What are the hottest brands of 2021? Do we really need bigger batteries? Why does our usage contradict our buying behaviour? Over 16,000 E-MOUNTAINBIKE readers from all over the world took part in our annual reader survey, their answers revealing trends and providing exciting insights.

We’re on a roll! And by that we explicitly include you too. Because without you there is no us! So before we get into the results, we first have to say a big thank you. From March to July 2021, more than 16,000 E-MOUNTAINBIKE readers accepted our invitation to take part in our annual reader survey, thus surpassing the previous year’s record by almost 3,000. This is no small feat, especially when you consider that the survey comprises up to 90 questions. We want to thank each one of you! You’re part of the largest and most representative survey in the eMTB industry.

A new record high! | 98 countries | up to 90 questions
The largest and most representative survey in the eMTB industry!

Thanks to the large number of readers that participated, we’ve been able to get an even better picture of what makes you tick and what inspires you. In this way, you make an important contribution to our work, because we want to feature the bikes and content that is relevant and interesting to you. However, you’re not just shaping our work at E-MOUNTAINBIKE but also influencing the development of the entire industry. The fact is many well-known brands feed the results of our survey into their product development – shared anonymously, of course.

Who are you?

Now, let’s get to the true highlight of this article: you, our readers! What does the typical E-MOUNTAINBIKE reader look like in 2021? The average age has gone up slightly and is now at 50 years, give or take, while the oldest reader to complete the survey is an impressive 93 years. More than 500 of the participants are over 70 years old! This proves once again how accessible and inclusive eMTBing is. There were no surprises regarding the first names of our male readers. The Michaels are still outnumbering the Thomases and Peters. However, the race amongst our female readers is much closer with Andrea, Sabine and Sarah able to secure a place on the podium this year. Unfortunately, the proportion of women has fallen slightly and is now at just over 5%. Girls, why is that? Where can we improve in the future and what would you like to see more of? We would love to hear your feedback!

This year, we recorded a decrease of just over € 1,300 in your average net household income, coming in at around € 76,000. We don’t see this as a negative but as a further sign of the increasing accessibility of our sport. And did you know that around two thirds of our readers have at least one type of university degree? 4% of you are even allowed to call yourselves doctors. Pretty impressive!

Where are you from?

Our readership has become even more international this year and is spread over 98 countries, covering all corners of the earth. Of these, German-speaking countries continue to make up the majority. Germany has around 49% percent, Austria 8% and Switzerland 7%. After Germany, Great Britain ranks second with just over 10% of our readers based there. Outside of Europe, you’ll find our largest share of readers in the US, making up over 5%. The remaining 21% are spread across 93 different countries. Including some countries with just a few and sometimes just one participant. Shout out to our reader on Saint Lucia in the Caribbean! We’re always looking for new opportunities to write a travel story. You know where to send your invitation 😉

How long have you been riding (E-)mountain bikes?

Since eMTBing is still a rather young sport, you’ve only been riding with electronic assistance for about 3.6 years on average. However, most of our readers started riding analogue mountain bikes long before that, looking back on almost 18 years of mountain biking experience on average. As you would expect with such a new sport, the number of newcomers who started riding eMTBs in the last 12 months is relatively high, coming in at 17%. Half of our readers continue to ride regularly without a motor, while 13% were introduced to cycling through eMTBs in the first place. Incidentally, a whopping 29% of you don’t yet own an eMTB. It’s good thing we’ve got all the know-how you need to get started, available in our buyers guides and group tests!

Why do you ride an eMTB and how do you use it?

Most of our readers – about 70% – primarily use their eMTB as a sports and recreational device to get outdoors and enjoy nature. 58% of you mainly rely on the motor to ride more trails, the bottom line of which is to have more fun. 44% of our readers also use their eMTBs day to day, to commute, for example, which 24% of you do. Around 3% also use it to cart their kids from one place to the next or do their shopping. In comparison, eMTB racing remains a niche activity with just 1% of our readers taking part. No matter where- or however you ride, you ultimately rack up an average of 2,271 km by the end of the year.

74% say that riding an eMTB is nearly or just as much as riding an analogue bike!

What kind of terrain do you ride?

As far as your preferred terrain is concerned, technical trails come first, making up 36%, whereby 21% also like taking on challenging climbs aboard their eMTB, thanks to the motor. Forest roads come in second place with 34%, followed by easy trails at 26%. 4% prefer to ride on asphalt.

Thanks to the support of the motor, 85% ride up technical climbs more often than they would aboard an analogue mountain bike!

Are you emptying your batteries? How much range do you really need?

Since batteries continue to get bigger and motors more powerful, you would think that most of you regularly ride in turbo mode and drain your battery, but the results of our reader survey tell a completely different story. 77% said that the range of their eMTB is mostly or always sufficient and that’s at a time when batteries with capacities of around 630 Wh were considered the standard. Currently, we’re seeing 750 Wh become the new standard for battery capacities. Is this a sensible trend? A mere 22% stated that the range of their eMTB is a heavily limiting factor when planning a route. Just 18% own a second battery.

The fact that the battery capacity arms race among manufacturers and riders’ demands contradict most real world scenarios isn’t just shown by the figures above, but also by the fact that 84% of the survey participants usually ride less than 50 km and as little as 5% spend the majority of their time aboard the bike in the highest support mode. 38% predominantly use the lowest mode, which would be Eco mode aboard Bosch and Shimano powered eMTBs.

So, do huge batteries make sense? In most cases, we would have to say no! Instead, it would make a lot more sense to be able to fit a second battery as required, for those rare occasions where you need a longer range. This kind of solution is also referred to as a dual battery concept, which some bikes have as an option. Our readers seem to agree with us on this, as 55% of you would like to have a dual battery concept on their next bike. Less is often more with battery capacities, especially for those who want quick and agile handling on the trail or a bike that’s easier to pick up, transport and carry! In general, it’s crucial to find the right battery concept for you. You’ll find everything you need to know on the topic in this article!

Less is often more, especially regarding battery capacity. Instead of just buying the bike with the largest battery, think about what you actually need!

What kind of bikes do you own?

66% of those surveyed already own an eMTB, which is up 6 percentage points from last year, with 54% owning a full-suspension eMTB and 16% owning a hardtail. You’ll find an analogue mountain bike in the basement or garage of 54% of our readers while 19% also own a road bike. Other types of ebikes, such as urban bikes, make up 8%. Around 2% don’t yet own a bike – it’s about time to get one! You paid an average of about € 4,850, which is approximately € 250 more than the year before. The average age of your bike is 20 months.

Note: multiple choices possible.

Which bike brands do you ride?

Back in the lead of current bikes this year: Haibike! With an increase of 1.5 percentage points to a total of 15.9%, they regained the top position from last year’s front runner, who is now in third place with 13.8%. Second place goes to CUBE since Specialized lost more than 2 percentage points while CUBE gained around 2, now coming in at 14.4%.

Explanation: 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 allowed to rate your favourite bike on a scale from 0 (least satisfied) to 5 (most satisfied). The overall average rose again this year slightly by 0.02 points, bringing it to a total of 4.27. It’s the highest level of satisfaction that we’ve ever recorded. We’re not surprised because eMTBs have never been better!

Thömus can defend their regular number 1 position, recording the most satisfied customers for another year running, even topping it with an improved scored of 4.74. The big winner of the top 10 are COMMENCAL, who catapulted themselves from 20th place to 5th place with an improvement of 0.24 points.

Explainer: brand and average satisfaction on a scale from 0 (very dissatisfied) to 5 (very satisfied)
Note: to make statistically significant statements, only brands with a certain minimum number of ratings were included in this ranking. As such, established brands can appear as “NEW”.

Which bike do you want to buy next?

Now that we’ve dealt extensively with what is currently in your garage, we want to see what the future might hold. As interesting as the status quo is, we’re much more excited to hear what you intend to buy in the near future when planning our group tests. A total of 31% of the readers surveyed plan to buy a new eMTB within the next 12 months. 28% aren’t yet sure, while 2% want to buy a different type of bike. Regarding eMTBs, 89% want to buy a full-suspension bike and the remaining 11% prefer a hardtail. On average, the budget you’ve planned for this is around € 5,500, which is about € 550 more than last year. Is this in response to the brands’ rising prices? Possibly!

Which brand do you want to buy next?

Haibike have also regained the top position this year when it comes to the most popular brand for your next bike, coming in at 16.4%, an increase of 3.5 percentage points. Last year’s leader, Specialized, were relegated to second place while losing 5 percentage points. It’s likely that this is a reaction to them not winning our large 2021 eMTB group test. The fact that this year’s Best in Test, MERIDA, almost doubled their share and climbed from 17th to 8th place with 3.1% also attests to the influence of our big group test, considered the benchmark of the best eMTBs in the industry. Only Orbea made bigger gains this year. While they didn’t come out on top in one of our tests, they did receive a lot of praise from us for their Light eMTB, the Rise. They almost tripled their share, placing 6th with 4.1%, which corresponds to a gain of 9 positions.

Explanation: brand and percentage of readers intending to buy (change in position compared to previous year | change in percentage points)

What else do you do besides biking?

Some of you would love to spend the whole day just riding their bike, but life has a lot more to offer and sometimes you need a little time away even from the world’s greatest sport so that it doesn’t turn into a chore. However, some things can be perfectly combined with biking, such as traveling, which around 39% of you are interested in. For 30% of you, your idea of travelling includes camping or a road trip in a van. By the way, last year you spent an average of 9 days travelling with your eMTB, spending € 171 per day.

Electronic gadgets are also very popular as 38% of our readers say they’re interested in them. Cars interest 33% of you, while 29% have a taste for good coffee. There is a lot of interest in E-mobility and urban mobility too. Clearly, you like to keep your fingers on the pulse! Here’s a good point to mention our sister magazine DOWNTOWN which has set itself the goal of helping shape the future of urban mobility and living spaces. All its content revolves around the modern good life and a better, more liveable day to day. Enjoy!

More trends from the eMTB world

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

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

Online trade vs local bike shop

Change compared to previous year in percentage points.

Ebike insurance

How do you like our products?

The reader survey presents an excellent opportunity for us to get feedback on our work. Besides plenty of constructive criticism, we also got a lot of praise – thank you for both!

Our Print Edition is very popular. 37% of the survey participants have read one of our annual Print Editions and rated it with an average of 4.5 stars!

Our app is also very well received and gets used regularly by 45% of our readers. On average, they gave it 4.5 star rating. The free, digital app-magazine is at the heart of what we do and undoubtedly the best way to experience our content. It comes with lots of interactive features, high-resolution images and videos, and a unique design. If you haven’t already, download it now!

Our lucky winner

One reason we like our reader survey so much is not just that we can get to know you better, but also that we can surprise one of you with a new bike. This year, together with our partner Haibike, we raffled off a Haibike AllMtn SE worth € 10,000. Unfortunately, our lucky winner, Patric, will have to wait a while longer because we’re just as affected by the current delivery issue as everyone else.

This year’s prize: Haibike AllMtn SE | Yamaha PW-X2/600 Wh | 160/160 mm (f/r)
22.58 kg (size L) | € 10,000 | Manufacturer’s website

So, these are the results of our 2021 reader survey. And as you can see, it’s worth participating for a variety of reasons: you can help the industry, our team and win some stuff. Sweet! Many thanks for doing the survey and remember to keep your eyes peeled for the next one in the spring of 2022.

Note: the bike being raffled amongst those taking part in the survey was a Haibike, which tends to attract fans of the brand and leads to slight distortions.

Did you enjoy this article? If so, we would be stoked if you decide to support us with a monthly contribution. By becoming a supporter of E-MOUNTAINBIKE, you will help secure a sustainable future for high-quality cycling journalism. Click here to learn more.