The bike industry is going through turbulent times. But what about you guys? What does the typical GRAN FONDO reader look like in 2021 and what does he or she ride, or would like to ride soon? Over 11,000 readers from all over the world answered our questions and you can find out what’s going on in the world of drop bar bikes right here.

Things are going well! And by that we don’t just mean at GRAN FONDO, but also, and most importantly, with you – and without you, there’s no us to speak of! So before we get into the results of our 2021 reader survey, we want to say a big thank you to you, guys and girls! From April to July 2021 over 11,000 GRAN FONDO readers accepted our invitation to take part in the reader survey, beating last year’s record by almost 3,000. That’s an immense achievement, especially when you consider that the survey included up to 75 questions for each respondent. Many thanks to each and every one of you! You are part of the largest and most representative survey in the drop bar world.

A new record high! | 91 countries | up to 75 questions
The largest and most representative survey in the drop bar world!

Thanks to your participation, we have 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 deliver exactly the bikes and content that are relevant and of interest to you. However, you not only shape the work we do here at GRAN FONDO, but also have an influence on the actual development of the entire industry, because many well-known manufacturers use the results of our survey – shared anonymously, of course – for their own product development.

Who are you?

But now, let’s get to the actual topic of this article: you guys and girls! What do typical GRAN FONDO readers look like? The average age remains unchanged at 44, with the top end of the range extending to as many as 89 years – wow! At this point, we would like to send our best regards to this one loyal reader, who has been faithful to us for several years now and we’re already looking forward to him taking part in our reader survey again next year, at the grand age of 90. There have been some changes in the most common names: the Thomases have had to relinquish the top position to the Michaels this year and have thus slipped to second place. In 3rd place this year is Christian, who in turn has displaced Stefan. In the women’s category, Sarah has taken the top spot, followed by Katrin and Laura. Speaking of which, the percentage of women has risen again this year, but remains below the 5% mark. We’re very happy to see that more and more ladies are joining us – the more, the merrier!

Most of you already have some experience: on average, you’ve been riding drop bars for 14 years. The flood of newcomers is slowing somewhat, but 8% have started riding only in the last 12 months. Another 7% don’t even own a drop bar bike yet, but plan to get one soon. After a small slump last year, the average annual mileage is once again at just over 6,000 km.

Last year’s remarkable income increase continues unabated this year. The average net household income rose again, by over € 4,000, and now stands at € 98,690. This comes as little surprise when looking at typical occupations and level of education, as 81% of GRAN FONDO readers have at least some form of university degree. 8% even hold a doctorate. Professionally, over a third is in the upper echelons of their company. Not too bad!

Where are you from?

Our readership this year is more international than ever, spread across 91 countries in all corners of the globe. However, German speaking countries continue to make up the majority. Germany accounts for 51%, Switzerland for 7% and Austria for 6%. Great Britain follows with 5%. The most represented country outside Europe is the USA, which comes in at over 7%. The remaining 24% are spread across 86 different countries, mainly in Europe, but none of them has more than 2% individually. In addition, there are also many countries with only very few, sometimes even only one participant. Best regards to our readers from Nicaragua, Vietnam and the Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago. We’re looking forward to your invite for our next travel story! 😉

Incidentally, the majority of GRAN FONDO readers are city dwellers, as a total of 54% live in cities with at least 100,000 inhabitants. 21% live in cities with over a million inhabitants. Only 13% live in small towns with less than 5,000 inhabitants, but even they often live in a metropolitan region. Overall, this applies to 71% of participants.

What bikes do you ride?

Let’s get to the most exciting part of our survey: the bikes! First of all, we’ll take a look at the types of bikes you have in your garage and then, of course, we want to know which one you ride the most. In the last few years, we’ve always had a surprising winner when it comes to the bikes you own: mountain bikes. That said, they don’t have much competition given that we don’t differentiate between categories like we do with drop bar bikes. But this year everything is different! For the first time, the list is headed up by gravel bikes, which continue the impressive trend of the last few years and take the top spot with a 5 percentage point increase for a total of 51%. Mountain bikes, albeit as a lumped together category, follow with 48%, but have lost a good 6 percentage points. After taking heavy losses last year, race bikes are holding steady at 43%, taking second place among drop bar bikes. There were minimal losses for the endurance bikes, which continue to rank in third place at 34%. Cyclocross continues to fade in the wake of gravel.

What do you ride the most?

When asked which bike you ride the most, the picture is very similar to the bikes you own. While last year race bikes were in first place, this year gravel bikes have secured the largest share with 32%, closely followed by race bikes at 31%. Endurance bikes rank third with a 22% share. Despite having a market share of almost 50%, mountain bikes are the preferred choice of approximately just 8% of respondents. This shows where the true love of GRAN FONDO readers lies: with drop bars, of course! By the way, you have owned your most frequently ridden bike for an average of 3 years and paid € 3,833 for it – almost € 400 more than last year.

Which brands do you ride?

At least as interesting as the type of bikes you ride is the question of which brands you ride. The top 3 are unchanged from last year: Canyon still hold first place despite a slight dip in share, followed by American manufacturer Specialized, who have increased by a good percentage point and now lay claim to over 10%. Still in third place, albeit with a loss of 1.4 percentage points, are Cannondale with a score of 7.4%. The big winners in this year’s rankings are Swiss bike manufacturers BMC, who move up 3 places with a gain of over 2 percentage points, putting them in 4th place with a total of 5.6%. Pushed down to 5th place by BMC, we now find Trek with an almost unchanged share of 5.5%.

How satisfied are you with your bike?

We asked you to rate your favourite bike on a scale from 0 (not at all satisfied) to 5 (completely satisfied). After the long-standing upward trend faltered for the first time last year, it’s pointing upwards again this year. The overall average rose by 0.10 points to 4.23, which is the highest level we’ve ever recorded. Props to all manufacturers who have managed to maintain quality despite supply issues and overstretched service departments!

Looking at satisfaction amongst individual brands, this year’s number one spot goes to a newcomer and lateral entrant from the mountain bike world, who has, however, long been a permanent fixture in the satisfaction ranking of our sister magazine ENDURO. We’re talking about Santa Cruz. With an impressive average satisfaction rating of 4.73, the popular brand is just ahead of last year’s front-runner OPEN, who were able to improve once again and reached 4.71. Pinarello have also made slight gains and now sit in 3rd place with an average of 4.51. Also new to the rankings is bike manufacturer Argon18, sitting in 4th place with a score of around 4.51. Colnago have made a solid improvement of 0.07 points and now rank 5th. In the second half of the top 10, some brands can shine with significantly improved scores. Among them are Cervélo and Wilier, with an improvement of 0.20 and 0.16, respectively. Specialized have also made significant gains.

Average satisfaction:
4.23 (+0.10 compared to the previous year) – Record high!

What do you want to buy next?

Having dealt extensively with what is currently in your garage, we now want to take a look into the future. As interesting as the present situation is, when planning our group tests it’s much more exciting to know what you’re aiming to buy in the near future. Overall, 27% of you definitely plan to get a new drop bar bike in the next 12 months. 24% aren’t sure yet and another 9% want to buy a different kind of bike, for example, an urban or (e-)mountain bike. Speaking of which, we can help you with that too: just take a look at our sister magazines ENDURO, E-MOUNTAINBIKE and DOWNTOWN!

The question of what type of drop bar bike you want to buy essentially reflects the trends of your current bikes. Accordingly, gravel bikes are also in pole position here, with 41%. 31% are interested in a race bike, while 23% would prefer an endurance bike.

Which brand do you want to buy next?

Here, too, there are many familiar faces from the current top 10. For example, Canyon are in first place as well, but take a much clearer lead. With a share of 17.6%, Canyon come close to doubling the score achieved by Specialized, who are in second place with 9.7%. There was all the more movement in the lower rankings. The big winners in the top 5 are BMC and OPEN. Further down the top 10, Cervélo deserves another honorable mention, now at 8th place.

What else do you do besides biking?

Some of you would love to spend the whole day just riding bikes, but life has a lot more to offer and you sometimes need to distance yourself from the things you love most to not lose the joy of them. However, some things can be combined with biking perfectly, such as good coffee and travelling, in which a good half of you are interested. The occasional camping or van trip also appeals to 29% of our respondents. On average, you spent 8 days on holiday with your bike last year where you spent € 188 per day.

Computers and gadgets are also very popular with 37% of you interested in them. Photography is of interest to 34% of you, while good wine comes in at 30%. A large proportion of you are also interested in e-mobility and urban mobility. If you are particularly interested in these topics, we recommend a visit to our sister magazine DOWNTOWN. There, everything revolves around urban mobility and the modern dolce vita.

More trends from the drop bar world

Our lucky winner

One reason that we like our reader survey so much is not only that we get to know you better, but also that we can make one of you happy with a new bike. Together with our partner BMC, we raffled off the BMC Roadmachine 01 ONE from this year’s road bike group test worth €10,499 amongst the participants. Freshly tuned, of course! A real collector’s item for one lucky GRAN FONDO fan from France named Vincent. Congratulations and have fun riding this dream machine!

Our lucky winner Vincent from France.

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: In our experience, the brand that provides the prize bike can have a slight advantage, with more fans of the brand likely to take part, potentially slightly skewing the results in that brand’s favour.

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