Comment: Will the bike of the future belong with independents?

As technology advances and integrates, might it be that only those with the right equipment can service a bicycle?
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On the eve of the Cycle Show, with Eurobike and Interbike having recently concluded, this past month has offered very little in the way of time to think, or check the news to see what’s affecting the market this month.

However, what being on the ground at these shows will do for you is give you some idea of how well the industry as a whole is performing, often thanks to the number of unique R&D cash-sucking items appearing on stands.

Eurobike once again gave a strong indication that innovation in the market is rife. There’s plenty of superfluous product innovation, of course, but there’s a sense that as technology evolves, shrinks and reduces in cost that bikes and accessories will become a lot more interactive with the rider, at least at higher price points.

You’ll no doubt have seen BMC’s Eurobike concept bike, by no means a production item as yet, but a strong and heavily papped indicator of the direction that the label sees the market going.

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If you ask me (and you probably shouldn’t) I’d say there’s nothing like the simplicity of the bicycle minus any gadgets. There are those purists who ask ‘why’ every time a new gadget lands. And then there’s the masses, who – as is evidenced by five minutes in public – will demonstrate that technology is both mesmerising and addictive. But it could also be incredibly practical for cycling, particularly for those who need encouraging outside of their comfort zone.

As well as knowledge of bike fitting as standard, will the dealer of the future be required to have a firm grasp of built-in computers, cope with a far wider availability of power assist and perhaps even be able to program the shop number on a bike’s speed dial before every sale?

Time will tell, but as is the case with modern cars, you can bet there will be specialist diagnostics equipment aplenty. Perhaps the bike of the future belongs with the independent retailer. 

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