Here’s what 28,500 ENDURO readers said – the most exciting insights of our 2020 ENDURO reader survey

Who is the average ENDURO reader? Which are the hottest bikes and most popular brands and which are poised to set new benchmarks? With over 28,500 participants, the largest and most representative survey of the mountain biking industry answers these and many more questions. Find all the most exciting insights on our webpage.

Unbelievable: more than 28,500 readers took part in our 2020 ENDURO reader survey, making it the largest and most representative survey in the industry. However, with over 15,000 participants in German-speaking countries alone, it’s the biggest of its kind both on international scale and in the DACH region. That’s huge, we’re humbled. Thank you so much to all of you! The annual reader survey is a crucial part of our work at ENDURO, giving us an in-depth understanding of your preferences and opinions. Because ultimately, everything we do revolves around you – our readers! We want to deliver the content and bikes that excite and interest you and understand which problems you want us to help you with. To achieve this, we need direct and unfiltered feedback from the scene. Without your help this wouldn’t be possible, without our readers the ENDURO team wouldn’t have anyone to test and write articles for. In other words: you are what makes ENDURO Magazine!

By taking part, you’re not just influencing the work and editorial direction at ENDURO but actively helping shape the future of the entire mountain biking industry. Many well-known manufacturers use our anonymised analyses and data to improve both their strategies and products.

All together, our participants accumulated more than 400 days filling out our survey – an immense effort that deserves our utmost respect. Once again, a massive thank you to all our readers! You’re part of the biggest and most representative survey of the mountain biking world!

Who are you?

Our international readership spans all age groups. From young 14-year-old shredders to sporty 90-year-old seniors, everyone is included. Once again this year, the average ENDURO reader is 38 years old. Out of the 28.500 participants, 486 respond to the name of Michael, followed by Christian and Thomas. Amongst the ladies, Julia leads the rankings followed by Anna and Sarah. The proportion of female readers has increased by one percent over last year, accounting for 5% of the total readership. There’s definitely room of improvement in this respect, but at least the trend is heading in the right direction. Speaking of trends, we noticed a slight decline in your average household income, which at € 68,800 is about € 2,600 lower than last year. And did you know that over 71% of ENDURO readers have a university or college degree? And almost 4% even have a PHD. Chapeau!

How long have you been riding mountain bikes?

On average, you’ve been riding mountain bikes for just over 13 years, which is slightly less than last year. And there is a very good explanation for this: there are more mountain biking novices than ever. In 2020, over 5% of all participants were beginners, which is over a third more than last year. Welcome to the family! And to all others: we’re glad you’re still with us!

On average, you’ve been riding mountain bikes for 13 years.
5 % of our readers have just started mountain biking.
Welcome to the family!

Where are you from?

Our 2020 survey has welcomed a total of 28.500 participants from 125 different countries! Submitting 53% of all votes, our German-speaking readership constitutes the majority of all participants, with Germany accounting for 42% of the votes in the DACH region, followed by Austria (6%) and Switzerland (5%). Other large markets are the UK and the United States, which account for 9% and 8% of votes respectively. Australia and Canada both come in at around 3%, while Italy, France and Spain make it to 2% each. As usual, there are countless countries with very few participants, sometimes with numbers in the single digits. At this point, we want to send a special greeting to our lone readers in Jamaica, Micronesia, Vanuatu and many other beautiful countries around the globe.

What do you do apart from riding mountain bikes?

Without a doubt, mountain bikers are a very active bunch. Of course, this is reflected in the other activities you like to engage in alongside biking. It comes as no surprise that 43 % of you love travelling, while 38 % are into camping and van-life. Good coffee and (craft) beer are also extremely popular, standing at 36% and 25% respectively. Moreover, 35% of our readers are into computers and electronic gadgets, while 28% of them are keen photographers.

Last year, over two-thirds went on a holiday with their mountain bike. On average, your vacation lasted 8.6 days and cost you € 159 per day. When choosing your travel destination, a third of you took inspiration from one of our travel stories. Unfortunately, the current global pandemic hindered us from creating even more exciting travel content, but hopefully we’ll soon be able to make up for that.

Enter the bike cave! What bikes do you ride?

We’re always curious to hear which bikes you own and ride. At 57%, enduro bikes are still the most widespread, which is hardly surprising given the focus of our magazine. Trail bikes lost 7 percentage points and come in second with 44%. XC bikes are also facing a loss of popularity, losing 5 points and placing third at 25%. Road bikes sit at 25 % this year while gravel bikes make up 12 % of the share.

By and large, there’s only one category that has gained popularity among participants over the last year: eMTBs! After increasing their share by 40 %, they now account for just over 9 % of the market share. In other words, one ENDURO reader in eleven owns an eMTB. Exactly for this reason – and because eMTBs are no longer inferior to non-motorised mountain bikes in terms of riding performance – we are including more and more eMTBs at ENDURO. If you want to dive deep into this subject, we recommend visiting our sister magazine E-MOUNTAINBIKE.

Actually, there’s another growing, though non-competitive category in our rankings this year: people who don’t own a bike yet. While these account for only around 2% of total participants, that’s over 50% more than last year. We view this as yet another positive sign of growth in our sector.

How old is your bike, how much did you spend on it and how many bikes do you own?

The bike you use most frequently – and presumably the one you bought last – has been with you for an average of 28 months, which is only a couple of months longer compared to last year’s survey. On average, you’ve spent € 3,399 on that bike, which is exactly € 1 less than last year. For the first time, we asked you how many bikes you own. The answer: an average of 2,7 bikes. If you’re one of those who owns just one bike, you might be thinking: “Shit, do I have to buy another bike now?”. The answer is: No! In fact, 24% of all participants own one bike, which is perfectly fine, provided it’s the right one! 32% own two bikes, while 22% have three bikes standing around the house. About 11% of our readers own five or even more bikes.

What’s the bike you ride most frequently?

When asked which bike you ride the most, 45 % of you mentioned their enduro rig, which, once again, is hardly surprising given the focus of our magazine. Trail bikes follow in second position with 30 %. Important note: the boundaries between trail and enduro bikes are gradually blurring, with trail bikes relying on increasingly more suspension travel and more aggressive geometries. As a result, we should state the sum of enduro and trail bikes reflects the focus of our readers and thus constitutes the bulk of bikes they own – a whopping 75%! XC bikes sit in third place with around 10%. Even in this category, eMTBs are proving a huge success, increasing their popularity by two percent and making it to a total of 5% in this year’s survey. Consequently, this also suggests that around 60% of eMTB owners pick them over their non-motorised bike. Gravel bikes also achieved a small increase, standing at 3% in 2020. To be honest, this makes perfect sense to us, because if you want to merge the affinity with nature of mountain biking with the efficiency and speed of road bikes, there is no better option than a gravel bike. If you want to delve deeper into this subject, the gravel pioneers at our sister magazine GRAN FONDO will give you all the information you need – from the ultimate gravel buying advice to the latest equipment and extensive bike tests.

How do you use your bikes?

Like every year, we wanted to know how you use your bikes. In terms of the length of your rides, the average annual distance has decreased slightly. In 2020, you rode an average of 2,115 km, exactly 147 km less than the previous year. These figures are perfectly in line with the results of our sister magazines. Once again, we ascribe this to the travel restrictions imposed by governments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, because it’s easy to pile up several hundred miles on a bike holiday and most of us weren’t able to go on vacation last year.

On the other hand, your average ride has become slightly longer. While 47% of you are still going out for an average of 30 km or less, that’s actually 3 percentage points less compared to 2019. Rides between 30 and 49 km have risen by 2 percentage points and now stand at 47%. Rides between 50 and 80 km have also seen a slight increase, accounting for 6% of all rides. Only just under 1% of our readers, but still 25% more than last year, embark on rides longer than 80 km. Once again, we suspect a connection with the current travel restrictions: if you’re unable to go on a holiday, you’re more likely to set out on an adventure on your doorstep and push yourself further than usual.

No Strava? Are you tracking your rides?

Not long ago, we published an article in which we addressed the thorny aspects of the ongoing Strava debate. Needless to say, we’ve created quite an uproar.. While our story doesn’t question the legitimacy of route tracking itself, it condemns the reckless behaviour of inconsiderate users who chase PRs and KOMs regardless of the consequences their actions might have. That made it even more exciting for us to look at this year’s numbers. And indeed, the number of “non-trackers” has increased by 1%, now standing at 31%. Conversely, this figure also implies that over two-thirds of participants track their rides. Around 41% use a smartphone, 35% do it with a GPS watch while 24% rely on a bike computer. Unsurprisingly, Strava is the most popular app with 57%, followed by Komoot with 19%. Garmin Connect and Runtastic both come in at around 5%. The remaining share is spread among smaller apps.

However, we were unable to confirm the myth that the XC Lycra-army tracks more than other groups. Tracking is popular amongst all age categories and rider types – very interesting!

Which brands do you ride? The top ten most widespread mountain bike brands

Which are the most widespread bike brands? The answer to that question might be one of the most exciting in our survey. In fact, we registered a change in the balance of power when it comes to the most widespread brand. At 7.8%, Specialized are down a percentage point, securing second place. After gaining approximately 1 percentage point over the past year, Canyon take the lead with 9.5%. YT retain last year’s 7.6%, coming in third again in 2020. CUBE and Propain also gained great popularity. While CUBE were able to move up one place, Propain have increased their market share by over 130%, moving up to eighth place with 3.7%. Here are all results in detail:

Where did you buy your bikes?

Online retail as a whole recorded the most successful year in its history in 2020. But is this also true for the bike industry? In 2019, the growth in online sales stagnated for the first time in our survey. All the more were we thrilled to see the latest developments, and indeed in 2020 online sales picked up slightly, gaining 4 percentage points over the previous year, accounting for 39% of total sales in 2020. However, this is still significantly less than the 44% of bikes sold in traditional bike shops. The remaining 17% bought from private sellers. Incidentally, 19% of you bought their bikes second-hand, which is marginally more compared to last year. Moreover, 5% of all bikes were purchased on a lease, with Germany accounting for the largest share of the lease market. Here, one bike in twelve was bought on a lease, while outside of Germany it’s only about one in thirty.

On average, you’ve spent € 3,661 on your new bike. Leased bikes are by far the most expensive, costing an average of € 3,859, which is around € 200 above the general average. Whilst people who bought from online brands spent an average of € 3,449, those who bought their bikes from a traditional shop dished out on average € 3,754. It’s worth noting that the average price of bikes bought online has increased, whereas prices have dropped in all other categories. We’re interpreting this development not only as a sign that online brands are gradually increasing their prices but also that the quality of their bikes is getting better and, as a result, aggressive pricing no longer <

How happy are you with your bikes?

You were asked to rate your level of satisfaction with your mountain bike on a scale from 0 (not at all happy) to 5 (completely satisfied). Your answers have led to some exciting insights. First of all, this year the average score drops by 0.03 to 4.11. However, there is no reason for concern as the change is only marginal and the value still one of the highest ever recorded.

At this point, we look at the average level of satisfaction with the brands and performance of their bikes. In 2020, the race for the top was tighter than ever. Now, this comes as no surprise, because there are more and more phenomenal bikes. Whereas last year only one brand managed to climb past the 4.6 mark, this year there were 4. RAAW lead the ranking with an unbelievable 4.76. Whilst the German boutique brand has already achieved high averages in the past, they never managed to secure enough votes to make a statistically valid statement. That changed in 2020. Former leader NICOLAI were able to maintain their 4.63 value, but were pushed into second place by RAAW. Another big winner in the top 10, Pivot, were able to increase their average value by 0.15 points, moving up from 7th to 3rd place.

What do you fancy next?

Since visionary thinking and progressiveness are at the core of our editorial philosophy, we’re interested to know not only what bike you’re riding at the moment but also which one you intend to get in the future. Finding out which bikes or brands you want to buy next also plays an important role in the planning of our tests. Overall, 36% of all participants are planning to get a new bike within the next 12 months. Those who don’t want to buy a new bike make up another 36%, while the remaining 28% are still undecided. As a result, the number of planned purchases has fallen slightly compared to last year, while the undecided category has grown by the same amount. There are currently plenty of reasons for this, from the generally uncertain economic situation through the scarce availability of products all the way to rising prices. All in all, there are 18,000 potential buyers amongst you, accounting for 64% of all participants.

When asked which type of bike you want to buy next, enduro bikes account for 54% of all votes, followed by trail bikes with 27%. eMTBs come in third with around 9%, while 5% of respondents are thinking of getting a XC bike next, and only 3% have their eyes on a DH rig. On average you’re planning to spend just over € 4,000 for your new bike, which is € 60 more than in 2019. That doesn’t sound like economic uncertainty to us but we’re guessing you’ve simply got your priorities straight :)

Which brands will you buy next?

Once again, the list of brands you’re considering for your next purchase proves that your preferences are not set in stone. Out of nowhere, Propain jumped to the top of the list, adding 12 points to their tally and thus accounting for an impressive 14.4% of the total share!* At 9.6%, Canyon slipped into second place after losing over 2 percentage points over the course of the year. Both YT and Santa Cruz lose around 3 points, making up 8.4% and 5.5% respectively. The only other winner in the top 5 is Specialized, which claim fourth place with an impressive 6% after increasing their popularity by around one percentage point. Sixth place was taken by another high flyer: RAAW. The brand from the German Allgäu increased its market share by exactly 4 percentage points, making it to 4.3%. By the way, exactly one-third of all participants are planning to buy online, while 21% of our readers categorically refuse to buy from mail-order brands.

*Full disclosure: Propain and RAAW supplied the prizes of the 2020 ENDURO reader survey giveaway. Both brands have gained significantly in popularity for a potential next purchase and in several other categories. While experience shows that there is a general bias towards the brands that are part of the giveaway, this year’s exponential growth suggests that Propain’s and RAAW’s popularity is not solely linked to that. Both manufacturers secured victories in last year’s group tests, gaining popularity amongst our readers – this also plays a major role.

What defines a good bike?

Using a scale from 0 (not at all important) to 5 (very important), you could rate the criteria you value most in a bike. Three criteria stand out from the rest. Ranking first, is the handling with an average of 4.5 points, followed closely by the suspension with 4.4 points. With an average score of 4.1 points, a good spec is the third most important criterion. Also important to you, albeit further down the list, are comfort, good value for money and the look of a bike. Surprisingly, the weight of a bike doesn’t seem to be as relevant anymore, scoring just over 3 points. With 2.6 points, brand image takes last place. However, we’re still convinced that brand image plays an important role, but perhaps more on an unconscious level.

Upgrading instead of buying new?

An interesting trend emerged in our 2020 survey: you’re planning significantly more upgrades for your current bike. Depending on the component, 10% to 15% more than last year. As one of the fastest-wearing parts, the tires are by a great margin the most popular upgrade. But you’re also increasingly interested in higher-quality components such as brakes, drivetrains, wheels and suspension. Once again, we see a clear connection with the uncertain economic situation and scarce availability of new bikes. If you can’t afford a new bike – or if the one you were planning on getting is out of stock – you’re more likely to upgrade your existing bike with new components.

Are 29ers the real deal? The spec of your bikes

Undoubtedly, 29ers have long become the measure of all things for us and a lot of our readers. However, while there’s no denying that wheel size plays a crucial role, the overall concept of a bike is far more important – the wheel size alone says nothing about the quality of a bike. In fact, there are just as many awesome 29ers as there are modest ones – and some pretty crap ones too! Of course, the same applies to bikes with 27.5” wheels. Regardless, 29ers are on an upward trend, becoming increasingly popular amongst our readers. With your current bikes, however, 27.5” wheels account for the largest share with 46%. That being said, we’re confident that this figure will crumble over the next year. The share of 27.5″ wheels has decreased by 6 points and 29″ wheels have gained the same percentage – big and small wheels are only 4 percentage points apart. Interestingly, 26” wheels still account for around 11% of the total share, but they’re gradually disappearing. While Mullet bikes make up only about 1.6%, they’ve actually doubled their share over the last year – and the trend is gaining momentum!

As if the hints weren’t already enough, the data relating to the purchase intent give us one more reason to believe that 29” wheels will soon take the lead: when looking for their new bike, a whopping 65% are thinking of getting a 29er , which is 8 percentage points more than last year. The 27.5” category, on the other hand, has lost almost 10 points of its share and now sits at 22%. Almost 6% are looking to buy a bike with mixed wheel sizes, which is exactly a third more than last year. Interestingly, 26″ wheels are back up to 1% this year, which is not much, but still twice as much as in our previous survey.

How much suspension travel do you want?

When it comes to suspension travel, the trend can be described with three simple words: give me more! Here are some figures to back up this statement: 40% want their next bike to have at least 160 mm of travel, while a third of them are even considering bikes with 170 mm and more. That’s 28% more than last year. A similar pattern can be observed with many of the newly released bikes, where upsizing for more “gnar” is a popular trend. However, securing 35% of all votes, bikes with 140 to 159 mm of travel are still going strong, albeit suffering a massive 15% loss. As the suspension travel decreases, our readers start losing interest. While bikes with 120 to 139 mm of travel still manage to secure a substantial 16%, everything below that accounts for only about 6%.

Which drivetrains are hot?

The drivetrain category is clearly dominated by 1x setups, making up a total of 79%. 1×12 drivetrains alone sit at 46%, increasing their share by almost 50%. 2x drivetrains on the other hand, only make it to 11%, followed closely by 3x setups, which at 10% even managed to gain a few points. This comes as a great surprise and we’re not entirely sure what’s the reason behind it. One possible explanation is the increasing number of beginners who are either unaware of the latest developments in drivetrain technology or it’s due to people rediscovering the sport riding their old bike. Finally, one bike in 250 comes with a gearbox, which translates to a market share of 0.4%. And while there are many interesting concepts available, this is still a very small niche. As far as brands go, there’s no way of getting around the two main players, SRAM and Shimano, which account for a whopping 99.5% of the market. SRAM stands at about 57% while Shimano comes in at about 43%.

The question of which drivetrain you want on your next bike is easily answered: 83% of all participants want to get a 1×12 drivetrain, while 10% have their eyes on a 1×11 setup. Everything else is basically not worth mentioning. And it’s pretty much the same with the brands. As far as purchase intentions go, SRAM and Shimano dominate the field, accounting for 98% of the market – whereby SRAM has a slight advantage over Shimano again.

Your take on eMTBs

As we’ve already seen in other categories, eMTBs are becoming increasingly popular among ENDURO readers and have become an integral part of the mountain bike world. One participant in eleven already owns an eMTB and one in twenty rides almost exclusively with motor assistance – in both cases, we can see a 50% increment compared to last year. The number of participants who have already ridden an eMTB is also on the rise: For the first time, over 50% of all participants have tried an eMTB!

When asked specifically about their opinion on eMTBs, over half of our participants (55%) told us they’re interested in this topic. While 35% are indifferent, only less than 10% consider eMTBs to be a no-go (at least for themselves). Given the growing interest around eMTBs, it seems fair to include them in our ENDURO group tests to see how they compare with non-motorised bikes – our 2020 trail bike group test has already shown that they stack up extremely well! Both this survey and our own experience suggest that many ENDURO readers are seriously toying with the idea of getting themselves an E-MTB. And that’s exactly why we’re committed to provide you with extensive purchase advice in the most unbiased way possible.

What’s important about an eMTB?

An eMTB is a mountain bike, only with a breeze of artificial tailwind. Therefore we’re not surprised to see that your demands are similar. Once again, the handling, high-quality spec (suspension and motor in particular) and comfort are the most decisive factors. Comfort in particular is rated significantly higher. This is understandable and totally reasonable, because with eMTBs, it’s generally even less about performance and more about fun. Nevertheless, the riding experience should be similar to a traditional mountain bike. As far as the motor goes, your needs and demands are rather diverse. Above all, you’re interested in good riding performance above the 25 km/h threshold or with the motor off. A large battery or, more importantly, a long range are also important to you. However, it is worth mentioning that the range of an eMTB depends on countless factors and not just the size of its battery. Also important, but not as crucial, is a powerful assistance and a quiet motor.

Best Brands 2020 – Your favourite mountain bike brands

Like every year, we asked which brands you think build the best mountain bikes, components and accessories. This is of course a very subjective matter – after all, not many of us have the opportunity to test and compare many different products first hand. Nevertheless, your answers told us clearly which brands worked hardest in the past season to gain your trust. With over 28,500 participants, the most representative mountain biking survey in the world provided the results we needed. Those brands that ranked first in our best brand vote can rest assured that their brand image, product range, marketing and product performance left an excellent impression on our readers.

In the Best Brand Ranking we were able to determine this time that the field of brands is diversifying – the share of the leading brands is shrinking. We see this as a very positive development, because it shows that more and more manufacturers know how to build good bikes, while new brands are stirring up the market with convincing products. And we all know that competition stimulates business. Nevertheless, the top 5 brands alone make up just over half of all votes. Securing almost 20% of all votes, Santas Cruz remain the undisputed leader, albeit losing 1 point from last year. There are only two big winners here. One of them is Specialized, who were able to increase their share by almost 5 percentage points in 2020, ranking second and securing 14% of all votes. Third place goes again to Yeti, who lost a considerable amount of votes but are still ahead of Canyon with 6.6% – Canyon achieved 6.5%. The second big winner in our rankings is Propain, who secured 4% of all votes and have registered an increase of over 400%, which puts them in 6th place just behind YT. Place 4, 5 and 6 all happen to go to large German online brands, showcasing that they’ve obviously learned how to cultivate their image. SCOTT left the TOP 10 after losing one point and sliding back to just over 2%.

All best brands in detail

Below you will find an overview of the top 3 of all best brand categories, such as components, clothing and accessories.

Lucky winners

Not only does our reader survey help us to get to know our audience better, it also gives us the opportunity to say thank you with a very special gift. With the kind support of our lottery partners Propain and RAAW, we were able to raffle two dream bikes with a total value of over € 11,000 for our participants. The lucky winners are:

Propain Tyee CF Custom Build: Tomáš S., Czech Republic
RAW Madonna V2 FOX Factory Build: Pascal K., Germany

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Words: Photos: Julian Lemme