GumptionZA: it's hilarious how wrong your are about all of that.

1, standard spring kyb sss and kyb shock is good enough to be setup for factory riders, and price is inline with "top spec" mtb stuff. But big changes have to be done with valving.

2. The dhx2 gen 1 and current ccdb was a poor poppet twin tube design. Poppets create degressive curves, and it really only went that way to give an extetnally adjustable hsr, guess why? So fox didn't have to sell every size in soft medium and firm tunes. So you get a shit compression curve in exchange for not having to deal with revalving the rebound for drastically different rates or pressures. Done believe me it sucked? Well why don't you look at an ohlins? On road racers they use poppets, Their dirt ttx Don't use a rebound poppet, and lsr is in the traditional location on the shaft, if anything it's a hybrid of mono tube and twin tube. The new x2 is this way but shits it's guts all the time.

It's ironic that you are calling a ttx a float x when the new x2 changes to resemble a ttx.

Also have you ever tried closing the lsc and hsc on a grip 2 vvc, it has NO compression damping, it's so great so high end, 4 knobs, 2 don't do anything, rad cool sick.
  • 7 1
 My Softride suspension stem has left the chat.
  • 3 0
 @englertracing:
Do you have your own dhx2 graphs or you just watch vosprung channel at you tube?
  • 2 0
 @lightone: I usually use restackor on systems that are possible to model to avoid 2 hour drive to have access to cheap dyno time. But bad compression damping characteristics are pretty obvious when riding gen 1 x2, which is why gen 2 x2 exists.
  • 1 0
 @fartymarty: Nicolai Nucleon 16.
  • 2 0
 @englertracing:
I have tested v1 dhx2 just after service at MTS performance dyno at velocities between 0 and 0,5 m/s at extremes of adjustments and what I had saw suprised me. Expected digressive curves like you mentioned, but it wasn't like that. Probably it's because poppets at dhx2 are equipped in a small shimstacks.
  • 1 0
 @jj12jj: I asked my bike shop and the dude looked surprised and not able to get it, but now that you mention it I didn't even thought about taking the clamp to the store, stupid me xD
  • 1 0
 @GumptionZA: you could say the same about brakes, but have you seen what motorbike suspension and brakes have to put up with? Not really a fair comparison. Speeds and mileage aren't really in the same league. Tires for a Caterpillar truck are also more expensive for "the same performance", but you can see why when looking at their application. Motorbikes are also getting expensive, but have a lot more tech and build costs than bicycles. And if you compare "top of the range" without considering the sport, top of the range swimming shorts are dirt cheap Wink
  • 1 0
 Suspension innovation? There hasn't been any big suspension innovation in the past 10 years. Mostly bigger companies getting their shit together and applying what smaller companies have been doing for some time.

The only problem is as you are saying the yoke design. Which on some bikes damages shocks.
  • 1 0
 @spaced: I'd say IRT is a useful innovation, although the big brands (RS and Fox) keep using the far inferior "bottomless tokens". Those valves for losing vacuums created by quick altitude changes are also nice. Agreed those aren't revolutionary innovations, but rather very useful evolutionary innovations.
  • 2 0
 Spherical eyelet bushings should have been adopted and made mainstream long ago.
  • 65 0
 The technology we still really need, though who knows if it is possible within the laws of physics, is super light tires that are as unlikely to pinch flat or sidewall tear as a current setup with heavy sidewalls and a foam insert. 750 grams tires that could perform like what currently takes more like 1300 grams would be a huge game changer for those of us that still like to pedal up as well as down. Someone please invent this.
  • 6 3
 This!
  • 6 0
 I bet that is possible. How much are you willing to pay though? With non-wearing parts like wheels or stems, a price increase of 1 $/gram saved seems to be about par (assuming similar functionality). But you wouldn't pay $500 for a tire I assume.
  • 8 0
 There is no substitute for mass
  • 4 4
 you mean 27.5?
  • 1 2
 These already exist or did in the recent past. Schwalbe lite skin rocket Ron’s and others.
  • 7 1
 @EdSawyer: I wouldn't describe LiteSkin Rocket Ron "as unlikely to pinch flat or sidewall tear as a current setup with heavy sidewalls and a foam insert" .
  • 1 1
 @ak-77: depends on where you ride. Where I ride, the results from those two are about the same, so may as well use the lighter one. (e.g. the terrain/texture does not demand the overkill of a DH tire with inserts)
  • 10 0
 @EdSawyer: if a trail can be ridden comfortably on a liteskin schwalbe i don’t think it’s relevant to this discussion haha
  • 2 8
flag EdSawyer (Sep 24, 2022 at 21:54) (Below Threshold)
 @KeeganPelton: depends on one's skills I guess.
  • 3 0
 @EdSawyer: Skills...or riding style? Or luck/random chance? I suspect most people who choose heavier tires do so out of frustration with lighter ones. It doesn't make much sense for me to compare my experiences with my friends. Yes, we ride the same trails, at roughly the same speeds. And some of my friends can get away with using lighter tires, whereas I cannot. Am I less skilled than my friends? Perhaps, but but again same trails and comparable speeds. I choose heavier tires because I find lighter ones to be frustratingly less durable, at similar cost per tire.

On the innovation front, I would love to see lighter tires with the durability of a DD casing.
On the economics front, I would also love to see all bike tire prices come down to more reasonable levels.
  • 2 0
 @patwoods: this is an interesting discussion, because I ride fast on rough terrain, and basically never damage anything on my bikes. I don’t feel like I’m super smooth, but I get away with tire casings and pressures that the rest of my friends(that I’m faster than) absolutely scratch their heads at.
  • 1 0
 you are asking for something that's not possible. At least not for the money you are willing to pay for tires.
  • 2 0
 @MegaStoke: you run higher pressures. Otherwise your problem wouldn't just be flats but also laterall float on tires
  • 2 0
 @patwoods: I think line choice and style has a lot to do with it. I've got a friend that I ride with a lot, and for reasons we cannot figure out, he's a lot harder on parts than I am - cracking rims, wrapping derailleurs around his frame, slashing tires, etc. Maybe it's because he got his first full suspension bike sooner in his MTB career than I, so my style is more influenced by hardtail riding whereas he's a bit more plowy. We ride the same features at similar trail speeds and skill levels though so it's really hard to say. He takes the same approach as you, opting for more durable components to avoid the strife and cost of constantly replacing things.

As far as what you'd like to see in the market, I couldn't agree more - a cheaper tire with a stiff, but light and durable, sidewall would be awesome. Specialized tires seem to be moving in this direction; they ride great, and they're very competitively priced.
  • 50 3
 27 for lyfe, or you could just address us as short people..
  • 16 1
 I prefer vertically challenged.
  • 21 1
 It's not even a lifestyle choice but a necessity. My shorts do look better without minion tread on the back.
  • 56 0
 My 5' tall GF makes 27.5 look like 36".

Which has other benefits for me.
  • 16 0
 @JSTootell: let me guess; small hands? It's all a matter of perspective
  • 3 0
 Sometimes I wonder why kid's bike sizes are defined by the wheel size, but adult bike sizes are defined by the frame size. From a user standpoint, it makes total sense to have everything in proportion. From a manufacturing/spare parts standpoint, not so much.
(note to self: this comments should also be filed under the topic "cranks")
  • 2 2
 @JSTootell: no wait. She actually rides 26" so you can buy cheap rubber...tyres. I'm giving this far too much thought, I admit
  • 1 0
 Do you prefer 26 or 27.5?
  • 3 0
 @BentonFraser: doesn't really matter so long as it's at least 2.3" wide lol
  • 1 0
 British-not that tall. Hobbits. And hobbit wheels.
  • 1 0
 Honestly it's forming a hole in the market. I've always preferred 27.5 wheels, but more importantly, finding a suitable frame for my 5'2" partner is pretty tough. She's really short and doesn't want a 29er for her first fully. With everything going mullet, options are getting a lot more scarce; some of my favorite bikes aren't even being made anymore.
  • 45 4
 Longer and slacker isn't exactly where every bike should trend. The real victim of this crap is tight and twisty trails. Everyone wants the enduro sled, but then they ride their local trails, which are basically just hiking trails that have slowly gotten wider because bikes have slowly gotten lower and longer and slacker, and people can't corner them. Now I just see blatent straigh lines that cut corners. So much to blame, Strava, Slacker and Longer trends, marketing, carelessness, not giving a sh*t and idiocracy. Then! to boot, people ride around the roots on their 165mm travel bikes, widening trails even more. It just burns me up to see straight lines on trails I've been riding for 25+ years. People just want to ride green flow trails on their CC Megatower with a cascade link and activated carbon in their fork.
  • 6 0
 Preaching truth here.
  • 3 0
 This! I remember a time when I thought "bigger is better", but now I ride my 120mm down country bike twice as much as my 160mm sled, because I can ride 90% of all trails on it and have more fun. I truly feel it's a pissing contest of who's bike is bigger and who's bike has more bling, fed by the reasons you listed.

My goal as a rider now is to ride my 120mm bike faster downhill than the majority of people riding their 160mm sleds downhill. It's been a fulfilling experience so far.
  • 46 8
 The price just needs to go down full stop. How can a new car cost less than a bicycle? In the last few years its got crazy. In 2016 I bought a Radon Swoop 170 for £2300, it just won bike of the year and I thought, although I love it, that's a lot of money, the ball n chain was like "Do bikes actually cost that much....wow". Now people seem to think a £6000 enduro bike is reasonable if its a good spec. Then "Rob Rides Emtb" tells me an £11000 ebike is amazing. Surfboards haven't seen anything like this craziness (yes, I know prices have risen) and most people who get a good board keep them for years. I would literally be still riding a 2009 Carrera Fury from Halfords if this were the same for bikes.
  • 2 2
 On the surf front, that's true only if you very carefully select what you want to track. Yes, prone-paddle surf boards have only gently evolved for the last however many years - but man, the sport of surfing (if you think of it as anything riding waves while standing on a board) has exploded, with SUP surfing, SUP downwind swell riding, and now all things foiling.
  • 4 1
 @g-42: yeah, plus comparing mountain bikes to surfboards (aka glassed foam) is not the best take. I mean the industry tried full carbon boards (common in skimboarding) and most surfers said LMAO yea f*ckin right. let alone actually adding anything mechanical or electric or whatever.

The big question is, with prices running away from us, what do bike and surfboard and skimboarding companies do to fill in the entry level gap better? And I don't think wavestorms and walmart bikes are the answer lol

Bring on the Microshift and deore bikes. enough with sram sx and 1k+ gaps between models.
  • 3 1
 The currency converter tells me that the current Swoop 9 AL retails for 2422 pounds. It has pretty decent components. Over six years that is 0.9% inflation/year. Even the triple Kashima Swoop 10 sells below 3k in the King's currency. The good value is still out there. Ignore the rest.
  • 4 1
 Simple economics - people are buying them at that price!
  • 11 3
 Where are you finding a new car for cheaper than the most expensive new bike right now? And I'm talking about what people are actually paying for a new car right now, not the imaginary MSRP
  • 15 3
 Sorry but where the f*ck are you finding brand new cars for less than the cost of a bike? MAYBE if you find the cheapest shittiest car possible and compare to some crazy high end ebike but that’s hardly apples to apples is it?
Even so, the automotive shortage is still a thing with used cars selling for more than list prices. Your comparison is just not accurate or even valid.
  • 1 1
 Surfboards prices now are actually way up jsyk.
  • 2 1
 @notthatfast:

Steel, standard electrical components, hoses, and plastic are really cheap, especially if weight is less important than cost. I have a $12,000 team bike and a $5,000 car. Car gets me long distances but damn is it a piece of shit compared to the marvel of engineering that is electronic shifting, carbon fiber, and factory suspension which is all criminally lightweight. You’re right, not a valid comparison at all.
  • 2 1
 @KeeganPelton:
$12k bike new, sure. But your car wasn’t $5k new was it? You can buy yesteryear’s super bikes for peanuts now too. I’ve seen guys driving $100k cars with $300 department store bikes hanging off the back. Again, let’s at least make it a fair comparison.
  • 5 0
 Dacia sandero 11000€ www.dacia.fr/gamme-vehicules/sandero.html

And this is a regular quality car, you can find cheaper cars. I mean a car! With an engine respecting actual laws is a piece of engineering compared to any bike. Without even considering the mass of raw materials and the machinery to drill them at that level of precision. And transport between plenty of factories for each pieces.

It looks crazy to me.
  • 3 1
 I know its an unpopular opinion; but like @BentonFraser said, this is just the free market mechanism in effect. People will buy them at the price they are sold for.

I'm not crazy about expensive bikes either and as Mike Kazimer pointed out, the technological slow-down will likely relieve pressure on prices for traditional analogue bikes as 10-year-old bikes become as good as brand new ones. Not only is that great for the consumer, but its great for sustainability too!
  • 5 1
 When I saw the 1st UNNO bike, I considered sooooo expensive, but now, the new UNNO's start bellow 8k€, and it looks like a bargain, compared with some Big Brands bikes.

Big brands, started pushing their prices, due to market (aka peopl who buy), lack of availability, profit. Big companies grew, brougth the CEO...CFO...COO.... and mtb is just another business to make money.
Initially, it was about money (of course!), but it is my belief that companies wanted their products to be loved amd cherished by their customers.
That what Cannondale and GT did back in the 90s, flowed by Turner in the beigining of 2000s, Santacruz, Transition not so long ago.
All had something different, their suspension design, their geometry...
But as their patents felt, more brands can copy what their making, leaving the big brands left with the only thing they can provide:
MARKETING.

Sure, little improvements will be added (and copied), and that's part of the human nature.

MTB starting losing it spark for NEW things, starting to fade, and heading towards another "comodity".

For me, it's simple:
Is the new bike worth (fun/efficiency/other) the asking price?
Personally, don't think so.
My 2016, 29er trail bike is still rocking the trails, and sure the lastest toys are always shinier, but I don't feel the urge to spend such amount of money, when my present ride, works so good, and besides there are so many places I need to improve, like improving my house, my weekend house and garden, probably a new engine for my boat, and probably switching my old road bike for a newer one... and so many places to visit with family.
MTB is a weekend hobby.

Thank you for all those brands that stepped out and offer EXCELENT bikes, at an affordable price.
  • 8 0
 @fautquecaswing: It is still absolutely mind boggling that a car with about 1000x the components and 100x the weight costs less than an S-Works Kenevo SL.

I mean, just lol.

The big companies are just screwing with us at this point.
  • 1 2
 @NotNamed: Think about the price of a high end car, i.e McLaren or similar vs a Toyota corolla. Top end MTBs are the best of the best and 95% of the same thing you see raced at the World enduro or WCDH. It costs a certain amount to produce top end equipment.
But I agree, Spesh does take the piss a little with their sworks pricing.
  • 1 2
 @notthatfast: sure, you've got a crappy budget car for the same price as a top of the bill MTB, but it's still a car and it's still a fancy bicycle. The fact these completely incomparable objects have any pricing overlap at all is a bit ridiculous. It's like those designer handbags that are more expensive than most people's second hand car, but this time people say it's good value...
  • 2 3
 @Mac1987:
Yeah I do, and no it’s not ridiculous. My bike cost more because of my car because that’s where I place value and I didn’t need to buy a performance vehicle. It’s not comparable in any way.
  • 27 0
 I'm here for it, it used to feel like you should upgrade your bike every 2-3 years to stay with current trends. At this point I don't feel the need as its personal preference now.
  • 5 1
 Yeah, I've got a 2021 bike (ordered it in fall of 2020) and I have 0 temptation to upgrade. I don't see any difference to what's currently on the market.
  • 5 1
 @finblarr: if you have a 2021 bike you probably got given a shit set of brakes Wink
  • 5 0
 That's the nice thing about bikes being just about at their limit in terms of geo development. My 2020 is still modern enough to be totally amazing, and TBH, i will never be able to take it to its limits. No need to upgrade.
  • 1 0
 yep. I sold my 2019 Firebird and now I wish I hadn't. other than the travel it's basically current trail bike geo. Loved that thing. if I could find a NOS one, I'd buy it.
  • 2 0
 I used to be in the 3 ish year upgrade camp. But my 2018 nukeproof mega would cost me 50% more than it was to replace like for like, and I looked into it but there's no real reason to. I've popped an angle adjust headset in, put a new air shaft in the forks, and the geometry is almost identical to the 2022
  • 2 0
 @mountainsofsussex: Similar. My 2020 Mega was less than $4800 USD, now it's $7000. WTF?!
  • 15 0
 Look. I just got my bike last year. I think it's a good time for all advancement to stop so my bike doesn't get out of date. They can update in like 5-7 years when I may consider buying a new one. Just work on the new standards, technology, and geo in the background and only jump forward when I'm ready to buy.
  • 7 1
 Last year? Jezzus.... Is that thing even rideable?
  • 28 17
 Hogwash, everyone always thinks theyre at the peak of society with nothing more to discover or create. How about magnet spring suspension? Nitrogen filled tires? Aero mtb frames? Bikes that can turn from an xc style into dh like a transformer? Super boost high pivot? There's tons of stuff to still be discovered. The future is now.
  • 7 1
 I'll upvote you because you're right. This article could have been written 10 years ago or 20 years ago. A better article title would have been: "Opinion: The Pace of Change in the MTB World is TEMPORARILY Slowing Down, and I'm All For It."
  • 2 0
 Exactly. The future is unknown.
  • 5 5
 An aero mtb would offer almost no advantage to anyone outside of MAYBE XC marathon races. There will be changes, but they are slowing. Bikes released in 2019 are not that different than bikes released today... which wasn't true for the 2016 to 2019 period.
  • 3 1
 Came here to say the same thing. We thought we were at peak mtbing back in the 90’s and look how very wrong we were.
  • 1 0
 Argon is better than nitrogen (or regular air) for tire fills, at least according to the latest silca podcast. I guess it's been used for things like the hour record.
  • 1 1
 You are right in your overall point that change and evolution will carry on, but so is the author of the article. His point is that we are at a period of plateau… not at a stoping point. The last 5-7 years saw significant evolution and revolution because there was a lot of low hanging fruit… much of that fruit has been picked now.

Geo probably does have a sweet spot/range that will contain MTBs. Adding adjustability is an evolution of that geo settling in a range, but it’s not revolutionary.

Suspension… sure some tweaks and changes, but suspension design has been similar on vehicles of all types for a long time now. Again here, the evolution was to provide adjustability. And to be honest, I’m not sure I can really tell the difference in ride and performance of a Fox Performance vs Factory… or a RS Select vs Ultimate.

Our feeble minds and group think now lead us to putting a battery on everything and calling that progress.
  • 1 2
 @HB208: Aero offers little to road riders yet it’s marketed to those with loose wallets.
  • 5 1
 In a more dystopian view, maybe will the future of mtb will be not actually riding your bikes. Government could say that riding mountain bikes is too dangerous, because of the possibility of taking up a hospital bed, and it's damaging to the environment, and we must fight climate change in literally every way possible. Therefore you'll have a neural chip and you can rent a digital mtb off the meta network lmao.
  • 11 0
 I like the idea of slow change. You can now save to get those fancy wheels, titanium cranks, etc and have them transfer from bike to bike now. I did not ride for a while and when I cam back, my 26” was not compatable. I bought a 29er and within a year could not even upgrade it. Now with my current bike I feel I can get the parts I need and get better longer lasting parts. A good time for the used market too.
  • 3 0
 Yeah,my first real MTB was a 2012. Very little I can do with that bike now. My 2018 is totally fine though.
  • 2 0
 @JSTootell: I'm just rebuilding my '11 Nomad, sure it's a bit harder to find some parts but definitely doable. Such a nimble bike to ride too!
  • 3 0
 This was my thought - for those who can't afford to regularly replace a whole bike, there is very little incentive to upgrade to high end components now.
I remember when I got into biking I rode with a few guys who had really nice wheels, and presumably other bits and pieces, and every few years would just buy a new frame (only the frame) and transfer all the stuff they wanted over... They always had nice, relatively high end bikes (and that new bike excitement) for a comparatively low cost. With all the changing standards this is becoming harder and harder.
I understand progression (and like it to a degree as I have a great bike now) but I do wish that new standards would calm down a bit...
Bikes are so similar in many ways that manufacturers are likely to be under significant pressure to have something new and better to differentiate their bike from the rest, and I think this is what drives most of them rather than their bike being 0.1% 'better' for the customer.
  • 12 2
 I would love to see reliable adjustability be more of a norm across the board for the future!
A flip chip to allow 27.5" or 29" rear wheel without changing geo.
A shock flip chip for more or less progressive suspension curve.
A flip chip rear dropout to shorten or lengthen the chain stay length +/- 10mm
Flip head tube cups to lengthen/shorten reach +/- 10mm
High/Low BB flip Chip

A bike with this level of adjustability could be so future proof, and allow for so many different riding styles. But maybe that's not good for business, idk. But I hope adjustability continues to show up on new bikes.
  • 5 0
 It would be cool to have a bike like that to experiment with, but once you know what you want it's less necessary
  • 2 0
 so you want a trek fuel EX 2023?

Funnily enough, i would be all over a production version of a trail variant of the norco range alloy mule. huge adjustment.
  • 2 1
 If I could have a bike with zero adjustments, I would. What's the point of carrying something on a ride that you can't use while riding and won't help you fix a mechanical?
  • 1 0
 @Dogl0rd: I have a Geometron, and went to demo it before purchase. They pretty much did exactly this - I tried the bike in 29er and mullet configurations, and geometry could be changed via their 'mutators' making the rear triangle larger or smaller as required.
It was quite eye opening how differently they affected the ride.

Perhaps something like this is the next big thing - ride a test mule bike to establish your preferred geometry, and then get the bike built up for you? Geometron does this in a very mechanical/elegant way, and low volume builders can custom build you something, but it's a low volume of the bikes sold that are truly customised to the end user. Perhaps this is where brands such as Atherton bikes could lead the way - it's very easy for them to adapt their geometry compared to the current model of purchasing a set carbon mould?
  • 2 0
 I have a Geometron from 2020 that can pretty much do all that you asked.

Also dual-crown compatible.

I don’t expect to need a new frame ever again ( unless I go insane and decide to go XC racing again).
  • 1 0
 @sargey2003: Ha ha! They're pretty solid aren't they!
  • 1 0
 You're just describing a Guerilla Gravity. I love my 27.5 shred dog for my tight local trails, but can run it with long travel/mullet when I go to the bike park
  • 9 1
 "Buyers market" is a bit of a tease. A buyers market implies variety of choices and an ability to save money. With that definition, it will not be. The manufacturers pushed the prices of their products up so much, and so quickly, that while the variety might be there, the pricing will not. Even variety is a stretch as most just seem to be some variation of horst link with geo that is basically the same. We will end up buying mostly for the brand and customer service/ warranty more than for tech as it is all ending up exactly the same.
  • 3 0
 Well see how next few years of global economic crisis pan out.
  • 15 0
 @jrocksdh: Once prices go up, they rarely come back down in appreciable ways. There will not be a bike market crash. There will just be fewer riders who can afford it.
  • 5 0
 @jmhills: IT'll be the only way to move products, it won't be the riders who can't afford the bikes, it'll be the bike companies that can't afford to stay in business.
  • 6 0
 @jmhills: as someone pointed out above, Ripmo AF is 25 percent off right now, back down below what they were pre pandemic. While you're right to an extent, supply and demand are the ultimate driver of prices. The price hikes we saw probably had a lot to do with temporary shipping and manufacturing cost increases due to limited supply of those things.
  • 4 1
 @jmhills: That's not entirely true. Especially in discretionary markets. Ultimately supply and demand will figure itself out, but if people stop buying as many bikes, bike manufacturers are going to have to adjust. I mean, my local SC dealer is discounting brand new model bikes...

I am expecting some manufacturers to have hard times ahead.
  • 2 0
 @jmhills: That depends. If the prices represent real cost of manufacturing, I agree. But if it's all just inflated profits, someone will step into the gap and aim for high volume and low margin. DTC brands did this at some point but many opted for a premium image with an accompanying price tag. I remember a conversation about 10 years ago with a road biker. He complained that Canyon prices had gone up a lot since they had started sponsoring a World Tour team and became better known.
Capitalism isn't the answer to all the world's problems, but if there's money to be made in selling good bikes for less, someone is bound to do it.
  • 2 0
 @ak-77: Its not impossible that margin erosion happens. My guess is that you see companies like Canyon reduce prices less than say, SC or Yeti. Ibis has been running promotions on bikes... you wouldn't see that if the market wasn't softening.
  • 1 0
 There are very nearly DOUBLE the used bikes for sale on the PB B/S/T area than there were 18 months ago. I'm not saying it's a buyer's market, but it's likely on its way in the next few years. I doubt we'll see what we saw 10 years ago when you could buy last year's bike for "cheap" but I'm hopeful we'll see a return to common sense if not normalcy with used bike prices in the coming year or two.
  • 1 0
 @dsciulli19: While that may be true, in order to have a healthy used market, you need to have a healthy new market. With even "sale" bikes being well over $4k, the amount available for regular people to buy shrinks. As everyone waits to buy a bike at the end of the model year, that reduces the amount available in the used market.

I bought my Devinci on closeout about 4 years ago. I am, lately, looking for another bike. I cannot bring myself to spend the amount that even base model bikes are going for on closeout. I am not one of those who thinks that everything is expensive. In many cases, you get what you pay for. The issue here is that we all know that a frame costs a few hundred bucks to produce. Off shored production makes things cheaper. I can see why companies like Atlas and GG ask what they do as they are made in the States. The fact that we are being asked to pay $3k for a frame that is basically the same as the previous years "outdated" model, is hilariously sad.
  • 12 0
 I'm just trying to figure out how to be happy with what I f*cking have.
  • 7 0
 Let us know how if you crack it
  • 8 0
 Ride as much as you can.

I replace bikes as needed. New bikes are fun, but they’re the tool you need to go biking.

Too many bike owners forget that…..
  • 8 0
 Explains to rise of nonsensical “features” like cable routing the the stem and bikes trying to like like Teslas (Unno..). If you can’t come up with true innovations the only thing to do is to “solve” nonexistant problems. Pretty stupid since there are still areas of improvement like my personal pet peeve, lack of reach adjustment. In the bmx world it’s common to offer the frames in 1/4” increments, while in the mtb world the steps are often close to 2cm, which in terms of geometry is quite a lot. I understand this would be too expensive with carbon frames but why not choose a bigger headtube that can easily take a reach adjust headset?
  • 1 0
 Gorilla Gravity gets this
  • 10 3
 I still see significant room for improvement:

Size specific chain-stay length, size specific BB height combined with the correct crank length also by size, different leverage curves for light vs. heavy people, 2 water bottles inside the triangle or even a bladder stored inside the frame, storage obviously, L & XL DC bikes with longer than 435mm CS lengths, these things all need significant improvement.

And that's before you even get to the e-bikes. Expect an absolute wave of lightweight, quiet, nearly invisible e-bikes, very quickly with near constant evolution.
  • 4 0
 all these ideas or "problems" are absolutely correct, however, if a company makes different molds for every size of bike/ weighted rider, bikes would cost 15000 for a deore build. we would have to pay for all of the engineering time and all the mold fabrication... its a if i could make a perfect bike for me i would issue.. but I doubt sustainable for a bike company. . . that's my very uneducated guess :S.

also, mass product purchasing it keep price down a bit too, so the components would be a difficult specific improvement too. ..

the bottle cages, bladders, would be amazing! and leverage ratios - i think all companies can throw in a flip chip that would change angle of shock/ rear end to help with more or less progression.. that would be sweet.
  • 5 0
 @randomborvo: It wouldn't cost much more to do size-specific geometry if you're not manufacturing in carbon fiber or overly hydroformed aluminum.
  • 3 0
 Clearly integration with motor and transmission should be here already with the Ebikes.
  • 2 0
 Size specific design is more of a cost thing than innovation, no? I think the Atherton approach is really cool and we may see similar things popping up from a big brand with a large dealer network if there relaly is demand. Like what Trek did with their Project One. But for chainstays, in my view there just isn't enough consensus on how long they should be to warrant mass adoption of size specific lengths. If a brand would notice that they sell out on the small sizes but the large customers look elsewhere they may change their designs. But chainstay length is as much personal preference as it is size specific.
  • 1 0
 @ak-77: I do love the atherton design ideas, you are definitaly correct there. .. I would love to see that option.. get a medium frame with longer chain stays or shorter depending on your preference, or torso length.. add a flip chip that can change your suspension progression with or without changing bike geo would be pretty neat. .. so yah maybe having rear end choices to go with a bike to have the shorter/longer seat/chain stays as an option is a small but effective progression in the bike industry. . hmmm. I like bikes.
  • 2 0
 @randomborvo: That's where the 3D printing with fully custom bikes will come in.
  • 1 0
 @IamZOSO: it already is...
  • 1 0
 None of those are significant, they are all tweaks. As far as bladders in the frame, isn't the in frame storage capable of that IF a bladder was manufactured to fit? Great idea that is already probably here.
  • 8 0
 My 2017 Nicolai g19 is still bang on point geometry wise compared to 2022 models. They got it right over 5 years ago whilst Santa Cruz give as 5mm longer and .5 degree slacker every few years.
  • 6 0
 Same with my G13. Bikes released in 2022 and for 2023 only just now catching up geometry wise with what I have been riding for 5 years already. First time in 20 years since I seriously got into mtb I have a bike that is still "up to date" after 5 years of using it. Smug as f*ck about it
  • 8 0
 The rate of progress doesn't need to slow; it just needs to happen in a way that makes new things backwards compatible. That was the major wrench in the shift to different whe sizes etc.
  • 7 0
 Geometry on enduro/trail bikes seems to be converging to a single style. Slack HTA, steep STA, rear centers that grow proportionally with sizes and lately, bigger stack heights. Essentially you can get the same flavour of bike from a number of different brands. They still have enough variety between them when it comes to suspension design, materials, warranty, method of purchase (DTC or through LBS), so people can choose based on their priorities/preferences.

This is mostly a good thing in my book, it means the out of the box thinking of some small manufacturers and tinkererers (Chris Porter for example) has finally become accepted and endorsed by mainstream brands. After decades of no advance in geometry, big steps forward were made in the short space of 5-6 years.

I'm also happy that many brands don't renew their models annually, most have 3 year circles. This makes sense in every possible way.

On innovation....only yesterday I watched a video of some guy testing Bosch's ABS system for e-bikes. While it certainly adds weight and complication, this thing seems to work. If it finds a way to regular bikes and becomes lighter/smaller it could be the next big innovation for MTB.

Gearboxes... I see the appeal but if I'm being honest, my 11sp GX derailleur is 6yrs old, has around 16.000km, and still works fine despite all the abuse it's been through. I can't ask for more than this really. Yes, I'd love a gearbox so I can carelessly blast through rockgardens, but not sure I'd like to pay for the complicated parts and gearbox specific frame. Transmission is good enough right now IMHO. Not so sure if 12sp was necessary though.

Tyres... yes, I'd love to see some innovation there, keeping the durability of 1200gr carcasses closer to 800-900gr. At the moment Schwalbe Supertrail is a good compromise, but if we could do better it would be very welcome.

Prices... my feeling is that right now they are NOT dictated by costs of developing, manufacturing and transporting product, but rather adjust to what people are willing to pay. And it seems that people have been happily buying 4000-4500€ bikes with NX during the last couple of years, so that's what we get. It sucks and I'm happy that I just build a new bike for a reasonable cost, but it means that my next bike will have to be bought used.
  • 5 0
 For the past few years Demand > Supply which means manufacturers could be lazy when introducing expensive innovative. Maybe we can expect the pace of innovation to improve again when they are fighting for our business rather than rushing to push out as many old tech bikes as possible.
  • 5 0
 The danger with forming this opinion is that it is typically guided by the current state of the art. When all of the low hanging fruit is gobbled up every one is wondering where to go next. Same thing has happened in the ski and snowboard industry. In theh 2000's things stagnated a while then suddenly shaped skis were then next quantum leap, then titanal and rubber, etc...

The next big MTB advancement maybe won't even be on the bike itself but maybe safety equipment or trail-related?
  • 6 1
 It is? I wouldn't count on that lasting long. Bike manufacturers will always come up with the next must-have feature / standard / buzz-word that you just have to have if you're going to call yourself a serious biker.

That said, a week ago I got chased up a local trail climb by some punk on a One Wheel. Rocks, roots, and a pretty steep grade, and I couldn't ditch that thing's headlight just a little ways behind me. At least he wasn't riding my ass, but there was no way in hell I was going to let that pass me.

Point is, once you start allowing motors and batteries you're going to get all kinds of new-fangled stuff out on the trails. Some of it may be bicycle-shaped like eBikes, but others not so much.
  • 6 0
 Watched two Specialized eBikes and a dirt bike riding MTB trails together. That slope sure got slippery...
  • 5 0
 Surely one of the key innovation opportunities is being overlooked here. If we could have the same range of quality bikes available in 10 years time as we have now, but with the vast majority of components recyclable for reuse in Mtb or other products, that is more important than than any design innovations to improve ride quality. Our planet needs our help and we as mtbers all benefit hugely from the amazing environments we have to ride in. We need to look after them if we want them to be available to us in the future.
  • 5 0
 Kazimir is broadly right, but I think this happened a few years ago.

I think people have overly long memories. Making a comparison between today and 25 years ago, obviously, you are going to see some improvements.

I'm not sure that if you compared cutting edge bikes 5 years ago to today you'd see, massive improvements. Some of the more conservative manufacturers like Giant and Trek have taken a while to adopt geometry, but they are always behind the curve.

Suspension technology isn't meaningfully better, its just tweaks.

Brakes, nothing ground breaking.

Tyres? Just different variations on a theme.

Drive trains, more bells and whistles, but significantly better?

The last innovation was dropper posts. Those have been mainstream for 10 years.

www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/may/11/tech-innovation-silicon-valley-juicero

I think mtbs are becoming like smartphones. Mature technology, differences are mostly fashion and branding.

Take Santa Cruz. Great bikes to be sure, but people are buying them in the way they buy an Audi, because they have great paint and cache. Still a VW, same as a Skoda, or Seat, just a bit posher.
  • 8 0
 my 26" DJ does look like a toy next to my enduro bike, but I love it haha
  • 13 0
 @mariomtblt - A DJ IS a toy - that's what's so damn fun about it.
  • 8 0
 Deals are starting to come back. Wish that demo days would too.
  • 10 6
 I change bikes yearly. There I said it. Or at the very least swap the frame out. I know alot will say that this is a very fortunate position to be and it probably is, but let me tell you 2 things. 1. No matter what frame you buy, they will have issues. I don't mean cracking (although some do) but more things that will eventually annoy you. Chainstay protection, poor cable routing and linkage exposure/ annoyance when cleaning. These are the real things that manufacturers should be perfecting instead of headtube routed cabling! ALL bikes should be invisi framed as standard. Thank you nukeproof for doing this. ALL bikes should have enough rubber to stop the chain slapping like hell of the frame and also being damaged from dropping one (ibis). 2. No matter what bike I have, I get bored of it after 10 months. Perhaps because it hasn't made me quicker. Or I compromised in climbing ability on false promises that it's the quickest descending bike ever with high pivot magic.... you know the reviews that suck you in? It's good that the whole thing appears to be slowing down thpugh. I await my carbon mullet bike to arrive. This one's going to be the quickest for sure.....
  • 5 0
 I still love my 2018 bike. I still smile when I take a photo of it. The bike doesn't make me faster, I do.
  • 9 0
 1) You'll find problems if you're looking for them, regardless of what your situation, product, etc.

2) It's more than possible to be happy and content with what you have. If you're bored with the bike you have after 10 months, that's a you problem, not a bike industry problem.
  • 1 0
 So I should just keep my 2019 stumpjumper that I just bought then, right?
  • 1 0
 New bikes are part of the fun. I'm glad I make enough to enjoy them regularly as well. Also, buying a new bike every year is still cheaper than a lot of substitute hobbies. I also ski, and that is way more expensive. So is fishing, hunting, wakeboarding, golf, etc. Season tickets for your favorite sports team would likely cost more. Having fun is expensive, as unfair as that is. Jogging might be cheaper, but that sounds pretty boring.
  • 1 0
 I think you need a Scott Spark.
  • 4 0
 Mountain Bike progression has always come in waves.. The last wave involved geometry..Every bike had to be lower, longer, and slacker.. Now, it seems that companies have found the numbers that they are comfortable with so, that may settle down for a while.. I think we will see big changes on the ebike side.. The electronics are progressing faster that the bikes.. Smaller, more powerful motors, lighter batteries.. That's going to be the hype for the next few years...
  • 1 0
 Someone’s going to make a lightweight eeb motor with built in shifting and then we’ll all be on them.
  • 6 0
 I've not owned a bike in years, my money goes on keyboards and alcohol, I've read a little about welding and filing cabinet construction and I'm ready to rumble.
  • 5 0
 Next big innovation in cycling: Industry standards that are actually agreed upon and then used wholesale by the industry - wowza!
  • 3 0
 Great write up, was thinking about this earlier today. I could see/hope to see more innovation out of components and accessories. Not sure how that will play out for frame companies but I think overall, the bike industry will continue to empty my pockets one way or another.
  • 7 0
 So development is plateauing and yet prices are skyrocketing.
  • 1 2
 But it’s a buyers market. That comment alone tells me MK hasn’t had to buy a bike in decades.
  • 1 0
 @ElDebarge: Not it isn't. Bikes cost more than ever. Any extant proliferation of choice is not what buyer's market means.
  • 3 0
 My first "real" mountain bike was a 1980's Diamond Back Ridgerunner. All told, there was little difference in geometry or functionality between that bike and the next several I owned throughout the 90's. All 26 inch wheel hardtails. Later ones had "suspension" forks than provided about as much travel as the curved steel fork on my trusty Ridgerunner. Component reliability certainly improved. Shifting and braking by the late 90's was much better. But you could have interchanged nearly any part among any of those bikes. Same BB dimensions, same dropouts, same headtubes.

Fast forward to today. We have several 2018+ bikes in the garage and I could hardly swap out parts across any of them. Threaded vs pressfit BB's. Different derailleur hangers. Real wheels spec'd with 3mm dish. Sound good to an engineer sitting in front of a CAD screen. Works like sh1t for the race mechanic trying to get someone back out riding quickly.

Yes the new bikes can roll over stuff that I would not have even looked at with 26" steely. But I think the new bikes could roll just as well using slightly more standardized designs.
  • 3 0
 The profound innovation, in a world where a 160mm bike isn’t uncommon, is freaking integration between dropper post and shock switch. It’s so simple.

When my post is up, firm up the shock damper (perhaps I can adjust to what degree). When the post is down, open shock. Being able to tailor it to my needs and have an override would be even better.

This quickly makes bikes better going downhill simply because frame designs and kinematics don’t have to account for climbing as much. It also makes bikes go uphill much better, even if it’s not an Uber boutique suspension like DentistIfinity 8000. “Best of Both Worlds” and it doesn’t require a bunch of BS Ai and sensors etc either. Fox should do this tomorrow since they own both dropper and shock.
  • 2 0
 Swinyard: Underated comment. A simple advancement that would be very effective imo
  • 3 0
 I hope for really simple (hence cheap!), durable and home-servicable suspension components. Does a shock really need to consist of 100+ individual parts (I'm guessing)?
That thing needs to compress and uncompress, but not too fast. There must be simpler designs that still work fine enough for the average Joe.
And after that: a simpler wide range drive train, that's protected from crashes - 10 gears or so should do!
Don't need innovation, I want simple things that I can maintain and afford!
  • 3 0
 "Personally, I think it'd be refreshing to have a company say, "We nailed it with the geometry on this bike, so we're leaving it alone for the foreseeable future... and adding an aluminum version into the lineup.""

HAHAHAHAHA.

"there's no rule that says the next model of a particular bike has to be longer and slacker than the one before"

Except there kinda is, since if it doesn't change, it gets panned right here on PB as being stale, or in need of "updating". See
www.pinkbike.com/news/18-bikes-that-could-see-an-update-in-2022.html & www.pinkbike.com/news/14-more-bikes-that-could-see-an-update-in-2022.html & www.pinkbike.com/news/13-bikes-that-could-see-an-update-in-2023.html

Just this year, y'all found 32 to 45 (not sure how many were repeated in the latest article) that "need updating", so yeah there kinda is a rule against not changing things, including geo. If there isn't a blatant "needs updating" written, doing things like pointing out that the geo was designed X years ago is implying that it's out of date.
  • 6 0
 We need a new axle standard.
  • 7 0
 Shhhhhh
  • 4 2
 1) Prices need to reflect a market saturated with similar options.
2) Suspension components need to be more durable. I'm looking right at you, Fox X2.
3) Derailleurs need to sail off into the sunset. The next big iteration of e-bike architecture should prioritize this.
  • 2 0
 What's the name of Canadian guy who constructed his own 'split-derailuer' that's hidden within swingarm member?
One young simple boy has publicly shown how terrribly ugly are nowadays derailuers. I didn't even go from 9sp to 11 or 12, but stayed at 10sp and used short-cage Saint because I can't stand the uglyness of those 'medium' or long cages.
You spent several thousands of your solaris for bike, where biggest sprocket and long derailuer form some weird chainway next to tiny 32t chainring.
.
My own prediction is specifically positioned clutch in high-pivot designs...
  • 2 0
 It is common that when asked "Will there be more change, or less change, in the next 10 years compared with the last 10yrs?" people generally feel there will be less change... And I don't think this belief will change much in the future. ha ha. With that said, I expect to see a lot of change in my bike over the next 10 years, just like we saw over the past 10 years. Electronics, manufacturing techniques, rider capabilities and designer creativity all seem to be evolving at great speed and surely this will result in surprising developments. Won't that be fun?
  • 4 0
 Kazimer looks just like Alex Honnold in the banner up top. At first glance I was like "are rock climbing folks evaluating mountain bike trends these days?".
  • 2 0
 Should be a great period coming up for value brands and third party component manufacturers. Standards not changing as quickly means longer return horizons, more willingness to invest in things like expensive tooling, etc, easier to compete with more resource-laden firms. Of course, other reasons may arise that hamper that ie drop in demand from a recession, etc.
  • 2 0
 Progress is certainly slowing, but I'm more curious which current trends are on their way out?

Example: after five years of running (and destroying a pile of) carbon rims, tire inserts, and lighter tires, this year I switched to alloy rims, DH tires, and standard tubeless on my trail bike. I've had fewer flats than in years past, and haven't had a single ride ended due to a catastrophic rim failure. As a bonus, my system weight is actually a bit lighter with the current setup. I'm back to the old ways, and am, for the time being, much happier with the results.

Anyone else had better luck ditching any of the current must-have tech? Is there anything that's been causing you headaches that you'd be happier without?
  • 3 0
 I personally went with some heavier duty carbon wheels because I was tired of replacing aluminum hoops every 3 months. The carbon hoops are roughly the same weight, but stronger. Gave up and added an insert to the Double Down tires do to pinch flats. I would consider DH casing though if that's not enough.
  • 2 0
 Ex511, Double Down, Cushcore does it for me.

I’m not opposed to carbon rims, but the financial case doesn’t add up. By the time the price difference was amortized I’d be on a bike where the wheels aren’t compatible with the frame and/or drivetrain.
  • 2 0
 "A slower pace of change means that riders with bikes that are a few years old won't feel like they're missing out on something special every time a new model is announced".
All Of This Has Happened Before And Will Happen Again.
Cue industry wide launch of 28.25inch wheels (no need to mullet as best of both worlds) and slightly better boost 151.5mm.
  • 2 0
 Geometry has more or less stabilized and brakes are hella good these days. What could be improved?

Insert dedicated tires and rims-some weight can come out of the wheel system if it’s designed around Cushcore or a similar product.

Droppers should be integrated into the seat tube. And please (PLEASE!) have only one or two standards for that.

Gearboxes promise a low maintenance, durable drivetrain but the shifting needs to improve. Weight also needs to come down and efficiency needs to go up.

That’s my wishlist.
  • 2 0
 this is a confluence of two trends. the first is that you can only go so much "lower, longer, slacker", so it is natural that geo changes are now just tweaks. the bigger trend is e-bikes are outselling acoustic bikes in many (most?) shops. this is where all the big brands' engineering resources are being redirected. motors and electronics are changing rapidly (hello, smaller motors), and require big updates to frames to keep up. I am glad I can keep my old Hightower and not feel like a dinosaur, because wanting the latest e-bike is going to keep me poor for some time.
  • 2 0
 We've had a UDH (kind of) that is a good idea but seems to be on its way out.

We need a universal freehub. We had one for a long time, only for a few manufacturers to chase more gears and drivetrains that were weaker and much less reliable.

Microsoft Advent X is proof that less is more. Nobody needs 12 years, just a wide range. 10 speed 11-48 has been great for me for the last few years and very reliable. And leagues better than the Eagle GX it replaced.

A UFH would allow manufacturers to chase better quality cassettes again instead of additional ratios that aren't needed. It would be much more sustainable too. Less hubs, free hubs and cassettes wasted when people wanted to change components.

Sadly I think the days of universal anything are long gone in the name of profit.
  • 2 0
 Great article. Agree with a lot of the comments around it being a great time to be a mountain biker. We should be taking this momentum and making sure the clubs, trail builders, bike shops etc. are all being supported. Make hay while the sun shines?
  • 2 0
 There's never been a better time to ride honestly... I'm constantly amazed by how well even entry level shit performs these days, and there's never been a better variety of bikes to suit what people are riding.
  • 17 16
 Santa Cruz whined to Pinkbike ad sales about getting hammered in the comments so Pinkbike writes some damage control. Same thing happened when everyone everyone pointed out Jack Moir was riding a much smaller bike than he "should" riding. Also remember it happening when a particular carbon bike was a boat anchor and we got ANOTHER weight doesn't matter article.
  • 2 0
 Doesn't Jack Moir race one size down, and rides the "correct" size when not racing?
  • 4 1
 Weight on the capable (IE enduro, all mtn, etc) bikes needs to come down. There’s room to keep them solid AND lighter.
  • 4 0
 I think the cycle goes like this: PB publishes article. Comment section whines about a specific aspect of the article. Tech editor sees those comments and disagrees. Tech editor writes opinion piece.
  • 26 1
 @OnTheRivet, sorry, I'm going to have to call bullshit on that conspiracy theory. I'd quit if someone told me I had to write an opinion article with views in it that weren't my own.
  • 1 0
 @ak-77: which seems like a natural cycle to me...
  • 12 11
 Here's one way from manufacturers to distinguish themselves, how about light carbon frames again. Not everybody is a 250lb lard ass who rides into trees. For those of us who can manage to stay upright and don't shovel food into our faces 24-7 how about something for us?
  • 13 0
 I am 145 pounds and appreciate that my expensive carbon frame won't shatter in wreck, thanks.
  • 3 0
 @JSTootell: likewise, I want my carbon frame to survive being smashed on rocks when I bail
  • 6 0
 Consider the company's perspective: It's advantageous to add weight and strength to reduce warranty costs and broken frame replacement down the road.

I don't know if this is true, but it seems reasonable.
  • 7 0
 Ok but I AM a 250lb lardarse who rides into trees and against all odds my GT Force is still rolling great.

Buy a Scott?
  • 3 1
 My 160lb buddy crashes WAY more than 250lb me, not sure where this guy is coming from.
  • 2 2
 i rather enjoy the heavier frames. if you want light weight, buy an XC bike. this is a downhill oriented dominated sport. Weight is often overlooked as an "upgrade" if i want a bike to smash DH and enduro a little more weight is a good thing...
  • 2 2
 Meh-weight should always be looked at as overall weight. W/KG is rider, on bike, kitted out.

Unless you’re under 10% bodyfat and your FTP is at or above 4w/kg saving a pound or two of frame weight just means-you’re still slow (full disclosure-I’m skinny enough but don’t put out that kind of power either).
  • 2 0
 @wyorider: I am around 10% BF and plenty over 4 w/kg. Still plenty slow too. Faster than average, but the last time I won anything was 2020 when no one showed up to the races. 2020 California Endurance Series Champion right here. That'll be my last lol
  • 2 0
 @JSTootell: The pros can output 6W/KG, so 4 is great IMO. How are you measuring?

BTW, that's the kind of race I can win too. lol
  • 1 0
 @njcbps: I have power meters (Vector 3, Stages, 4iiii) on most of my bikes, all of them are within the margin of error. Conveniently enough, the Garmin estimate, ramp tests, and the Kolie Moore style of threshold test all line up for me.

I have some friends that would absolutely destroy me when I was at my peak several years ago. But at least I get to say "Hi" to them at the starting line before they disappear, only to be fully changed by the time I finish.
  • 2 1
 E-bikes will continue to evolve. While on that topic, how about taking advantage of the existing mid-drive architecture and working on a gearbox to finally get rid of the rear derailleur?

Suspension will also continue to be refined. Maybe some more inertial valving magic that allows a firm platform on low speed compressions regardless of where the sag is set.

Tires could always be lighter, and while we're at it, since we are putting sealant and rim foam in there, how about just going to a tire mouse/low density foam similar to what's used on the Dakar Rally motorcycle? Good bye to any type of punctures or pinch flats until the out casing disintegrates.
  • 1 0
 I only have experience with 65 deg HTA on a modern bike (it was 71 deg before that O.O), and it seems fine. I like the mix between steering agility and handling ... but, would still be interested to spend considerable time on a 62 deg HTA bike for comparison.

Also not riding crazy technical stuff found on the North shore of Vancouver either. So maybe 62 HTA wouldn't make much difference.
  • 1 0
 maybe brands could start making more frame sizes now that they dont have to recoup rnd and frame mold costs every other year. there are a lot of bikes out there I would love to ride but the size gaps are too big for me to fit on either size. I would also like to see bikes more prioritized for descending i.e. slacker seat angles and shorter reaches
  • 3 0
 Somewhere right now a product manager is asking, "Why can't drive side be the left side?" and coming up with canned responses to the inevitable, "Why?"
  • 3 0
 @mooseindahouse:
Bmx has left hand drive options, for good reasons though.
  • 3 0
 @dirtyburger: Also a track bike from Felt.
  • 1 0
 It seems to me that manufacturers are working on tight details of integration, small details that make bikes sleaker and more integrated. Some is good, some like headset cable routing is shit.

Also I have to say there’s a tonne of innovation in emtbs. Maybe this is where the focus is now. Americans don’t want to hear it but in most of the world ebikes are new black, and they are getting so damn nice.
  • 1 0
 The next big thing is coming, it's bikes and parts with a single design for both e and non-e versions. As the market for non-e bikes becomes less and less attractive, component manufacturers will streamline their products to be compatible with both markets. Schwalbe for example seems to have gone all-in on this, if you look at the weights of their current tire lineup they seem to have discontinued lots of tires optimized for non-ebike use.
  • 1 0
 I've been riding for 30 years with a quiver of bikes. If the Stumpy Evo didn't eat rear shocks, not sure what more there is to innovate on that bike. With lifetime warrantied XC and DH wheelsets to swap out, adjustable geo, low frame weight, SWAT, and big S lifetime warranty/support, one bike really does it all unless you are riding at the fringe ends of the sport.
  • 3 0
 How many on here still running 10speed?

I’m running 11Speed GX cable I’ll never change & I’ll never stop riding my acoustic bike
  • 1 0
 For E bikes, surely the future of any Drivetrain improvement is a Gearbox and Belt drive, a flimsy 12 speed chain on a 40/50lb bike pushing out all that torque doesn't make sense, Orange released a Prototype recently but as always the Bike Industry will be painfully slow to run with the idea.
  • 1 0
 I think the chain would be fine if people would use their shifters
  • 2 0
 Best opinion article I've seen out of PB in a while.. looking forward to things slowing down and possibly getting cheaper. With a downturn in the economy inevitable, a buyer's market is surely imminent.
  • 1 0
 I don't see incentive to replacing my 2017 Transition Patrol Carbon. I lucked out by buying it used in 2019, and have replaced worn components as needed.

It's geometry is "middle of the road" by today's standards, and is at home on a huge range of trails. I'll keep riding it until the bike market regains its sanity (probably several years away).
  • 1 0
 In my opinion, riding bikes is partly such a fun experience, not just because of the getting fresh air and exercising part, but also because bikes are such joyfully simple and positively low-tech machines. You're not required to think much about actually operating your bikes while riding and can just enjoy the activity as such. Making things more high-tech means always running the risk of destroying that joy of simplicity.
  • 3 1
 Reliability is the thing we all want to see improved, and the thing that won't happen because it would lose bike companies money.
  • 3 0
 That shock flip chip on the Fuel EX is the EXACT same thing on my 1997 GT LTS-1.
  • 3 0
 Someone buy my decently priced 2019 so I can move upmarket to someone else's discounted 2022. Buyers market - buy buy buy.
  • 1 1
 i remeber when i bought a 2004 stinky delux for 2000 quid reduced from 4000. it was the last one in the shop brown tan colour sise small with the newbomber 888 forks and first of the dhx shocks . i took it chicksands and hucked every drop and jump thought i was john cowan.kona should bring back an updated stinky.
  • 1 0
 My Tallboy V4 that I bought in 2019 is still my favorite bike I've ridden, and it was nice to see that the recent release is pretty much the same thing! Enjoying the sweet spot that bikes have been in for the last 3-5 years.
  • 2 0
 radon is already on this wave... just launched a euro 3k carbon slide. really well specced with X01 and Fox factory forks upfront. good times
  • 2 0
 The last big evolutionary change was the introduction of the Evil Following. It proved that 29er geometry could actually work, and the rest is history
  • 3 0
 So maybe it's time to start tackling weight again, or does everyone like climbing on their 30lb trail bike?
  • 1 0
 *Looking around slowly raising hand. Crickets chirp in the background*
  • 2 0
 The only innovation we need at this point are cheaper bikes with better value for money. There’s not a single decent sweetspot bike below 3000€ right now.
  • 1 1
 it seems that rockshox and fox dont care about the riders.
Why is not posible to offer the 36 and the Lyrik with 170mm and 180mm anymore? if you like this travel as a light rider you have to buy a fork with 300gr. extra weight.
On flat hometrails this sucks, more weight means less fun.
thank you marketing Bullsh!t...
  • 1 0
 I'm amazed no one has made an Ebike but with a removable motor and battery so you could bolt on a cage or similar for a normal set of cranks, least you would get two bikes in one.
  • 3 0
 This article is going to seem real silly when we're riding our super double boost 32ers three years from now.
  • 2 0
 Me and one of my latest tech expensive bikes got smoked by a kid on a Mongoose this weekend that was creaking so loud I heard him five minutes before he flew past me.
  • 1 0
 Since i first rode mtbs in 2019 wow what a difference in tech and bikes, now for sure these new 2023 bikes are gonna be a great bike for a while no matter what brand you go with.
  • 1 0
 I'm quite enjoying all the posters on here with the "my bike from 201x did this or that" get back to me when you can compare your current bike to something from 198x or the 90's.
  • 1 0
 I think the next big innovation (already available) that will be a standard on all "higher end" bikes in the near future is ABS front brakes. The stopping power combined with the safety factor is a no brainer.
  • 3 2
 next will be wireless brakes followed by a trip to the ER and endless debt. .....nad 26 ain't dead yet mine will just not break
  • 5 6
 I wouldn't be so sure. High pivot bikes are a massive shift in tech. Beyond the different kinematics, they make gearbox bikes far less problematic from chain positioning standpoint.

And now that eBikes are so common, how long will it take before the eBike and non-eBike frames are identical and the non-electric version gets a gearbox or hybrid gearbox like the Classified 2-speed internally geared hub mounted either in the front triangle or the rear wheel instead? And once you start using eBike frames there's no need for wireless electronics, as the bikes are engineered to integrate the wires from the get go and come with the wires pre-installed.

There's also a ton of room for cheap single-speed, single-pivot steel park bikes that no company in the industry other than Starling seem interested in.

Once steering dampers get integrated into frames you'll likely see another wave of incompatibility on some level as well. There's probably a lot more stuff on the horizon that I'm missing, but these are what I see coming off the top of my head.
  • 7 1
 "There's also a ton of room for cheap single-speed, single-pivot steel park bikes that no company in the industry other than Starling seem interested in."

Is there though? With 170-180mm enduro/freeride bikes becoming both more capable and better pedaling, it seems like the dedicated dh/park market is getting smaller and smaller in general, much less for a specific niche that is particularly non-versatile.
  • 1 0
 @MarcusBrody: What's your solution to satisfying the spiked demand for bikes that provide high durability, entry level experience that doesn't cost a fortune to fix after you make some inevitable mistakes out on the hill? It seems like people want all these high end features but don't want to pay for them. What if we just accept that we can get 80% of what we want with some compromises? Isn't that the spirit of the post anyway? That marginal tech gains aren't worth the expense and complexity?

I'm also not saying that any of the innovations I've cited are necessarily good or wanted, just that they are highly likely and at least on paper achieve many of the desires that seem super important to people on PB.
  • 3 1
 @ShopMechanic: I'm sure there is a niche that would buy them, I just don't think it's very big. Bike price isn't really driven by drivetrain costs, which is the only place this bike is likely to save money. The Starling frame you reference goes for 2990 pounds (~ $3250) and that may be without a shock. I assume costs would come down if they were more popular, but you still have a bike that's not going to be that versatile while not being that cheap after the frame/suspension.

For most people, getting 80% of they want with some compromises is exactly why they buy a bike like a Canyon Torque, Propain Spindrift, Commencal Meta SX. You can have tons of fun with them in the bike park and hit some wild stuff, but also pedal them up things as well. That way, you don't need to buy multiple bikes and that saves more money than having very specific bikes filling niches, even if they're less expensive and that volume lets manufacturers lower prices a bit compared to the Starling.

I think the Starling is awesome, but to me that niche is basically only riders that only ride park, don't want to race, and value durability over other performance metrics.
  • 2 0
 @MarcusBrody: People have been saying this for a few years now, actually if anything I feel like I've seen a minor resurgence of the DH bike. A lot of the brands that gave up on DH already did it a few years ago (Yeti, Evil), now I see more enduro/trail brands developing DH bikes (RAAW, Forbidden) than giving up on them
  • 4 0
 @IsaacWislon82: I love RAAW and Forbidden, but they're both essentially small, enthusiast producers. Like Starling, they can cater to the small niche that is interested in such things.

I certainly think DH bikes will live on, but I don't think it's the lower end that will drive it.

Now, if someone manages to build one for $2500 all in, that would maybe open a new niche, but I think that right now anyone focusing on price is more likely to get a bike that covers more things than a single speed dh bike.
  • 1 0
 Great innovation would be an inteligent rubber material for tires way lighter and that changes the shape depending what you want... Just wait...
  • 1 0
 Unwastable and autorepair...
  • 5 5
 Buyer's Market Could Be On the Way

Have you read any of your own bike reviews? $10,000 bikes are the norm. Inflation is nearly double digits while wage rise is low single. No offense but wtf are you talking about?
  • 5 0
 I'm talking about the used bike market.
  • 5 0
 @mikekazimer: I actually see a “correction” similar to what we saw in the mid 1990’s.

2 years of abnormally high bike sales mean the market is saturated. Used bikes will flood the market. Shops will go from selling every bike they unbox within a day to sitting on inventory past when the bill is due.

Hopefully half the shops in NA don’t go under this time around.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: used and new go hand in hand. Look at the market for used cars and new cars. I wouldn’t think bikes are any different. It’s the same market. Agree to disagree but I don’t think in six months or a year we’re going to see a drastic drop in the price of used bikes. The ridiculous cost of new drives the demand for used.
  • 2 0
 All the bikes shops in my area are full of bikes. I spoke with a couple of the shop owners a while back and they said sales have plummeted. We will probably see big discounts to move all the old stock soon.
  • 3 0
 @mikekazimer: I agree. Check out PB buy/sell. This autumn starting to to see some good buys on lightly used bikes. And proscloset hasn't dropped their prices much but sitting on big inventory they'll have to move someday. Or maybe their business model is have a bunch of used bikes in the garage forever, which seems to be my business model
  • 1 0
 Good deal is relative. Good deal compared to buying new today? Maybe. Good deal to buying 2 years ago? Not even close. Try and tell me it’s a buyers market. ‍‍‍
  • 2 3
 Derailleurs need to be a thing of the past. If big budget companies put half as much funding into researching new alternatives we would have completely new drivetrain technology by now. What's the point of spending hundreds on a derailleur if it won't last more than 1 season due to being in literally the worst spot it on a bike. Unsprung mass to consider too. We need a reliable protected and isolated drivetrain alternative.
  • 1 0
 If there isn’t going to be much change in geo then prepare for a marketing onslaught as manufacturers will still want you to upgrade and sell more bikes
  • 2 0
 I wish to hell we could go back to 11 speed so we keep our "pipedream" of a drivetrain that never needs adjusting.
  • 1 0
 The next big leap will be the ability to store three water bottles inside the front triangle. Coupled with in frame storage, bags will fade into the oblivion
  • 2 0
 Looking forward to bike manufacturers NOT adding a 25% price increase every year for the exact same product with no changes.
  • 2 0
 The less change there is year over year, the more inclined I would be to buy new parts!
  • 1 0
 Sram already have 3 years worth of small changes that aren't compatible with the previous gen planned up ahead. Whta a time to be alive
  • 2 4
 Funny thing is, that change in wheel sizes,putting a bigger wheel up front, is what made designer go slacker head angle
Plus going steeper on seat angle was more about fitting longer travel on bigger wheels
But 26" bikes still exelerate faster & are lighter!
  • 1 0
 I agree that geometry eventually changed because of use of larger wheel sizes, however, so did the type of trails most riders experience. I’m not just talking about the adoption of flow trails, because larger wheels roll over smaller obstacles that 26ers get hung up on. As a result, slower trails that prioritized line choice became too easy for experienced riders so trail builders looked to new designs to make their new trails fun on new bikes. This led to faster trails with bigger jumps and drops, which exposed the weakness in early 29ers geometry.
  • 1 0
 If you’re getting the hole shot, a 20” wheel is the way to go. That’s why elite BMX racers are still on little wheels.

For everything else, 29 is faster. That’s why all the XC racers are on them.

I’m not a mullet fanboi, but I see the place for those too….
  • 1 1
 @wyorider: So then 32 would be even faster, does that sound very fun though?
  • 13 11
 Sure wish fox would ditch the orange...cringe.
  • 8 8
 Your disdain for a color is...cringe.
  • 3 0
 I agree. At least offer more options. But i guess people buy it, no matter how badly it clashes with the rest of the bike
  • 3 0
 You see it. It’s doing its job.

Not everyone is so drab in their preferences.
  • 1 0
 Que the announcement for the even longer, lower and slacker Grim Donut in 3...2...1...
  • 2 0
 Been hearing this since 1994 when I got my first MTB.
  • 2 0
 I want all MTBs to be super boost mullets!!! I'll show myself out...
  • 1 0
 it’s honestly impressive how much abuse modern day bikes can go through without blowing up mid-ride.
  • 1 0
 we will see huge development of the ebikes in next 5 years, everybody shifting towards
  • 2 1
 Im paying attention to SRAMs UDH. That intrigues me,
  • 13 0
 Finally, we've entered the age of intriguing derailleur hangers. Huzzah.
  • 2 3
 Airless tires. With all the bulky inserts that let people ride home (carefully) on a flat, we're 80% of the way there. Maybe. Hopefully. Soon would be good.
  • 2 0
 Doubt it. Tires provide a huge suspension and traction benefit that needs to be both light and easily adjustable -- neither of which an airless tire would accomplish.
  • 2 0
 But air gives you adjustability. My xc bike sees about 10 psi difference depending on how im using it that day. My trail bike only sees +/-2 or 3psi but I wouldn't want to lose that either.
  • 2 0
 @peterman1234: Hear me out: Coil sprung tires, less stiction with just a little weight penalty.
  • 1 0
 Airless-no. Insert optimized tires and rims, yes please. There’s weight (looking at you apex sidewall inserts) that could come out of even a DH tire if it’s only designed to run with an insert.
  • 3 3
 That's why I ride the Enduro, cause I'm still on the best bike out there 3 years running.
  • 1 1
 I’d like to see more refinement/development of SS full suspension trails bikes.
  • 1 0
 I just got back from a 3 hour ride on my rigid steel ss
  • 1 0
 Damn it feels good to be a gangster.
  • 1 0
 … and all was well until someone whispered 32” wheels .
  • 1 0
 High pivot hardtails should be the next big thing
  • 3 4
 You can tell that you’ve become old, when you start wishing things would slow down and not change much anymore…
  • 2 3
 innovation plateau’d over a decade ago, companies are just forced to acknowledge it now.
  • 1 0
 here's what I think.
  • 1 0
 amen.
  • 1 3
 More alloy bikes. Built not in Taiwan.
  • 3 0
 Nothing wrong with Taiwan. They do really good work out there. You can find tons of bikes not built there if you're willing to pay for it.
  • 2 0
 @onemanarmy: Never really understood the snobbishness about things being made in the far east. With literally entrust our lives to products made in the far east on a daily basis.
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