Cycling is one of the most popular professional sports in the world, but also an increasingly popular recreational sport for occasional punters, particularly because it’s such an ecologically friendly transport alternative that can help to avoid city traffic.
Consequently, cycling manufacturing is a lucrative but also a highly competitive industry, with a large demand for improved and ground-breaking technology. In this article, we’ll list some of the technological advancements that help cyclists train and achieve a better experience on the road.
Professional cycling is one of the most expensive sports in the world, and for teams to have a real chance at winning some of the most important cycling competitions in the world, a massive investment is needed.
For instance, the UAE Team Emirates, the team of the winner of the Tour de France 2021, Tadej Pogačar, had the second-highest budget in the competition. With that same investment expected to increase or, at least, to stay the same, Pogačar is already priced by outright cycling betting markets as the favourite to win the competition again next year with odds of 5/4.
So, what exactly does financial investment contribute towards? Investment goes into all sorts of aspects, but the focus here is technologically modified bikes that are no longer merely bikes. Currently, cycling is supported by scientific and technological advancements, with different bicycle designs specifically tailored for different environments and situations.
For example, on the market at the moment, options range from the ideal model to climb mountains (the Climber), to the perfect bike for time-trials (the Time-Trial), but also standardised models, such as the Aero, which adapts to almost any environment or type of race. In particular, these types of models have been introduced in the Tour de France in 2019 and their prices can go all the way up to £11,000 per bike.
Another popular cycling technology is virtual cycling, which allows riders to experience the same conditions as in a real race, from the comfort of their own homes. This technology utilises effective visuals to imitate outside conditions and also enables cyclists to interact with others within the virtual space as software allow people to race competitively.
While the experience of pedalling may be partially virtual, the physical effort is very real: to offer cycling enthusiasts a realistic experience, the equipment attached to the bicycle is capable of reproducing elevation gains and losses but also different levels of difficulty during the race.
Last year, this technology was taken to a new level as Zwift, a cycling training software, hosted the virtual Tour de France. This event allowed professional athletes and amateurs to race together in the same competition in six different stages.
While a saddle may not seem like the most important aspect of cycling, those who are avid practitioners know the importance of this small part of the bicycle. Typical saddles can easily become extremely uncomfortable in long-distance rides and directly affect the performance of professional cyclists.
In an attempt to change this, BioFloat was developed. This innovative seat uses carbon fibbers along with a damping system that can transfer the impact of the cyclist’s pedalling to the bicycle. The saddle is also flexible and can move with the rider’s hips.
These are just some of the technological advancements that have changed cycling as we know it, but other important devices have been equally valuable, such as back protection and automatic gears.