Bike Industry Predictions for the Next Decade (Ep.14)



TOPICS & TIMES:

  • Follow up on last episode ‘Gear Awards’ (1:35)
  • Predictions for 2020 – 2029 (3:42)
  • What gear has the most room for improvement? (20:22)
  • Where will we actually see the most improvement? (32:04)
  • Are we in a golden age of bike design? (39:40)
  • Will # of mtn bikers increase or decrease? (43:40)
  • Which types of riding will get bigger or smaller? (44:34)
  • Will we see fewer or more bike parks? (52:14)
  • Fewer or more riders pedaling up bike parks? (53:12)
  • Wildest predictions for the next decade? (1:00:40)

What will the mountain biking industry look like 10 years from now? What current gear categories currently have the most room for improvement, and where will the actual advances in bike tech have happened by the end of 2029? What categories of riding (XC, DH, Enduro, e-Bikes, Gravel, Road) will have grown, and which will have shrunk? Will we have fewer or more bike parks? We discuss all of this and more — including our wildest predictions for this next decade.

And in the Comments Section below, we’d love to hear what you predict the bike industry will look like in 10 years.

Biking in Crested Butte, CO.

3 comments on “Bike Industry Predictions for the Next Decade (Ep.14)”

  1. I first want to say, I’m not an ebiker and have no intentions to become one in the next decade. However, I think you guys are totally underestimating this. Once the access issues are resolved, I expect you’ll see ebike demos at major trailheads and the experience of riding down without a slog to the top will be quite compelling. Also, the manufacturers will work hard to hide the motors and batteries to reduce the stigma that someone is riding an ebike.

    Small bike parks will also proliferate despite what you guys said about doing it right. The resorts are looking for ways to monetize the offseason and until it starts generating revenue they will likely see minimal investment. I really hope they see the benefit and opportunity of going after kids bike camps during summer break.

    Totally agree with the thought that DH bikes will likely see declines as a result of more do everything long travel Enduro bikes. This is akin to the 108 waisted ski.

  2. Awesome episode. Thanks fellas. A few thoughts after listening to the podcast.

    Electric do-dads, on-bike storage, drivetrains, brakes, (leaving out geometry for a moment), etc. I think these were all more or less solid choices for predictions, places for improvement, or things that will actually improve. I’ll be shocked if there isn’t a middle price point electric drivetrain (think XT Di2 or GX AXS) in the relatively near future. I’ll also be shocked if anyone really stays with 2 piston brakes in the next decade. Four piston designs will own a substantially larger part of the market.

    I’ll also agree strongly that this concept of “peak geometry”or “golden age” will go even further in dominating the market. I spent a lot of time in the 19/20 Winter Buyers guide this morning looking for a way to add a second ski to my rack. Parsing the difference between one ski with rocker/camber/rocker, 100mm waste, 135mm shovel, and 120mm tail versus another one with nearly the same measurement is tough work. Thankfully Blister has the horses to make those comparisons. Get ready for the same thing in mountain biking. Discerning the difference between one bike with 140mm rear travel, 160mm fork, 77 degree seat angle and 65 degree head angle versus the other fifty-‘leven bikes that have the same numbers will become the norm. The golden age of geometry is here, now the smaller more esoteric differences in bikes will be how we compare.

    That isn’t to say that these labels of XC, Enduro, and DH will be marginalized. But remove racing from the equation and I think everyone’s bikes are about to become a lot more homogenized no matter how or where they’re riding it.

    Here some stuff that I think we’ll look back and should’ve seen coming.

    I think helmets and armor are about to take a huge leap forward in comfort/weight and ubiquity on the trails. Think full face trail helmets, light padded undershirts, and knee pads for all but the least consequential rides. Bikes are so much more capable than ever before. Speeds are higher and the risk of going down has gone up considerably.

    Flat land bike parks in cities and towns will sprout up here and there. The standard is Valmont in Boulder. But tons of cities outside of the front range are adding bike parks in urban areas. I agree trail access in public lands due to the work by advocacy groups will continue.

    Pedaling uphill in lift-served bike parks will increase, as will resorts that don’t have lift-served biking adding trails for summer use. Never underestimate ski resorts’ ability to add revenue streams. As to whether people will use them? I’m not as sure.

    Most importantly, I don’t think mountain biking is nearly as mature as skiing. Both technologically or as a pastime. What this causes to happen in the future is anyone’s guess. But I’ll venture a couple. Mountain biking feels inherently more irreverent, inclusive, and more dispersed geographically than snow sports. The inevitable changes of more women on mountain bikes, more people riding in non-traditional mountain sport areas, and at lower price points will drive mountain biking to a place that I don’t think any of us saw coming. Cheers.

  3. A few thoughts not touched on:
    Geometry overstepped and gets dialed back slightly in terms of reach and HTA for the shorter end of the population
    Kinematics like anti squat, anti rise, and progression converge on certain numbers by category, or at least get optimized
    electronics get more widespread and gimmicky but mechanical options exist because of hipster Luddites like us, probably at a price premium
    telescopic forks and derailleur based drive trains can only get so optimized, linkage forks and gearboxes are the future, new geometry gets built around those
    Specialized or Giant has a 100% in house bike, integration by large companies starts to eliminate standards and puts the squeeze aftermarket component makers
    increased number of bike parks due to demand for open space recreation by all users, biking trails get privatized to monetize and protect

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