Predictions For The Mountain Bike World In 2023

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Every year we make our predictions for the world of mountain biking. Some take it seriously, some less so...

Last year Mark predicted that the influencer bubble would burst... does Specialized dropping its global ambassadors counts as evidence he might be right? He also predicted that there would be cheaper ebikes... we're still waiting on that one.

What ideas have we got for you this year?

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Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 50 total)
  • Predictions For The Mountain Bike World In 2023
  • oldfart
    Full Member

    I predict a riot 👍
    I also think what Charlie is really hankering after is a rigid , SS e bike , is that enough niches for you oh hairy one ? 😬✊️😎

    thegeneralist
    Full Member

    Facebook has this year given the middle finger to publishers like us

    How so? Tell us more…

    jameso
    Full Member

    Woohoo SS rigid is back? My 10+ yr old bike has come around to being current again.

    Went SS rigid for the winter riding, stayed for the lack of faff. Lazy in some ways and forced not to be in others. And like many climbs, the fear that if I stop it I’ll never get going again.

    matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    1. Bright colours and fun patterns make a huge return. We all need some more fun.
    2. Hardtails, cheaper drivetrains and value components will see a real resurgence in sales. Deore, Microsoft Advent and similar for the win.
    3. Adventures, on and off road, gravel, touring and ‘mucking about in the local woods’ will see a rise, whereas events, races, long journeys to trail centre and globetrotting costs will reduce.
    4.

    endoverend
    Full Member

    A nice simple bike like 90’s mtb seems a hugely desirable thing right now. A proper 90’s mtb though, not one of those imitation things with a rigid fork and funny curly bars. Riding around on some needlessly tech thing where you’re wondering whether you could afford to replace xx bit if it breaks mid ride is a sure-fire fun killer.

    cookeaa
    Full Member

    I think the Value Engineering one is the most relevant, in the scramble to support that market I reckon the ultimate “winner” will be whichever groupsets manufacturer/distro can offer decent (hydraulic) disc brakes bundled in furthest down their OEM ranges. All the bike manufacturers will be in a race to hang as much VFM as they can on a handful of aluminium frames at various price points.

    But I reckon It won’t be a battle over how many clicks the rear shifter has this time, it’s going to be brakes and maybe tyres (TR wheels also?) that swing the deal. I also fully expect the VFM battles to put another nail in the front mech’s coffin, certainly on MTBs and gravel bikes, N/W rings are substantially cheaper if you’re speccing a bike build.

    I also reckon we’ll see more bikes pitched at the C2W abusers and correspondingly companies (maybe HMRC too?) tightening up their C2W spend limits and rules.

    A nice simple bike like 90’s mtb seems a hugely desirable thing right now. A proper 90’s mtb though, not one of those imitation things with a rigid fork and funny curly bars.

    Those curly barred contraptions are going to do pretty well out of the coming storm 😉

    jwreeder1
    Full Member

    I predict British Cycling’s membership will shrink considerably following their decision to partner Shell. UK Sport will question their target of doubling membership by Paris 2024 and subsequently reduce funding leading to British Cycling having to cut costs.
    This is the good bit though… they will then sell off that strange wooden oval thing in Manchester which will become a fantastic new indoor bike park.

    TheGingerOne
    Full Member

    I think the dropping of mechanical higher end groupsets such as XT and Ultegra is going to be a problem that the buying public might see as a step too far. I have no reason not to continue using 11spd M8000 and R8000 on my bikes, but I will not be best pleased when spares become hard to get. Do I downgrade to lower level components or be forced to take the massive hit of going 12spd electronic? As I said, I think that is a point when a lot of people will give up given the cost these days – unfortunately. Previous new groupsets didn’t force you to make such a massive step change.

    LAT
    Full Member

    good value, metal bikes are very overdue. i saw the new norco fluids in the flesh recently. they make a strong argument for value over unnecessarily flash.

    chrismac
    Full Member

    Shimano ditch SLX as deore is so good why bother with slx. XT still has the features of xtr for less cash

    chrismac
    Full Member

    I haven’t seen any evidence of corporate social responsibility that isn’t just marketing drivel. I also see no reason why any tan would move away from the uci backed series to an alternative as there is too much infested with the uci. Sure they might goto done or all events of an alternate series of one exists and the marketing budget stretches to doing both.

    charliedontsurf
    Full Member

    I think Amanda might have got close with heated saddles on e bikes…. As heated grips are a marvellous thing on motorbikes.

    so perhaps E bikes with a bunch of usb ports for plugging in heated grips, mega lumen lights, panini press…. That sort of thing.

    ayjaydoubleyou
    Full Member

    I have no reason not to continue using 11spd M8000 and R8000 on my bikes, but I will not be best pleased when spares become hard to get. Do I downgrade to lower level components or be forced to take the massive hit of going 12spd electronic?

    Ten speed xt level is still going strong and available to buy on a number of sites.

    I’m switching my posh bike from ten speed to electronic 12 come spring.
    For me (other opinions will vary) this is the first time I feel that the improvement is worth it.

    ampthill
    Full Member

    Yep the value group set seems to be a no brainier. It’s interesting that not being shimano might be an advantage. It’s like fitting Acera but no one quite sure because it’s something we can’t immediately place on a scale

    The gap for me is a budget combined shifter and hydraulic brake lever for gravel or cross bike

    I like the idea of reversible tyres. I’m not sure it’ll work. But I like that it’s an actual idea rather than trend spotting

    Gravel bike will continue to evolve towards mountain bikes. Having just read a book of gravel rides recently there is clearly a market for bikes that communicate your not out for the gnarr. However bigger tyres and wider bars still have a place riding across a map. So bikes like the rigid Frontier in this months magazine

    oldnpastit
    Full Member

    If SS is making a comeback then I better go sort out my 2010 Swift. Rear wheel needs some love after an especially muddy/wet/rainy ride about 5 years ago, never been quite the same since.

    But predictions? Anything that relies on advertising is going to have a hard next 12 months.

    nickc
    Full Member

    my predictions

    1. A major bike brand (like Cannondale or Kona) will out of business, or maybe bought up by one of the massive holding companies at a knock down price

    2. More and more bikes will be “integrated” and things like putting the cables through headset route will come down further down the price point, both big S brands have brakes that have hose routed closer to the bar that will help that clean look.

    3. Like the recent specialised one, other companies will cull their “non core” marketing.

    3. Racing: I think more than one “large” racing team will drop out citing reduction in marketing budgets.

    4. Racing: An all Continental tyre podium

    5. Racing: Greg will retire

    6. Racing: Jackson Goldstone will still be effing fast in the seniors, I think he may even get on the podium.

    peteimpreza
    Full Member

    That happened to Cannondale sometime ago

    Kuco
    Full Member

    Cannondale’s main problem back then was wasting millions of dollars on a motorbike.

    chrismac
    Full Member

    major bike brand (like Cannondale or Kona

    kona was bought t by Kent Outdoors a few years ago

    footflaps
    Full Member

    Facebook has this year given the middle finger to publishers like us

    How so? Tell us more…

    Mark has posted in great detail in the forum about this recently…

    Eg https://singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/changes-in-online-behaviours-over-last-three-years/

    weeksy
    Full Member

    Mark has posted in great detail in the forum about this recently

    Where?

    fahzure
    Full Member

    Those tires that Amanda wants already exist. We used to this with tires when racing indoor BMX on concrete with wood jumps and ramps. Yes you need a tube, but I think you can do this easily with just about any light knobby or hybrid tire. I think that she should try it in the name of science journalism.

    nickc
    Full Member

    That happened to Cannondale sometime ago

    Yes, after I wrote that part I relaised both companies had been bought. I meant; large well known bike “like” Canondale or Kona. Ribble would be my first prediction, late with it’s filing, and one Gazette warning already.

    oldfart
    Full Member

    I missed that Kona story . Makes me wonder for their future, does this mean the bean counters are now in control ? I remember the disastrous tie in with Halfords that trashed their reputation for years afterwards.

    qwerty
    Free Member

    MTB tyres with chameleon grip. The tread has AI that automatically changes to suit the surface. So fully slick on the road to the trail, then Hillbilly knobs for the slop. No more what tyre threads.

    andyspaceman
    Full Member

    Singlespeed never went away. Although I’ve never run rigid – steel hardtail with a modest-travel bouncer on the front for me.

    In that vein, I predict the fast, steel XC hardtail will see a return. As more adventure bikes move from drop bars to flat bars, and become even more like ’90’s MTBs, people will realise/remember how quick and responsive steel frames that don’t have to be burly enough for big forks and big impacts can be. I’m not talking flat bar race machines, but bikes for fast fun in the twisty stuff and big miles in the hills, 100-120mm forks. Cotic have already gone there with the new Solaris, Fairlight have the gorgeous looking Holt incoming. A big manufacturer will follow – a modern Kona Explosif anyone?

    I’m also going to combine one each of Amanda and Hannah’s predictions, and say that we’re going to see heated handguards. Or maybe just motorbike-style heated grips, per Charlie’s comment. Anyhow, heated insoles are a godsend for feet when it gets properly cold, so someone is going to treat our hands to similar luxury.

    chakaping
    Free Member

    I will not be best pleased when spares become hard to get.

    Shimano won’t stop supporting their mechanical groupsets for many years.

    When they release a new iteration and it’s just electronic, a lot of journos get exercised about “no more mechanical Dura Ace”, or whatever.

    But they will still keep churning out the last iteration of the mechanical groupsets, and people will keep buying them.

    rickon
    Free Member

    You also missed Mark predicting the downfall of Twitter, and the rise of distributed platforms like Mastodon:

    There will be a slow transition away from platform based, so called communities and back towards real, and in many ways more independent platforms out of a realisation that the big tech companies are not in fact there to help us connect, but to exploit us for ad impressions.

    He’s right, just the timing will be a bit later than 2022.

    wheelsonfire1
    Full Member

    I predict that with the renewed enthusiasm for hardtails the luggage rack will make a return. The convenience of panniers that click on and off, also keeping the weight low and stable, will lead to a shortage of these items.

    robertajobb
    Full Member

    I predict more new non-standard ‘standards’ to try to make even more bikes obsolete

    (The industry has been doing it for 15+ years now – no way they will have any concerns for end users in 2023)

    tristanssid
    Free Member

    Headset routing will be part of the brake levers design.
    A return of stock levels meaning discounted bikes again.
    Intergated components becoming more mainstream, bikes with 1 piece bar and stem.
    More wireless dropper options.
    120mm full sus xc bikes becoming the norm.
    100% recyclable packaging from nearly all brands

    nickc
    Full Member

    I predict the fast, steel XC hardtail will see a return

    Have they ever gone away?

    andyspaceman
    Full Member

    I predict the fast, steel XC hardtail will see a return

    Have they ever gone away?

    Certainly they have from mainstream manufacturers. And amongst the majority of niche producers they’ve trended towards longer forks and bigger impacts, with a weight penalty and loss of feel resulting from the necessary stouter tubesets.

    Some smaller producers have recognised that it’s possible to scale back, without compromising on safety requirements and warranty tolerances, so it would be nice if we saw one or more mainstream producers put something out.

    jameso
    Full Member

    ^ There’s a couple I can think of, Cannondale F-Si and now the Scalpel HT has been doing the XCO race bike with trail geometry mix thing well for a while and the Specialized Chisel looks great.
    Not steel, but mainstream brands rarely are. tbh as much as I like steel bikes I’d rather have a good Al frame for a bike like that. Lighter, cheaper, can be made as comfy as you’d need it to be. Post above about a new Kona Explosif in light steel is spot on though. That would be great to see.

    benpinnick
    Full Member

    Carnage in the bike market. The supply chain is in bits, and I predict many going bust, buy outs etc. BIG shakeup of the bike industry just around the corner. Hold on tight folks!

    Sadoldsamurai
    Full Member

    I’m with those worried about the eletrification of transmission systems.
    I’ve met riders like Andy who’ve been able to continue riding because of ebikes and it was an epiphany a great leveller.
    I want to see the return of rigid fatties, but as that’s what I currently ride it’s not going to effect me that much, I’m just worried about getting upgrades for my current steed.
    Finally, no one mentioned the return of the 26″ wheel, like the steel hardtail band, I just love what I grew up with.

    nickc
    Full Member

    so it would be nice if we saw one or more mainstream producers put something out.

    Why? The sorts of folks for whom a “sweet steel frame” is appealing are exactly the same group who would never buy from a mainstream manufacturer in a million years. You can flick over to Cotic, or Sonder, On One, or Stif right now- and those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head and a buy a frame,  the quality is there, the price is good, and the support is second to none.

    nickc
    Full Member

    I predict more new non-standard ‘standards’ to try to make even more bikes obsolete

    Apart from a few years in the nighties and perhaps coincidentally between about 2012-15, bicycles have never been standard. Accept it and move on.

    It’s a weird one, I often found that the folks complaining that hubs aren’t 135mm are exactly the same people who want some low production run rear wheel based gearbox system that’s only made in Outer Monrovia by Otto the mechanic and his dog Russel. They often cannot see the obvious double standard.

    johnjn2000
    Free Member

    I predict an increase in indoor e-biking (Zwft type stuff) competitions to involve XC as well as road cycling utilising the new steering technology that is starting to find its way into peoples pain caves. Bringing cycling into the e-sports arena maybe as the first actual sport in e-sport.

    chakaping
    Free Member

    I predict an increase in indoor e-biking (Zwft type stuff)

    I honestly can’t tell if this is satire or not.

    😀

    I predict more riders cutting their cloth and dropping down to cheaper transmission parts – including 10 and 11-speed – as the cost of living stays high and they realise there’s hardly any difference to the posh stuff in use.

    Carnage in the bike market. The supply chain is in bits, and I predict many going bust, buy outs etc. BIG shakeup of the bike industry just around the corner. Hold on tight folks!

    Worrying prediction, do you think many brands were too optimistic in the Covid boom? Or just cashflow/supply chain problems making firms vulnerable?

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