On ya bike: new bicycles and accessories for 2022
Cycling is showing no signs of slowing down as a popular outdoor activity. With bike sales booming, and cycle routes and trails popping up all around the country, getting out on two wheels has become the most popular outdoor activity in Australia.
For 2022, there are a number of exciting bikes on the way, from e-bikes, to kids’ models, to mountain and gravel bikes, along with some exciting component developments, in the form of wireless drivetrains and suspension, plus the usual (and always improving) accessories, such as helmets and bike carriers. In short, it’s a great time to be riding a bike; even allowing for the fact demand has outstripped supply (with the secondhand bike market also now booming as a result) there are some very exciting cycling products on the way in 2022. Here are some of our favourites…
Mountain and gravel bikes
Rocky Mountain Element
The famous Canadian MTB brand turned 40 in 2021 and celebrated with the release of its fully revised cross-country MTB, the Element, both aluminium and carbon-fibre frames. The MY22 model reflects the trend in XC to move toward more aggressive geometry, with the new Element now straddling XC/Trail duties and joining the ‘new’ class of bike known as ‘downcountry’.
The Element fits the new description perfectly across its range of two alloy and three carbon-fibre models (for Oz), reflecting the brand’s gnarly North Shore roots with its slack 65-degree head angle, longer travel front and rear (now 130mm front; 120mm rear) and beefier fork. The Element is ideal for those after a bike to enter events that range from short XC courses through to multi-day marathon type events, or for just razzing your local trails. Pricing starts at $3999 for the alloy Element A10, and tops out at $8999 for the carbon C70. See www.bikes.com for more info.
Yeti’s ARC nameplate is an integral part of mountain biking’s history, so when the famous Colorado brand launched the ‘new’ ARC last year, it was with plenty of pressure to produce something special. And the Yeti designers nailed it, with the end result a bike that provides what we reckon is the ‘pure’ hardtail experience; being able to blast along cross-country trails one day, tackle a weekend’s bikepacking, and rumble down challenging trails on any other day.
All models share the same Turq-series frame, with pricing kicking off at $3400 for the frame-only, to $7690 for the SRAM GX-equipped model, through to a heady $12,290 for the SRAM XX1 AXS (wireless) model. Not cheap, but if you thought hardtails were old-school, this incredible bike will disabuse you of that notion; don’t be surprised if your dual-suspension trail rig starts gathering dust in the shed… See www.rowneysports.com for more info.
Marin Headlands 2
This well-priced ($3999), well spec’d carbon-fibre gravel bike from iconic US bike brand, Marin, has the perfect combo of relaxed geometry, the option of running either 700Cx45mm or 650Bx50mm tyres (there are thru-axles front and rear also), and runs Shimano’s highly-regarded GRX800 1x drivetrain and brakes. There’s also internal dropper post routing (it comes with a 105mm TranzX dropper), it has a handy removable seatstay brace so you can add fenders in when conditions are muddy (or for your commute), and thru-axles front and rear.
The frame’s unidirectional carbon-fibre means the comfort levels are high on this gravel grinder. The long, low and slack (for a gravel bike) geometry and its short 420mm chainstays aid manoeuvrability. Also included are numerous eyelets for fitment of bags and gear. See www.bicyclesonline.com.au for more info.
Curve GRX aka Kevin
Aussie brand Curve’s titanium gravel bike, GXR aka Kevin, has been tested heavily on adventures worldwide. Paired with the Ride 400 carbon fork, this allows extra clearance for wheel options based on your riding style. Choose either 700c wheels and 32–45 mm tyres, best suited for commuting, gravel, and cyclocross. Or, if you’re looking to tackle some rougher terrain with more traction, use 650b (27.5”) wheels fitted with 1.8–2.2” tyres.
The RIDE 400 fork has three M5 mounting points on each side, with a recommended load capacity of 3kg across three mount points. In addition, the GXR frame is equipped with rear rack mounts, fender mounts, and three bidon mounts; and can run either a 1x or 2x drivetrain. See www.curvecycling.com.au for pricing and info.
Curve describes the GMX+ as its ultimate titanium bikepacking bike. Built for any off-road adventure, the GMX+ paired with the SEEK 430 carbon fork can accommodate up to 3.0″ tyres. A bigger tyre means more traction and less rolling resistance, letting you ride efficiently across more tricky terrain such as sand, rocks, and snow. The SEEK 430 fork has six M5 mounting points on each side, with a recommended load capacity of 3kg across three mount points.
In addition, the GMX+ frame includes mounting points on all rear stays and offset on the downtube, allowing riders to run a full-size frame bag plus 1L bottles on either side. You can use either a drop bar, such as Curve’s WALMER Bar, together with a short stem, or Curve’s flat bar, the REMLAW. This replicates the same reach position as a drop bar, meaning there is no need for a longer stem like many other flat bar options. See www.curvecycling.com.au for pricing and info.
Merida Matts J20 & J24
These two bikes from Merida cover off on- and off-road riding for the youngsters. Both bikes utilise a lightweight alloy frame and HL Suspension forks, along with Shimano’s well-proved RevoShift 7 (7-speed) shifter and TX derailleur. The brakes are strong linear V-brakes while the alloy wheels are shod with MTB 20×2.0-inch tyres for the J20 and MTB 24×1.95-inch for the larger size model.
The geometry is ideal for aiding confidence, being not too steep (or too slack) and the standover height is nice and low. The J24 is suited to a height range of 130-150cm, while the J20 is ideal for 115-140cm. Priced at $469 (J20) and $479, these are great value. See www.merida-bikes.com for more info.
Norco Storm 4.3
Young riders don’t just need small adult bikes; Norco’s Youth MTBs are built for real rides with tuned componentry and an eye for progression. Getting kids on bikes early sets them up with healthy habits, gives them a little extra mobility and paves the way for a lifetime of riding. The Norco Storm 4.3 is the perfect proof of this philosophy from the famous Canadian brand. The alloy frame of the bike combines with the rigid fork to offer an incredibly light weight rig, making it easy to handle for young kids.
This frame combines with Shimano’s 7-speed Altus Rapidfire shifter and Tourney rear derailleur to make it super easy to shift when needed. The front and rear linear pull-brakes are incredibly reliable, and the levers have reach-adjust for those small hands. An awesome first or second bike, at a competitive price of $549. See www.norco.com for more info.
Marin San Quentin 20 & 24
These hardcore hardtails for kids feature a robust 6061 aluminium frame, with IS brake mounts, a tapered head-tube, nice and slack geometry (a 65-degree head angle, with a nice steep seat-angle for those big climbs) and plenty of standover clearance. These models are great value in their market segment, with the 24 priced at $1699 and the 20 at $1099.
The San Quentin 24 has Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, a RockShox Judy 100mm front fork, and Shimano MicroSHIFT Advent 9-speed drivetrain (with trigger-shifters). The San Quentin 20 doesn’t skimp on specs, either: an 8-speed Shimano MicroSHIFT Acolyte drivetrain, Tektro hydraulic brakes and an 80mm SR Suntour XCM suspension fork up front. For the mini hardcore riders, these two bikes are brilliant options. See www.bicyclesonline.com.au for the full Marin bike range and more info.
Polygon Premier 20 & 24
Perfect for riders aged seven to 12, the Premier 24 is brilliant bang for your bike bucks ($449). The frame is very light (10.6kg for the Premier 24, thanks to its rigid front fork; 11.6kg for the Premier 24 XC variant, with its 50mm Suntour suspension fork), making it easy to handle for the small folks. Alloy cranks, bars, stems and wheelset help to keep that weight down, too. The Shimano seven-speed Revoshift gearing means shifting between gears is also easy for smaller hands, while the alloy V-brakes will pull them up to a stop quickly and assuredly every time. With fast-rolling 1.75-inch tyres, the Premier 24 is a blast for kids (you can fit up to 2.1-inch tyres for rougher tracks if need be).
For the smaller shredders (ages five to eight), there is the Premier 20 (prices start at $429 for the standard, with the XC variant $479) as well, with a similar spec level in terms of the same Revoshift gearing and alloy V-brakes, plus tyres, along with kid-specific alloy brake levers (with a shorter reach). See www.bicyclesonline.com.au for more info.
Specialized Turbo Levo
The giant US bike brand has continued to stay at the head of the game in the e-MTB scene, wth the release of its updated Levo earlier in 2021. This 150mm rear/160mm front-travel rig reflects the latest in e-MTB tech, with a focus on increasing the power and battery range (with a more robust belt in the motor for increased longevity), as well as improving overall ride and handling. One of the notable ways Specialized has tackled the ride and handling question is opting for a mixed-wheel (27.5 rear; 29 front) setup on the Levo that, in turn, allowed designers to shorten the rear chainstays for snappier, more playful handling, while lengthening the front centre, steepening the seat tube and slackening the head-tube angle.
With six geometry settings (three headtube angles, and the bottom bracket height can be adjusted up or down 7mm via a flip-chip) a suspension tune designed to take into consideration the additional forces a pedal-assisted bike generates, and a claimed five hour riding range (with the highest capacity 700Wh battery fitted), it’s easy to see how the Levo has become one of the most popular e-MTBs in Australia. Pricing starts at a market-competitive $9400 for the Turbo Levo (alloy) and goes up from there through a wide model range before topping out at $24,200 for the mega-tough S-Works Turbo Levo. See www.specialized.com for stockists and more info on this and the rest of the Specialized e-MTB range.
When one of the world’s most iconic and highly regarded mountain bike brands takes its time to join the burgeoning e-MTB market, you know it’s because there’s something special coming and the Yeti 160e proves the theory that good things come to those who wait. This all-new Enduro World Series e-MTB monster is touted by Yeti as the world’s first race-specific e-MTB. And ‘all-new’ is accurate: Yeti started from scratch when designing the 160e, to the point of creating a new Sixfinity suspension design – a six-bar linkage exclusive to this model that imitates the action of the company’s famous Switch Infinity design, where a lower link switches direction as the bike’s shock moves through its travel. This allows kinematic tuning that results in a suspension platform that provides loads of stability, even allowing for the additional heft of an e-MTB.
Add in Shimano’s well-proved EP8 motor (with 630W battery and three ride modes) plus top-flight components (including custom-tuned FOX suspension) and spec-levels, and it’s an appealing package for the e-MTB rider after a bike that is up for any trail – or race. The 160e is available in two carbon-fibre frames: the C-Series (starting at $15,990) and the lighter but equally strong T-Series, from $19,990. See www.rowneysports.com.au for stockists and more info.
Parts and stuff
US bike component giant, SRAM, has expanded into the gravel and bikepacking market in a comprehensive way, with the release of its XPLR range of wireless drivetrains, suspension and dropper post. The XPLR wireless drivetrain is available in three spec levels – RED, Force and Rival – and features an XDR driver body-compatible 10-44T rear cassette that is available at SRAM’s XG-1271 and XG-1251 levels, plus eTap AXS rear derailleurs (these have larger X-SYNC pulleys for better durability) and new direct mount 1x cranksets, in sizing 38-46T. The cranksets also feature carbon arms and SRAM’s X-SYNC narrow-wide chainring tech. As well, there is a Wide Crankset, at Force 1 and Rival 1 level.
XPLR does not stop at drivetrains, either, adding in suspension, courtesy of its renowned RockShox brand, with a new gravel-specific fork, dubbed the Rudy Ultimate XPLR (with enough space for tyres up to 700x50mm and utilising RockShox’s excellent Solo Air spring). This new fork has 30mm upper stanchions and offers a choice of 30mm or 40mm travel.
The wireless Reverb AXS XPLR dropper post (27.2mm diameter) includes a new feature called ActiveRide, which allows for some inbuilt compliance and the choice of 50mm or 75mm of travel. Seatpost lengths are 400mm or 350mm (for the 50mm-drop post only). The dropper post uses the same battery as all other AXS components.
Add in the 101 XPLR wheelset (by ZIPP), available in 700c or 650b sizing and 27mm internal width, the G40 XPLR tyre (700c size; 40mm width) and the Zipp Service Course SL-70 XPLR handlebar and SRAM definitely has the gravel and bikepacking scene well covered. See www.sram.com for more info.
And there’s more…
Entity RH30 helmet
The Entity RH30 is the company’s flagship helmet, with a raft of features designed to keep you safe and comfortable when you’re on your pusy. There are 25 optimised high-flow air vents to ensure plenty of ventilation as well as keeping the helmet light in weight as well (the size Medium weighs just 250g). The dual in-mould construction offers a low-profile design that delivers strength, while the dial-fit system makes a snug and safe fit to your head easy to achieve, plus you can adjust it with one hand on the move if need be. The RH30 exceeds Australian Helmet Standards, rated the toughest in the world, and is available in two sizes: Medium (head diameter 55-59cm) and Large (diameter 58-61cm). There are four colours: Matte/Gloss Black, Matte/Gloss Slate, Gloss White or Hi-Vis Lime. See www.bicyclesonline.com.au for more info.
Hiplok JAW+ bike storage
This compact wall-mounted bike rack makes storing your two-wheel adventure machines super-easy. It can hold bikes in either a horizontal or vertical position, allowing you to optimise storage space. The unique design is fully adjustable and can fit all bicycle types and frame sizes. In terms of tyre sizes, it can fit a tyre width of 20mm to 75mm. The Hiplock JAW+ is very easy to fit, attaching to a wall via four bolts and you can set them to whatever height you need for the particular bikes you have. The unit comes with an included Z LOCK COMBO lock system. This lightweight locking strap is of an adjustable zip-tie design that includes a three-digit combination mechanism for additional security.
See www.hiplok.com for info on this and other Hiplok products.
[subhead]Brooks Scape Frame Bag
The Brooks brand is famous for its decades-long reputation as one of the best bike saddle manufacturers on the planet. The UK icon has since branched into making bike bags for adventure cycling (touring; bikepacking; gravel riding) and bike commuting. This frame bag shows the brand’s commitment to detail and high quality. It is of entirely welded construction, ensuring it is fully waterproof, with two full-length zips (with ergonomic pullers) and will fit on most standard size bike frames. Features include two lateral pockets, one of which (the larger) has a coated YKK zip and protection flap, along with an internal organiser and cable exit for smartphones/GPS units. There is also a KCC waterproof zip for smaller accessories. The Hypalon Velcro straps make for easy attachment to your bike frame. The capacity is 3L, and it measures 460mm wide, 120mm high and 60mm deep, and it has a maximum load capacity of 3kg. As well as this bag, Brooks make a top tube bag, a handlebar roll, a saddle roll bag for attachment ot your seatpost, and much more. See www.brooksengland.com for the comprehensive range.