Welcome to Pinkbike's State of the Sport Survey 2024

Apr 2, 2024
by Ed Spratt  

State of the Sport is back and after gathering the data from riders and, for the first time, race fans in our public survey, we are ready to share the results.

Since the first State of the Sport survey in 2021 which was released immediately following the bike boom during the COVID pandemic, the industry has gone through many changes that present a very different outlook for the future than the one before us three years ago. We have spent the last couple of weeks looking through the mountain of data from the rider and public surveys and have been searching for some of the biggest takeaways from this year's dataset.

Ahead of the deep dives and breakdowns of the data being released this week, we have taken a look into the survey to illustrate the demographics of the respondents and a little about our methodology and the limitations of our data collection method.

Lastly, we conducted this survey because we genuinely care. At Pinkbike, we love racing and just want to do our best to support a healthy future for the competitive side of the sport.


Who was surveyed?

For the 2024 survey to maintain consistency with last year's survey we followed the same criteria for the rider survey with a selection of top racers invited to take part based on their 2023 overall rankings. Some of those riders declined to be included and some were unable to respond in time, but we have a broad range of riders from juniors to over 40s, from race winners to up-and-coming talents from every discipline. For our new public survey, anyone was able to submit a single set of answers.

It's important to add that for both the rider and the public survey, the surveys are completely anonymous. In particular, for the rider survey, we believe this allows respondents to be as open and honest as possible in their responses and gives us broader insights into the trends that affect the overall health of the sport.

Of those who responded to the rider survey, 47.5% compete in women's events with the majority of riders being from Europe (59.6%). We saw 25.3% of riders coming from North America, 14.1% from Oceania and 1% from Asia. Downhill was the largest discipline represented in the survey with a total of 39.4% of all respondents, next was Enduro at 32.3% and finally XC at 28.3%.

This year we also added the new public survey to our State of the Sport data gathering. Our respondents for this survey swayed heavily to people identifying as male with 96.2% of all responses. In contrast to our more European-focused rider survey, the public response was mainly from North America accounting for 62.9% of answers while we received 27.8% from Europe. While we will have more data on this later in the week, it is interesting to note that in our responses we found 91% of people said they follow mountain bike racing but only 31.5% paid for access to last year's World Cup coverage.


Ahead of releasing our deep dives into the data, we must address some of the limitations to both surveys that collect the data for State of the Sport. First, by having a selective overall-ranking based criteria for the rider survey, there's a selection bias towards the highest-ranking riders. While these riders will generally have the biggest impact on the racing scene, it does ignore the swathes of racers that sit just below them in the rankings.

Secondly, as both the rider and public survey are not mandatory, there is a risk that we only receive responses from people who have strong opinions on the subject and we lose a group of respondents who may have a less binary opinion on the current state of the sport.

Finally, we have to trust that every response received is honest and is an accurate representation of what they feel. The survey was taken anonymously and we have no way of knowing if the riders answered the questions with full honesty. That said, we have taken responses in good faith.

What's next?

Over the next few days, we'll release the survey results with deep dives into the most interesting results, followed by a data dump at the end of the week that will allow you to dig into the numbers for yourself.

With this year's survey marking our third time gathering racers' opinions on the state of the sport, we will be delving deeper into the numbers and looking at how opinion has changed or even stayed the same since the first survey back in 2021.

Author Info:
edspratt avatar

Member since Mar 16, 2017
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  • 88 0
 looking at the demographics, we should call the public questionnaire a sirvey
  • 38 2
 If 23.1 percent of the respondents are ranked top 5 in the three different disciplines, then the greatest possible number of total respondents in the top 5 is 15 (5 * 3 = 15). So under the best condition (every top 5 rider participated in the survey), the total number of respondents (n) would be 65 (15 = 0.231n). That's the ceiling. I think for numbers this size it may be better in terms of clarity to give the n rather than percentages. It's easy to extrapolate improperly from a percentage to the wider population, whereas a smaller n would be remind readers to take caution (even though numerically they are the same).
  • 10 1
 It’s a fair point about percentages although for some of the future articles where we are comparing across different individual discipline data and previous datasets the percentages can help.

In terms of total survey numbers we had 108 respondents this year, with I believe 25 finishing in the overall last year. With us contacting elites and juniors across three discipline there was a possible total of 60 top five riders.
  • 5 0
 Note that this quick estimation of the respondent size is only possible because of the low participation rate of women (women included there are 30 elites in the top 5 of three different disciplines). And if we split elites and juniors then I guess there are 60 different riders in the top 5 of three different disciplines and 2 sexes and 2 age categories -- all of which is to say that it can get really confusing not having the Ns!)
  • 1 0
 @Snfoilhat: completely agree. Without this the result are indanger of being little more than speculation
  • 2 1
 Pipe down, poindexter.
  • 27 0
 "While we will have more data on this later in the week, it is interesting to note that in our responses we found 91% of people said they follow mountain bike racing but only 31.5% paid for access to last year's World Cup coverage."

Well, we did Warner them about this...
  • 27 0
 Shoutout to the mountain biker in Antarctica, can only respect the dedication
  • 8 0
 "It'll be a cold day in hell when I go out for a ride... so I'll see you in a couple of hours."
  • 1 0
 If you go on trailforks theres a trail that is in antartica that's definitely where he rides.
  • 17 2
 The title of this survey is misleading. This survey's questions target the state of RACING and competition in our sport. Our sport, mountain biking, is so much more than racing and competition. Once again, we over emphasize the aspect of our sport that majority of participants don't partake in. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big racing fan and do appreciate what it does for our sport, but it's just a fraction of what our sport is. Off my horse now - thanks @edspratt for all the effort and cool data.
  • 2 0
 I agree with you generally, but I'd say it's mostly about the state of a couple hundred social media influencers. But like you said, that doesn't mean it's not interesting and I don't appreciate what racing does for bike development or the efforts of pinkbike. Re the former, just pulled the trigger on a Madonna v3. Super stoked about the ability to play with all of the adjustments, which, even at a tiny brand like RAAW, seem to have been spawns by a downhill racing program.

I just think we need to realize that without meaningful outside sponsors and money, "professional" mountain bike racing is mostly a combination of an industry poker game and a commercial. And the comparisons to true professional sports can be exhausting. Plus, do we really want mountain bike racing to be like that?
  • 15 0
 I just wanna know if people really think Zink was over scored.
  • 5 0
 Was Norbs robbed?
  • 2 0
 @watchmen: Was Brendog also robbed?
  • 13 1
 Lol the male / female ratio of respondents shows why bike companies market to men primarily.
  • 26 4
 I think it shows were dumber and more willing to argue about nonsense on the internet.
  • 31 1
 @wolftwenty1: no we aren't
  • 7 0
 Men like nerding out on bikes and parts a lot more than women in my experience. All the female riders I know don't go on Pinkbike or any bike websites at all. All they really care about is "does my bike work?". Then they just ride it.
  • 7 0
 ...PinkBike Sausagefest
  • 4 1
 I've mentioned this in other comments previously, but more races in North America and a focus on the North American media market is where the most potential is to increase the amount of money racers make is. Adult males, most likely a majority of whom have income with which to travel to races, are the consumers of MTB racing and media. Traveled from Utah to Snowshoe and it was an incredible experience, one of which I would love to repeat in other venues around the US. The UCI is just too European to see this fact though and instead of having a Park City WC, Mammoth WC, Mt. Hood WC, etc. we have a XC only in Lake Placid, NY. I realize that this is logistically challenging for teams, but it would be worth figuring out in the long run to boost the exposure to the racing aspect of the sport.
  • 3 0
 Whilst the UCI are far from perfect, they no longer are responsible for the MTB World Cup. That is now Discovery/Eurosport/ ESO.........They choose the venues who are prepared to pay their hosting fee. If no other US venues wish to pay, then there's not a lot we can do.
  • 3 0
 Waaaay too rationale and smart...this is the bike industry my man...
  • 1 0
 @Starch-Anton: I can walk that back then about the UCI and say that Discovery then should be doing it. If the hosting fee is preventing venues that could boost the product then maybe that is what needs to be assessed?
  • 4 0
 You should release one question a day for the next 2 months
  • 1 0
 Will there be an article gong into more detail about who was invited. How many from each discipline and sex. What was the response rate for each of these groups. 25% of responses could be 2 riders or 20 riders. Thanks
  • 2 0
 We will be publishing takeaways from different data sections including each discipline and the women riders. These articles will include a breakdown of their specific section of the data. We received responses from 108 pro riders so 25% would be 27 riders.
  • 2 0
 Let's all take a moment and realize that a lot of countries can't watch these racers compete live this year!! Congrats Warner Brah
  • 3 0
 Thank you for not using AI generated illustrations!
  • 7 0
 I'm only here for Taj cartoons.
  • 1 0
 Oh boy! State of the sport! One of the most exciting and interesting (but also disheartening) groups of articles.
  • 2 0
 EDIT: Oh, this survey results is for RACERS only. Got it.
  • 7 0
 That’s the racer survey not the public one. You’re part of the majority…no need to worry my middle aged desk job comrade.
  • 1 0
 That's 1.9% of pro racers surveyed. The data is not presented well. The second age graph is the public result.
  • 1 0
 @edspratt I'm curious if you could share what program you are using to analyze your data and create your graphs. Thanks!
  • 2 0
 96% male...

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