It seems like nothing can escape the irrepressible wave of technology sweeping through our lives, for better or worse, and cycling is no exception. Today’s carbon fibre frames are a far cry from their crude steel predecessors, but the tech revolution in the sport hasn’t stopped there. In fact, almost every aspect of how you cycle has evolved, even the way you get bike insurance, whether you’ve realised or not! This article is going to outline some of the best ways to update your ride with the best the market has to offer: you’ll be sure to make a splash at your next club meeting or sportive.
It seemed that groupsets were reaching a plateau; there’s only so much you can do with a mechanical set-up. However that’s all changed with the introduction of electronic groupsets, in particular the SRAM Red eTap, the first widely available set on the market. Making the wireless switch isn’t cheap – the SRAM which retailed at a pretty eye-watering £2060 at release – but if you take the plunge, chances are you won’t look back. Not only is the set easy to install, but it’s incredibly intuitive and easy to use, even if it does take a couple of long rides to get used to. Being wireless, there’s always the nagging feeling of your system going on the brink from other SRAM systems or signals, especially in a competitive setting, but SRAM has dispelled these fears by installing a 128-bit rolling encryption into the set: while this writer isn’t exactly tech-savvy, the extensive testing carried out by SRAM is enough to convince me.
The ongoing debate over bike tyres doesn’t look like ending anytime soon: there are pros and cons to both tubeless and clinchers, and many people firmly seated in each camp. Tubeless tyres are the preference of this writer, as they give you greater protection from flats, and have lower pressure, helping boost traction and ride quality. Despite this, there isn’t much variety in the marketplace as of yet, and the maintenance required is higher than a clincher tyre, so this trend might be one for the future, when all the bugs have been ironed out.
Now Disc Brakes are hardly a new thing – they’ve been a mainstay on Mountain Bikes for years – but in recent times they’ve started making inroads in the road bike domain. For example, Giant’s new 2016 Defy range are exclusively kitted out with disc brakes. So what’s the deal with these brakes? Well by applying the braking force to a smaller, more central area of the wheel than rim brakes, disc brakes are much more powerful (and therefore less tiring), and also give more control. You will however need to buy some compatible wheels, and disc brakes aren’t widely accepted in competitive road cycling, so check out before you get with this trend.
Out of the many gadgets cycling offers, few are more desired than power meters; which, as the name suggest, measure your cycling power output. This is a game-changer for training and improving your cycling technique as your speed can only tell you so much: power tells you how hard you’re pumping and further helps analyse your performance in the saddle. When they’re used in conjunction with other tech such as a heart monitor, the possibilities for furthering your cycling stop only with your ceiling. If you’re looking to have that yellow jersey, utilising some of the new tech trends like power meters is a good way to go about it. Have a look at the Shimano and Precision 4iiii meters for a good starting point.
The App Store:
Not all tech trends have to cost a fortune thankfully! A quick browse on the app store should chuck up a variety of apps that could massively improve your ride. One of the most prominent apps is Strava, which allows you to log and share your rides, and CycleMeter is great for fitness and performance monitoring. If you were to look around, you’d dig up some crazy advancements in the world of cycling, and while not all of them will be useful to you, hopefully this article has given you a bit of tech inspiration. Whether you’re a professional cyclist looking to further your performance or a casual rider looking for a shiny new toy, the tech world is ready and waiting for you.
Milo Grounds Writing for PedalSure