Last January we shared the five things we would most like to see in 2013. The good news is that most of our wishes for 2013 did come true. Manufacturers continued to push the boundaries of frame design – from the Felt IA to the Falco V, frame manufacturers both big and small are changing our perception of what a frame can do. Shimano’s introduction of a combination hydraulic braking \ electric drivetrain is a big step toward a brake system that will stop you quickly while taking advantage of electric systems that are so effective on TT bikes. What made us happiest in 2013 was the rapid decline of power meter prices. Stages Cycling’s introduction of a sub $1,000 power meter forced an immediate response from PowerTap that left athletes with multiple choices.
In 2013 we also continued to see the power of the anti-doping movement. While doping is still present in both triathlon and cycling, there seems to be little doubt that the decline of dopers continues. And while it may still be a while before we see non-draft legal racing in the Olympics – in a few weeks we may be closer to having triathlon be classified as an emerging sport by the NCAA based on a vote being held at the NCAA convention in late January. These are all wins in our book.
So here we are in 2014, and of course we have a few more wants for this coming year.
1. Electronic Shifting for the Masses
Any reader of AeroGeeks knows we are huge fans of electronic shifting on TT bikes. Allowing athletes to shift from the pursuits makes shifting while climbing and sprinting possible. Ultegra 6870 was a major step forward for the industry, electronic shifting at a price point many athletes can consider. Already we are seeing builds available at the $5K price point. However, what we want is electronic shifting at a price point almost every triathlete can consider (say $3k for complete builds). Further competition is going to help us get there – and already we are seeing signs that SRAM is planning on entering the game (here). What we really want to see is a Shimano 105 series of electronic components. We know the weight will obviously go up, but we suspect that tradeoff will be worth it to get shifting at multiple locations on the bike. And if we can incorporate hydraulic braking into the mix, we are going to have a major winner!
2. Further Differentiation between Cycling and Triathlon
In 2012 we saw the introduction of the Specialized Shiv and in 2013 Felt introduced the IA – triathlon-specific frames from major manufacturers. Cervelo and Trek have optional components that make their UCI-legal frames faster and, well…not so legal. We also started seeing component differentiation as well. Mavic’s CXR line with their aero blades are a great step forward – the aero blade may not be UCI legal but will have no trouble finding a home in transition. For 2014 we hope to see that trend continue – for frame, wheels, and any other components manufacturers can dream up.
3. Startups Changing the Industry
Small companies can revolutionize industries and triathlon is no exception. Flo Cycling brought fast toroidal wheels at a price almost any triathlete could afford, while Stages Cycling is doing the same for power meters. For 2014 we want to see other companies continue the trend. Both RidEye and Red Shift Sports are looking to bring new technologies and concepts to fruition in 2014. One of our most anticipated releases for 2014 is the Recon Jet from Recon Instruments. They missed their planned December delivery date but all signs point to a release in early 2014. But what we are most excited about are the products we haven’t heard of yet. By the end of 2014 we expect to be talking about companies and products that we hadn’t heard of 12 months prior but are going to introduce products we didn’t know how we lived without.