Mountain Biking

5 Ways Mountain Biking is Definitely Going to Change in 2017

We can almost definitely 99 percent guarantee that this stuff is going to happen

Szymon Godziek ripping at Coast Gravity Park in Sechelt, Canada… An inaccurate representation of your 2017 on a mountain bike. Sorry. Photo: Red Bull Media House

Every year brings another shift in the direction of the ever-expanding bike industry, and whether it’s fat bikes or e-bikes or big tyres or bigger frames, there’s always something that sticks out as a trend every year.

So, because we have your best interests at heart and want you to be well placed when you next set out to buy some mountain bike gear, and also to be prepared for the things that’ll soon become more familiar sights on your trail days in 2017, we decided to put together a detailed guide on what you should expect in the next twelve months.

Needless to say, we got slightly sidetracked while we were putting it together… but it… well, it’s at least tinged with the truth. But don’t hold us accountable if not 100 percent of this stuff comes true. You have been warned.

1) E-Bikes to Begin Their Inevitable Takeover

E-bikes are one fad that is not going anywhere. The sale of e-bikes has grown by approximately 20 percent in 2016 alone and in the next 24 months it’s expected to explode. Some are saying it could be as big as the e-boom in Germany, where 535,000 e-bikes were sold in 2015.

So, by the end of 2017 we’re predicting a few of things to happen. The first is that one in every ten or so mountain bikes you see will become an e-bike. The second is that this will have very little impact on the trails themselves, but will increase the levels of resentment and social tension on the trails for no apparent reason.

The third is that the amount of riders claiming that they “just like riding uphill” will grow substantially as the number of e-bikes increases and people who don’t want to splash the (admittedly substantial) cash on a new ride decide they need a core-sounding argument to justify their resistance.

As E-bike technology continues to grow, we’re predicting that the bikes will become self-guiding by 2018, and by 2020, we’re guessing they’ll be fully autonomous and won’t actually require a rider at all. Humans will subsequently be banned from certain “bike-only” bike parks and people who don’t oil their chain regularly will be forced to go into hiding from our e-bike overlords.

2) The Popularity of Plus-Size Tyres Will Allow People To Ride Fat Bikes While Still Pretending They Hate Fat Bikes

Everybody hates fat bikes. And everybody knows that everyone hates fat bikes.

What this really means, is that you know you’re meant to hate fat bikes too; even if you actually secretly appreciate the extra ease in handling, balance and off-road opportunities.

But admitting that you like fat bikes to your mountain bike friends would be like admitting to your school mates that your mum cuts your hair and you still watch Spongebob.

Roll on plus bikes in a variety of shapes and sizes. You can now get 26+, 27.5+ and 29+ tyres, which are fatter than your average, but not fat enough to make you feel like the kid at school with a bowl cut.

These let people who like fat bikes benefit from some of the advantages of a fat bike, while still allowing them to pretend they think fat bikes are stupid.

3) 26 Inch Wheels Go Down Fighting

As 26 inch wheels continue to become more and more obsolete, with 27.5 inch wheels becoming “the future” and 29 inch wheels becoming “an acceptable thing to run without people accusing you of overcompensating”, the fervent defenders of 26 inch wheels will take their war to the streets.

Once keyboard warriors, the knights of the 26-inch round table will get out their felt tip pens, placards and crossbows to campaign through town centres and gloomy suburbs alike to try and keep the original wheel size alive.

Of course, being an incredibly bicycle-specific debate, nobody who sees these campaigns will really know what they’re talking about.

Subsequently, the campaigners will soon return – with the rest of the mountain bike community, and not without reason – to complaining about how often things change in the mountain bike industry, and how it means that we’re probably going to have to take another load of old DVDs down to Cash Generator soon to fund a new set of wheels.

Bye, bye once-coveted ‘Godfather’ boxset.

4) The Weather to be Shit on Your Day Off

Actual shot of British summer

Well it is Britain isn’t it? And sod’s law and all that…

5) Missing Posters to Spring Up Across Britain for A Plethora of “Lost Bikepackers”

If you’ve been at a tradeshow recently or walked past a local bike shop, or a non-local bike shop, or the internet, you’ve probably heard all about how 2017 is going to be the year of ‘bikepacking’.

What is bikepacking? It’s pretty much just strapping minimalistic camping gear to your mountain bike and setting off into the wild for a few days. It’s great. We’ve been at it for years, although previously we just referred to it as… camping with a bike.

If bikepacking does indeed take off though, we imagine there will be a lot of people going missing on the British Isles, for two main reasons:

  1. People are idiots and should a bunch of people decide to randomly take to the wilderness overnight for the first time, we can almost guarantee at least one of them won’t know how to read a map and will forget to tell anyone where they’ve gone.
  2. A bunch of the riders who are capable of map-reading and living in the wild will realise that it’s a much preferable lifestyle to the form-filling Fridays they’ve gotten used to waking up to, and so will never come back, instead deciding to set up a city of vagabond bikepackers deep in the heart of your local hills. Imagine the Cour des Miracles but with more bikes. E-mail [email protected] if you’re keen to come along.

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