The most exciting findings of the biggest eMTB reader survey 2020

Who is the typical eMTBer? Which bikes and brands are currently the most sought after and which are poised to set new benchmarks? Around the world, more than 13,500 people took part in our reader survey giving us a crucial insight into the rapidly changing eMTB market. What are the trends of the year and what’s old news?

Yet another new record – 13,500 responses! Like in previous years, we put out the call for you to tell us more about yourselves, your bikes and your preferences. Because ultimately, everything we do is about you – we want to deliver the content and bikes that excite and interest you. That’s why the reader survey is such an important building block of our magazine. It affords us with an in-depth understanding of your preferences and opinions like no other tool we have. Particularly in a field changing as quickly as the eMTB market, these observations are crucial because they allow us to anticipate trends and help shape them.

13,519 participants | approx. 80 questions | roughly 200 cumulative days spent on responses

Between May and July 2020, more than 13,500 readers responded to our invitation. More than ever before. At the same time, we are more international than we’ve ever been, with respondents from exactly 100 countries answering up to 80 questions. Counted together, our participants accumulated more than 200 days filling out our survey. That’s huge and earns our greatest respect. Thank you so much to all of you! With your work, you make a significant contribution to our magazine because your answers have a direct impact on the planning of our tests and features. Moreover, many well-known brands use the results of our survey (anonymised, of course) to feed into the development of their bikes. That means you don’t just influence our work and editorial direction at E-MOUNTAINBIKE, but as part of the biggest and most representative survey of the eMTBing world, you also have an impact on the development of the whole sector.

Is this you? The average E-MOUNTAINBIKE reader

Like last year, the most common name in the survey was Michael, closely followed by Thomas. New this year in third place: Peter! Amongst the ladies, the rankings are headed up by Sandra. Spots 2 and 3 are taken up by Christine and Claudia. The proportion of female participants was 6%, rising by one point over last year. The average age has once again climbed by a year and now sits at 49 years old. The excitement for eMTBs spans all age groups, from 14 years all the way to old age, everyone is included – 127 of our participants are over 75 years old! In terms of the bikes you’re riding, you’ll most often be found on a Specialized, Haibike or CUBE eMTB. On average, you’ve owned your bike for 21 months and have paid €4,593 for it. You’ll find more detailed information about the bikes later on.

most popular male name: Michael | most popular female name: Sandra

What do you do apart from (e)MTBing?

One of your favourite hobbies alongside biking is travelling. It’s not uncommon to combine the two, so it’s not surprising that 44% of you have been on holiday with your eMTBs. A further 32% want to make good on not having done so yet. Most of you took your own bike with you on holiday, while roughly a third rented their bike locally. On average, you were on a biking holiday for 8 days last year and spent € 204 per day. A number of you also used a tent or campervan – 29% of you are interested in camping and vanlife. The responses will become even more interesting in our next survey where we will more properly be able to see the effects of Coronavirus. It’s clear that while international travel is faltering, regional tourism has some big opportunities.

44% use their eMTB on holiday too | 8 days a year are spent on holiday with the eMTB

Why do you use your eMTB and how do you use it?

At 74%, the desire to cover more distance and, in particular, ride more trails are the most common reason for having an eMTB. Regardless of whether you use the extra power for longer tours or need an eMTB for health reasons, the bottom line is all about riding more, experiencing more of nature and having more fun than would be possible with an analog mountain bike. Fitness is also an important consideration for two-thirds of you.

A whole 46% of you use your eMTB in everyday life too, especially in the German-speaking regions. For such duties, commuting is the most common at 26 %. That’s followed by cargo duties (4%) and transporting kids (3%). Only 1% use their eMTB to ride races.

The terrain on which you ride is just as multi-faceted. Around 34% prefer to ride on forestry trails and 27% are most interested in easy singletrails. For 23% of you, the fun only begins on technical descents with jumps, roots and rocks. A further 10% of you also like technical riding, not just downhill, but also uphill, where eMTBs offer a whole new array of challenges. 5% are happiest riding on asphalted paths.

The typical length of rides is between 30 and 49 km for 61% of you. 21% stay under 30 km and 17% ride between 50 and 80 km, which is pretty damn far! Around 1% regularly ride tours over 80 km – respect! Speaking of range: 18% of you own a second battery. It’s also interesting to note that only around 5% ride predominantly in the most powerful assistance mode, while 56% usually use a weaker mode of the motor.

36% ride their eMTB almost exclusively

How long have you been riding (e)MTBs?

Of course, only those who already own an eMTB answered this question. On average, you’ve been riding an eMTB for 3.5 years. The proportion of newcomers who have started eMTBing in the last year is 17%. The majority previously rode without E-assistance, meaning that on average, you’ve ridden mountain bikes for 17 years. 53% of you continue to ride regularly without a motor and indeed, 33% do so primarily. In contrast, 36% used to ride unpowered bikes but now ride almost exclusively with assistance. For around 12% of you, eMTBs were your first introduction to mountain biking.

What kind of bikes do you ride?

One of the most interesting findings of the survey is likely the fact that a good third of you don’t yet own an eMTB. That makes it all the more interesting to find out which bikes you do own and ride. Non-motorised mountain bikes are the most widespread, owned by 63% of you. Full suspension eMTBs sit at 48% and E-hardtails at 16%. Alongside E-fullys and E-hardtails, you’ll also find non-motorised road bikes, owned by 22% of you. Other types of ebikes, like urban ebikes make up around 8%. E-road bikes sit at 2% this year and cargo bikes at 1%. Around 3% of you don’t own a bike at all.

12% started their journey mountain biking with an eMTB

Which brands do you ride? The top 10 most frequently ridden eMTB brands

The top 10 this year encompasses the same candidates as last year but there have been some changes in the rankings. The switch in pole position is particularly interesting. The two leaders have both lost some market share but Haibike have had to give up the lead to Specialized. CUBE have increased their share by one point and continue to come in third. Another big winner, FOCUS, have increased their market share by 2.5 percentage points, moving up a place into fourth.

Explainer: brand and market share (position change compared to last year | change in market share in percentage points)

How happy are you with your bike?

You were asked to rate your level of satisfaction with your eMTB on a scale from 0 (not at all happy) to 5 (completely satisfied). The average score this year goes up by 0.02 to 4.25. This high value demonstrates the overall high level of satisfaction and enthusiasm for the brands and performance of their bikes. Several companies stand out particularly. Despite a minimal reduction in satisfaction, Thömus continue to lead this year. The Swiss brand has an average score of 4.62. Riese & Müller now find themselves in second place with a score of 4.53. New in the top 10 and sitting at spots 3 and 4 are Orbea and Simplon, with an average score of 4.5. The top 5 is completed by Merida with an average score of 4.47. Together with Specialized, who sit at spot 7, the latter two are the only brands that feature both in the top 10 most ridden bikes as well as most satisfied customers.

Explainer: brand and average satisfaction on a scale from 0 (completely unsatisfied) to 5 (very satisfied) – (ranking change compared to last year | change in satisfaction in percentage points)

What do you fancy next?

Our survey isn’t just designed to give us an insight into the status quo but also a glance into the future. Finding out which bikes or brands you want to buy next also plays an important role in the planning of our tests. It’s a similar picture to the most ridden brands. Haibike have ceded first place to Specialized, who have increased their share of the vote by one point to 17.1%. The big winners in the top 5 in this category are CUBE and FOCUS, who have gained significantly in popularity for a potential next purchase. Trek and Giant are new in the top 10 at spots 6 and 9. The big loser compared to last year is YT. The direct to consumer brand hasn’t managed to maintain its ‘newcomer bonus’ and has slipped by 4 places.

Explainer: brand and share of the vote (position change compared to last year | change in market share in percentage points)

Which motor do you ride?

Even if it’s much more about the overall concept of the bike, the motor is an important component and an important consideration for many people. Correspondingly, the question of which motor you ride deserves some attention. Despite small changes in the proportion of the different brands, the top 5 remain unchanged this year. Bosch have won a lot of favour with the new Gen. 4 motor, building on their existing dominance. With a share of almost 43%, they’ve added 3 points to their tally. Shimano have lost some votes and are in second with 20.4%. It’s worth mentioning that the new EP8 motor was only released after the end of our survey. Brose sit in third place with 18.8%, though they introduced technical and software updates to improve their motor further in the middle of the year, which is likely not yet reflected in the opinions of our readers. Fourth place goes to Yamaha who have lost around one percentage point, now with 12.3%. With some margin, Bafang sits at the back of the pack, unchanged at 1.4%.

Explainer: brand and market share (position change compared to last year | change in market share in percentage points)

Best brands 2020 – Your favourite eMTB brands

We asked once again which manufacturers you think make the best eMTBs, motors, components and accessories. While individual answers are of course subjective – after all, few of us have the possibility to test and compare different products ourselves – overall they show which brands did the best job last season and won favour amongst customers. With more than 13,500 participants these results come from the largest and most representative survey in the eMTB world. The brands that came out ahead can rest assured that their mix of brand image, products, marketing and product performance convinced our readers. The biggest winner this year, once again, was Specialized, who dominantly retained pole position with more than 34% of the vote. Haibike may have lost a lot of votes but still happily retain second place. It should also be noted that Haibike only introduced their latest bikes shortly after the end of our reader survey. CUBE are a new addition to the top 5, increasing their share of the vote by 1.9 percentage points and climbing from sixth to third place. In the meantime, last year’s third place, YT, have again lost their newcomer bonus and fallen to eighth place. The big winners in the bottom half of the top-10 leaderboard are FOCUS, Trek and Cannondale, who have all gained one position.

Explainer: brand and vote share (position change compared to last year | change in market share in percentage points)

Best eMTB motor brands

In our question about the best motor, the rapid development of the eMTB sector becomes particularly apparent. What was a close race last year has become a clear-cut win this year. Even then, despite massive changes in the vote share, there haven’t been any changes in the rankings. As before, Bosch continue to lead the race. With the introduction of the new Performance CX motor, they’ve found further favour amongst our readers and increased their share by 14.5 points to almost 51% of the vote. Brose and Shimano in second and third have lost a significant share. It will be interesting to see how the introduction of the new Shimano EP8 motor influences the standings next year.

Guide: brand and vote share (position change compared to last year | change in market share in percentage points)

All the best brands in detail

Below you’ll find an overview of the top 3 brands in all the different categories such as components, clothing and accessories.

How do you like our offerings?

An exciting and, for us, incredibly important part of the reader survey is your feedback on our work. On the one hand, it’s very valuable to see where we can improve, on the other, it’s also incredibly motivating how appreciative you are of what we do.

Our E-MOUNTAINBIKE Print Edition found more appeal than ever this year. Almost 20% of you have read one of our Print Editions and on average gave it between 4.6 and 5 stars. If you haven’t yet read our Print Edition, you can buy it in our online shop. Our app has also had a positive response with an average 4.5-star rating.

If you’re one of the people who primarily reads our content via our website, why not try our free app for Android and iOS – E-MOUNTAINBIKE doesn’t read better anywhere else, particularly on a tablet! By the way, our Instagram account is constantly increasing in popularity too.

The lucky winners

Part of the joy of our reader survey isn’t just to get to know you better but to give two of you the pleasure of a new eMTB. Together with our partners, FOCUS and Haibike, we raffled off two bikes worth more than € 10,000 amongst our participants. The lucky winners are:

FOCUS JAM2 6.9 NINE: Han K., Netherlands
Haibike XDURO AllMtn 3.5: Frank B., Germany

Words: Robin Wormer | Illustration: Julian Lemme

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