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10,000 Mountain Bikers Respond - 2020 Vital MTB Survey Results

Vital MTB has conducted our annual reader survey for the past nine years, and again in 2020, 10,000 of you told us about yourself and and what kind of mountain bikes and riding gear you prefer. The survey was conducted on VitalMTB.com from May through June 2020. Responses were limited to one per person and results were tabulated from over 10,000 surveys.

Vital MTB's 2020 reader survey summary of over 10,000 mountain biking participants.

Vital MTBers love bikes and ride a lot. We've put together a quick glance at some of the results, but you can dig into the complete survey results (PDF) and nine-year market trends, so all of your questions can be answered.

A sample of complete survey result data.

Primary Bike Travel

Vital MTBers are happy and feel right at home on their trail bikes. Hardtail riding is blossoming, underbiking and trail bike riding is spiking while enduro bikes took a hit as daily drivers in 2020. DH bikes as a primary continue to slide (not surprising).

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Complete Mountain Bike Brand to Buy

Bike brand diversity is growing over the years with market share tightening up. If you want to start a bike, component, or clothing brand, call it Undecided, and you'll have instant SEO street cred. The undecided category indicates that there are a lot of great mountain bike choices out there these days. That, or everyone is waiting to see what bike is actually in stock at the time they're ready to part with their hard-earned money. Major Norcal players Specalized and Santa Cruz have become part of the pack with other brands over the years. Norco made the biggest jump in 2020 for those considering a new, complete bike purchase, and life ain't a slam dunk for the direct-to-consumer brands as they slump a bit or remain flat.

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Type of Mountain Bike to Buy

What type of bike are Vital MTBers looking to purchase? Welp, not longer-travel enduro bikes if our survey is any indication. Trail bikes are up, XC has made steady gains over the last of couple years and e-MTBs (made you look) are making a steady climb as DH bikes continue to slump. Are old DHers getting lazy and/or broken and buying e-bikes?

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Mountain Bike Wheel Size to Buy

Ah, the old wheel size debate. Data and vocal online opinions may not always line up, but 26 clings to life somehow, 27.5 is on a five-year slide to the bottom as monster-trucking 29ers continue to plow their way to the top. Maybe the extra traction is real. Who knew plus-sized tires were still a thing as 27.5+ remains steady and 29+ has a mild increase (probably because of our video with Cam McCaul from four years ago. We're always ahead of the trends).

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Mountain Bike Drivetrain to Buy

Our survey had a variety of drivetrain-related questions, but we've pulled out the "derailleurs" info as a quick glance at where mountain bikers are headed with their drivetrain purchases. Shimano and SRAM swap places over last year as the red S drops off, while the blue S takes a jump. 12-speed battles remain hot, but there is still some wiggle room with undecided folk and BOX making an appearance, most likely due to their 9-speed drivetrain.

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Mountain Bike Fork to Buy

Our survey is thorough, asking  which fork and shock a participant will buy in the future. We've pulled the "Fork" results as a general indication of suspension preferences shown our survey. FOX continues to hold the top of the spot with RockShox on a long downward trajectory. Undecided is up as the small brands battle for those important, hardcore-rider squish decisions at the bottom of the pile.

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Mountain Bike Tires to Buy

Without good tires, forget about it. Vital MTBers are serious riders who make serious choices about their rubber and aren't afraid to abandon a brand if quality suffers or a new option surfaces. Maxxis continues to remain the obvious tire choice for mountain bikers but the up-tick in Undecided means the choice may not be quite as clear as it used to be. Michelin jumped from 3.2% to 5.0% which shows promise for the brand who helps Sam Hill go fast.

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Brakes to Buy

You can't go fast if you can't slow down. Shimano brakes remain Vital MTBer favorites as they managed to climb back up a few percentage points after a long, downward direction. SRAM brakes remain unfaded (get it?), with a very minor increase. The smaller brands all suffered downturns this year with Hayes making the slightest recovery.

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Again, this bit of information is only the beginnging. if you need more data, go into the complete survey results (PDF) and the nine-year market trends data.

Thank you to everyone who participated in our survey. It wasn't quick, it wasn't easy, but we're honored that you took the time to share your input, so we can share your decisions with our community.

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