I know about 95% of you are stressing about electric bikes—and that camp is split into haters and soon to be wanters. The other 5% are over 50 and happily zipping up and down the trails giggling like idiots. Or are they?
There’s a lot of smack talk going down, mostly from the haters (who have yet to ride an E-bike), and most of that hate stems from their self-esteem falling victim to this: years of progress and fitness laid to waste by some rich fat grey-haired bastard overtaking them on a climb, then smiling cheerily at the top as the hater desperately tries to look cool while sucking in huge lungfuls of air and endeavouring not to collapse on the grass with a cramped hamstring.
Meanwhile, yours truly has bought his very own E-bike and got a couple of weeks of riding in already, therefore is already a fricken expert. I’m gonna set you straight.
First off: remember 29ers? Oh the hate; clown bikes they were. Look at 29 now—DOMINATING almost every cycling discipline. As for E-bikes, they are not only here for good, they have hit the trails whirring. Already they are almost faultless. Weight and battery life are the two main hurdles, but you can bet your tired knees that’s not going to be a problem for too much longer.
The biggest negative I hear is, “aren’t you afraid you’ll never ride your pedal bike again, get really fat and unfit?” and I must admit that was scaring me a little. But in the end I thought that if I preferred to take E all the time, then this would be by choice and therefore I would be happy no matter what else occured. How wrong was I? I can tell you now I still yearn for a good pedal ride—when I want a relaxing ride. What?
Look, I’m not kidding around. They key takeaway here is that riding an E-bike is a slightly different sport. Where most pedal bike riders settle into the climb and conserve energy for the descents, E-bike riders are out there looking for grade 3/4 tech climbing trails, and I assure you my heart rate is running at least 20% higher because of this. Most of my climbing now consists of manhandling the bike up and over trail features at speed, even getting air on occasion. The maniacal laughter you now hear in the woods? That’s E-riders razzing uphill singletrack while you guys are grovelling up the access road.
Going down is very similar across both disciplines, except E is about twice the weight and requires more muscle use to control. I’m nearly as quick as my pedal bike and I still can’t catch Jeff Carter when he’s on his Kenevo.
Either way, my body still isn’t used to E. I’m more tired and can feel more worked muscles, but with very little of the fatigue suffered from pedal bikes.
As E-bikes become the norm, we need etiquette rules and such established. One-way trails will become a must. When riding with your pedalling mates, run your E on low power and stay with the group so as not to get ostracised. When passing fatigued pedal riders (not your mates), hit full turbo and act like a right cock. This will push them over the edge, assisting in more sales of E and tipping the scales earlier. When powering up a DH track at 15kph, give way.
Councils/DOC take note: you cannot ban E. Most E takers are rich wankers—and they got that way by running corporations and being very good at it. They probably play squash with your local councillors. Try to ban E and you’ll soon get demoted or seconded to Eketahuna/ Stewart Island.
Everyone loves a good set of bullet points so here goes:
Double the trails in the same time.
Way more grip up and down.
More stable in the air.
More sure-footed when descending steep tech.
Uphill trials riding.
No more fire road climbs.
Riding rad trails you normally wouldn’t because of the associated climbs back out.
Way more laughter.
Three hours of non-stop action.
A great leveller of varying fitness and abilities.
Not stuck on the sofa for the rest of the day carbo-loading and stretching.
Overtaking super fit haters while hardly breathing or pedalling.
Towing your kids up the climbs.
Only three hours of non-stop action (or get a second battery).
Another bike in the shed (hang on, isn’t that a benefit?).
Everyone needs to relax. You can’t fight progress—winners embrace it.
Great article! I was flamed when I got my 29er but that was nothing to the shit losing vitriol aimed my way when I bought my Kona Remote Control. It did bother me at first, I’m the first to admit I don’t NEED it but hey over 20years MTBing when the hell has need every come into decision making! 4500. Miles ridden this year so far only a quarter electrocuted but when I do BOOM!
Damn right, it’s a great article!
Really travelling the wrong way up a DH section erm !!!!! Did I just read that WTF is wrong with you 🤔 maybe you wrote this article whilst under the influence of drink or drugs and to say because you have money that it means you’ll get your own way , what utter pomposity , complete drivel .
Is this why Ebikers fail to communicate on the the trails because there above it ! According to this article it’s quite possible .
Please feel free to reply with a just retort and not some adolescences of a person old enough to know better .
A few good points raised, but trying to tar all ebike riders with one brush is ridiculous! Battery management is my biggest priority so I can achieve 30 – 40 miles in 2- 3 hours off road ride. Also who rides up a DH track?! I would think most buyers have years of non ebike under their belt too. I love my ebike but have also peddled over 3K miles this year with no e assistance.
I’m new to E-mtb and love it, I still love the pedals but hate the hills 🙈 I ride an alternated choice of one ride E then next Pedals. I’m 51yrs young 😜 from MX background so when I’m on the E it’s amazing, faster longer and harder. Don’t get me wrong I’ve been well Fooked on both my bikes. A few rides of our group have now got E’s but will never stop the pedals so to speak. Moral of the story is you can have both rides and still have fun, still get fit
Oh please bring on the haters i love a good bit of banter. Sam 6.8 owner !!
well, for the sake of argument, it’s just fact that e-bikes are for wimps, wankers, and women
Another useful ebike tip, when analog bike riders push up the hill, it’s worth having a bell fitted to warn then you are on your way up riding your bike and will soon pass them (usually smiling). They also appreciate hearing ‘nice day taking your bike for a walk fellas’ 😀
absolutely love my Levo, did the T42 earlier this year, wonderful experience, managed a grade 5 crash! it still hurts!
I am an E MTB lover, after pushing my 58 year old body to get fit I dreaded even riding up my long step 600 metre driveway on my hard tail. Now I am on my E Bike 3 to 4 times a week having a blast and getting fitter faster than I ever thought. The rides are longer and I can fit them in before my working days starts. Yes, I am one of those old farts with lots of numbers in my phone, so no trying to ban them they are here to stay. Yeeeehaa give me some air.
In love with MTB ‘ing again KTM Kephoho……
Loving MTB’ing again , KTM Kepoho 2974
I’ve been mt biking for 30 years. And before that rode road bikes in the dirt trails of New Zealand. At 65 I crashed of my Yeti at 20kph. 2 weeks later of my road bike at 30kph. Had slight head injuries and 7 months in hospital. That was March. Got ou of hospital in Sept. Bought and ebike and started riding again. Love it. Now I do over 300km a week. Love it but still love my Yeti too, and am starting to ride that more now. Sometimes life is tough and ebikes do a job of getting you back out again. I’m luck to ebike world class trails in Rotorua, NZ. so ebikes are great for getting more people in Cycling. And like me some are getting g amazingly fit and strong.
the plus size tyres really suck the life out of the ride .. even on an ebike.
I’m putting smaller tyres on my Merida e160. Not all ebike riders lack finesse. Coming to ebikes from DH I don’t need 2.8 inch tyres or the grip they provide on an electric trailbike. I’d much prefer a livelier ride. Ebikes are designed for riders without a lot of skill in a lot of cases. My BB height is going to be very much on the low side after a tyre swap.
After MTB riding for 40 years I bought an E bike.
For me I now ride twice as far and more often.
I set power to 30% so get exercise without over stressing my 70 yr old heart.
Lifting it over Stiles adds to the exercise
All you young detractors will convert