E-Bikes: Recharging the Dumb in Mountain Biking

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Some things are best kept away from the outlet; cars, weedwackers, stairs, towel dispensers, can openers, drivetrains, and most certainly mountain bikes are a few that come to mind.

This morning Dirty sent an email about the E-Bike World Championships, which after first thinking was a joke became clear the thing was real, and completely ridiculous. According to Singletrack Magazine,

First run by eBike Dolomiti in 2014, this year’s race was held in the Dolomites, Italy on June 13/14th. The race was split over two days on an 18km course with 1,500m of height gain – tough courses, at altitude, presumably to maximise the suffering.

Two days, 18km…suffering, maximized. E-bikes give you wings.

Only riders of pedelec bikes with a maximum assist speed of 25km/h and 250W motors were eligible to enter, and the title went to Yves Ketterer (Team bikesportworld/klk-Raceteam), who also won the e-bike marathon at Tegernsee’s MTB Festival earlier in June. Of his new world title, he said:

It is just as hard to ride an e-bike contest as a pure MTB event. On the flat sections we ride these bikes exceeding the limit of 25 km/h where the motor is no longer allowed to assist. So we have to push the approx. 20kg e-bikes permanently with pure muscle power. The routes also provide steep climbs that you would barely accomplish with normal MTBs – that ís where we and the bikes are riding close to the limit.”

Guys...pretend this isn't awkward for a second.
Good job Yves. Okay, now smile so people don’t see how awkward this whole thing is.

Kill this before it lays eggs. E-Bikes are stupid and should be given to Caveman for extermination.


Go tell these guys how you feel: https://www.facebook.com/bionxinternational 


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About Cupcake

I don’t have a beer gut, I’ve developed a liquid grain storage facility.

28 Replies to “E-Bikes: Recharging the Dumb in Mountain Biking”

  1. Only the guy in P1 looks like he is a bike racer. P3 looks like he’s on the way to class and P2 looks to be riding a bike because he can’t afford a car.

    E-bikes… :-(

  2. Thanks for saying it. Someone has to.

    Better than those editors at PressCamp this week that are slathering over the e-bikes because they’re being put up in nice rooms and being wined and dined every night.

  3. I just don’t Get it. This is why we have dirt bikes. This is the equivalent of a power assisted horse and buggy. What’s the point? Other than to gain access to trails other wise off limits to motorcycles under the guise of being a “bicycle”. It’s a cycle. It has a motor. It’s a motorcycle.

  4. Haters gonna hate.

    Dollars to doughnuts, none of the respondents have ridden a pedal assist bike.

    Done plenty of pushing this stone uphill elsewhere, but I’m sorry, until you ride one, and comprehend the concept first hand, you’re just blowing hot air.

    Are they the same as an MTB? No.

    Will they replace MTB? No.

    Are they a giant ill perceived threat the the penises of the uninitiated, steel is real, SS or die, rigid FTW, E Bike virgin crowd? Absolutely.

    Get over it, try one, and realize they have a place, might not be at your house (which is just fine too), but they aren’t going to ruin the world either.

    Nor are they motocross bikes. Nowhere near the torque, thus they don’t shred terrain like a gas powered machine can. No gas, no noise, I could hate on them for killing the planet, and being part of the current addiction to fossil fuels, because they are, but hey, to each their own.

    It may sound like a comedy routine if you’ve never ridden one, but the quote below is actually quite true. You’re still very much riding the bike, you’re just doing it faster….

    “It is just as hard to ride an e-bike contest as a pure MTB event. On the flat sections we ride these bikes exceeding the limit of 25 km/h where the motor is no longer allowed to assist. So we have to push the approx. 20kg e-bikes permanently with pure muscle power. The routes also provide steep climbs that you would barely accomplish with normal MTBs – that ís where we and the bikes are riding close to the limit.”

  5. Full disclosure, I have not ridden an e-bike. So no, I cannot have a first hand opinion of their utility. Nor would I end a friendship with someone if they rode one.

    But my question/issue with their place on the trail is this. In the comments section of the article is this statement: “Surely e-bikes are about giving folk who might struggle with a regular mtb, access to same hills/trails as everyone else.”

    Why are we so concerned with making access to things easier? Yes riding trails can be hard. It’s supposed to be. Sure there are climbs I can’t conquer on my chosen singlespeed gear. But that’s why I try to ride more and get stronger. So I can become a better rider. It makes me sigh when the first instinct is to search for something to make the experience easier, not to put in the effort and make yourself a better rider.

  6. “You’re still very much riding the bike, you’re just doing it faster….”

    You mean like bumper bowling? You’re still bowling, just rolling less gutter balls. It just waters down the experience way too much for me.

  7. Well said Mendoncyclesmith.

    Scandinavian Jesus,
    “Why are we so concerned with making access to things easier?”
    I would say because that’s what we do. Cycling is always coming up with technology to make cycling easier… gears, brakes that work, eccentric bottom brackets, bigger wheels, lighter bikes, lighter parts, clip-less pedals, fatter tires, suspension, bar ends, tires with low rolling resistance… the list goes on. And as you add each of these options you may increase weight, complexity and cost. Only you can decide (only for yourself) if the benefits are worth it.

    My whole life I rode bikes because it was fun and had the wonderful side effect of keeping me fit. And face it, mountain biking is a lot more fun when you’re in good shape, and even then you could be easily humbled and have a difficult (yet sadisticly enjoyable) day. I always enjoyed the challenge. The connection of fun, fitness and challenge was deeply ingrained in my way of life.
    But since my muscles started dieing, improving my strength is no longer possible and getting “in shape” is becoming increasingly difficult because of my failing muscles. And the more effort I exert the faster my muscles bonk, so my endurance has greatly suffered.
    I bought an electric assist Felt Lebowske with the hopes of not only being able to ride with my friends again, but with the hope that I could also increase my fitness. Contrary to what you may hear from internet trolls you can get a good workout riding an e-bike.

    A genetic malfunction is trying to cheat me from the pleasures of riding a bike and I’ve turned to technology to keep me off the couch. I’m thankful I’m still able to ride thanks to this technology. And I don’t care if someone without a medical problem wants to ride an e-bike just because they’re fun.
    Riding bikes is fun. That all that matters.

    My question would be why are so many cyclists concerned about the choices other cyclists make to enhance their cycling enjoyment?

    Oh, and thanks for the e-bike coverage!

  8. e-bikes fill a niche for commuters who are allowed to ride them on bike trails. That is all.

  9. @ Cupcake

    Yep, guilty.

    Sold, um, 1 unit in the last two years. Serviced endless numbers of road and MTB, sold a fair number, built tons of wheels, worked on countless suspension forks, etc.

    I’m definitely part of the *problem*.

    Don’t know you, I’m sure once the web anonymity induced chest thumping stopped, we’d likely get on just fine, you can check with Dirty if you need my cool kid club credentials.

    That said, enjoy your life, I’ll be having fun on my non powered bikes too, and trying to get more people on bikes and out of cars whenever possible, and if now and then it has some assist, who cares, get over it.

    Is there really more than one Craig Smith out there, reading this blog? Weird…..

    Life is full of variables. Not everybody has the time to dedicate to getting in shape, or perhaps has a body willing to allow them to do so, even if they have the time.

    Did I mention they are also just plain old fun if you’re willing to stop worrying about trying to find reasons to hate them?

    To get all angst ridden about a bike that helps get people out of cars, when this site spends so much bandwidth bitching about cars impact on the world, not to mention people on bikes getting hassled (or worse) by cars, is kinda fucked up if you ask me.

    Don’t like them? Totally cool, don’t buy one, I promise, no feelings will be hurt.

    I don’t like guacamole, but I don’t post about how everyone who does is an asshole and the world should stop selling it, I simply don’t buy it, and move on…..

    Should we be making access easier? Should we water down the experience? Gladly, if you want to punish yourself into fine shape, it’s your right to do so, go for it, all good.

    So we should deny any access, to any trails, to anyone not up to the task from the word go?

    Doesn’t allow for much personal growth. Remember, most of you started out on training wheels. An eBike rider gets in better shape, feels better about themselves, and bam, buys a non powered bike next.

    This can’t be a bad thing for bikes…..

  10. I own multiple bikes and none of them are ebikes; I think there are multiple uses for them on and off the trails. What about trail maintenance? I know a few trails in Texas right now that if they had a few ebikes; they could get their trails reopened in days not months. What about search and rescue or wildland firefighters? Those supply packs weight 40 lbs+; what if every Search and Rescue team had a fully rigged ebike with Dirty’s new cargo trailer filled with tools and supplies? There are benefits that ebikes offer to everyone’s community.

  11. I’m not sure which is worse:
    1 – people using e-bikes to ride faster than their abilities on groomed trails
    2 – people wearing go pro cameras on their helmets on those same trails…

  12. …sarc…

    Well of COURSE the less-fit should be banned from “your” trails, whether their infirmity is due to disease or injury. You have a right to be offended by their presence; nay, their very existence.

    And while we are at it, let’s do away with canes, wheelchairs and handicap parking. Certainly those who do not meet your standard of physical perfection should remain behind closed doors as a matter of basic civility, in deference to your obvious natural superiority.

    …sarc off…

  13. OK I’ll bite:

    I am a Product Manager at what many of you would consider a ‘big evil bike company’. Lots of you buy our stuff, and lots of you hate our stuff. I make the e-MTB’s at my company, and you know what? I hate the fuckers. I do it because it’s my job and the big bosses wanted e-MTB’s in the collection. I think they are a scourge and should be banned from all non-motorized trails.

    ‘Normal’ e-bikes on the other hand, the ones used for commuting and such are fantastic if you ask me. They are a much better option than riding the bus in the city and a true transportation option for many people in East Asia, Europe and North America.

    I used an alias since I don’t want to lose my job, but I will be as vocal as possible in the pursuit of avoiding potential user group conflicts by pushing to ban e.mtbs from all trails that are designated Non-motorized,

    p.s. Mendon claims he does not like Guacamole….WTF right!?!

  14. I don’t like ebikes. They’re electric motorbikes, and they’re going to destroy the hikers’ trails quicker than I can on my human (only) powered mtb.

    However, you poke fun at the race because these guys are talking about suffering and being at the limit when they have a motor assist. Where is the ridicule for the world championships of “Ride Up on the Lift and Coast Back Down as Fast as Possible?”*

    * pinkbike has lots of videos of this sport, if you don’t know what I’m talking about.

  15. Yeah, sorry, just never liked the stuff.

    I do like good tequila though, if that helps?

    If not, enjoy the concept of, if he won’t eat it, more for me! : )

  16. I must admit that I share Mr. Gianni’s derision for “freeride” or “DH” cycling. Those “sick edit” videos always seem to start with a guy wearing bash pads, a full-face helmet and ski goggles, pushing a 40# bike up a hill. That’s just rad-tarded.

  17. Mikey, yeah, true enough, but still a sport with skill involved in it’s own right. I know the one time I rented a DH rig with my son and tried a full on, world cup level course, I was more than a tad humbled…..

    Gianni, not looking to start some tit for tat, but I would ask what basis you have for saying they will destroy trails.

    The pedal assist bikes don’t have sufficient torque to break the wheel free, so the only trail destruction would be via the old fashioned brake skid way.

    I’m not in support of the ridiculous 5000 watt idiot systems out there, that guy’s a moron, and the video he posted of his *awesome* dirt flinging device does nothing for bikes on trails in general. In much the same way that the credit card commercial a few years back of the one brah out in the woods with his buddies, sans bike, did for us as a group. We don’t all wear full body armor, and fling ourselves off cliffs, yet that is the public image of MTB if you ask most non cyclists.

    Can’t tell you how many bike buyers I talk to who, when say, full suspension comes up, are immediately all “oh, I’m not hard core enough for that, I need to go to work the next day, I just want a bike to ride in the woods on trails and paths”……

  18. Aren’t you a little concerned that allowing low torque, gen-teal e-bikes on all trails may be used as precedence for allowing the 5000 watt beast bikes on the same trails?

    Technology and offerings will be stepped up with brushless motors, stacked transistors, and high output batteries. Everything will go tits up if there’s an e-bike arms race. I could be, and often am, wrong though.

  19. sorry, late to the party but had comment.

    ebike worlds: ridiculous. ebikes: not so ridiculous.

    my wife was an avid athlete up until 7 years ago. she can no longer ride bikes. i’ve been researching ebike solutions for a long time and recently she got an opportunity to test one. big fucking smile on her face! we’re getting her one and eventually converting her mtb so she can have trail access. i think there’s definitely a place in cycling for these machines, but i also think rants are good.

    thanks for letting me participate.

  20. marc, this is exactly the situation with Mrs. Joe. Bad accident 11 yrs ago left her with diminished physical ability. I swear I’d give my left nut and half my pecker to see her on any kind of bike just once.

  21. Back in the old days(mid-late 70s) we called them mopeds. And me and the boys loved them till we realized riding one was the same as wearing a sign that told all the girls in town we had no dicks. Got my first car shortly after.