Employee Benefit Bikes: still a mystery, but an intriguing one

The Finnish bicycle benefit is still unfamiliar to many: only 22% of employees know the bicycle benefit well. This is revealed in the Spring 2023 study jointly carried out by Vapaus and Oomi Fillari.

The aim of the study was to assess the popularity and attractiveness of benefit bikes as an employee benefit, as well as to find out what possible obstacles exist when considering a benefit bike, and what would help to overcome those obstacles.

The employee bicycle benefit is somewhat confusing, but also intriguing

Only 22% of the responding employees (circa 1000) feel that they know the bike benefit well or very well – in other words, that’s 78% who don’t.

‍ "The employee bike benefit is still quite new in Finland - in its current form it has only been available for a little over two years. We and other companies in the field have to work hard to clarify the functioning and advantages of the bike benefit to both employees and HR decision-makers" , commented Mikko Ampuja, founder of Vapaus.

Men (28%) are more familiar with the benefit than women (17%), and younger age groups have a better understanding of the benefit than older generations. The respondents hoped for better clarity on how the employee bicycle benefit works, what the associated costs mean and how, eventually, savings are made. Despite the feeling of lacking information, no less than 63% of employees find the bike benefit interesting. On average, and unsurprisingly, those who commute by bike and others who ride all year round are more interested in the benefit.

Also read: For employees: The smartest way to get a bicycle

The benefit is not just for commuting

"You can do whatever you want with a benefit bike in Finland."

At least one misunderstanding regarding the benefit that seems to stick is very clear from the open answers: for many, employee benefit bikes are still strictly associated with commute cycling. When asked why someone does not use or plan to use the benefit, many respondents mention that commuting by bike is not an option for them due to, for example, long distances. 

"You can do whatever you want with a benefit bike in Finland. You don't have to cycle even once to work if you don’t want to: according to the official instructions of the Finnish tax office, the bike can also be leased purely for leisure purposes", emphasises Ampuja.

Is your workplace bike-friendly?

"It's often not about large investments, but above all, it's about the will."

Another theme highlighted in the reasoning for not using the bicycle benefit is its cost - in practice a deduction in the beneficiary’s salary. According to the answers, an increased participation of the employer in the cost of the benefit would go hand-in-hand with an increased interest in becoming a benefit bike user. For others, it’s the lack of washing facilities and storage for cycling clothes at the workplace that creates an issue. It is for these factors that Ampuja hopes for more proactiveness from employers.

"Every Finnish workplace should give their teams the opportunity to commute comfortably by bicycle. This means, for example, investing in proper storage and washing facilities. It's often not about large investments, but above all, it's about the will," says Ampuja.

Cycling is not just a pastime for the few, but a people's way of life. About 90% of the respondents cycle, and almost three out of four ride at least several times a month. Every fifth respondent even uses their bike all year round. Respondents aged 18–25 are particularly active, and up to 33% of them cycle all year round. The joy of cycling slightly fades with age: only about 6% of the 18-44 year-olds said they don't cycle at all, but the number grows to 20% amongst 55-64 year-olds.

Electric bikes are taking over the benefit bike market

Electric bikes are, of course, expensive vehicles, but by taking advantage of the bicycle benefit you can save 15-35% of the purchase price - and you don't have to pay for the bicycle all at once.

81% of the employees who responded to the survey currently have some kind of bike at their disposal. Of these, only 13% have an electric bike. On the benefit bike side, these figures are quite the opposite. "At the moment, up to 60% of the benefit bikes supplied by Vapaus are electric bikes. Many have said that they would never have bought a more expensive electric bike without the employee bicycle benefit," says Ampuja.

Sähköpyöräilyssä kiehtoo helppous – arjen liikkuminen helpottuu, ja halutessaan pääsee pitkälle ja nopeasti, vaikka kunto ei ehkä olisikaan huippuluokkaa. Sähköavusteiset pyörät ovat tietenkin hintavia laitteita, mutta pyöräetua hyödyntämällä voi kuitenkin säästää 15–35 % hankintahinnasta, eikä pyörää tarvitse maksaa kerralla. Säästö hankintahinnassa sekä mahdollisuus valita sähköpyörä tai tavallinen pyörä olivat kyselyn mukaan merkittävimmät tekijät pyöräedun hyödyntämisessä.

The ease of e-cycling is fascinates - everyday movement becomes easier, and you can go far and fast even if your fitness is not the best. Electric bikes are, of course, expensive vehicles, but by taking advantage of the bicycle benefit you can save 15-35% of the purchase price - and you don't have to pay for the bicycle all at once. Savings compared to a direct purchase and the possibility to choose any kind of bike - classic or electric - were, according to the survey, the most significant reasons to take advantage of the benefit.

Employers are already better aware of the benefit

Työnantajapuolella (n=300 työsuhde-eduista päättävää) 46 % kokee tuntevansa edun vähintään hyvin, ja 65 %:n mielestä etu on kiinnostava työnantajan näkökulmasta. Peräti 45 % työnantajista, jotka eivät vielä tarjoa työsuhdepyöräetua työntekijöilleen, voisi harkita ottavansa sen käyttöön tulevan kahden vuoden aikana.

On the employer side (circa 300 decision-makers for employment benefits), 46% feel that they know the benefit at least well, and 65% think that the benefit is interesting from the employer's point of view. As many as 45% of employers who do not yet offer the employee bicycle benefit would consider introducing it in the next two years.

The public sector has shown the highest interest in providing the benefit, and the services sector the lowest. Well-being, exercise, simplicity and environmental benefits get the highest marks when decision-makers are asked reasons for offering the benefit and choosing the right service provider. "In many organisations, the implementation of the bicycle benefit is actively initiated by the employees who wish for it. It’s great to see so much enthusiasm coming from the employees," Ampuja emphasises.

In many open responses, the employee bicycle benefit and other employee benefits are mentioned as an image-related factors that can influence both internal and external employer image. The majority (85%) of decision-makers feel that the employee bicycle benefit is more motivating for employees than beneficial for advancing organizational goals. "It's not surprising - of course every smart decision-maker sees a direct, strong connection between the motivation and well-being of employees and the success of the organisation ," advises Ampuja.

Information about the study

The research was carried out in April-May 2023 through telephone interviews (employers) and panel data collection (employees). The study was carried out by Innolink .

The research was led on two different target groups: 1) employees (working adults over 18) and 2) employers who are involved in decision-making related to employment benefits.

The survey is based on 1,300 responses, out of which 300 are from the employers' side and 1000 are from employees.


Founder, Vapaus, Mikko Ampuja, +358 50 306 7000, mikko@vapaus.io

CEO, Vapaus, Tero Era, +358 50 541 6337, tero@vapaus.io

Business Director, Oomi, Jani Peuhkurinen +358 50 392 7512, jani.peuhkurinen@oomi.fi