Bike Industry Standards on Trial: Worthy Innovation or Marketing Hype? (Parts 1-3)

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In this series, we take a look at bike industry standards that have materialized over the years and ask: are they worthy innovations or marketing hype? Find all three videos below, where we cover 18 topics ranging from Boost hub spacing, wheel sizes, and tire widths to ultra-wide drop-bars, wireless shifting, flat-mount brakes, and gravel suspension forks. Plus, find the corresponding results from our reader survey here…

Many folks think mountain bikes were absolutely fine the way they were back in the heyday of the 90s. Some even think those bikes are essentially the same as modern gravel bikes. We get that comment quite often here on the website when we announce a new bike: isn’t this just like a mountain bike from the 90s? Those bikes were great, and there are some similarities, but as you know, there’s also a lot of specs and tech under the hood that’s completely different on new bikes. Some of these transformations have changed bikes for the better, and others are questionable.

There are two forces driving all these mutations and advancements: innovation and marketing. We decided to take a deep dive into all these bike industry standards and gimmicks that have become popular—and sometimes contentious—to figure out whether each is a worthy innovation or marketing hype.

Part 1: Hub Spacing, Wheel Sizes & Tire Widths

In our fist of three videos, we cover six standards within the realms of hub spacing, wheel sizes, and tire widths. Watch it below, then scroll down to learn about the survey results and find part two further down the page.

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Bike Industry Standards: Survey Says?

A major part of this video series stemmed from a survey asking our readers about their opinion on nearly 20 standards that have been developed within the bike industry. We had more than 2,000 readers participate and gave away Kitsbow Icon shirts to three of the participants, chosen at random. Congrats to Richard F. from Carbondale, Colorado; Chris E. from Copperas Cove, Texas; and Justin S. from Virginia. If you missed out on this giveaway, make sure to subscribe to our channel and click the notification bell to be informed about the next one. Here are the results from the subjects addressed in part 1:

Bike industry standards, Worthy Innovation or Marketing Hype

Part 2: Wide Handlebars, Modern Geo, Droppers…

In our second of three videos, we dig into handlebar widths, cockpits, and geometry. Specific subjects include modern long geometry with short stems, ultra-wide drop-bars, the alt-bar craze, suspension seat posts and stems, dropper seat posts, and the prevalence of carbon rims and handlebars.

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Survey Says?

Here are the results from the subjects addressed in part two…

Bike Industry Standards

Part 3: Wireless Shifting, 1×12, Gravel Sus…

In the third and final video of this series, we cover flat-mount brakes, downcountry “in-between” category bikes, electronic shifting, gravel suspension forks, and 1×12 drivetrains. Watch it below, and to help support more videos like it, please subscribe to our YouTube channel here.

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Survey Says?

Here are the results from the subjects addressed in part three…

Here’s a list of the topics we addressed in all three videos. Are there any additional bike industry standards you’d like for us to analyze and dissect? If so, leave us a note in the conversation below.


  • Thru-Axles
  • Boost Hub Spacing
  • Super Boost Hub Spacing
  • 27.5″ Wheel/Tire Size
  • 29er Wheels/Tires
  • Plus Tires (29+/27.5+)


  • Long Geometry/Short Stems
  • Ultra-wide Drop-bars
  • Alt-bars
  • Suspension Seat Posts/Stems
  • Dropper Seat Posts
  • Carbon Rims/Handlebars


  • Tubeless Technology
  • 1×12 Drivetrains
  • “In-between” Bikes/Tires
  • Flat Mount Brakes
  • Gravel Suspension forks
  • Electronic Shifting

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