Which are the most stand out bike products of 2021? What are the most important trends in the bike industry for the coming year? After thousands of test kilometres and heated discussions, the results are in. Curtains up for the Design & Innovation Award 2021!


2021 will be characterised by big changes, big trends and lots of potential. The outdoor sector, in particular cycling, is booming like never before. Fitness gadgets and urban transport solutions are in more demand than ever. Startups, established brands and international big players all vie for the favour of customers with new products, purported innovations, big promises and catchy slogans. But what’s hype and which claims hold water? What are the most promising developments actually capable of?

For eight years the Design & Innovation Award (DI.A) has tested the most promising new products of the next season in real-world conditions to identify stand-out products and the most important trends early on. But then 2020 happened and, like so much else, everything was a bit different.

The Design & Innovation Award 2021

An award during crisis

Fifteen days, 4,280 hours of work, buckets of sweat and even some blood: the Design & Innovation Award 2021 was full of extremes, exceeded all expectations and pushed all boundaries. Extreme is the best way to describe the award. To begin with extremely uncertain, during the process extremely revealing and yes, also extremely fun! In order to be able to publish the results of the award at the beginning of the season requires time with and access to products, both of which have been in short supply amidst the bike boom during summer 2020 and the wave of lockdowns spreading across Europe.

While the quasi-institution of bike launches, events and camps couldn’t or weren’t allowed to take place, the Design & Innovation Award 2021 racked up several thousand kilometres of riding. In times of a global pandemic, it’s no easy task to organise the most thorough and trusted award with its 30-strong crew, extensive hygiene measures, five Sprinters, six cars and 21 train connections. Five broken chains, 3.7 L of tubeless sealant, 1,237 coffees, 298 bike batteries charged and one burnt out fast charger later we can say, despite all the obstacles along the way, “Hell yeah, that’s a wrap!”

All of those coffees didn’t just contribute to a permanently high caffeine level but also fuelled our heated and in-depth discussions. The incredible range of products and their progressive concepts indicated that the bike sector will likely change beyond recognition in the not so distant future. Split into the categories of this year’s award, you can find the most important bike trends for 2021 below!

Who are the award winners in 2021?

The Design & Innovation Award (DI.A) is more than a decoration. It’s the only award with real product tests, in-depth reviews and critically founded verdicts. Once again, the award team analysed the most relevant products of the next season. You’ll find the best products that manage to secure a sought-after Design & Innovation Award here.

About the Design & Innovation Award

The mission of the Design & Innovation Award

The Design & Innovation Award (DI.A) is more than a decoration. It’s the only award with real product tests, in-depth reviews and critically founded verdicts. DI.A provides guidance in an ever more differentiated market, flooded with new products and would-be trends, giving its seal of approval and setting a benchmark for the most exceptional products in the outdoor, bike and fitness sectors, as well as serving as a catalyst for future innovations.

There’s no perfect product for everyone, but everyone can find their perfect product!

The Design & Innovation Award is the only award which tests products in the real-world, evaluates them in full and reaches verdicts that are founded in critical and in-depth analysis. Over two weeks, the independent award team consisting of international journalists, professional test riders and industry experts analyse the products and put them through their paces. The goals:

  • DI.A offers orientation in a diverse market with its trusted seal of approval. If you see an award logo on a product, you can rest assured you’re making the right purchase.
  • By separating real trends from hot air, DI.A picks out innovations that point the way forwards, giving them a platform and improving their potential for development.

Who’s behind the award?”

Our 30-strong and thoroughly experienced test team is united by a shared passion: a deep-seated love for cycling in all its facets. This passion is the foundation of the award, characterised by a longing to track down the best products that will offer you the best experiences.
The award team is chosen to be diverse and interdisciplinary, to break free from conventional thinking patterns and to analyse products from different perspectives and backgrounds. The test crew of the Design & Innovation Award isn’t dazzled by big brands and extensive marketing campaigns, meaning that supposed underdogs also get the chance to impress with their products.

The 30-strong, international award team consists of journalists, test riders and engineers who are amongst the most renowned experts in their respective fields.

Every year, the team invests countless hours in the process of the Design & Innovation Award. In the process, every product is extensively and intensively tested and discussed. Behind every award, there are countless hours of sweat, work, riding, pain and occasionally heated debates, alongside extensive testing and real-world use of the products. The Design & Innovation Award isn’t just the leading award in the industry, it’s also the most authentic one.

Where are the products tested?

It’s impossible to discuss the value or potential of a product in a conference room or measure it in a laboratory. A good product is often more than the sum of its parts and to truly understand it, it must be mercilessly tested in the real-world. From the cobbled streets of the bustling mountain village of San Vigilio, to the brutal rock gardens of the Herrensteig trail at Kronplatz, all the way to the rugged Fanes-Sennes-Prags Nature Park UNESCO Heritage Site, there’s no better or more impressive backdrop against which to test the most exciting products of the next season.

The Design & Innovation Award is the seal of approval for the best products. Welcome to the Oscars of the bike industry!

Taking part in the Design & Innovation Award 2022

Do you have an amazing product that will revolutionise the outdoor, bike or fitness industries? Great! Use this link to enter your product into the Design & Innovation Award 2022.

Who are the partners of DI.A?

For the fourth time, DI.A took place in San Vigilio/Kronplatz. This long-standing partnership is a result of the optimal infrastructure, first-class roads and trails for testing, and the breathtaking landscape of the Fanes-Sennes-Prags Nature Park.

Komoot offer an innovative and above all, intuitive approach to route planning. That means cyclists, hikers and bikepacker can plan future outdoor adventures from their desktop, as well as easily being able to create and adjust them on the go with their smartphone. With a mission to make active lifestyles more flexible and accessible, Komoot are the perfect partner for the Design & Innovation Award.

Who are the media partners of DI.A?

The Design & Innovation Award can rely on the reach of the most exciting magazines in the cycling sector. As international trendsetters and opinion leaders in their respective segments, the award can count on the reputation and renown of E-MOUNTAINBIKE, ENDURO, GRAN FONDO and DOWNTOWN.

Words: Benjamin Topf Photos: Valentin Rühl, Christoph Bayer, Benjamin Topf