Dario DiGiulio's 2024 Predictions

Dec 4, 2023 at 13:53
by Dario DiGiulio  
Boutique Metal Bikes Will Continue to Grow in Popularity and Refinement

Not exactly a big reach on this one, and definitely tinted by some personal bias, but I do think this is a trend worth highlighting. After the initial steel days at the beginning of our sport, there have been a few phases of carbon and aluminum bikes representing the "high-end" of mountain biking. Though carbon has tended to win out in the long run, I think certain developments in CNC milling and additive manufacturing are giving aluminum and steel bikes a huge leg up in their repeatability, elegance, and economy of scale. Not to mention the fact that designers have fully wrapped their heads around the ways of the metal, achieving excellent stiffness and ride feel qualities when it's designed for.

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Frameworks Trail Bike.
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Reeb Steezl.

While the boutique certainly draws attention and will grow within the market, it's the more budget-minded alloy bikes like the Stumpjumper Evo Alloy, Jeffsy Core 2, and many more that are leading the vanguard here. I only add that to mitigate some of the mysticism here, as in the end many bikes are quite stellar these days - regardless of frame material. Perhaps the braver prediction is saying we'll see some novel frame material emerge from the ether, but with sintered titanium lugs, foundry-cast aluminum, and even wood out there, that might not even be too far fetched.

Chassis Stiffness Add-Ons Become More Common

This isn't necessarily one that I'm rooting for - we already have enough things to mess with on our complicated toys - but I do think a lot of frame designs allow for some sort of bolt-in brace modifications. There are two recent takes on this that come to mind, from Commencal and Pole. Commencal's design was a simple thick or thin bolt-in seatstay brace, featured on the V5 Supreme DH bike. Pole took things a bit more internal, opting to tune stiffness via keyed axles in the frame's linkage. This is still fairly new as an aftermarket option, though it's worth noting that development mules have been utilizing adaptable stiffness for some time now, such as the case with this Norco prototype.

As to whether we need this level of finesse on the consumer end of things is up for debate, but I imagine there will be a few takes on the idea in the coming solar cycle. I'll propose something along these lines in a poll soon, as I'm curious what that narrow cross-section of the market thinks about the potential cost-benefit of adding this kind of adjustment to a frame.

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Quick swap seems easy enough.
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Slightly less quick on this front.

Shimano Goes Wireless

There's plenty of evidence to support this, though none of it specifically points to 2024 being the year of actualization. I just figure the other big drivetrain manufacturer is approaching completion on what feels like a guaranteed product at this point. It's not as if they've gone years without any sort of update, it's just their 12-speed groups that have remain unchanged. With the release of the Cues system, Linkglide, and the e-bike only Di2 systems, the Japanese firm has remained plenty busy over the past few years. That said I do really want to see what they may or may not be working on.

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Not just wireless, but direct-mount as well.
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In theory the increased tolerance control could make Shimano's already excellent Hyperglide+ even better. TransmissionGlide+, if you will.

Over the past decade or so, Shimano has proved just how patient they are with bringing product to market, namely in the release of their 12-speed group years after competitors had made a splash. I won't pretend to understand the granular economics behind that, but I'd assume there was some careful thought in addition to the slower pace of progress. As a century-old company, I think their relationship to short-term market changes is more measured; I'd be lying if I weren't chomping at the bit myself, but I'm about a quarter their age, so call it the folly of youth.




Author Info:
dariodigiulio avatar

Member since Dec 25, 2016
169 articles

170 Comments
  • 112 2
 I’ve never owned a carbon frame, and not saying I never will, but raw aluminum excites me in ways carbon never will.
  • 22 0
 I don’t know if I’d put it in those same terms, but I just replaced a carbon frame with a raw aluminum. I’m not saying I’ll never go back to carbon, but the new bike is beautiful.
  • 22 8
 I think Aluminum is a better ride quality than Carbon. I'm probably in the minority here, but I even prefer aluminum on a DJ over steel.
  • 15 0
 @oxide: I prefer a super stiff aluminum frame on the pumps tracks and the admittingly small dirt jumps I do, but a small tubed steel frame definitely reduces the bite of a rough landing and on concrete.
  • 5 5
 @oxide: yeah in my experience, aluminum DJs feel better in every way
  • 21 17
 Man, I'm so over carbon frames at this point.

The funny and somewhat ridiculous thing is that (from a no-nonsense engineering perspective) there are practically no tangible real-life advantages to carbon over aluminium as a mtb frame material.

The (mainstream) bike industry at this point pretty much exclusively uses carbon as a buzzword-driven marketing strategy, in an effort to gaslight consumers into paying more for their bike. Because for some reason that goes beyond the limits of my understanding, people are willing to pay a lot more as soon as they read the word "carbon".
  • 16 4
 After breaking and warrantying (thanks Trek) two aluminum frames with pretty typical riding -- I'm just shy of Clydesdale weight -- I've finally given in to the allure of a carbon frame and the promised resilience of the material. I hope my "upgrade" pans out, but if not, I'll just have another new Trek in a few years...
  • 28 8
 After seeing a friend do a pretty good fix of his broken carbon frame using DIY youtube tutorials, my opinion of carbon somehow being less sustainable than aluminum or steel is out the window. Anyone can fix a carbon frame. Not so with aluminum/steel.
  • 28 2
 The main advantage of carbon over aluminium is that carbon is never crooked. Badly welded AL frames ruin all the fun and arguing about it with the manufacturer is such a pain in the ass.
  • 10 2
 Id happily own more alloy bikes, if they mostly wernt rubbish quality.
  • 1 1
 I completely agree on the lust factor of metal. I had a carbon bike once and I'll never go back.
  • 5 5
 @KondziuNS: That's not really true though. There's still plenty of room for manufactuing tolerance to sneak in with carbon frames. I've seen 3d-scanned carbon frames from supposed "high-end" brands that weren't fully straight and in plane.
  • 2 0
 I would say the same except for steel
  • 15 10
 @jjg7000: You've broken two Trek frames, and you're saying that if you break another Trek frame, you'll STILL buy a Trek? That's some blind and dumb brand loyalty if I've ever seen it.
  • 6 1
 @mkul7r4: Reminds me of Holden Fans/owners from Australia, Blind as bats.
  • 6 2
 @Muscovir: How would that happen though, the mold must've been bust in the first place. Aluminium is completely random on the other hand, if the welder has a good day then the frames will be straight, if he doesn't then well, bad luck. There is a reason SC is not producing aluminium full sus frames anymore.
  • 2 0
 @KondziuNS: SC Is not doing alloy frames due to the outright Cost being terrible as the first Reason, second is the quality.
Carbon Frames are very easily repeatable and a Mold Lasts a very long time.
  • 2 0
 Boutique aluminum brands have been killing it. People just had to go through their uber brand carbon frame phase to fully appreciate it.
  • 13 1
 @Muscovir: carbon is better regarding fatigue if engineered right, that's quiet an advantage actually
  • 33 2
 Look, everyone. Aluminum frames can break, carbon frames can break. Aluminum frames can have workmanship flaws, so can carbon frames. Conversely, both can be wonderfully made and last a lifetime. Each have good and bad ride qualities. Pick your poison and try not to be a dick about it.
  • 4 0
 @HeatedRotor: yeah I had the "pleasure" of owning a new aluminium Nomad, that thing was atrocious, no part of the frame was welded straight. Rear brake not in the right plane. Suspension was difficult to assemble as it just didn't fit properly. The bike munched two derailleurs in two weeks, both were supposedly my skill issue according to the dealer even though I've never ever had a derailleur go into the spokes on any other bike in 15 years of riding. It took me 6 months of arguing and not riding to get a new swingarm which didn't really fix anything. I sold the bike, the new owner broke two swingarms in a year and eventually got a new carbon frame as replacement. Not sure who the maker of these frames was but they shouldn't have seen the market.
  • 1 0
 @KondziuNS: Im sure I Seen giant made them but not 100% on that, The way it(alloy SC) was Welded looked very giant. Merida Use a different Style.
Could be A&J but They often Smooth their welds.
  • 8 0
 @mkul7r4: I think he's saying he'll be on the warranty train and another warranty frame will be coming his way. Unless you eat that cost and buy yourself a new frame/bike, that's the vicious cycle of poor engineering and warranty.
  • 1 0
 Most of these bikes would be better off with a steel front triangle for strength and torsional compliance, which translates to off-camber grip. Cotic, Reeb, Frameworks Archibald, Chromag have figured that out. Aluminum can be great when done right (RAAW) but prone to misalignment when done poorly (many of the big brand cheaper aluminum frames).
  • 1 0
 All about flex now days...
  • 2 0
 Agreed !! I have ZERO desire to own a carbon MTB.
  • 2 0
 @oxide: I've had carbon bikes all my life. Every time I try my friends' bikes on the same suspension settings, it feels much smoother and less harsh. It's not surprising, but just throwing that out there.
  • 2 0
 Never owned a carbon frame and as a steel frame does the job just fine for me, I don't see myself shell out for a carbon variation. But that's just it, the cost. If I'd like the way a Robotbike/Atherton bike rides and could afford it, the fact that it is carbon wouldn't hold me back. I don't see the lugs break (though from what I understand they've been critically designed for the rider weight and use) so if the concept means that they can replace a broken tube for a fresh one, it would seem like a sensible investment. Not sure whether it works like that as what I've seen is they're using some stinky pink 2-component 3M glue so you probably can't release it. Replacing one front triangle tube probably implies replacing all of them at once. Yet still, if these are made by filament winding then it may still be cheaper to do than build the entire frame out of tiny patches of prepreg.

TL;DR: I happily ride metal frames, see no reason for me to shift to carbon at this point but understand how they could be interesting.
  • 2 4
 @bashhard: Regardless of the frame material, fatigue isn't really a factor worth considering when it comes to mtb frames (except for those that have their weight reduced to within an inch of their life).

Modern frames are typically fatigue tested to 150.000 - 200.000 load cycles without showing significant decrease in stiffness or strength. In real world terms that translates roughly to 10 full-gas laps of a world cup dh track, every single day, for over 5 years straight. If you don't plan to keep the same frame for like 20 years, you simply do not need to worry about fatigue.
  • 4 1
 @Muscovir: I’ve broken every aluminum frame I’ve owned due to fatigue. Within 5 yrs on everyone one.
  • 1 0
 Any frame can break regardless of material, but from a cosmetic point of view, raw alu offers great peace of mind.
  • 5 0
 @Muscovir: I am not sure whether my frame was tested to that extent or whether the test didn't match the real frame life. All I know is that I and also a few of my friends have cracked aluminium frames after about 5 years of use without any catastrophic overload scenarios but only through normal riding in the bike's intended use case. And that is simply fatigue. Might be a design error by not using a big enough safety factor to take fatigue into account, but I am pretty sure a carbon frame would not have cracked after these years.
  • 4 0
 @TheR: don’t be so rational. This is the PB comments section.
  • 1 1
 @TheR: This is really the only attitude to go along with pretty well every opposing mtb ideology,
Well said, and appreciated.

Side note, I have the good fortune of having a raw alu bike hanging next to my carbon bike....#blessed
  • 2 3
 Carbon is overpriced and overrated. Metal bikes ftw
  • 4 1
 @zyoungson: Overpriced yes, but overrated? no.
Alloy bikes are also over priced... but here we are.
  • 2 1
 I went to Scotland once, I ain't never goin' back!
  • 1 0
 @Sardine-Vladu: agree - I was a steel is real guy until I borrowed an alu DJ.

Steel is real heavy and frankly the flex you get out of it isn’t worth the weight.
  • 3 0
 @iammarkstewart: exactly. I'm just taking advantage of their lifetime frame warranty and getting brand new frames free. It's hard not to be loyal to that.
  • 1 0
 @jjg7000: Does a warranty replacement come with fresh warranty too?
  • 1 0
 @vinay: Yes! They make it impossible to pass up.
  • 2 0
 @KondziuNS:
I actually had a crooked carbon frame. Old school Tallboy. Bought it new but it was a super cheap end of year deal.
The rear triangle didn’t line up with the lower linkage. I was able to add a thin shim, and it was better.
But every time I let go of the bars, it would pull left.
Santa Cruz replaced the frame for a (different) linkage pivot bolt that bent in the insert.
Free frame, 6 years later!
  • 2 0
 Now watch the price of alu mtbs surge past carbon bikes in 5, 4, 3, 2,…
  • 2 0
 @HeatedRotor: I think SC stopped doing alu frames cause that represented most warranties (that are eventually replaced with carbon frames) so financially lifetime warranties on alu frames was costing them
  • 1 0
 @Untgrad: Yeah that was exactly the issue on the AL Nomad I had, the rear triangle did not line up with the lower linkage. Bike felt like it was pulling to one side slightly with hands off the bars, rear brake did not bite properly and heavy braking would make this weird resonating sound, it was actually difficult to lock the rear wheel at speed. I also bought it as a "end of the color line" deal in 2019, maybe these SC deals are just selling off subpar quality bikes?
The bike overall did not feel right to ride but I couldn't convince the dealer that something was wrong with it for months, only after finding an LBS with some good quality control tools and measuring the frame up and getting their opinion, messaging SC directly I was given a new swingarm, which well did not fix the problem, the rear triangle was still crooked in the linkage.

I wonder what is the manufacturing flaw which can make a carbon frame crooked, with alu it's easy as it's all up to the welder to line up the bits and pieces properly in the welding jig, I'd imagine with carbon the risk is a lot lower becuase the molding process should be pretty consistent. Uneven layup of fibers which causes one side of the frame to "shrink" more maybe?
  • 2 0
 @vinay: I can't imagine how a new frame replacing a broken frame also wouldn't come with it's own warranty without invoking customer revolt and/or a legal remedy. If a customer wanted to pursue it.
  • 2 0
 @KondziuNS:
Wow that sounds so similar! Actually, your’s was worse.
I used to say I got a “second” frame- SC throws them in another bin for misfit toys, but not the one labeled “trash”.
My guess is that the jig is what it is, and it’s the result of human error through inconsistent layup. I’ve seen cutaways of some carbon frames that were plain ugly inside of that hard candy exterior! So once out of the jig..
I don’t believe my frame failure was related to the misalignment. The pivot bolt (axle) that bent in the frame seemed to be a common problem, and lucky for me, my (2015) Tallboy was old enough that SC didn’t have any more rear triangles lying around as a replacement!
I wrote a professional email to SC and they said f*#% it, send him a new carbon cc frame for free!
I used to wonder how much force an insert bonded into carbon could take. Not anymore! I broke every screw extractor I used to get that bent chunk of axle out of that thing, and it never budged..! Easily over 90FtLbs..

So how do I feel about carbon frames? My new Tallboy runs a Trust Message fork (sorry, it got weird..) that is the king of torsional stiffness! Like a DH bike, said Levy..
I found myself flying almost flat through the air one day when I over cooked a berm transition, and was headed to plant myself into the “wall” coming up fast.
The bike stuck, and shot me out of there, better than my last MX race bike could have!
That, plus the SC warranty, I’ll stay on carbon frames for now.
  • 1 0
 @vinay:
My SC Tallboy did.
  • 1 0
 @vinay:
I was all about dumping my Tallboy replacement frame/bike for something metal after the build. But that moment in that asphalt(!) berm trail made me realize I still have a racer’s mentality, and the trade off for more compliance may not be for me.
This is referring to the novel long post I wrote about 3 mins ago.
  • 1 0
 @KondziuNS: SC currently has multiple bikes produced with Aluminum frames including the Hightower and Tallboy. www.santacruzbicycles.com/en-US/bikes/hightower-2?color=Matte%20Melon&media=0
  • 2 0
 @Muscovir: This would be true if there was no variation in weld quality or anything like that. I had a frame start cracking at a weld after about 2 years. The warranty replacement cracked in the same spot in less than a year.
  • 2 0
 @Ultragoat: I'll be honest with you I did not know that, there is not a single full sus bike offered with an aluminium frame in the EU version of the store! www.santacruzbicycles.com/en-EU/bikes/hightower#bike-builder
  • 2 0
 @KondziuNS: I even needed to swtich my VPN to the USA for me to not get an error message. Makes me wonder now whether there still is a place in the world where they sell the (proper) Heckler, Bullit, Bantam and Superlight.
  • 1 0
 @KondziuNS: Sometimes you have to pick the color of the Alloy build or it won't show up in the bike builder option!
  • 1 0
 @Ultragoat: Still no alloy hightowers in the EU version of the store. Interesting move by SC
  • 58 0
 Metal Bikes! External cable routing! Press-in headsets! Cable-actuation! Standards that are... standard!
Bring back the stuff we can quickly fix, with whatevers laying around, and go ride!
Way too much time and money lost to warranty claims this year, no sympathy for the industry pushing sh*t we never asked for.
  • 13 0
 Sounds like the RAAW Madonna could be the bike for you.
  • 26 0
 External routing everywhere except the dropper, that's the way to go.
  • 3 0
 Just swapped over from a Santa Cruz hightower to a Reeb Sqweeb with all of the things you mentioned and I freaking love it so far. Added a coil on the back cuz I got tired of screwing with the X2 on my last bike. Rides like a dream and the maintenance is a breeze.
  • 9 1
 I hear what you're saying. But, in all industries, the way we end up with awesome products is through companies offering us products we didn't ask for. No one asked for the internet, yet here we are. I didn't ask for my earbuds to be wireless, but boy I sure am glad Apple came out with Airpods. Innovation often comes out of left field and that's part of the beauty behind it. "One will never solve a problem with the same level of consciousness which created it in the first place" (Or something like that) - Albert Einstein
  • 4 0
 @Chondog94: Fair enough. But let's face it, bike technology has pretty much plateaued for most of us. For a while there, geometry & components were evolving quickly enough that a new bike every 1-2yrs made sense. But now, the incremental improvements are like downtube snackboxes, wireless shifting, headset cable routing & super boost- all at a premium cost.
The one exception is really eBikes, evolution is happening.
  • 3 1
 @Emailsucks98: totally agree. My first real mountain bike was a fully rigid fisher. Then rockshox came into existence and I slapped one of those on. Total game changer. I also added a rite hite spring (the OG dropper post). Then I went to full suspension with a cannondale super v900. Absolutely amazing. Then came Disc brakes, 1x drivetrains and real dropper posts. Incredible stuff.

But what’s left? Probably the only innovation that would be nice to have is in-frame storage..but I’ve purchased 5 bikes without storage since those became mainstream, so I clearly don’t care about it too much. My latest bike is a Kona honzo ST. Hardtail, no storage, no internal cable routing, back to basics.
  • 2 0
 Threaded BB's seem to be on their way back....
  • 2 0
 @Emailsucks98: I agree with you there. I’m betting the plateau is temporary though and at some point in the next five years or so, there will be some technology to surface that would make a substantial difference. If not, that’s fine- because most bikes are pretty killer these days.
  • 2 0
 @tonestar: they never left.
  • 1 0
 @corerider: True, but it seems a lot of the new carbon frames are going back to them as well. Which if you like carbon is a good thing. I, myself am a luddite, aluminum everything still.
  • 1 0
 @OCSunDevil: but how does it pedal up? There are still some of us who enjoys getting up the mountain unassisted by gondola or chairlifts Big Grin
  • 1 0
 @boopiejones:
I have a rational for my 2021 Tallboy w/o in frame storage.
The lower water cage option.. I can’t reach it from the saddle, so that means the bottle becomes storage for things like my windbreaker jacket, which would not fit in frame storage anyway.
Plus it becomes a skid plate for my precious carbon frame.
I went flipping down a canyon on some other bike, and destroyed the under frame cage and bottle, but the frame was untouched.
That being said, my next bike will have both!
  • 1 0
 @valrock: LOL, it pedals up just fine. First ride was a little over 3K feet of elevation gain on my thanksgiving day ride. Wish I had some of these gondolas and chairlifts that you speak of Smile
  • 1 0
 @OCSunDevil: so how much does it weight?
  • 33 1
 Just bought a Reeb sst frame. Man what a bike. My first steel bike but I don’t buy carbon frames anymore.
  • 15 5
 So you "just" bought a steel bike and now you "don't buy carbon frames anymore"?
  • 4 0
 @mkul7r4: Kinda left out thinking he could have been on a dozen aluminum frames after ditching carbon.
  • 10 1
 @mkul7r4: nah silly my last bikes were aluminum, this is my first steel bike though. Snapped a carbon Kona operator frame and haven’t bought another carbon bike since. Honestly went with Reeb for more reasons than the material though. I wanted to support a real brand and not some corporate idea of what a cool brand used to be. Awesome folks to deal with and a really special bike.
  • 4 1
 @Struggleteam: sorry just giving ya a hard time. The SST is a sick frame, is your build on Vital or anything? I built a Cotic FlareMax in summer and it's also incredible.
  • 1 0
 @mkul7r4: nice man. I was looking at cotic hard. My build isn’t posted but I can shoot you some pics. Just dm me. Came together really nicely. Put as many domestically made parts on it as I could.
  • 2 0
 I wanted a Reeb but the prices seemed a bit steep for a non custom bike.. Ended up with a Ferrum LVN160 at about 1/3 the price and hoooooo buddy. I'm loving it so far and the owner is super cool/helpful.
  • 2 0
 @Takaya94: those frames look sick. On sale for $1k right now too
  • 1 0
 @mkul7r4: They ride super well too! I think its just the LVN 160 V1 thats on that deep of a sale right now, which is the one I have, but the owner of Ferrum told me they'll make links to buy at cost for current owners. That way I can just change that later and have the updated shock sizing. I think the shock sizing is the only difference between V1 and the new V2.

Side note, you can also score a Jade X with a Sprindex coil to go with the frame for just another $265 which is super cheap as well.
  • 25 0
 Will there come a time where wireless drivetrain is the only option? Please no... I'm probably being stubborn but just don't want to charge my bike in order to be able to ride it.. ever
  • 5 0
 Mechanical shifting will still stick around for a long long time. Getting a bike that accepts mechanical shifting could be a different story. S-Works frames are already going to wireless only compatibility.
  • 5 0
 They used to say that about manual transmission in supercars and sports cars, but can you buy one now without paddles behind the wheel? ... rare is an understatement.

At the end of the day, you might not have a choice, unless you started stockpiling parts last year.
  • 4 3
 @Jonesey23: Manual cars are becoming more popular in the enthusiast area. People who drive boring people movers want auto or electric (same thing to me), enthusiasts want to drive.

Mechanical shifting will be around forever. But the lack of Dura Ace or Red in a mechanical option is telling. I just bought a roadie with Dura Ace, and that's the worst thing about it. I miss mechanical shifting.
  • 5 1
 @needmoregears: There's always stick on cable guides.
  • 2 0
 @JSTootell: update that to the lack of Ultegra mechanical options when looking at the latest generation. 105 might be the last mechanical 12 speed road option and I bet it'll only stay that way for a generation or two.
  • 2 0
 I was in the same boat as you until I got a really good deal on a gravel bike with AXS this summer. I thought I'd just flip the bike, but man, that electronic shifting is nice and ridiculously easy to setup and adjust. An extra AXS battery was $35 and I just leave one on the charger. It takes 10 seconds to swap out. Never sold the bike. I don't want to go back now.
  • 1 0
 tmurt13 : Only if Shimano and Sram decide that YOU and I should not be allowed the enjoyment of riding a bike anymore.
  • 2 0
 Tried XT LinkGlide after being an AXS junkie for years. Made me a full on convert back to mechanical shifting. Solid, dialed, and 1/3 the cost.
  • 2 0
 @Jonesey23: Yeah of course you can buy sport cars with a manual. The MX5, Mustang, BRZ/GT86, Supra, 400Z, 718 all come with manuals. Plus most hot hatches do as well.
  • 32 5
 Shimano: not first, but best
  • 8 0
 SRAM can continue to "innovate" and I'll continue to run Shimano groups that just work.
  • 14 2
 Definitely can confirm that some very cool new full-suspension models coming for 2024 in aluminum and steel.

Shimano going direct mount will be interesting since they will have to force (presumably) a new dropout standard on the industry where as Sram Trojan Horse'd that UDH onto everyone.
  • 9 0
 Did SRAM make UDH open source, then patent their derailleurs to use UDH? If so, wellf*ckingplayed, SRAM.
  • 3 0
 @MTBrent: The Transmissions RDs don't use UDH, they basically replace it since they direct mount to the same spot the UDH goes. I'm sure Shimano could do a direct mount to the same spot but would have to tackle it differently than the Transmission RD.
  • 2 0
 @MTBrent: Direct mount buys a little more precision over UDH derailleur hangers and classic derailleurs mounted to them via M10 bolts. With that setup, DI2 already does pretty darn well on the precision front (their derailleurs have always been more tolerant of small misalignments). There's a lot that Shimano could do with beefed up UDH hangers and how they mount their derailleur to them without strictly speaking going direct mount. So I don't think that'll be an insurmountable hurdle if they decided they want to go that route.
  • 4 0
 The real Trojan horse maneuver is moving the cassette outboard by 3mm, putting HG and MS outside of the walled garden.
  • 4 0
 @DirtBagTim: And that 3mm move opens up juuuust enough room for a 13th gear for when they need someone else to hype up
  • 2 0
 @MTBrent: Technically, Transmission doesn't use UDH. It just conforms to the UDH standard (which is open source).
  • 2 1
 What new steel models are coming? Since getting a Cotic FlareMax and a Nordest Sardinha 2 this year I have developed a serious steel fetish. Just want to make sure that I'm not missing anything else coming out!
  • 1 0
 @Muscovir: "Requires" UHD
  • 1 0
 @ShreddinThePig: I'm holding out for 13-spd for a gravel/all-road bike...
  • 1 0
 @mkul7r4: Devlin Jester.
  • 2 1
 The UDH was never a Trojan Horse. They always stated they were working towards a new derailleur interface which is the direct mount. The UDH was used as a stepping stone for them and also as a nod to the fact they aren't the only player in the drivetrain game. It meant if frame companies were smart they would have been designing their frames to have the 20mm diameter hole right from the start of the introduction of the UDH and the direct mount specification. Shimano will be designing their derailleur to use that same frame end secification but will package it to look different for branding etc. I've been using the UDH and frame specification on my frames for two years now. From an engineering and frame building aspect it makes ahuge amount of sense.
  • 11 0
 I haven’t thought much about this frame brace idea before, but it makes a certain level of sense. I generally ride a medium sized bike, race enduro, and I’m about 190 pounds. I’ve definitely had issues with flex on the rear ends of bikes, sometimes causing the wheel/tire to hit the chainstay or chainguide under hard cornering or pedalling. I’m guessing most people on the same sized bike as me probably don’t weigh as much and create as much flex through the rear end, so having a brace that allows the bike to suit riders across the weight/ spectrum could be a nice advancement. That said, I have no idea how much of a difference it would make as I’ve never tried two different rear ends on the same bike…
  • 8 0
 That‘s honestly just such a nice comment that lays out how you feel while acknowledging what you don‘t know. Thank you for that, I hope you‘re doing well Smile
  • 2 0
 @lejake: Thanks! Hope you're well too!
  • 14 0
 My prediction for 2024 is that I am not able to afford any of the products reviewed here.
  • 3 2
 I was just pondering earlier how sucky it's gotta be, being young getting into the sport without much money to spend. I remember when spending $2500 felt like an arm and a leg to give up for bikes back in 08. The bikes are so good now with so many choices but the mid level bikes and components are outrageously expensive for almost everyone, regardless.

Hope you have a solid working steed now at least! If not, find a buddy or family member to go halves on a bike and buy a Kona; they are offering buy one get one free right now!!!

www.konaworld.com
  • 11 0
 Hell yeah metal bikes. Basically as good as carbon, but way cheaper, can get hit by rocks not problem and recyclable. And welds look badass.
  • 7 0
 I think it will be interesting to see if machining comes into play in a more significant way in aluminum frames.

A second major hobby of mine is archery, with modern compound bow also made of either aluminum or carbon. Historically, carbon bows have been more expensive, with the added benefit of lighter weight. All of that changed this year when one of the big bow manufacturers (Mathews) introduced a HEAVILY machined/skeletonized design out of aluminum that is actually better performing and lighter than carbon models on the market. They are also delivering them at 70% of the cost of carbon models from their competitors - partially because they invested heavily in fully-owned 6-axis manufacturing machines.

I have to imagine that there is a great deal that could be done from machining aluminum to make optimal mountain bike frames with exacting flex, vibration, stiffness and overall system weight perspectives. Not to mention, you could readily recycle and reuse the unused portions of aluminum.
  • 7 0
 CNCing small features like yokes is fine. CNCing entire frames like Pole does is incredibly wasteful and unsustainable in terms of energy use.
  • 12 1
 Aluminum for life.
  • 5 1
 I hope your aluminum life is better than what I've experienced. I've owned a similar number of carbon and aluminum bikes but only a couple of steel. I've had 3 aluminum frames crack, 1 steel frame crack, and had 0 carbon ones crack. I ride a lot but am am XC guy who is much closer to 150 pounds than 200.
  • 3 0
 I cracked my last two carbon DH frames (TR11 and Kona Operator) and my last carbon enduro frame (Evil Insurgent). Aluminum from now on for me.
  • 1 0
 @jonemyers: it has been good... I weigh 200lbs and ride tech trails and bike parks 100+ days/yr. Still on the same SC frame I bought in 2021, although the frame is almost the only original part on the whole bike at this point.
  • 4 0
 Desperately hoping shimano stays out of wireless. Xtr currently shifts under load faster than Transmission for $600 less money and a full pound of weight reduction, with lighter more reliable chains. There is absolutely no contest- praying it stays that way. Adding batteries weight and complexity is SRAM’s job and they’re killing it.
  • 4 0
 Long Live Metal Bikes! Aside from a down country bike (which I didn't like) I haven't had a carbon frame since 2018 and do not plan on having anymore. Steel and alloy are sexier and are less to deal with.
  • 2 0
 same here. I got rid of my last carbon frame in 2018 and have not looked back. Ridden plenty of others since then, nothing has made me want one. Idk if that's more of a function of the fact that smaller companies tend to go metal and they are making the bikes I want, or just the ride feel difference. I suspect a bit of both.
  • 4 0
 @trialsracer: Steel frames are significantly quieter IMO, I love the slight damping they provide
  • 3 0
 For people not chasing the high end gravity oriented stuff, some small boutique bike brands have been offering value and performance for a long time.

Look at a company like RSD which I am pretty sure is just one dude running the whole show. The Wildcat was in the DC field test last year and was quite well received.

I have 3 of his bikes and some big brand bikes and I don’t see myself getting a big brand again unless it’s a smoking deal.

Buying a small brand does require having a fair amount of mechanical ability so they aren’t for everyone.
  • 4 0
 1) I hope so.
2) That's not on my bingo card, but I'm not against it.
3) That's obvious to everyone, hopefully it's obvious to Shimano too.
  • 2 0
 Im Happy for More alloy frames, aslong as the Current Low quality stuff gets the boot for example: canyon/Transition etc (both these Brands have the same Quality, despite Transition being an absolute rip off here)

the Best quality mass produced modern alloy frames have to be Merida
  • 4 0
 For this old, heavy guy, steel is for HTs, aluminum is for bikes, and carbon is for wheels.
  • 1 0
 As far as having the ability to adjust stiffness/flex I have not heard of DH racers having a variety of crowns available but it has been done in the MX world. Giving the riders the ability to adjust fore-aft and lateral flex.
  • 1 0
 Some perspective: no other aspect of our daily life is full of thousand-dollar carbon fiber. It’s rarely found in furnitures, cars or appliances.

It’s probably consumerism and the over-emphasis on racing which most of us aren’t serious about anyway.

Yeah I have a carbon wheelset on my steel MTB and it rides beautifully. But my other steel bike with alu wheels ride quite well too.
  • 4 0
 Metal bikes get me excited in a way carbon bikes never could.
  • 2 0
 At least if shimano do one it will work properly and reliably. It will also probably shift better and quicker than cable all things sram have yet to achieve
  • 1 0
 Hard to justify a mass produced carbon bike when the frames are more expensive. You can buy a REEB, Kavenz, Geometron, and many others for less than most mass produced carbon frames.
  • 1 0
 Nobody's prediction: bike publication staff will continue to turn over, commenters will continue with snarkiness and I will keep whining about whatever someone else gets on a high horse about.
  • 2 0
 Im really hoping that new Shimano wireless sistem will be cheaper than SRAM...
  • 1 0
 Not bloody likely. They will do their research. Shimano saying, "Everyone is paying $2000 for a nice SRAM T-Type grouppo. We deserve the same".
  • 3 0
 Can't wait to buy a RAAW Madonna v3 someday
  • 2 0
 Only added benefit to a removable frame brace is that it'll make diagnosing your new frame creak easier.
  • 1 0
 Skateboards, BMX, ice climbing, skiing, sailing, cooking, Ronnie James Dio. They all have one thing in common...metal. Currently lining my ducks up to buy another Ventana.
  • 2 0
 i’m hoping that the renewed interest in metal bikes will convince Turner to do another 5 Spot
  • 1 0
 After enjoying a Banshee Paradox V3 with built in flex for the rear triangle, I am moving away from aluminium frames, because of their stiff nature.
  • 3 3
 Bike companies should just make aluminum tubes skinny again. Why does every down tube have to be a 4 inch wide I beam that’s gonna rattle my teeth out.
  • 8 0
 So they can make it thinner wall, and probably lighter overall than the skinny tube.
  • 3 3
 skinny tubes are ugly
  • 1 0
 @Sardine-Vladu: Suddenly I'm unsure that you two are still talking about bikes...
  • 6 0
 I have an idea to solve your problem:

1. Buy steel frame.
2. Admire the skinny tubes.
  • 5 0
 Larger diameter tubes with thinner wall tubes are just as stiff as smaller tubes with thicker walls, but the larger tubes weigh less.
  • 2 0
 So predictions… or insider knowledge?
  • 2 0
 I’ll stick with carbon for now .. thx
  • 1 0
 Those Reeb bikes look so good. If I could get any bike right now that would be it.
  • 1 0
 Upcoming trends are things Banshee's been doing all along, yet we won't mention them at all?

Never change, Pinkbike,
  • 1 0
 I stopped buying carbon anything about 8 years ago. Strictly Aluminium frames and they feel like a bike not a ping pong ball
  • 3 6
 "Shimano has proved just how patient they are with bringing product to market, namely in the release of their 12-speed group years after competitors had made a splash."

You mean slow to the game with a demonstrably inferior product.
  • 2 1
 I'll give you slow. Their stuff is good. Maybe not always the best but a close second most of the time.
  • 1 0
 Every single mechanical Sram derailluer I have ever seen since the type 2.1 clutch came out is a loud, chain-slappy mess. I do not have enough bad things to say about the usefulness and longevity of their clutches.
  • 1 0
 I am waiting for the Aermet 100 frames.
  • 1 0
 Wonder if there’s a place for 3D printed Ti lugs welded to Ti tubing (?)
  • 1 0
 Already being done to various levels. Especially in the road and gravel space.
  • 1 0
 Balsa wood is the future
  • 4 7
 How Shimano will jump above patent infringement with this one?
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