The most exciting insights from the ENDURO readers’ survey 2018

For the past 5 years our readers’ survey has provided valuable feedback on our work and helped us understand how you, our readers, approach your daily mountain-biking life and what products and materials you trust. And once again, this year about 30,000 readers took part in our survey. It’s now time to take a closer look at the most exciting developments and to draw our conclusions.

Why are we doing a readers’ survey in the first place?

Collecting feedback and getting as close as possible to your everyday cycling experience is one of our main objectives as well as a cornerstone of our editorial-philosophy. Year after year our survey helps us understand the way you live mountain biking, which categories and brands you’re interested in and which problems you want us to help you with.

We use this knowledge to plan and organize our tests and articles. The feedback you give on our app and website helps us improve and develop our work consistently. Since this is the largest survey of its kind, many well-known manufacturers build on our results to improve both their strategies and products. This means your answers are actively influencing both the orientation of our magazine and the dynamics of the entire mountain bike segment.

Bikes in transition

Faster, lighter, prettier: most of you know exactly how much mountain bikes have changed over the past few years – trail and enduro bikes especially. We all remember the heated debates over different wheel sizes, changing standards and dinner-plate-sized cassettes. But have any of these many innovations actually made it into your bike shed (or in fact your living room – come on, we know how it works…) and if so, how long did it take to get there?

OK, so on average you’ve owned your current bike for 21 months. But if you’re among those who told us they’re planning to buy a new bike within the next few months you’ve owned your current bike for an average of 26 months – and aside from retrofits and upgrades, you will buy a new bike every 2 or 3 seasons.

But let’s get a little more specific and take a look at the wheel size you’re currently riding on:

It’s hard to imagine that only four years ago 65% of us were still rolling on 26″ wheels. On the other hand these figures accurately reflect the above mentioned 2-3 year purchase-intervals: While the first 27.5″ bikes were launched as early as 2012/2013 it took another 2 years before they reached the masses.

But what about 29ers? Well most of you are currently riding either trail bikes (31%) or enduro rigs (46%) – two categories in which until not so long ago, big 29” wheels were the exception rather than the norm. However, over the last few months things have radically changed and now pretty much all major manufacturers include 29” enduro models in their line up. The result: according to our survey in the next season a whopping 40% of all new purchases will roll out of the shop on 29″ wheels.

There has also been a change in the choice of drivetrains. The popularity of 1x setups is more than evident and is a direct consequence of the falling prices of 1-speed drivetrains with a wide gear ratio:

Mail order brands or local bike store?

In our readers’ survey you also told us where you bought your current bike from. For years bike shops and direct mail-order brands have been vying for the favours of customers. Especially in the German-speaking countries, mail-order brands are highly popular: here 40% of all bikes were bought online – in the rest of the world the proportion stands at 33%.

If you compare the breakdowns for the past few years you’ll notice a clear trend in online purchases which picks up noticeably in 2018.

For many of you, the lower price is still the main reason to buy online and this reflects on the purchase price of your bikes: While those who bought their bike in a shop have spent an average of € 3,660, readers who bought online spent on average € 400 less (3,260 Euros). When buying used bikes, you’re still spending an average of € 2,670 Euros – which results in an overall average price of € 3,350.

How satisfied are you with your bikes?

In our reader survey you were also asked how satisfied you are with your current bike. You rated your level of satisfaction using a scale from 0 (not satisfied at all) to 5 (fully satisfied). And we have good news: the average score of 4.06 tells us that most of you are actually very satisfied with their bike. The three brands with the most-satisfied customers are Pole (4.60), Nicolai (4.57) and Pivot (4.56). Interestingly enough these are also the brands customers spend the most money on: an average of € 5,400!

Growing interest in eMTBs

Three years ago, many of our readers either considered eMTBs to be a big taboo or found them uninteresting at best. In contrast, this year interest has risen substantially: 43% of our readers are now interested in eMTBs and only 18% still consider them an absolute no-go.

In all this there are also some important regional differentiations to take into account. While our German-speaking readership represents the international midfield with 40% of its readers showing interest in eMTBs topic, in the land of trail centres – the UK – more than half of our readers (53%) expressed their interest in eMTBs. Running behind is the USA with 32% – the main reason for this being that in many areas of the US eMTBs have the same legal status as motorcycles and thus cause conflicts on the trails.

This means that here at ENDURO we will continue to introduce you to the most exciting eMTB novelties. But if that’s not enough for you and you’re after the full-on eMTB fix we recommend you flick through our sister magazine E-MOUNTAINBIKE. This is published in the same format (app and website) as ENDURO.

Results of the Best Brand Choice

Like every year you were asked which manufacturer in your opinion builds the best bikes and components. Whilst individual answers are totally subjective — bear in mind not many of you have the opportunity to test and compare products first hand! — they clearly show which brands did the best job in the past season and became popular choice in the scene. With almost 30,000 participants the largest and most representative survey in the industry gave us the results we needed. Those brands that ranked first in our Best Brand Vote can be assured that our readers are totally impressed by the blend of brand image, product range, marketing and product performance (test results!) their products offer.

More detailled results here: ENDURO Readers’ Choice: The Best Brands 2018

Lucky winner

Not only does our readers’ survey help us to get to know our audience better but also gives us the chance to say thank you to two of them — and we want to do this with a very special gift! With the kind support of our lottery partners YT and Liteville, we raffled two dream bikes for our survey participants. The lucky winners of our raffle are:

Liteville 301 MK14: Silvio A. from Italy
YT CAPRA 29 CF: Kimmo T. from Finland

Words: Aaron Steinke Illustration: Julian Lemme

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About the author

Aaron Steinke

Aaron was our first employee and actively helped make our company what it is today, significantly shaping the look and direction of our various magazines. Aaron has been pursuing his own projects since mid-2020 but he continues to advise and support us on issues of marketing and technology. For many years, you would usually have found Aaron at casual enduro races, but increasingly you'll find him riding his road bike – long live freedom on two wheels!