I thought I’d kick off the year with a short list of observations about what might be heading our way in the coming year. To be honest, these trends are very much underway already, but I think each will accelerate in 2018.
- e-Bikes. e-Bikes, e-Bikes, e-Bikes.
Maybe not so much on the Surrey Hills, but the industry really wants and in some ways needs this. I remain ambivalent thus far but know at some point in the future there will come a time when one will suit me very well. Actually I can think of two use-cases:
– First, my commute is about 30 miles round trip and if I’m honest, it’s hard work to ride that regularly for more than a couple of days and still do useful work at the end of it. An e-Bike would turn a twice weekly effort quite easily into a daily one.
– Second, if self-driving cars take off, boy will they be boring to use. I can imagine legions of e-Bikers getting plenty of enjoyment from buzzing around streets that are orders of magnitude safer than they are now (until the e-Bikers become the problem of course!).
Either way, expect to hear lots about e-Bikes this year.
- Direct sales.
If you’re a retailer, this year gets even more difficult I’m sorry to say. For a manufacturer, it’s a no-brainer to cut the middle-
manperson out of the picture and it’s happening across the retail sector, not just in cycling. When you see manufacturers with solid brands like Dyson advertising discounted direct sales products (as is happening right now), you can see what’s to come.
Already there are plenty of cycling brands offering some form of direct sales, whether it be online only (e.g. Y.T Industries, Canyon, Cotic, Bird) or hybrid models like Trek (where the online product is delivered to your local shop for pick up) or Orro Bikes which offers online sales as well as dealer supplied stock.
Many manufacturers are jumping on this game and you can expect a lot more to come. Retailers are going to be squeezed hard and will need to be a lot more than just bike sellers. The enterprising might offer station pick ups for bike servicing (keeps the commuters happy), or really focus on building their local bike community, or do more prominent cycle advocacy, or even start selling coffee (!). The online players like Chiggle (ChainReaction/Wiggle) will consolidate even more.
- Sigh. OK, can’t avoid it. Dockless bike sharing.
This is kicking in across continents, countries and cities, with services for dockless biking being offered mainly by Ofo Bikes, Obike, Urbo, Mobikes and there will be others. I can’t bring myself to link to them to be honest as I think they will be one of the main sources of anti-bike feeling this year. So far, they have been synonymous with wildly over-optimistic predictions of how rampant the public are for these services and massive bike dumping leading to environmental concerns and a public nuisance. I guess we will see. Oh and as a bonus? Dockless e-Bikes…
So there you go, that’s my starter for 2018. I hope I don’t sound too bleak but I just wanted to flag up stuff you can expect to see more of in 2018.
As for the Muddymoles, well we love bikes and we love to talk about bikes and we
lovequite like people who feel the same. So, we’re aiming for more news, more reviews and more pointless chatter. Stay tuned!
Oh, and the credit for the photo above? Well, if you didn’t see it coming, it’s from psychics.com…