Best-Selling Bikes of 2021 — and Why You'll Want One

It's time to recap TPC's best-selling bikes of 2021. The favorites are all here, with a few surprises too.

Written by
Bruce Lin

Published on

Posted in
Bikes

The year is coming to an end, which means it’s recap season! Log in to your Strava, Spotify, or social media accounts and you’ll see all your fun stats from the year. Since The Pro’s Closet is the world’s largest retailer of Certified Pre-Owned bikes, and we carry bikes from hundreds of different brands, we decided to do a recap that only we can do: TPC’s best-selling bikes of 2021.

The expected favorites are all here, but there are a few surprises in there too. Find out what bikes are hot, and get some great bike buying ideas for next year. 

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Best-selling bike brands

Let’s start off with a broad overview of which manufacturers are doing well at TPC. Here are our top-selling bike brands in every major category: 

Road

MTB

Gravel

TT/Tri

CX

1. Specialized

1. Specialized

1. Specialized

1. Cervelo

1. Specialized

2. Trek

2. Trek

2. Cannondale

2. Felt

2. Trek

3. Cannondale

3. Santa Cruz

3. Trek

3. Trek

3. Cannondale

4. Cervelo

4. Yeti

4. Salsa

4. Argon 18

4. Giant

5. Giant

5. Cannondale

5. Niner

5. Specialized

5. Felt

 

Specialized bikes rule the roost.

If you’ve been cycling for a while, these results aren’t too surprising. The big brands, Specialized, Trek, and Cannondale, top every category. Specialized is so dominant that it’s the number one brand in every category except TT/Tri (triathletes apparently prefer Cervelo and Felt), and we sold nearly twice as many Specialized bikes as any of the runners-up in the road, MTB, and gravel categories.

Small brands can punch above their weight

A few smaller brands did manage to break into our top five. Santa Cruz and Yeti are core mountain bike brands, so it’s no surprise that they are in 3rd and 4th position for MTB. In gravel, the final two spots are occupied by Salsa and Niner, brands that committed to bikepacking and adventure riding long before gravel became its own discipline. Finally, I’m most impressed with Canadian brand, Argon 18, ranking 4th for TT/Tri. I put Argon 18 on my list of underrated bike brands earlier this year, so clearly I’m responsible for this success (yeah right!). Or triathletes are just already aware of their excellent performance.  

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Best-selling bike models

Road

MTB

Gravel

TT/Tri

CX

1. Specialized Tarmac

1. Specialized Epic

1. Specialized Diverge

1. Felt IA

1. Specialized Crux

2. Specialized Roubaix

2. Trek Fuel EX (Carbon)

2. Cervelo Aspero

2. Cervelo P3

2. Cannondale SuperX

3. Cervelo R3

3. Specialized Stumpjumper (Carbon)

3. Open U.P.

3. Cervelo P2

3. Niner BSB RDO 9

4. Trek Emonda

4. Specialized Epic Hardtail

4. Trek Checkpoint ALR

4. Trek Speed Concept

4. Giant TCX Advanced

5. Cervelo S3

5. Yeti SB100

5. Ibis Hakka MX

5. Cannondale Slice

5. Trek Boone

Specialized Tarmac SL7

The all-conquering Specialized Tarmac SL7.

As has been the case for years, the best-selling bike at TPC is the Specialized Tarmac, outselling every bike in every category. The Specialized Roubaix is a very close second.

[product-block handle="2022-specialized-tarmac-sl6-sport-l"/]

Also, despite gravel’s skyrocketing popularity, the data shows that road bikes still outsell gravel bikes 3-to-1, while mountain bikes outsell them 2-to-1. But gravel is still young, so give it time. We might see those figures flip.

Road race bikes win out over endurance

The Specialized Roubaix.

Interestingly, the Specialized Roubaix is the only endurance road bike among our top five best-selling road bike models. The next best-selling endurance road bike, the Trek Domane, sits down in 10th. I think most riders would benefit from the extra comfort and tire clearance of endurance road bikes, but it seems most shoppers prefer more race-focused bikes like the Specialized Tarmac, Cervelo R-Series, and Trek Emonda. These are the bikes we see cycling superstars racing in the Tour de France, so it makes sense.  

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XC MTB reigns supreme

Specialized epic

The Specialized Epic sits on top.

Despite what you might believe from browsing PinkBike, XC bikes are actually very popular mountain bikes. Six out of 10 of TPC’s top-selling MTB models are XC bikes. If you classify the short-travel Yeti SB100 and Santa Cruz Tallboy as XC, then it’s 8 out of 10. It seems that most people want a short-travel mountain bike that’s light and efficient. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with that.

The only two trail bikes in the top 10 are the Trek Fuel EX and Specialized Stumpjumper. Enduro bikes are nowhere to be found in the top 20. The highest-placed mountain bike model with more than 130mm of travel is the Santa Cruz Hightower in 18th. The only conclusion I can draw is that if you want something burlier than an XC bike, a mid-travel trail bike with around 130mm is perfect. Oh wait, we call those quiver-killers.   

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Carbon outsells aluminum (except once)

The popular but affordable Trek Checkpoint ALR.

Carbon bikes dominate the top 20 in every category. The best-selling aluminum bike on the list is the Trek Checkpoint ALR gravel bike (4th in gravel). The carbon variant, the Checkpoint SL came in 7th in gravel. The Checkpoint ALR is the only aluminum model in any category to outsell its carbon counterpart and it even outsold dedicated aluminum road bikes like the Specialized Allez Sprint (37th in road) and Cannondale CAAD12 (34th in road). It is an outlier though. In the battle of aluminum vs. carbon, it seems most people want carbon. 

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Other fun bike data

Window shopping favorites

Bike sales are interesting, but so are bike views. A high view count means a bike received lots of window shoppers before it was sold. There were some interesting results in the road, MTB, and gravel categories. Here are our most viewed bike listings based on views per SKU:

Road

MTB 

Gravel

1. Trek Madone 9.9 RSL 

1. Santa Cruz Blur CC

1. Factor Vista All-Road

2. Specialized Tarmac 

2. Cannondale F-Si Hi-Mod

2. GT Grade Carbon

3. Trek Madone 9.9 SLR 

3. Transition TR11 

3. Niner MCR 9 RDO

Trek Madone

This Trek Madone 9.9 RSL received more than 30,000 views before selling. This bike was hotly anticipated and I received more than a few comments asking when it would get listed after we teased it in the spring. I get it, aero is everything and the Madone looks pretty darn cool.

Transition TR11

The top two mountain bikes are both high-end XC bikes that received view counts in the high-20,000 range. Surprisingly though, the 3rd most viewed mountain bike listing was for a Transition TR11, a downhill bike. The park rats must really like that GiddyUp suspension!

The most viewed gravel bike listings really shocked me. The Factor Vista and GT Grade are “all-road” bikes that try to split the difference between road and gravel bikes. I rode a Vista for the first half of the year and loved it. Like me, a lot of riders are probably considering a do-it-all bike that can handle fast road rides and rough gravel. Then there’s the Niner MCR. It’s the world’s first full-suspension gravel bike. How can you not look?

Gravel riders might want suspension

Do gravel bikes even need suspension? Well the Niner MCR 9 RDO received a butt-load of views — 5,700 per SKU, which indicates increasing interest in gravel bike suspension. A couple of Lauf True Grits and Cannondale Topstone Leftys also got their fair share of views, landing in the top 30.

Bombtrack Hook ADV

The most compelling evidence for gravel suspension heating up is the Bombtrack Hook ADV. It has a steel frame equipped with an MRP Baxter fork and dropper. Although no listings received more than 10,000 views, it was still our 11th best-selling gravel bike this year. Its popularity took me by surprise since Bombtrack is a lesser-known brand, but I think gravel riders realize that more compliance is a good thing. 

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E-bikes are on the rise

KHS SixFifty 6555+

Depending on your views, e-bikes are either a godsend or the boogeyman. But you can’t deny that they’re flying off the shelves. In fact, our most popular e-bike, the KHS SixFifty 6555+, was in the top 10 of best-selling mountain bikes and came shockingly close to making it into the top 5. As our collection of e-bike models grows, I can only expect more to become best sellers. Is that scary or exciting? I’ll let you decide. 

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Road 1x is here, but will it stick?

3T Strada Team 1x

Our 12th best-selling road bike this year was the 3T Strada Team Force 1x. Like many soothsayers before me, I was mercilessly stoned to death by an angry mob of commenters after posting my write-up on the future of 1x drivetrains for road bikes. Have I been vindicated? Not yet. But there are people out there who want to buy them. 1x road bikes will take over, just wait until the 2026 recap.

If I had to bet money, I’d say that Specialized will still dominate this recap next year. Who knows though. Cycling is constantly evolving, and there could be a seismic shift next year. With over 2,000 bikes available and new bikes being added daily, the bike buying options are limitless.

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