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How Many Riders Actually Own Electric Mountain Bikes in 2017? Still Not Many

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Last year we started asking Singletracks readers if they were interested in reading electric mountain bike news and reviews on Singletracks, and also if they owned an electric mountain bike. Not only are we interested in learning the answers to these questions, we’re also watching to see how or if these responses change over time.

There are some obvious caveats to keep in mind when reading the results below. This was a survey of Singletracks readers only, and while our audience demographics closely mirror the general mountain bike population, there are certainly key differences. Additional considerations are discussed below.

Are you interested in electric MTB coverage?

Just over a year ago, 21% of Singletracks readers surveyed said they were interested in electric mountain bike news and reviews. This year, that number stands at 23%. However, we calculated this survey’s margin of error to be ±3% at a 99% confidence level, which basically means… interest in electric mountain bikes could be going up or down slightly, or just staying the same.

Either way, there isn’t a significant uptick in interest, nor is there a significant decline. Because this was an anonymous survey, we also don’t know if the folks who are interested in electric mountain bike coverage this year are the same folks who were interested last year. The simplest explanation is that most people remained either interested or uninterested; my own guess is there weren’t a lot of opinions that changed over the past year.

Judging by the online responses to my review of the Trek Powerfly 8 electric mountain bike published in April, both sides of the eMTB debate remain passionate and vocal. In fact, the review was roundly hated by both sides. The pro-eMTB camp thought I was too critical of the bike, while the anti-eMTB crowd was upset that Singletracks even published a review of an electric mountain bike. Talk about a no-win situation! This further illustrates how polarized the electric mountain bike discussion has become.

Do you own an electric mountain bike?

Probably not. In 2016, only 0.9% of survey respondents owned an electric mountain bike. In 2017, that number inched up to just 1.2%. These are small numbers to be sure, but in terms of growth, it’s potentially a big jump–a 33% increase in only a year.

However, we’re talking about really, really small numbers here so just one or two responses can totally skew the results. In 2016, 20 people out of 2,191 said they owned an electric mountain bike; in 2017, it was 26 out of 2,095. That’s an increase of 6 people, but considering the margin of error for the survey and statistical significance, again, it’s hard to say what’s going on for sure. Based on this limited survey data, it seems electric mountain bikes ownership isn’t exactly shooting through the roof, nor is it slowing down.

Your turn: Has you opinion about electric mountain bikes changed over the past year? Do electric mountain bikes seem to be gaining steam or losing traction?