It’s been a full year since I revealed my tech predictions for 2022. In hindsight, perhaps I wasn’t general enough as I may have been a little too optimistic in some ways. But in others, I was bang on the money. Let’s take a closer look and see whether or not I need to invest in a new crystal ball...
More soft goods from PNW Components – Yes
In 2021, component brand PNW introduced a line of clothing but it wasn't without its faults. It lacked women-specific options and long-sleeve jerseys, which got me thinking that the brand had something more up its sleeve in terms of range diversification. Lo and behold, I was right!
In April, PNW added a women’s line to the clothing range, offering the very selection of kit that the guys can pick from with the exact same range of features but with fits to better suit women.
The Rover Hip Pack and Satellite Saddle Bag was launched towards the end of the year, too. Soft goods aside, we saw the Loam and Range pedals and the Pebble multi-tool. The designers over at PNW Components have been a busy bunch.
A tyre recycling scheme from Schwalbe – Yes… Kind of
The shift towards renewables and recycling in cycling is only a positive thing and last year, I predicted that Schwalbe can solve its tyre recycling conundrum off the back of its newfound inner-tube-recycling capability. Well, this hasn’t really happened but the brand is still pushing to make the dream a reality and has begun a pilot project to develop a tyre recycling system.
Schwalbe’s aim with this system is to stop incinerating tyres or sending them to landfill by preserving the raw materials for recycling within a closed-loop economy. So soon, we may start seeing Schwalbe products made using old tyres.
Tyres aside, Schwalbe has pushed a green theme towards the bike maintenance side of things. The brand now offers bike cleaner in soap form. This is great for a bunch of reasons as it’s much smaller and easier to transport in large quantities and it uses absolutely no plastic.
More info about Cotic’s new e-bike – No
While this was very exciting news upon Cotic’s first tease, it seems that the brand has been too busy launching the Cascade and the new RocketMAX. However, we were told that we won’t see a production model until 2023 so there’s got to be some news on the horizon.
Fresh kit from Endura – Yes
Endura is a brand that’s constantly churning out new and interesting kit, so this one feels a bit like an easy win. Not only has the brand updated a number of its helmets, adding Mips and increased venting but a whole shoe range was launched back in March. I don’t think anyone expected that.
Gravel suspension progress – Yes
Specialized Diverge STR rear Future Shock detail, by Specialized
The gravel suspension space has become a very interesting place throughout 2022. I think the biggest news to surface came from the new Specialized’s Diverge STR which benefits from a front and rear Future Shock. Without going into too much detail, it’s a form of front and rear shock absorption using unique-looking tech.
We also stumbled upon a patent from SRAM which outlined a gravel-specific linkage fork which is incredibly curious. We’ve seen linkage forks come and go for mountain bikes, such as Trust’s Shout and Message fork and we all know how that went… But SRAM is claiming that the reduced friction of bearings is ideal for the demands of gravel riding. I’m excited to see more about this fork.
Fox launched the 32 Taper-Cast, too, which rocks a completely different chassis than the previous AX and it brings the GRIP and FIT4 dampers to gravel suspension. With the mountain bike forks using the same dampers receiving high praise, that can only be a good thing.
New drivetrain component companies – No
It’s common knowledge that COVID-19 wrecked the supply chain for industries around the world and that’s where the brand Twenty21 stepped in to offer drivetrain components where others couldn’t. While it’s a shame to say I was wrong, I am happy to say that while there are still issues in the supply chain, it’s showing signs of calming down, so there’s little need for fresh brands to step up.
Though we have seen some advancements in drivetrain tech. SRAM has not-so-secretly been developing a direct mount derailleur having made an appearance on Nino Schurter's World Championship-winning Spark.
Lal Bikes’ weird but very cool shifting method adopted by a bigger brand – Yes
I’m really happy to see this actually happen because, as an idea, it’s mad but Nicolai has taken this mental-looking drivetrain and launched the Nucleon 16 at Eurobike 2022, practically stealing the show. The design of this drivetrain tucks the mech within the rear triangle, protecting it from any risk of damage. It also benefits from a high pivot to reduce the chain’s effect on the suspension.
It does come with a pretty big asking price, however. To buy one of these you’ll have to part ways with €3,099 for the frame and shock alone. For that money, you can replace an awful lot of broken derailleurs.
Idler pulleys everywhere – Kind of, but not really
2021 saw the launch of a number of bikes utilising idler pulleys that isolate the chain’s influence on suspension performance. I thought that the tech might have made larger waves in bike design but only a small handful of bikes were launched in 2022 with the tech. Hope released its HB916 and, of course, there’s that Nicolai Nucleon 16 and the Deviate Claymore.
Though, with word of high-pivot bikes requiring more maintenance, as well as generally weighing a little more I can understand why it hasn't caught on as quickly as I had hoped.
You might also like: