Road vs Gravel vs MTB – The Year in Review

google trends search volume for road cycling versus gravel versus mountain biking

I thought about posting a few cool things I’d missed over the past couple months, but then I saw some Google Trends recaps on other topics and thought it’d be fun to share a few 2022 search trends for various cycling related topics.

Quick note on how to read these graphs: The numbers on all of the charts are shown as a percentage of total searches per day for the year. So, the highest number on every chart is 100%, which simply means that’s the highest total daily search volume for each search term for all of 2022.

I did not tally up total search volume, so these graphs are merely showing the relative volume of each topic compared to the others on that same chart.

At the bottom are some interesting tidbits that came over the wire this week, and a really awesome Christmas stop-motion LEGO video from our friends at Oxburger Studio. Enjoy, and Happy New Year!

Road vs Gravel vs Mountain Biking

As far as disciplines go, Mountain Biking destroys Road and Gravel. It stands to reason as there are a LOT more moving parts on a modern mountain bike, from suspension to dropper posts, and things break more often. Plus, there are so many variations, from XC to trail to enduro to DH and more.

What’s interesting is that MTB is also more seasonal. All of cycling is seasonal, likely because most people live in the Northern Hemisphere, and when winter comes, a lot of folks switch to snow sports. And maybe trails are harder to ride in winter conditions than roads.

Road vs Gravel vs MTB Races

Even if more people are into mountain biking, nothing can touch the Tour de France in terms of search interest. I tried a lot of different races and events and it didn’t matter…nothing even created a measurable blip compared to the spike in search that Le Tour gets in summer.

Top Road Races

Even the other Grand Tours and the massively popular Paris Roubaix can’t touch the Tour de France. This is likely because Le Tour is the one race that transcends cycling, with a lot of non-cyclists also tuning in or at least checking results.

It probably doesn’t hurt that it’s also the longest stage race, but La Vuelta has a nearly matching duration of interest, but barely hits 15% of the total search volume.

Top Gravel Race searches

Like Le Tour, Unbound is king of the Gravel Races. I tried several others, like Crushar in the Tushar and Barry Roubaix, and the results were similar. Each event gets a blip now and then (likely coinciding with the dates that registration opens and when the event happens), but Unbound (formerly Dirty Kanza) has the legacy and infamy to stand well above the rest.

Top Mountain Bike race searches

Mountain Biking has more series than premiere standalone races, and has a proper World Cup circuit, so those events got top billing. I left out “EWS” as a search term because it gets a lot of non-cycling results, too, so “Enduro World Series” takes its places.

The original Crankworx Whistler takes top billing and remains one of the biggest annual MTB events, but there’s much more parity between it and its siblings and competition.

It’s worth noting that “UCI XC” delivered no appreciable rankings, but “XC World Cup” was entirely relevant results, so I used that phrasing. Different search terms, like “XCO World Cup” delivered slightly different results, so I went with the ones that had the strongest showing.

The Takeaway?

Just go ride your bike? Honestly, this was just to satisfy my own curiosity. Head to to play with your own comparisons, and if you find anything interesting, let me know – I’d love to see it!

On Stage

Small Bites

Thank you all for subscribing and checking us out. Here’s wishing you a mega 2023 and safe riding through the holidays. See you next Friday, er, next YEAR!

the lunch ride logo cycling cap

The Lunch Ride is a weekly TL;DR recap of the best new cycling products and tech, written for Riders, not Algorithms. SUBSCRIBE HERE to get it in your inbox every Friday.

Disclosure: Some links are affiliate links for which we may receive a small commission if you buy something.