Shimano report shows e-bikes on the up across Europe

A new pan-European report of over 13,000 people from 11 countries for Shimano has shown that nearly a quarter of Europeans (24%) already own an e-bike or are likely to buy or use an e-bike more this year, compared to last year, with 11% of the potential e-bike users saying they currently never use a normal bike.

The Shimano Steps E-bike Index 2020 aims to compare attitudes towards e-bikes across major European countries and explore what is stopping widespread adoption, along with why people are turning towards e-bikes for commuting, leisure and transportation.

The UK has the smallest amount of people saying they will try an e-bike, with just 7%, while almost one in three (30%) in Italy said they would buy or use an e-bike this year. In some countries like Denmark, Switzerland and the UK, there are promising signs amongst the younger generation as 18-24-year-olds have said they are more likely to use one than any other age groups.

However, for all age groups, despite many wanting to use a bike to improve their physical health, amongst those who are not likely to ride an e-bike or already own one, there is still a small perception that fitness wouldn’t improve riding an e-bike, with 19% stating that might put them off. A recent study, however, by the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity showed “evidence that e-cycling can improve cardiorespiratory fitness. E-cycling can contribute to meeting physical activity recommendations and increasing physical fitness. As such, e-bikes offer a potential alternative to conventional cycling.”

As to why there is a shift towards e-bikes, the benefits affecting the physical activity and health of individuals is almost universally recognised. The majority (31%) of those who were likely to use or already owned one say they would mainly use an e-bike for leisure or family activities, hinting that an e-bike’s appeal isn’t just limited to commuting (although over a quarter, 28%, would commute on their e-bike).

A third (32%) have said they would buy or use an e-bike this year to conquer longer distances or steeper climbs, and many would use one to improve their physical (30%) and mental (22%) health. In some countries, the reasons for using an e-bike differ. In the Netherlands, where 78% of the population ride a bike at least once a month, the main reason (39%) given by those wanting to ride an e-bike this year was that they would do because it looks like less effort.

There is also a nod to environmental reasons for using an e-bike – almost one in five (18%) adults in the countries surveyed say they are likely to start using an e-bike because they are concerned about the environmental impact of their travel. With young adults (18-24), this rises to over a quarter (26%).

“From adventurous mountain bikers to urban commuters, there is now an e-bike for everyone”, said Jeroen Van Vulpen, brand manager from Shimano. “We see that e-bikes will continue to become a desirable option for people who want to get outdoors and ride for fun, for fitness or for an affordable and more environmentally-conscious commute.

“Making that leap from a regular bicycle, or from other private or public transport methods towards an e-bike is a decision that can be affected by many different factors. Not least the way in which we can now travel across towns and cities throughout Europe. From buses to trains and ferries, public transport has been affected and personal space is in high demand, bringing increasing interest to the e-bike market. This report goes some way to shedding light on those factors. It will undoubtedly contribute to our own learning and we sincerely hope everyone interested in e-bikes can learn from it too.”

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