2016 proves to be an exciting year already with just the things we know! It’s an El Niño year and an Olympic year! Coincidence? Before we know it, the 2017 bikes will be here! It’s hard to keep up. Listed below are 4 predictions I believe will positively affect our sport and lead to more enjoyment of mountain biking followed by just an little racing prediction.
- One way trails – I see a growing number of trails meant for either climbing or descending. I experienced several highly used trail systems recently that have incorporated both climb only trails and descend only trails. They both seemed to distribute the high user loads very well and I’m betting made for many happier trail users.
- More Versatile, FUN Bikes – XC/Trail bikes will continue to be updated to make them more versatile and fun. We’ll see more bikes in the 115-130mm range that can fit 29″ or 27.5″ PLUS (3.0″ width tires), with shorter chainstays and slightly more relaxed head tubes.
- 2.5 Tires – Tires will get fatter and more options will become available blurring the line between plus and the standard 2.2-2.4″ tire. I see tires that are lightish, (under 850g) fast rolling 2.5’s with nice side knobs and durable sidewalls that dampen the ride without being too bouncy.
- Fat Bikes at Ski Resorts – Many areas have started grooming fat bike specific tracks. Ski areas will continue to open up terrain to the year round cyclist and embrace fat biking fun. Terrain parks made for fat bikes?!
- 2016 Rio Olympics – If you haven’t paid attention to World Cup XC racing lately or the previous Olympics, you will be quite surprised by the level of difficulty of the courses. For that reason Nino Schurter and Yolanda Neff are my top podium predictions for Rio 2016. Both of these Swiss riders possess the skills and fitness necessary to dominate on the technically demanding Rio course that sports lots of man made obstacles with optional lines.