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Game-Changing Cycling Trends of 2022

Cycling has been trendy for centuries, and every year the industry comes up with new innovations. Last year, 6.56 billion euros were turned over in Germany throughout 2021 (compared to "only" four billion in 2019), making it another record year despite restrictions related to the pandemic. Of 4.7 million bikes sold, nearly two million had electric drives--another new record for pedelecs/e-bikes. The sustainable sport of cycling has come to stay whether you're interested in urban outdoor activities, nature, or everyday life in cities--cycling is often the easiest form of transportation available. No wonder that also in wearables and gadgets around bicycles, new innovations keep popping up constantly.

Hookless rim wheels becoming closer to standardized

A bicycle mechanic inspecting a hookless carbon wheel

The difference between hooked and hookless is most apparent when the tire is completely removed, but it is a technology that has been around for a long time in various forms, on cars and motorcycles namely.

Hookless rim wheels on road bicycles are becoming increasingly popular. There are several advantages to using hookless rims, including easier tire mounting, reduced weight, and improved aerodynamics. Hookless rims can also be used with tubeless tires, which further reduce weight and improves puncture resistance. The main issue is that many road cycling tires are designed to be fitted on either hooked or hookless, one main example being the Continental GP 5000 TL and the hookless variant, the GP 5000 TL S. While hookless rim wheels have some clear advantages, they can be more difficult to service.

Tubeless tire tech is improving

A tubeless tire with sealant inside

Tubeless tires can be used without sealant, but the sealant provides puncture protection. There is also a shift towards using inserts that provide a similar result to run-flats.

Tubeless tires are one of the newer tire technologies in road cycling that have many benefits over traditional clincher tires. They provide a smoother ride, better puncture resistance, and lower rolling resistance. Tubeless tires are also lighter weight and can be inflated to higher pressures without the risk of blowouts. Wider tubeless tires can provide more comfort on the road while improving traction and stability.

12-speed groupsets and electronic groupsets at a lower price range

Two bicycle cassettes, one with less and one with more gears

More gears mean more shifting options while riding.

There are a few reasons why a road cyclist might want to use a 12-speed groupset. One reason is that it provides more gears, which can be helpful when climbing hills or riding on varied terrain. Additionally, 12-speed groupsets tend to be lighter and smoother than lower-speed options, making them ideal for racing or high-performance riding. Finally, many riders simply prefer the aesthetics of a 12-speed bike. One brilliant example is the Dura-Ace Hyperglide+ cassette, designed to pair with a Shimano groupset for better shifting.

However, 12-speed groupsets are no longer limited to only the top tier lately as the company released an Ultegra version. Furthermore, electronic shifting is making its way to lower price ranges as the company also announced that the more affordable range, 105, will be receiving a Di2 variant. There are a few reasons why a road cyclist might want to use electronic shifting. First, it can be more precise than mechanical shifting, so you can make sure you're in the exact gear you want to be in. Second, it can be easier on your hands and wrists since you don't have to pull as hard on the shifters. And finally, fewer parts typically need replacing.

1x groupsets for various uses

The front cog of a fixie bike

Yeah yeah we know, a fixie with toe clips, but this is a graphic representation of a 1x in the front.

The 1x groupset is becoming increasingly popular among the professional circuit for various reasons. For one, the advantage of not having a front derailleur, which would reduce aerodynamic drag. Another is that it can simplify the shifting process since there is only one shifter required. Additionally, 1x groupsets tend to be lighter weight than traditional 2x or 3x setups, which can be beneficial for racing. Finally, some cyclists simply prefer the simplicity of having only one chainring. The 1x groupset is making waves in various areas, one example is the 2019 UCI World Championships where Bauke Mollema used one on his Trek Madone, and another is the appearance on cobble stages. Many cyclocross athletes also prefer the groupset because of the simplified shifting.

Gravel bike suspension forks becoming more similar to mountain bike forks.

A gravel cyclist having fun

Gravel biking is getting more interesting, imagine how much more comfortable this ride would be with a suspension fork instead of a rigid fork.

Gravel bikes are designed to handle a variety of terrain, and as such, they need to be able to accommodate different types of suspension. Most gravel bikes have either front or rear suspension, but some models have both. The amount of travel in the suspension will vary depending on the bike, but it is typically between 50 and 100mm. Some gravel bikes also have adjustable suspension, which allows you to fine-tune the ride to your preference. Drop bar bikes with a suspension are nothing new, as the Domane has a simplified suspension system, but the interesting movement for 2022 is the push closer to mountain biking with SRAM's introduction of the RockShox Rudy gravel suspension fork along with Fox updating their AX gravel fork.

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