Study finds Enduro is safer than other mountain biking disciplines

Date posted

14 June 2019


Edinburgh Napier University and the Enduro World Series have shared the results of their ground-breaking study into Enduro mountain biking rider injuries.

Over two Enduro World Series’ race seasons Dr Debbie Palmer, Associate Professor at Edinburgh Napier University has undertaken rider injury research in the form of a race event medical study and a rider health study. This study has produced an insight into the type and severity of injuries sustained by Enduro mountain bike riders, with the aim of reducing the frequency and severity of injuries by recommending targeted interventions.  

The main conclusions of the study found injury rates in Enduro mountain bike riding are low compared to other mountain bike disciplines and other sports (e.g. rugby) but there are some distinct injury patterns apparent and this provides good evidence-based information around which injury prevention strategies can be implemented.  

  • Shoulder injuries caused the greatest burden overall to riders in terms of both the frequency and severity of injury;
  • Upper arm and lower leg lacerations and concussion injuries although not very severe were among the most frequent;
  • Female riders had a slightly higher risk of injury than male riders;
  • More injuries occurred during general riding/training than in racing.

Targeted injury prevention strategies, for example, around better rider concussion recognition and treatment, and advocating the use of protective equipment on technical/rocky trails during all types of riding, not just racing, may help to reduce the rate and severity of some of these injuries.MTB rider crashes head first

Dr Debbie Palmer, Edinburgh Napier University, said: “The Enduro World Series is very forward thinking in its approach to rider health and this rider injury report represents the culmination of three years’ work across two studies. A unique element to the work is the dual focus, firstly looking at what is happening to elite riders competing in the Enduro World Series, and secondly what is happening to amateur and community riders on the weekend.

"The ultimate aim is to protect rider health, and to keep people on their bikes and enjoying their riding for longer.  Hence, the information provided will hopefully be of benefit to riders across all levels of participation from elite competitors to the wider Enduro riding community.”  

Enduro Sports Organisation’s Managing Director Chris Ball said: “After almost three years of research, we’re pleased to present the results of what is likely the largest medical study ever to be undertaken in mountain biking. Enduro racing is simply a competitive format that replicates mountain biking, and therefore the aim of this study was not just to analyse elite sport, but also the mountain biking population as a whole.”
The team at ESO and ENU will follow up this release with more detailed academic publications from both parts of the study over the next nine months. Find out more and download the full study here.