1 in 3 sportive riders are on Specialized, Trek or Giant, says research firm

But the other two thirds of riders in some of Britain's biggest sportives rode 100+ brands between them

by Simon_MacMichael   April 4, 2014  

Riding by the sea on the road to Ogmore

One in three participants in some of the UK’s biggest sportives last year rode either a Specialized, Giant or Trek bicycle, according to research firm Sports Marketing Surveys.

It’s the second year that the company has conducted the research, and there’s been one change in the top three brands ridden, with Trek replacing Bianchi.

The fact the Italian brand was there at all in 2012 surprises us, given it is much smaller in the UK than Trek and a number of other brands; maybe people riding who own a Bianchi are more likely than owners of some others to ride the events at which the research was conducted?

For 2013, those were the Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Caledonia, Etape Mercia and Etape Pennines, all sponsored by Marie Curie Cancer Care, the Fred Whitton Challenge and the Wiggle Dragon Ride.

According to Sports Marketing Surveys, the research provides “insight into the equipment, expenditure, considerations, lifestyle and media consumption” of cyclists taking part in those sportives.

Giant, Specialized and Trek were used by 34 per cent of the sample – and the other two thirds used 119 separate brands between them.

It sounds a lot, but once you start making a list of bike makers, it fills up pretty quickly as names pop into your head.

The 122 brands used in 2013 was a big increase on the 87 surveyed the previous year, although quite why is unclear.

The model of bike was also analysed, with the top 10 models belonging to seven separate brands, and the most popular one made by Specialized.

Data was also captured for groupsets, helmets, shoes, clothing and wheels – the latter featuring 79 different brands, the top four of which produced the 10 most common models.

John Bushell, managing director of Sports Marketing Surveys, said: “Our work at CycloSportive events over the past couple of years has offered our clients significant, previously unavailable insight into a key sector of consumers.

“We believe the completion and availability of this new research could prove invaluable for road bike brands particularly, as the CycloSportive participant is of great importance to their business.”

This year, similar research will be conducted at two major events in Germany, and Mr Bushell added: “Being the second year that we have conducted this research – with the addition of the extensive European events – is particularly significant as it enables brands to analyse fluctuations in their market share for the first time, as the sport grows so rapidly”.

44 user comments

Latest 30 commentsNewest firstBest ratedAll

Mooman16 wrote:
Kinda creepy that how you roll on a Sportive is gonna be sold on to some market research group.

Perhaps it says more about the kind of people who ride sportives. You wouldn't get these marketing suits spending time and money to analyse the people riding audaxes!

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2007 posts]
4th April 2014 - 20:09

34 Likes

parksey wrote:
notfastenough wrote:
All true, but I bought a Trek because it was the right bike for me. Simple as that. There's a reason those guys sell a lot if bikes.

+1

Having some obscure brand of bike doesn't make you more of a cyclist...

... and there's probably a reason why some of these obscure brands sell so few bikes too.

posted by Joeinpoole [283 posts]
4th April 2014 - 20:47

43 Likes

Effing frustrating that this story doesn't contain the list! Is it supposed to be some big secret? I love anoraky lists like this. I WANT THE LIST!!! Angry Angry Angry Angry

posted by nick h. [30 posts]
4th April 2014 - 20:59

40 Likes

Depends where you live, I guess. Plenty of Bianchis here in York. Of my 12 who ride regularly together, 4 have a Bianchi.

Don't buy upgrades. Ride up grades. (Merckx)

obutterwick's picture

posted by obutterwick [536 posts]
4th April 2014 - 21:31

26 Likes

I've got a trek, under a grand, use it most days and on training runs with club. Very good bike.
Also got a de rosa just for the hell of it. I'm not loaded but saved up for it and I love it. Couldn't really tell you why but it makes me smile.
Don't really have a point to make other than each to their own.

I also see loads of bianchis. Nice looking bikes but generally not set up for hilly sportives where you see a lot of them being pushed up hills!

And I want to see the list too!!

posted by liverlepool [8 posts]
4th April 2014 - 21:46

40 Likes

Am also quite surprised Bianchi was there. I'm sure they're very nice but on the face of it don't offer the same value for money as a Giant. I accept that's based just on specs but that can be daily persuasive.

posted by Jerm [39 posts]
4th April 2014 - 22:02

28 Likes

joules1975 wrote:
Sorry to be pedantic, but Specialized don't make their bikes, Merida make them and stick the Specialized badges on.

Indeed, they own 51% of Specialized. Not sure that it matters though, Merida make some quality frames.

I'm not surprised to see that Bianchis are on the rise, I've started to see a few more around now, one being used as a winter bike (shudder).

I'd be surprised if Pinarello isn't up there soon what with the Team Sky deal, the fact that they're stocked in Halfords these days and the fact you could probably fool people that you have a Dogma because the FP Uno looks quite similar.

Boardman and Planet X are two others that could be up there in a few years I think.

I don't see why people care that much about what other people ride though tbh, you get to a certain level and they're all the damn same anyway.

posted by J90 [149 posts]
4th April 2014 - 22:04

21 Likes

denzzz28 wrote:
Thats the reason why I dont buy those three brands in the first place. "Everybody have them".

I bet you drive a Vauxhall though....

posted by J90 [149 posts]
4th April 2014 - 22:05

24 Likes

nick h. wrote:
Effing frustrating that this story doesn't contain the list! Is it supposed to be some big secret? I love anoraky lists like this. I WANT THE LIST!!! Angry Angry Angry Angry

+1, link...?

I've got a new Trek which I ordered in minimal logos finish cos erm I didn't want anyone to know it was a Trek. After 1000km I wish I'd gone for bright pink with Trek all friggin over it it's that awesome.

Sq

Squiggle's picture

posted by Squiggle [414 posts]
4th April 2014 - 22:29

45 Likes

No one has mentioned that Giant make most of the other bikes Merida don't....

posted by Nzlucas [99 posts]
4th April 2014 - 23:23

48 Likes

Its a market research list. Probably selling it for many £1000's. You have no chance of seeing the list...

posted by paulrbarnard [136 posts]
5th April 2014 - 5:02

25 Likes

The only thing this survey will do, is generate a deluge of persuasive marketing materials trying to convince us that we've made the wrong choice, and this shiny new thing is better!

MikeF

posted by msfergus [19 posts]
5th April 2014 - 7:10

28 Likes

I would have thought a market research list of cars driven by sportive riders would have more value than a list of bikes ridden. Big Grin

onward ever onward

bikecellar's picture

posted by bikecellar [227 posts]
5th April 2014 - 9:04

20 Likes

Joeinpoole wrote:
parksey wrote:
notfastenough wrote:
All true, but I bought a Trek because it was the right bike for me. Simple as that. There's a reason those guys sell a lot if bikes.

+1

Having some obscure brand of bike doesn't make you more of a cyclist...

... and there's probably a reason why some of these obscure brands sell so few bikes too.

Marketing!

posted by briano 55 [15 posts]
5th April 2014 - 9:05

19 Likes

I don't have a bike from any of the top three brands so not sure if that makes me a hip individualist or just not in with the in-crowd - probably the later I suppose Worried

Northernbike's picture

posted by Northernbike [151 posts]
5th April 2014 - 9:05

18 Likes

Northernbike wrote:
I don't have a bike from any of the top three brands so not sure if that makes me a hip individualist or just not in with the in-crowd - probably the later I suppose Worried

I don't think it means anything.

Anyway, being in with the in-crowd is seriously overrated.

Baaaaaa!

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2007 posts]
5th April 2014 - 10:13

15 Likes

Well I for one am glad that someone has finally worked out that the most used brands in sportives are the three most popular in the country. It was research that was desperately needed. Now we can all live our lives with out the burden of worrying about this. Devil

posted by mrkeith119 [86 posts]
5th April 2014 - 11:22

25 Likes

I don't get the argument some riders make about staying away from certain brands because they're popular. If the bike floats your boat then that's all that matters. I ride a Specialized Roubaix and love it, i couldn't care less if everyone else rides one too.

posted by BigYell [4 posts]
5th April 2014 - 12:10

19 Likes

I won't touch Specialized because of their crappy attitude to the cycling community. Past that, I don't care about the brand. I just look at the bike as a package.

Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

jmaccelari's picture

posted by jmaccelari [160 posts]
5th April 2014 - 12:18

22 Likes

Very few brands actually make their own bikes nowadays. Giant - still family owned, incidentally - is a bit of an exception. They even manufacture their own carbon fibre.

I'm surprised Cannondale wasn't in the top three. Round here - central NJ, USA - they always figure.Brands showing up on club rides, sportifs, etc., (although this is an observation, not a survey) being split, Cannondale, Giant, Specialized and Trek, fairly equally, with local NJ brands Jamis and Van Dessel featuring with Cervelo as a wildcard. Then there are the customs ...

Smaller brands really don't feature here although there's really not the variety found in Europe. Specialized really does polarise people here though.

--

Alan - That British Bloke

ThatBritishBloke's picture

posted by ThatBritishBloke [16 posts]
5th April 2014 - 13:25

11 Likes

It's not that revolutionary really is it ? Two thirds of bikes ridden are outside the top three brands is more interesting to me. Ultimately the top three are the most ubiquitous on the high street in the UK, so presumably the majority of other bikes are probably sourced from specialist shops/online/LBS

posted by arfa [516 posts]
5th April 2014 - 13:50

18 Likes

I ride bikes that suit me. My old Dave Quinn rocked.

posted by don simon [194 posts]
5th April 2014 - 19:07

7 Likes

Davie Quinn, now we're talking!

posted by liverlepool [8 posts]
5th April 2014 - 20:28

21 Likes

as a female cyclist, I would love to try out the other smaller brands that do ladies bikes.... prob is... trying to find them to try! so like others trying the main 3.

posted by pammib [2 posts]
5th April 2014 - 20:31

13 Likes

I wanted to do all my sportives on a Specialized bike but I got really mixed up at the shop and walked out with a Neil Pryde Alize instead of an Allez.

http://www.neilprydebikes.com/news/latest/allez-allez-nazare.html

Thankfully Specialized's lawyers are on the ball so hopefully no one else shares my fate Sad

posted by Nick T [818 posts]
5th April 2014 - 20:46

12 Likes

I have two Bianchi and one that probably isn't even on the list.

Both of my Bianchi can go up hills because I have the legs to propel them.

My other (a Zerofour Evolution Audax Titanium) propels me up the hills and has a twiddly extra chainring which I use when I'm feeling middle-aged.

I don't tend to do "sportives" but the last time I did the Pedal for Scotland ride I started counting how many "Assos arses" ie rear ends with the famous "A" logo that I passed. I gave up somewhere in the hundreds. Most of these guys were riding Specialized, Trek or Giant. I have to say I was surprised - Assos make bigger sizes than I had expected.

My eyes prefer Celeste, my bum prefers titanium.

Jack Osbourne snr's picture

posted by Jack Osbourne snr [305 posts]
5th April 2014 - 22:04

18 Likes

I'm amazed by this. I'm in the market for a carbon bike (I own a high quality steel racer and two good quality aluminium racers already but want something lighter for Alpine adventures), so did two test rides today on popular sportive bikes (2014 models): a Trek Domane 4.3 and a Specialized Roubaix SL4. I was so disappointed by both bikes. The Domane was a little better than the Roubaix in my opinion (although the paintwork is hideous), but the best I could give these bikes was an "ok". I would certainly never buy any of them as the ride was just dull/dead. Maybe I'm just spoilt and my current main bike simply is very good (Condor Acciaio w/ campag), but we are talking similar £ here so I was really surprised by the difference in ride quality. Caveat: these are the only two carbon bikes I have ever tried, and maybe the material just isn't for me, but I would strongly urge anyone reading this who is thinking of buying a new road bike for sportives to look around a bit more because there are some really cracking bikes out there outside of the (yawn) big 4. The saying "X sells a load of bikes so they must be good" only goes so far because it relies on rational consumers and low search costs.

posted by consciousbadger [16 posts]
5th April 2014 - 23:56

19 Likes

consciousbadger wrote:
Maybe I'm just spoilt and my current main bike simply is very good (Condor Acciaio w/ campag), but we are talking similar £ here so I was really surprised by the difference in ride quality.

I suspect there isn't much deficient in your Condor. Ignore the hype (carbon, Ti or whatever) and follow your own experience and intuition. If a bike feels right for you when riding then that is what matters.

TBH I'm not sure just how much better bikes can get in terms of rider feel. They are all so good nowadays it must hard for testers to write anything meaningful about the differences.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2007 posts]
6th April 2014 - 10:21

21 Likes

S'funny, some people would call the Acciaio overly stiff compared to a lot of other steel frames.

I reckon that feeling of "meh" you got from the two carbons had more to do with the stock wheels than the frames, along with the isolated feel you get from the road dampening they've been built for. Get yourself on a proper road bike if you want the thrill of road feel, if you can ride the geometry of an Acciaio comfortably I don't know what you were trying out those gran fondo's for.

To give my experiences as an example, I'll compare 2 bikes - a carbon Cento1 and a steel Master. Geometries are roughly the same, saddle and bars are the same, short wheelbase, short 55.5mm top tubes, 120mm stems both etc etc. Both feel as lively as you like, probably similar to the Italian styled Acciaio tbh. Maybe the Trek and Spesh ideals just aren't suited to you.

posted by Nick T [818 posts]
6th April 2014 - 12:04

18 Likes

I now have the strangest urge to go out and buy a Trek... Worried
#RVV

posted by don simon [194 posts]
6th April 2014 - 15:24

4 Likes