Spoke Magazine

(Hopefully not) coming to a trail near you

Posted by Jono Church on Wednesday October 30 2013

Electric bikes seem to be one of the many fads to hit the cycling industry in the last couple of years, and while my usual cynical reaction to them is “oh my god”, I try to keep an open mind and look at the plus side. Fast, cheap and zero-emission transport is the first positive thing that springs to mind – fewer people in cars and out in the fresh air? Great! Especially the ones that can still be pedalled. First aiders at bike parks and races could use them to reach a fallen rider on the trails much faster and with less potential damage than a motorbike would.

But then I was shown this article - http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ and became more concerned. Reading the article and following the links showed most of the marketing for these vehicles (which appear to have a limited top speed of 50km/h) being ridden on mountain bike tracks and even BMX dirtjumps! The idea of having one of these come up a dual-use trail at 50kph is a scary thought. Now in places like the US there is tonnes of land to play on without causing much grief but in New Zealand we have only a small amount of precious areas that we are lucky enough to be able to ride our bikes in.

The article already shows them being tested in a mountain bike park, and I remember a few years back a similar bike being tested in Christchurch’s Victoria Park downhill tracks. Imagine a bike like this encountering a walker on the Heaphy! They’re obviously way faster than a mountain bike can be ridden on singletrack and they have more than enough power to do huge amounts of damage to the trails. Hopefully the $14,000 entry level price tag puts enough people off, it’s just a shame something that could be a great tool gets marketed as a gimmicky toy instead.

Categories: Exclusives

  • JHC

    Yup, not so sure about them barrelling along on dual use tracks. These could be great for self-shuttling places like Miramar – down the tracks, then back up the roads with the motor assist.

  • Dave

    I think your $14k price tag is a long way off…… I know for a fact that I could buy a German 120mm travel 29er full sus with electrics for $6k or a 140mm trav 27.5 fully for $6.5k, and yes this I find very very scary in terms of it’s potential effect on our trail access let alone the effect on trail maintenance!

    • jonoc

      13,800 is the NZ RRP listed in the article and on the distributor website for the base model. I think the 6k bikes from a number of german brands are “electric-assist” and still need pedalling, not like these which are basically electric motocross bikes with cranks attached

  • Jamie Hamilton

    Once again something designed for pussies with too much money and fat guts! Gee before long we’ll have to start sounding like nature walkers! What’s the world coming too!

  • Sean Duggan

    I bet it weighs a freaken tonne when the battery’s flat or it just plain breaks down, have fun peddling that out of somewhere remote

  • Aidan

    Pedal or GTFO

  • Muzz

    Anyone who buys something like this has never built a meter of MTB track, if they had they would now how much damage it would do, that video was bad news for trail builders the world over. And on a lighter note, what about all the strava times!!!

  • trolololol

    murica’

  • Jimmy Carling

    Really don’t see this catching on. And if you do buy one, expect to be humiliated until the day you come to your senses

  • Mildie

    NZTA categorises any powered bike above 300W as a motor vehicle, so local councils will have these restrictions locked down tight for public reserve land (private forestry companies generally do as well). DOC likewise, and are also looking at this in more detail during upcoming CMS reveiws.

  • Zac

    Why are mountainbikers always so divided and negative towards things they may not agree with?
    Firstly, at 14k i cant see too many of thes popping up and destroying your precious trails but more than that, they look like awesome fun, so why hate on the idea?