I was just looking at a bike at popularmechanics.com that had automatic transmission, integrated headlights, and a few other features. Most of these features are just to sell the bike, but not for much else.
I was thinking, though, about improvements in bicycles that might actually happen in the foreseeable future that would be great benefits. Here are some thoughts.
(1) Integrated full-function cyclometer, heartrate monitor, GPS + map, along with web/email access, all on a small, lightweight handlebar platform.
(2) Puncture-proof tires. I mean, _really_ puncture-proof tires. If this could be acheived, it would be greatest liberation for cyclists since the derailler.
(3) Still lighter materials for frames. Plastics, perhaps, or carbon fiber improvements.
(4) Aero wheels that are comparable in weight, strength, and price to standard wheels. This could happen before long, I would think, given that what is required is just that materials necessary to make a strong tri-spoke design become both lighter and cheaper. If it did, aero wheels would be standard equipment even on Wal-mart bikes.
(5) Improved batteries. Longer life for bright commuter lights, x>10W, with reduced weight. (Not likely soon. Someday, perhaps.)
Any other thoughts?