Sunday , 25 October 2020



The third and final reveal part of our 2019 South African MTB Race Survey, presented by Garmin, focusses on bike and gear brands. Besides our recent SA Women’s MTB Survey, presented by Biogen there’s never been a survey like this in South Africa that’s not linked to a specific event. Also revealed here is average bike cost as well as home-training stats.

 Photo Credit:  Henk Neuhoff / Nissan Trailseeker

What brand of bicycle do you race currently?

Bike brand %
Specialized 21.15%
SCOTT 19.80%
Giant 8.91%
Cannondale 7.02%
Merida 6.57%
Silverback 5.94%
Pyga 4.14%
Momsen 3.78%
TREK 3.06%
Santa Cruz 2.97%
BMC 1.53%
GT 1.53%
KTM 1.26%
Norco 1.17%
Yeti 1.08%
Titan 0.99%
Bianchi 0.72%
Rocky Mountain 0.72%
Niner 0.63%
Canyon 0.54%
Lapierre 0.45%
Other 6.04%

These are the top 20 bike brands, as listed in the survey. Since it’s always occupied top spot in race surveys in recent years, we weren’t too surprised to see Specialized at No. 1. We were impressed that SCOTT is such a close No. 2 though. Quite a big drop to Giant in third, with South African brands Silverback Pyga and Momsen in positions 6, 7 and 8. From a total of 1111 responses to this question, there were 58 bike brands mentioned.

What did your race bike cost?

Cost of bike %
Under R10 000 4.05%
R10 000-R14 999 7.26%
R15 000-R19 999 6.16%
R20 000-R24 999 6.50%
R25 000-R29 999 6.08%
R30 000-R34 999 8.52%
R35 000-R39 999 7.51%
R40 000-R44 999 6.08%
R45 000-R49 999 6.33%
R50 000-R54 999 4.89%
R55 000-R59 999 4.39%
R60 000-R64 999 3.88%
R65 000-R69 999 3.97%
R70 000-R74 999 2.62%
R75 000-R79 999 2.95%
R80 000-R84 999 3.12%
R85 000-R89 999 3.04%
R90 000-R94 999 2.53%
R95 000-R99 999 1.43%
R100 000-R109 999 2.36%
R110 000-R119 999 1.52%
R120 000-R129 999 1.52%
R130 000-R139 999 1.01%
R140 000-R149 999 1.35%
R150 000 or more 0.93%

Seems as if the price bracket ‘sweet spot’ based on this survey, is R30 000-R39 999, which has a combined total of 16.03%. The average bike price here, from 1185 respondents, is R50 928.27, just more than half the average bike price of R99 296 at the 2019 Absa Cape Epic

Which accurately describes your race bike best?

Bike type %
I race a hardtail bike 20.08%
I race a full-suspension bike 73.42%
I race both hardtail and full-suspension bikes 6.50%

No real surprise that full-suspension is the dominant bike type, but interesting to know what the breakdown is.

What brand of helmet do you race with currently?

Helmet brand %
Specialized 21.28%
Bell 13.70%
SCOTT 12.88%
Giro 10.23%
Rudy Project 9.95%
Bontrager 3.38%
Catlike 3.20%
Fox 3.11%
MET 2.74%
UVEX 2.74%
POC 2.47%
First Ascent 2.37%
Kask 2.28%
Lazer 2.01%
Leatt 1.83%
Other 5.83%

A total of 1095 respondents listed 32 different helmet brands here. Specialized has a strong position with more than a fifth of the market share, with Bell, SCOTT, Giro and Rudy Project accounting for another 46.76% combined between them.

What brand of eyewear do you race with currently?

Eyewear brand %
Oakley 45.97%
Rudy Project 22.56%
Adidas 8.90%
D’Arcs 5.93%
Ocean 3.81%
UVEX 3.60%
100% 2.44%
Bondi Blu 1.59%
Other 5.2%

Not everyone wears eyewear, but of the 944 that answered this question, almost half wear Oakley!

Photo Credit:  Henk Neuhoff / Nissan Trailseeker

What brand of jersey do you race with currently?

Jersey brand %
Ciovita 24.94%
First Ascent 10.31%
Anatomic 9.53%
Enjoy 6.76%
F-Tech 4.32%
Specialized 3.88%
Assos 3.77%
Fox 2.77%
Cape Storm 2.44%
Panda 1.77%
BioRacer 1.66%
Craft 1.55%
Velotex 1.55%
Castelli 1.44%
Lassen 1.22%
Maxed 1.11%
SCOTT 1.11%
Cuore 1.11%
VYE 1.11%
Sportful 1.11%
Other 16.54%

The 901 that answered this listed a total of 76 brands. Some we’d never heard of and had to check if they existed. Local brands occupy the top 5 positions, with Ciovita firmly out front.

Do you race with an undergarment?

Response %
Only when it’s cold 51.14%
Yes, in all weather 10.13%
No 38.73%

Most old-school racers will be in the 10.13% that wear a base layer year round. What the heck do those that never race with an undergarment do to manage cold and sweat

Which style of shorts do you prefer?

Response %
Bibshorts 65.57%
Regular cycling shorts 17.13%
Baggy shorts 17.30%

It’s not surprising that Bibshorts is dominant (comfort is king!), but we were a little taken aback that baggy shorts are more popular than regular tight Lycra shorts. Granted, many wear baggy shorts over padded shorts or bibshorts, but you could only choose one of the three options in this question…

What brand of shorts do you race with currently?

Shorts brand %
Assos 21.09%
First Ascent 14.06%
Ciovita 11.19%
Specialized 4.81%
Anatomic 4.44%
Fox 4.16%
Cape Storm 3.79%
Castelli 2.68%
Indola 2.59%
Enjoy 2.04%
Pearl Izumi 2.04%
Craft 1.76%
F-Tech 1.57%
SCOTT 1.57%
Sportful 1.57%
Giordana 1.39%
Maxed 1.39%
Endura 1.30%
BioRacer 1.02%
Velotex 0.93%
Other 16.18%

We found it interesting that the most expensive brand, Assos, is the favourite brand of more than one fifth of the 1081 respondents to this question. This confirms the value of saddle comfort when you’re racing (and training for racing)…

What brand of socks do you race with currently?

Sock brand %
Falke 31.48%
Versus 30.68%
Sox 5.68%
Specialized 3.86%
Grumpy Monkey 2.61%
Assos 2.27%
CAM 2.05%
Shimano 1.59%
Cycle Lab 1.48%
I Love Boobies 1.25%
Fox 1.25%
Wattz 1.14%
DeFeet 0.91%
First Ascent 0.91%
Krank’d 0.91%
Bontrager 0.68%
Finch 0.68%
Nike 0.68%
Salomon 0.68%
Adidas 0.57%
Other 8.64%

Falke is the oldest and largest cycling sock brand in South Africa, so seeing it at the top wasn’t unexpected. But wow, kudos to Versus, a fairly young South African sock brand that’s a very close second according to the 880 that gave a brand in their answer! A total of 76 sock brands were named.

Photo Credit:  Henk Neuhoff / Nissan Trailseeker

What brand of shoe do you race with currently?

Shoe brand %
Specialized 26.41%
Shimano 15.88%
Giro 9.07%
SCOTT 7.80%
SIDI 7.80%
Louis Garneau 7.44%
Bontrager 3.81%
First Ascent 2.90%
Olympic 2.90%
Ryder 2.27%
5Ten 1.72%
Cape Storm 1.45%
Lake 1.45%
Fizik 1.18%
Mavic 1.09%
Maxed 0.91%
Catlike 0.82%
Diadora 0.45%
FLR 0.45%
Adidas 0.36%
Other 3.84%

Such is Specialized’s dominance in the shoe category, that the combined total of Shimano and Giro is still less than Specialized’s. Who knew that there would be 40 shoe brands listed by the 1102 respondents to this question!?

Do you race with gloves?

Response %
Yes 93.33%
Mostly 3.97%
No 2.70%

We included ‘mostly’ as an option because there are those that prefer the ‘feel’ of the trail and the connection to their bike without gloves. But in deep winter this may not be an option due to the cold; and in the hot summer, sweaty hands can be a bit risky on a technical trail…

What brand of gloves do you race with currently?

Glove brand %
Specialized 20.51%
Fox 14.30%
Giro 10.65%
SCOTT 7.30%
Louis Garneau 6.61%
First Ascent 5.33%
Giant 3.45%
Leatt 2.86%
KTM 2.56%
Bontrager 2.47%
Ryder 1.68%
Lizzard 1.48%
100% 1.08%
Cape Storm 0.99%
Grippa 0.89%
No name 1.87%
Any 1.87%
Don’t know 5.42%

A total of 43 brands were named by the respondents to this question. That’s a lot of glove brands! Quite a number said ‘don’t know’, ‘any’ and ‘no name’, but Specialized, once again, enjoys a strong ascendancy over rival brands.

What brand of tyre do you race with currently?

Tyre brand %
Maxxis 57.88%
Specialized 12.26%
Vittoria/Geax 8.29%
Continental 8.11%
Schwalbe 6.45%
Bontrager 2.86%
Onza 1.20%
Mitas 0.65%
Vredestein 0.46%
Kenda 0.46%
Chaoyang 0.37%
WTB 0.37%
Dunlop 0.18%
Goodyear 0.09%
Pirelli 0.09%
Panaracer 0.09%
Hutchinson 0.09%
CST 0.09%
Giant 0.09%

We knew Maxxis would be No. 1, but we didn’t expect this kind of dominance. Another surprise was Specialized at No. 2. It’s a distant second place, but still above most specialist tyre-only brands. All Specialized bicycles are sold with Specialized tyres and as the top bike brand in all the surveys we have run in the last few years, it makes sense. Especially when you consider that most Specialized owners take their bikes to Specialized stores for servicing and maintenance. We had a total of 1086 answering this question.

Do you use a cycling computer or GPS watch/device to measure your performance whilst

you ride?

Response %
Yes, a cycling computer 41.77%
Yes, a GPS watch/device 54.26%
Neither 3.97%

Based on the answers to the next question, where around 95% use some form of GPS performance measuring device, we’re not sure this question was clear enough. By cycling computer, we meant a non-GPS/Smart device that you mount on your handlebar. A large number of GPS performance devices from brands like Garmin, Wahoo and Polar are handlebar-mounted and may be considered by many to be a ‘cycling computer’.

If yes, what brand and model do you currently use?

GPS watch/device computer brand %
Garmin 72.60%
Polar 5.66%
Suunto 4.49%
Wahoo 3.77%
Bryton 1.89%
Apple Watch 1.71%
Cateye 1.35%
Sigma 1.26%
Giant 1.26%
Samsung 1.17%
TomTom 0.72%
Lezyne 0.72%
Ryder 0.63%
FitBit 0.63%
Huawei 0.45%
iPhone 0.45%
Mio 0.27%
Bontrager 0.18%
Hammerhead 0.18%
Marvel 0.18%
Other 0.43%

Shew. If ever a brand dominated a category! Although bicycle computers have been around for a long time, Garmin pretty much created the cycling GPS category from around 2005, when it launched its Edge Series. Such is its dominance in South Africa, that in addition to the 166 that mentioned Garmin as their gadget/watch in this survey, an additional 642 respondents gave their Garmin model name too. There were a total of 66 Garmin models listed!

We weren’t expecting to see Polar at No. 2, but it’s historical dominance as a sports performance monitor, addition of GPS and mapping in recent years and strong South African after-sales support are surely to its credit.

A total of 1113 answered this question.

When do you use your cycling computer or GPS watch/device to measure your performance?

Response %
Only during races 0.85%
Only during training 1.36%
During training and races 93.80%
None of the above, I train and race by instinct 3.99%

No real surprises here, but we wanted to have some idea of the breakdown.

Which data metrics are most important to you?

Metrics %
Distance, speed & time 90.78%
Heart rate 79.24%
Navigaton capabilities 32.13%
Power metrics 19.21%
Training plans & workouts 13.09%
Advanced physiological metrics (VO2 max, training effect etc) 15.42%
Safety features 12.83%
Smart notifications 16.02%
All of the above 12.75%

We had an ‘OTHER’ option too, where the following were listed: Elevation, Ascent, Temperature, Gradient, Average Speed, Time of Day, Calories Burned.

Do you currently use a power meter?

Response %
Yes 14.25%
No 85.74%

Due to their price, power meters remain a nice-to-have for most, but those committed to improving their racing performance will prioritise measuring their power, both in training and races. Top racers use their power numbers to pace themselves in races as power is a far better measure of current effort than heart rate.

Do you train indoors to achieve race fitness?

Response %
Yes, mostly on my home trainer 35.11%
Yes, mostly at a power-training studio 5.91%
Yes, mostly on the power-measured bike at my gym 22.03%
No 36.96%

Interesting that 63.04% of the 1185 respondents to this question do some form of indoor training, essential for safety, sadly, but also for convenience and the consistent conditions an indoor training environment offers.

If you use a home trainer, which do you have?

Response %
Basic manual resistance trainer 42.70%
Smart trainer 57.30%

If you use a home trainer, which brand and model do you have?

Home trainer brand %
Wahoo 39.46%
TACX 17.01%
Giant 11.34%
CycleOps 9.98%
Trojan 3.85%
Elite 3.40%
Wattbike 3.40%
Raleigh 1.59%
RavX 1.13%
Spinning bike 0.91%
Other 7.93.%

Home trainer sales have enjoyed remarkable growth in the past 18 months, especially since online training apps have made it possible to train in virtual company. No real surprise to see Wahoo out front here with a good range and reliable after-sales support that’s gained real momentum. TACX was recently purchased by Garmin and is set to launch – or relaunch – its models into the South African market under the Garmin SA infrastructure. Although Giant has a smart trainer, the majority of its home trainer sales in SA are the non-Smart manual resistance models.


A total of 1278 participated in the 2019 SA MTB Race Survey, presented by Garmin. We ran the survey for 4 weeks, promoted it aggressively via our social media channels as well as two editions of our mailer, TREAD Bulletin. It was also shared by Garmin SA on its social media accounts. We invited the bigger SA MTB race organisers to assist us with questions for the survey and asked them to invite their participants to take the survey, either via their mailers or social media accounts.

Did you miss the first two parts of the 2019 SA MTB Survey, presented by Garmin? Find them here:

Part 1:

Part 2:

SA MTB RACE SURVEY, PRESENTED BY GARMIN – BIKE & GEAR PREFERENCES Reviewed by on . The third and final reveal part of our 2019 South African MTB Race Survey, presented by Garmin, focusses on bike and gear brands. Besides our recent SA Women’s The third and final reveal part of our 2019 South African MTB Race Survey, presented by Garmin, focusses on bike and gear brands. Besides our recent SA Women’s Rating: 0

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