Our fourth in-depth State of the Nation European survey into attitudes toward e-bike use reveals some interesting trends around people’s reasons to ride.

With over 15,500 respondents across 12 European countries this is one of the most in-depth pieces of research into e-bike attitudes to have recently taken place. Shimano’s previous reports were coloured by the global COVID-19 pandemic but in this, as Europe moves on from lockdowns, new concerns and reasons to ride e-bikes are revealed.

Cost of living over takes COVID

In 2021 we asked if Europeans were more or less likely to ride e-bikes than before the pandemic and why. At that time 2 in 5 (39%) told us they felt that a primary reason for using an e-bike was avoiding public transport because of the risk of catching COVID-19. Now, in 2022 only 1 in 5 (18%) think of it as their primary reason, compared with the previous 12-months.

However, it is cost of living which is on our minds with 47% perceiving it as a reason to use an e-bike (in response to rising fuel and public transport costs) and 41% saying an e-bike subsidy, which would relieve the burden of the initial purchase, would motivate them to buy an e-bike.

Young people ride to help the environment

Environmental concerns have come to the fore in 2022 and while across Europe an average of 33% of people surveyed say that knowing it will lessen their environmental impact is a reason to ride in countries affected by heat and drought the percentage is much higher ( Italy -51% and Spain – 46%). 18-24-year olds are most concerned with their environmental impact but the difference in attitude between younger and older age groups has reduced since 2021.

Infrastructure Matters

In this year’s report 31% thought more cycling infrastructure might encourage someone to buy or use an e-bike compared with the previous 12-months. This year we asked how much cycling infrastructure has improved in the last 12 months. Broadly Europeans don’t feel it has, with 45% saying they don’t agree it has improved and a further 17% saying they don’t know.

Who are e-bikes for?

Europeans perceive e-bikes to be primarily for environmentally conscious people, which in part shows an understanding of the role e-bikes can play in reducing motor vehicle use and congestion. This also reflects that lessening your environmental impact is seen as an encouraging factor in e-bike use. Slightly behind environmentally conscious people were commuters (48% v. 52%), recognising that e-bikes are a viable alternative to public transport or a personal motor vehicle for getting through the daily rush-hour.

Bike ownership

41% of those asked do not own a bike, with some countries showing significantly less bike ownership than the European average. In the UK 63% do not own a bike and in France it is 51%. The Netherlands has the highest number of bike owners with just 13% responding that they do not own a bike.

Bike Care

E-bikes in general need slightly more maintenance than conventional bikes; tyres and drivetrain wear a little faster due to the weight of the bike and torque produced by the pedal-assist motor. E-bike owners benefit from the expertise of bike shops who can help troubleshoot minor issues and give advice on servicing and maintenance.

1 in 4 Europeans are likely to get their bike serviced in the next 6-months and 51% of bike owners say servicing is important for keeping their bike in good condition. Worryingly 12% only visit a service centre when their bike breaks – often an early or routine trip to the bike shop can prevent more expensive repairs in the future.

For more insights and the full data check out the report State of the Nation 2022

Data collection and previous reports

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 15,792 adults in the UK, Spain, France, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Austria, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Poland and Switzerland. Fieldwork was undertaken between 17th -25th August 2022. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been given an even weighting for each country to produce an ‘average’ value.

For Shimano’s other e-bike studies visit  Shimano's Newsroom

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