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...what's the next big breakthrough in road bike technology? Over the last 15 years or so, we've had such major innovations as clinchers that provide almost-tubular performance, STI shifting, and a wide range of miracle materials such as CF, Ti, and even magnesium.

So what's next? (I'm honestly asking...I don't have any good leads on the Bike of the Next Millenium...)
 

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my fingers are crossed

a come back of high grade steel
a big assortment of bikes with steel frames [with lugs! with fancy cut outs!]

a focus on durability vs flash
 

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I can almost guarantee that there won't be a comeback for steel. I think composites will become even more advanced and frame weights will drop a bit more yet the bikes will become nearly unbreakable. Just possibly transmission could change from chain to driveshaft since a carbon fiber driveshaft could be torsionally stiff enough and still as light as a chain.
 

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If I were to take a shot in the dark:

1) Light weight internally geared hubs. Eliminating derailleurs and simplifying the overall design of the bike.

2) Lightweight hydrolic road disc brake set ups. With Avid getting into the road side of things I think this will come around. This will allow for more flexibility in rim design resulting in stronger/lighter weight rims and lower rotational mass in the wheels.
 

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Wookiebiker said:
If I were to take a shot in the dark:

1) Light weight internally geared hubs. Eliminating derailleurs and simplifying the overall design of the bike.
Increased loss of power in the drivetrain.

Wookiebiker said:
2) Lightweight hydrolic road disc brake set ups. With Avid getting into the road side of things I think this will come around. This will allow for more flexibility in rim design resulting in stronger/lighter weight rims and lower rotational mass in the wheels.
UCI
 

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Tubeless for the road.
Better use of carbon fiber. Brake Calipers, Hubs, Rims, and other smaller usually alloy forgings.
Kevlar replaces metal cables.
Lighter Zerts and Bontrager Buzz Kills.
More products like Zerts and Buzz Kills that don't do much but cause $ to leave your wallet.
Electromagnetic clipless pedal system.
Microengineered Carbon tube system with better structure for less weight.

Anti-Hillbilly deflector shields to ward off encounters on country roads. (Anti-angry motorist for the city)

Dog chase alert system similar to radar detector for cars.
 

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instead of chain a circular (or other)cross section belt drive. and associated components to work with it. lighter weight, no oil, etc. the question is how well could you get it to stick to the "tubering" and "tube hub"...prob not well enough.
 

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More electronics, tunable compliance

I'm thinking GPS, altitude guages, power meters. I know some of this stuff is around now but there is room for improvement in the price vs performance and integration into the control centre.

Helmet mounted cameras can be useful. Good deterrant against road rage incidents for commuters.

Some other stuff will start with MTB's like stability control, active suspension, anti lock brakes. I can see some type of adjustable compliance system on a road bike where you can dial in the downtube stiffness depending on the type of ride you are on.

Then there is the comfort stuff like heated bars and saddle, not to mention big improvements in lighting systems. These will extend the season and time limits that you can ride.

I would love to see a system that moved the gears internal to the hub and eliminated all the problems with wheel dish. Especially big benefit to heavier riders who need a rear wheel that can stand up to abuse
 

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I've also been thinking of a belt drive. Probably a cogged belt similar to the one Harley Davidson uses. It'd be lighter, could use lighter, aluminum, Ti, or even plastic rear cogs and/or chainrings. Quieter, very low / no maintenence, clean.
 

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FTF said:
Increased loss of power in the drivetrain.


UCI
I would say the disc brakes could become a reality since UCI rules can and will change. The question is how long it will take before viable disc brakes for road bikes are offered. to get really light weight they will likely need to be hydraulic, though some refinement to Avid's road disc brakes could provide a good alternative and possibly lighter with no re-design to the shifters.

For internally geared hubs, with lighter weight will come refinement. If they can get the power loss down very close to that of a chain system it could become a valid option. For mountain bikes this is the future since they see harsher conditions than road bikes.


I also agree with other posters that adjustable frames will be in the future. Being able to adjust the ride quality of the frame will be an option. Using a small computer the user will be able to give a more compliant rear end or a stiffer bottom bracket. It may actually automatically adjust based on the power input of the rider. On climbs when out of the saddle the frame automatically stiffens for better power output, when sitting it becomes more compliant.

The technology is already starting to appear. Look at the Olympics this year and the downhill sking suits. When they hit a gate the suit hardened up to provide more protection for the athlete.

This would also allow more adjustable frames for different weight riders.
 

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Mr. Versatile said:
I've also been thinking of a belt drive. Probably a cogged belt similar to the one Harley Davidson uses. It'd be lighter, could use lighter, aluminum, Ti, or even plastic rear cogs and/or chainrings. Quieter, very low / no maintenence, clean.
The only problem I see with a belt drive is they want to be able to use cross over components from road to mountain bikes. A chain is an easy place to do this.

However a belt drive would not be an ideal drive mechanism for off road usage due to mud filling up the gaps of a cogged belt, or a smooth belt slipping due to water or mud.

A chain is self cleaning and would still be usable in the worst conditions. It may only work for one gear but it still works.

Having two seperate drive systems, one for road and one for mountain bike would not be cost effective for companies supplying both mountain bike and road bike components.
 
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