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The bicycle, which was invented back in 1817, has seen incredible advancements over the last couple of centuries. However, in just the last decade, bike technology has evolved tremendously in many different ways. From electric bicycles, or eBikes, to indoor exercise bikes and bike trainers for home use, the manner in which we pedal has progressed significantly in just the last ten years.
There have been a few notable bike technology advancements in the past decade that are worth mentioning. These innovations have changed the cycling world tremendously. From innovative brands like Peloton who have brought spin classes to the living room to high-powered eBikes that do the pedaling for you, we’re excited to witness the next revolution of cycling and the mass adoption these new technologies facilitate.
Perhaps the most notable shift in cycling technology over the past decade was the new wave of indoor bike training options. This wave of evolved cycling technology focuses on two major categories. The first is smart bike trainers, which enable cyclists to ride their own bikes indoors on highly-intelligent trainer setups. The other category is actual exercise bikes which are complete stationary bikes designed for indoor training.
While the latter has been around for quite some time, brands like Bowflex and Peloton have upped the playing field with interactive bikes with monitor screens, live simulations, and subscription packages that allow you to join groups online for spin classes. Truly a technology that’s blowing up in popularity during the pandemic, riding inside has never been more fun than on the best exercise bike products from such brands.
The other alternative is indoor bike trainers, which are devices that enable cyclists to set up their own bicycles as stationary bikes for indoor training. Either using rollers or a direct-drive cassette system, some of the best bike trainer products are considered “smart trainers” in that they simulate real riding conditions and routes, including elevation gain and road-like conditions. Smart trainers use software platforms like Zwift, TrainerRoad, and Rouvy to sync the trainer with online riding scenarios. For instance, some of the best indoor smart trainers allow you to ride a course in the Swiss Alps with your friends, but from the comfort of your home.
As a result of this dramatic shift in bike technology, brands like Peloton and Zwift have become household names. Now riders can put in quality time pedaling in the middle of winter or during a monsoon. This has created a greater online community in the cycling world by helping athletes get the most out of their training.
If there’s one form of cycling technology that takes the cake in terms of innovation, it’s electric-powered bikes or eBikes. Equipped with a battery-powered motor, eBikes provide electric assist to the pedals, helping take some of the effort out of the equation. For folks who need a little extra boost to enjoy cycling or prefer going for long rides but need aid for big climbs and long hours in the saddle, eBikes serve a valuable purpose.
For example, older cyclists who don’t quite have the physical capacity they use to, but still enjoy cycling for exercise and adventure, especially appreciate the capabilities that today’s best eBike brands bring. Today’s new wave of electric bikes come with motors ranging between 300 and 1,000 watts of power. This can provide upwards of 40-50 miles of pedal-free riding and top speeds of up to 28 MPH. While most eBikes are a bit heavier than their pedal-powered counterparts, they’re typically easy (and fun) to ride.
Now, you see eBike rentals everywhere as a form of adventure tourism, whether on cycling trails or in big cities. These electric-powered bikes have become an approach way to get around and explore new areas. They’re also now much more affordable compared to when they first came out, with quality eBike options available for less than $2k on average.
These are just a few notable tech innovations in the cycling world. Take into consideration evolving trends in gravel bike racing, bikepacking, world tour cycling, and fat biking, and we’ve only scratched the surface of how substantial bike technology is changing. The next couple of decades should be exciting to see how one of the most favorite activities throughout the world evolves to new heights.