Road bikes to expect in 2019: Speculation on the updated UCI approved list
It’s that time of year again: The world’s biggest bike race is just around the corner, as is Eurobike, the world’s largest bicycle trade show. Bike launch season is upon us, too, but the UCI have provided a bit of a sneak preview of what’s to come, courtesy of their updated list of approved frames.
With the newly updated UCI list in hand, some keen eyes, and just a pinch of speculation thrown in, here’s a list of new road bikes you can likely expect for 2019.
With team riders spotted racing on disc-equipped Cannondale prototypes at Abu Dhabi earlier in the year, the return of the SystemSix as an aero road bike is hardly speculative. Interestingly, the UCI list doesn’t specify the SystemSix as a disc-brake or rim-brake bike, which either means there’s a rim-brake version set to surprise, or the bike will be released with just spinning rotors.
Given Cannondale’s fairly consistent pre-Tour release timing, we’re betting an official release of the SystemSix and its truncated tubes will come early July.
Giant Propel Rim
It was about 10 months ago that Giant released the Propel Disc, and back then, global marketing manager Andrew Juskaitis hinted that only offering the Propel with disc brakes was a risk. Many Giant distributors around the globe were pushing for a rim-brake version, and at the time, sales figures for the TCR model were still in favour of the rim-brake versions, too.
While the brake configuration of the Cannondale SystemSix isn’t called out on the UCI list, rim brakes are specified for both the 2019 Giant Propel Advanced and Propel Advanced Pro. However, there is no mention of a rim-brake Propel Advanced SL. Will we see pros riding one of the mid-range framesets instead, or is there something else still to come? Or will the pros remain on the disc version when they want aero benefits? All of those questions will likely be answered after the Tour.
Giant Defy Disc
Giant’s dedicated endurance road platform, the Defy, was arguably the industry’s first major bike range to force the use of disc brakes. With the current generation tipping into its fourth year of use, the Defy is ready for an update to bring it inline with more recently revamped competitors such as the Cannondale Synapse, Trek Domane, and Specialized Roubaix.
Trends in endurance bikes should reveal where the new Defy will head. Expect clearance for 30c+ tyres, disc brakes, and frame features designed for compliance. Giant are not shy about using their own components so it’s quite possible we’ll see a comfort-orientated handlebar setup, wider tubeless tyres, and a new wheelset accompany the bike.
Liv Envie Disc
Giant’s sister company, Liv, looks set to bring out a women’s-specific version of the Propel Disc. Where the Liv Langma is a lightweight all-rounder, the Envie is one for the sprinters, triathletes, and casual Ironman competitors. In general Liv fashion, we can expect to see some geometry and carbon lay-up tweaks compared to the Propel Disc, but would be surprised if the frame profiles are dramatically changed.
Trek Madone Disc
This one is speculation (and this post on WeightWeenies raises the rumour stakes), but with the current Madone now its third year, and every other road bike in the American company’s range now available in disc option, how could this not be true?
It’s quite likely we’ll see the aero road focused Madone range updated in the way the Emonda was last year, with a new rim-brake version released alongside a wholly new disc option. The current Madone is already one of the better bikes in the aero road space, and so Trek may only need to make minor refinements to ensure its competitive position. It seems likely Trek will stick with its IsoSpeed pivoting seat tube comfort technology, and Kammtail truncated tube shapes, but it’ll be interesting to see what else the innovative company introduce here.
Focus Izalco Disc
It looks like a third generation of the Izalco is on the way. So far, only a disc version has graced the UCI-approved list, but it would be surprising if that’s all we see from the German company.
The Izalco is a lightweight all-rounder, and given Focus’ lack of an aero road bike in the range, it’s possible we’ll see some aero tube profiling introduced while keeping weight, stiffness, and ride quality intact. Adding to this possibility is that Focus share a parent company with Cervélo (PON Holdings), and to date, not a whole lot of design collaboration has been seen.
Specialized Allez Sprint Disc
As a fan of the Allez Sprint alloy bike, our own James Huang was pretty excited to hear about this one. It seems the bike used by the US Pro Continental Hagens-Berman Axeon cycling team is soon to get a disc variant.
As far as alloy bikes go, there’s not a lot out there competing directly with the aero-profiled Allez Sprint, and given this, I’m speculating that the disc version will simply be a new fork and rear end for the existing platform. It’ll otherwise look quite familiar, which is hardly a bad thing.
Specialized Venge Disc
This hasn’t reached the updated UCI list, but it’s clear both Bora–Hansgrohe and Quick-Step Floors have their hands on a new disc-equipped aero road bike. Looking at the photos, it seems Specialized has gone with truncated aero tube shapes, likely to improve the bike’s stiffness. The photos don’t reveal a huge amount, but clearly the existing Venge ViAS Disc’s sculpted downtube, which hugs the front wheel, is replaced in favour of a more traditional straight tube.
BMC Timemachine Road
It’s been a long time since BMC updated their aero road platform, and in fact, the Timemachine Road (TMR) is currently missing from the Swiss bike company’s range. The WorldTour team consistently picks the well-rounded Teammachine for races, and a modern aero road bike is clearly absent.
As a progressive bike company, it wouldn’t be too surprising if they took the path of Giant and went disc-only at launch. BMC is another company that often releases new bikes prior to the Tour de France, so watch this space.
Colnago C64 Disc
Announced back in February, Colnago is set to bring out a disc version of its newly released C64 lugged carbon bike. I’ve included it on the list because the bike isn’t yet on shop floors and it’s certainly one we’re keen to throw a leg over for review.
According to the UCI-approved list, Fuji is set to release new versions of the well-rounded Transonic aero road bike platform. The UCI list shows both rim-brake and disc-brake options, sticking with the trend of most brands offering both.
The aero road bike market has progressed plenty since the existing Transonic’s 2014 introduction. Fuji’s parent company also owns Oval components, so it seems likely the new version will feature an integrated cockpit among other changes.
Lapierre Xelius SL 2
Lapierre’s all-rounder road bike, the Xelius SL, looks set to receive a makeover. Given the bike’s general classification purpose, we can likely expect the new model to be lighter, stiffer, and more compliant than before. Perhaps it’ll even borrow some aero trickery from the Aircode SL. However, I suspect the somewhat signature bypass seatstays, which connect directly to the top tube, will remain.
Orbea Orca Aero Disc
It was 10 months ago that Orbea released the new Orca Aero road bike, and it appears a disc-equipped version is on the way to accompany it. Given the young age of the rim-brake bike, it’s more than likely the Spanish company will merely change the rear end of the frame and produce a new fork in order to create the Orca Aero Disc.
Pinarello Dogma K10S rim brake
Featuring one centimeter of electronically controlled suspension at the top of the seatstays, Pinarello’s recently released Dogma K10S Disk is a bike designed for the cobbles, which doubles as a performance-oriented endurance platform. While it’s the disc version of the bike that was officially released, Sky’s Geraint Thomas, among other team riders, was seen on a rim-brake version of this during the Classics, and that bike is now on the UCI-approved list.
Do any of these new road bikes pique your interest? What would you like to see in 2019?