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What's next? After gravel, what's the NEXT BIG THING?

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Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

What's next? After gravel, what's the NEXT BIG THING?

Old 08-01-19, 08:28 AM
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What's next? After gravel, what's the NEXT BIG THING?

Against my better judgment, I tend to be an early adopter. I was doing gravel back when Dirty Kanza had fewer than 100 entrants and nobody seemed to know what gravel was. Gravel bikers were seen as rather odd by all other cyclists. Roadies couldn't imagine why anyone would WANT to ride on dirt and gravel roads. For years, nobody had a clue that gravel cycling would become the NEXT BIG THING. (I thought it was popular, in part, because it WASN'T a big thing!)

But now, the sales wave is peaking, the fad is in full force, and everybody from road cyclists to MTBers to triathletes is talking about riding gravel. (But how many gravel bike buyers will actually ever ride a dirt or gravel road?) There's a major manufacturer new gravel product introduction just about every week. The gravel segment has become the mainstream and even traditional road race bikes are feeling threatened. But even this mania won't last forever.

So . . . what's next? What cycling segment will be next to see a resurgence? Or, what yet-to-be-widespread new cycling idea is going to become the "next big thing?" What do you think? Where are all the early adopters going now?

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Old 08-01-19, 08:31 AM
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I couldn't bring myself to put this in the first post. But . . . urp . . . gag . . . uhmp . . . you don't think it's e-bikes, do you? They're going big in Europe. (On the whole, I'd rather ride a Honda.)

What I'd really like to see is a resurgence of local, grassroots, weekly time trial competition. Could that become a thing?

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Old 08-01-19, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
Roadies couldn't imagine why anyone would WANT to ride on dirt and gravel roads.
So . . . what's next?
95% of the time I still don't know why anyone would want to ride gravel roads given the choice.

Next big thing: e-MTBs. It's already gaining steam.
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Old 08-01-19, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
....The market is saturated and overflowing. (And for early adopter types, it's getting kinda crowded in here.)....
I dunno. I started "doing gravel" when I moved to where 80% of the roads are gravel, like 15 years ago. I'm still kind of excited at the rare sighting of other cyclists out on these roads. Actually, in most of the west there's like millions of miles of gravel roads in really pretty spots where you'll hardly see anybody. The furthest thing from over saturated, in my experience anyway.

Plus its nice that the market now provides me more options than re-purposing a 90s mtb.
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Old 08-01-19, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by dgodave View Post
Actually, in most of the west there's like millions of miles of gravel roads in really pretty spots where you'll hardly see anybody. The furthest thing from over saturated, in my experience anyway.
I wasn't talking about the roads. I was talking about the market.

The SUV market is saturated, too, but not many of those SUV's will ever see an unpaved road (or, egad, off-road).
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Old 08-01-19, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
I wasn't talking about the roads. I was talking about the market.....
I thought you were talking about both, with things like:
....But now, the lemmings have followed and everybody from road cyclists to MTBers to triathletes is talking about riding gravel....
But really, why should I care one tiny bit about a saturated market for this or that type of bike?
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Old 08-01-19, 10:49 AM
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gravelcross is the next big thing.
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Old 08-01-19, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by dgodave View Post
I thought you were talking about both, with things like:

But really, why should I care one tiny bit about a saturated market for this or that type of bike?
I didn't say you should. But this is a very odd thread to make multiple replies to if you don't care about what the "next big thing" is.
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Old 08-01-19, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
I didn't say you should. But this is a very odd thread to make multiple replies to if you don't care about what the "next big thing" is.
Nailed it. I am very odd.

But I'm asking why I should care. Maybe there's an actual problem I'm unaware of?

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Old 08-01-19, 11:34 AM
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Now that there's gravel groupset, gravel is bonafide category (not a niche). That allows a niche between gravel and road (e.g. Salsa War Road) and a niche between gravel and MB XC - (e.g. Open WI.DE.). Gravel/road isn't really new (other than new marketing/positioning), but gravel/XC is new. But I don't think gravel/XC (monster gravel?) will become that big.
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Old 08-01-19, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
So . . . what's next? What cycling segment will be next to see a resurgence? Or, what yet-to-be-widespread new cycling idea is going to become the "next big thing?" What do you think? Where are all the early adopters going now?
Whats next is the continued consolidation of brands and homagenization of design due to global economic pressures and a lack of equal market growth. Ill pick the low hanging fruit and predict that ebikes are going to be the next big thing since they are the current trendy thing to hit store floorspace.

Not sure why you are calling people lemmings just because they are getting into gravel right now. I give no respect to those who adopt early to trends and I give no derision to those who adopt late. Everyone has their one interests, motivation, and means. Many on this very forum are new to gravel every day. Ridiculing them just because they havent already been riding backroads for years is petty as hell.
Its especially odd for you to mock those who are getting into gravel riding now since you have readily admitted that your impulsiveness to early adopt has led you to disappointment many times.





**edited because BF blocks the actual spelling of a word that means to make things similar/uniform, so i misspelled it as a dumb workaround.

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Old 08-01-19, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Not sure why you are calling people lemmings just because they are getting into gravel right now. I give no respect to those who adopt early to trends and I give no derision to those who adopt late. Everyone has their one interests, motivation, and means. Many on this very forum are new to gravel every day. Ridiculing them just because they havent already been riding backroads for years is petty as hell.
Its especially odd for you to mock those who are getting into gravel riding now since you have readily admitted that your impulsiveness to early adopt has led you to disappointment many times.
Lighten up, Francis! Did I touch a nerve? Wow.

I wasn't mocking anyone. "Lemmings" is marketingspeak for those who create the crest of a sales wave. No derision meant, but I guess I can see how the term could be seen as pejorative. I will change it in my original post to be better understood.

I am duly censored.

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Old 08-01-19, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
Lighten up, Francis! Thin skin?

I wasn't mocking anyone. "Lemmings" is marketingspeak for those who create the crest of a sales wave. No derision meant, but I guess I can see how the term could be seen as pejorative. I will change it in my original post to be better understood.
Interesting- all my marketing classes in college never introduced me to such a comcept. The term Lemmings has, for all my life, been a term of derision that is meant to highlight those who just follow the pack and go along with whatever is happening instead of thinking for themselves. The common claim being that lemmings will all walk off a cliff to their deaths just because they follow the one in front of them.

Didnt realize it now means the exact opposite and represents those who create the surge in a product's popularity.
Its been a few handfuls since I left college, but what I was taught is there are innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards. Words and language are fluid, but dang thats quite the change!
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Old 08-01-19, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
Lighten up, Francis! Did I touch a nerve? Wow.

I wasn't mocking anyone. "Lemmings" is marketingspeak for those who create the crest of a sales wave. No derision meant, but I guess I can see how the term could be seen as pejorative. I will change it in my original post to be better understood.

I am duly censored.
The use of "lemmings" when referring to people following a trend is based on the common belief that lemmings will follow each other over the edge of a cliff. It implies that the people are idiots for following the trend. I've never heard it used non-pejoratively, and I don't see how it could be.
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Old 08-01-19, 01:20 PM
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Same, lemmings has always been pejorative in the context and intent.

I really enjoyed the game as a kid.

Of the three shops in the area, the only vertical with any growth over the past 2-years has been e-bikes. The others have been completely flat. So yeah, it's already a "thing."

Personally, "gravel" bikes really only became a thing because people wanted to stuff bigger tires under their road bike. I see a lot of gravel bikes, pristine and with slicks on the local MUPs every weekend. No doubt, being loaded into or out of the owner's pristine SUV.

I bought a gravel bike because I wanted the utility and flexibility, there wasn't a single road bike that could achieve the results I wanted.
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Old 08-01-19, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
the fad is in full force, and everybody from road cyclists to MTBers to triathletes is talking about riding gravel.
I don't know.

Someone is buying these bikes because even the local triathlete shops now stock gravel bikes but most of the roadies I know have little or no interest.

Up in the mountains I see roadies coming down off the gaps in groups of a half dozen but hardly meet a single gravel rider while I ride.


Originally Posted by softreset View Post
Of the three shops in the area, the only vertical with any growth over the past 2-years has been e-bikes.
This is probably the answer to the question. e-assist is probably where smart money is investing.


-Tim-
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Old 08-01-19, 01:41 PM
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Tim - I think it is. I took a demo Pinarello e-bike out for the day last weekend when their truck was in town. After about 3 hours and almost 50 miles of riding, I'm legitimately giving it a thought. No, not a Pinarello e-bike (waaay out of budget) but one in general.

I don't use Strava, I don't race, I haven't ridden with a bike computer or power meter in 3 years. But I do enjoy an occasional group ride and I'd love to be just a little less sweaty on my AM commute. One of the guys I use to ride with regularly (retired guy) rides about 25-30/hrs per week, has incredible fitness and would indulge me on my demo ride. Because we don't ride much anymore as even his slow tempo had me struggling on most days. On the same e-bike, I kept his pace for 20+ miles, and he was at his limit. I was still cooked, he got a great workout and we rode together for the first time in almost a year. It was a blast. The 'boost' bridged the gap between my 16 avg MPH and his 20+ MPH and still gave me plenty of a workout.

Heck, I put my parents on e-bikes last year for their anniversary. Both of them ride more hours per month outside than I do now, they've both lost weight and feel better. "It's the best present in the world - 72 year old Mom"

From my perspective and I realize it's probably an unpopular opinion, I'm 100% supportive of e-bikes. But my philosophy when I worked at a shop was always: "Whatever it takes to get you riding."
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Old 08-01-19, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
I . you don't think it's e-bikes, do you?
Agreed - this was the first thing that came to mind when I saw your question.

I think that e-bikes might help some LBSs stay in business so that they can continue to sell non-motorized bikes also. A friend of mine is a Trek dealer and he ordered as many of the Trek Verve e-bikes (value-oriented commuter model) as he could get - supplies were limited - and he sees a future for his 40-year-old bike shop that definitely includes e-bikes.

And, the next-next big thing will be repairing e-bikes - which will also help the LBS, although there will be training and new equipment costs involved. The motor-controller-battery systems are complex and the average consumer won't be diagnosing and repairing problems. Most name brand e-bikes with name-brand systems should work fine for many years if the batteries are maintained. But, there will always be problems to fix at some point - especially with the off-brand bikes that are being marketed direct to consumers.

I've read that car dealerships make more $$ from service than they do selling new vehicles. Perhaps bike shops can take advantage of this business model with e-bikes.
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Old 08-01-19, 03:02 PM
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Bikepacking. Folks get gravel bikes but figure out pretty quickly they aren't racers. They can buy several large sacks and still feel they are part of the scene. Seems like a good plan to me!
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Old 08-01-19, 03:26 PM
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The future can be quite difficult to predict. If you had told me back in the '90's that the next big thing in cycling would be hipsters riding minimalist fixed-gear track bikes without brakes through crowded urban areas, I would have thought your were nuts.

But yeah, the e-bike thing is coming on strong. You can feel it.
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Old 08-01-19, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
Bikepacking. Folks get gravel bikes but figure out pretty quickly they aren't racers. They can buy several large sacks and still feel they are part of the scene. Seems like a good plan to me!
Every now and then the idea of bikepacking seems really appealing to me, but then I realize that I just want to buy all of the gear and really hate sleeping outside.
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Old 08-01-19, 03:29 PM
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E-Goatbikes. In 2022, the National Park Service finally decides to allow so-called "e-bikes" on trails, but dictates that they need to blend in with the natural environment and appear to be animals, so as not to be as scary to pack horses they might encounter along the the trails.

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Old 08-01-19, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
So . . . what's next? What cycling segment will be next to see a resurgence? Or, what yet-to-be-widespread new cycling idea is going to become the "next big thing?" What do you think? Where are all the early adopters going now?
Internal gear hubs?

I have no idea. I'll be happy riding my gravel bike on the dirt/gravel roads local to me for a long time. Driving somewhere to go ride is a turn-off to me, so whatever the "next big thing" is, if I have to put it in my car and drive somewhere to make good use of it, I don't see myself putting down new bike money for it.
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Old 08-01-19, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
Bikepacking. Folks get gravel bikes but figure out pretty quickly they aren't racers. They can buy several large sacks and still feel they are part of the scene. Seems like a good plan to me!
Excellent point!



How about e-bikepacking?
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Old 08-01-19, 03:33 PM
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And regarding the gravel trend, how many people are really in to crushing gravel vs. just owning a very versatile bike?

I worked in a bike shop when the hybrid trend came on strong in the 90's, and like gravel bikes hybrids are also quite versatile in terms of the mixed terrain they can handle. But hybrid owners were very quickly slapped with the label of "non-serious cyclist", and hybrids became the choice for soccer mom's and grandmas everywhere. Gravel bikes have a lot of the versatility of hybrids and touring bikes, but maintain a level of coolness.
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