In a world where incremental improvements are the norm, who has actually brought something new and worthwhile to the bike world? Who has taken a leap of innovation that solves a problem we’ve all been moaning about, or turned our world upside down with a new perspective on how things can be?
Lal Bikes Supre Drive
It’s not often that a small independent inventor makes it past the freak corner of a trade show. The Lal Bikes Supre Drive has taken the problem of the vulnerable rear derailleur, offered a solution, and caught the attention of more than one established manufacturer. It’s so far been shown on the Nicolai Nucleon 16, and is expected to be released by another manufacturer in due course. Since it needs a specific frame construction, it’s not going to be retrofitted to your bike, but perhaps in the future it could be a common sight?
SRAM AXS ecosystem
The SRAM AXS system brings flexible wireless technology to your bike. As well as the benefits of crisp shifting, the potential absence of cable routing offers frame designers some new options. You can go all in for the full set of SRAM AXS gears and dropper (and maybe add Flight Attendant on the top?) or just take advantage of the oh-so easy to fit AXS Reverb dropper post. Buy a bit now and add more later, switch it up from GX AXS to XO1, reprogram your shifter, and even swap your battery between components – take your road bike’s battery out into the mountains if you like. Functional benefits in a flexible pick ‘n’ mix package – it’s nice to see innovation that’s built to grow without a need to buy a whole new version, and with the introduction of the GX AXS spec level, it’s crossed the fence from chi-chi to popular.
TQ motor (as on the Trek Fuel EXe)
Super light, super quiet, super slim… the new TQ motor offers a natural ride with just enough assistance to take the sting out of the climbs. The super slim battery and compact motor means that bikes with this system fitted – for now, that’s exclusively the Trek Fuel EXe, though other companies will be able to access it next year – can be designed with geometry and looks just like any other mountain bike. The relatively restricted power and low weight means it rides like any other mountain bike. When this motor makes its way into the wider market, there’s every chance that an e-MTB will become the norm.
Two electric things, two shifting things, a whole stack of integration and frame design possibilities. Which gets your vote for most innovative product?
Voting closes 25th October!
We’re delighted to be working with Kendal Mountain Festival to bring you the big reveal of the winners of the Singletrack Reader Awards at KMF’s famous Bike Night. If you can’t get along for the evening, it’ll be available on the Kendal Mountain Player, so no one misses out!