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Do Ebike’s Rule the Mountains?

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Do Ebike’s Rule the Mountains?

Old 05-23-21, 02:45 PM
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Mountain Mitch
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Do Ebike’s Rule the Mountains?

Around here (SE BC) they sure seem to. Five years ago, all the hardcore mountain bikers scorned ebikes and they were generally prohibited on the trail. Three years ago they got access to almost all the trails. Of course, the trails had to be re-jigged so there were certain uphill only and certain downhill only trails. Now just about every ride I take all I see are ebikes. Some of my (former) riding partners have even bought into the craze.

How are things where you ride?
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Old 05-23-21, 02:59 PM
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They're all over here now.
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Old 05-24-21, 09:25 AM
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No e- mountain bikes here where I ride in the Midwest. Not to say they don't exist, but I haven't seen any on the trails yet.

I'm not really a fan of seeing them on the trails either especially if the people riding them are perfectly capable of pedaling a bike.

If one is inclined to go to the bike park and all they like to do is the "downhill thing" like skiers I can kinda a see a purpose for them to pedal back to the top. Saves the legs and the cost of a shuttle service.
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Old 05-24-21, 09:37 AM
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I haven't see e-bikes on the trails. But we usually ride during the week, to avoid the possibility of crowded trails. And during the week, most are senior citizens who prefer to pedal and get the exercise. Hills aren't as easy as they used to be, but I never saw a hill I couldn't walk, if unable to make it to the top.
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Old 05-24-21, 10:07 AM
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You see them sorta often around here (maybe once every couple of rides), but they are just so freaking lame. Like why.
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Old 05-24-21, 02:27 PM
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About 70% of the mountain bikers I see around here are on ebikes. I expect more in the future as technology advances and prices drop.

A few of my friends have move to electric assist mountain bikes (no throttle). Their rides have basically tripled in length and difficulty.
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Old 05-24-21, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by katsup View Post
A few of my friends have move to electric assist mountain bikes (no throttle). Their rides have basically tripled in length and difficulty.
To me they’re all ‘motorbikes’.
I have always been concerned about the effect of mountain biking on natural ecosystems. I ride the backcountry but I am aware that mere human presence has a fairly drastic effect on various species. I rationalize that, in part, by thinking that our overall trail system is a tiny portion of the wilderness area. I can’t say that I think rides tripling in length is a good thing for nature!
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Old 05-24-21, 06:27 PM
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They are moderately common around here and for the most part not a problem. People use them to ride up access roads or more common up trails. Rarely do you see someone using the e function on a downhill run. That would be weird because braking, not speed is usually the issue.

I have no problem with them when used that way. As Katsup says, they can act to extend the number of runs a person can do if you otherwise have to pedal up a 2 kilometer access road each time you want to do a downhill run. Groups or people with SO's throw their bikes in pickup trucks to get to the top of the same roads. I would rather share those roads with e bikes than diesel spewing 4x4's.
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Old 05-24-21, 06:41 PM
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The e-bikes have a limiting factor... No Plug... No e

But that will change as we develop more efficient power supplies.

When the e does go out there will be that guy who fires up his carbide to dig deep into the dark depths and pull outta the cob webs that bicycle that doesn't need e.

And then using a 2D navigation device find his way to the old trails.

There will be a few others waiting for them there...
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Old 05-24-21, 08:49 PM
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Very rarely see them here in south west WV. Most of the people I've ran into on one have a medical condition or are over weight and trying to get into shape while also wanting keep up while riding with other people. With most of our local trails there really isn't much need if you are already in decent shape. Would have been nice to have rented one to shuttle with in Pisgah a few year ago, could have rode a lot more trails in the two days I had.
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Old 05-25-21, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Canker View Post
over weight and trying to get into shape while also wanting keep up while riding with other people.
All the more reason NOT TO ride an e-bike. There was a time I wasn't able to keep up with people...but I kept pedaling and now I can.

If people are trying to build fitness and lose weight...It's going to happen much, much slower on an e-bike.
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Old 05-25-21, 12:54 PM
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That depends. I remember just starting out and it sucks to always be the slow guy that is slowing everybody else down. Getting into shape and loosing weight is going to happen much quicker if they don't just quit because they aren't having fun.
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Old 05-25-21, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by katsup View Post
. Their rides have basically tripled in length and difficulty.
Thats a good thing
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Old 05-25-21, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Canker View Post
That depends. I remember just starting out and it sucks to always be the slow guy that is slowing everybody else down. Getting into shape and loosing weight is going to happen much quicker if they don't just quit because they aren't having fun.
Then don't quit.
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Old 05-25-21, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
I have no problem with them when used that way. As Katsup says, they can act to extend the number of runs a person can do if you otherwise have to pedal up a 2 kilometer access road each time you want to do a downhill run. Groups or people with SO's throw their bikes in pickup trucks to get to the top of the same roads. I would rather share those roads with e bikes than diesel spewing 4x4's.
More runs is one thing - going further is another. You make a valid point about trucks vs ebikes. But, my view is that people should just ride their bike up and down with the use of an engine or a motor. That’s what mountain biking is about - you earn your thrills!. And you get fit too.

These comments do not apply to people with a disability as I think ebikes are great for them or for commuting.
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Old 05-26-21, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Mountain Mitch View Post
These comments do not apply to people with a disability as I think ebikes are great for them or for commuting.
Problem is the majority of people buying these bikes are people that are perfectly capable of pedaling. It's not the olds and commuters.
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Old 05-26-21, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by DMC707 View Post
Thats a good thing
Yes, triple the trail wear for the same ride is awesome. Trail maintenance volunteers could not be happier.
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Old 05-26-21, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
Yes, triple the trail wear for the same ride is awesome. Trail maintenance volunteers could not be happier.
How so? just speaking for my area, but the king of the e bikes here is the SPECIALIZED Turbo levo Due to them being good bikes, at a do able price point for a lot of people at the lower end, and a couple of strong dealers in the area selling them. Chief of which is the local motocross shop which has a specialized license. Santa Cruz makes a nice one but ir is 3k higher than the base model Big S.

My community also has a strong racing community, —- id say the people on the trails with sskinsuits and full lycra and clipless pedals outnumber the e bikers 3 to 1

Whats the point?

i go faster on our local trails than most of the e bikers, and my racing days are years behind me, (Strava verified). The active racers cat 2 and above are going 3 mph than the e bikers because it is usually an older crowd. And although an e biker can triple his distance- if you are in recreational shape and jump up from 7 miles to 21 - that is a wonderful boost of fun and confidence for that person ——. But people on conventional bikes are doing those distances routinely too

Lastly. A good friend of mine who has an e bike is older and retired and weighs approximatel 160 pounds. That plus his 45 pound levo brings him up to 205. I weigh 230 and my bike weighs 26: Bringing me to 256. I also average a 2 mph faster pace everywhere but clearings and gravel sections where my friend can hit the 20 mph max and i have to step it up in the trees to overtake him. Lots of fun

but me being bigger, i hit the turns harder, and going faster in most areas, plus i typically ride one more lap than my buddy (hes in his 70’s- after 2 laps at our loop, he usually pulls off and heads back to the truck to warm up the propane grille and have a beer) — am i not impacting the trail just as much if not more than he is? I dont know the answer to this

But in my area, we all watch Strava like a bunch of nerds, and we all know who the e bikers are. Very few of them are under 45 years as well. These guys and gals arent Mountain Dew drinking “extreme sports” types. I saw a lady i had ridden with years earlier out on the trails on an e bike. She is also older and quit the sport for a few years due to a nagging hip injury, but i saw her on a Levo and was pumped for her.

E- bikes are a good thing, They help people like her have an exhilirating workout at a brisk pace, where on a conventional bike she’d be pedaling squares at 5 mph after a 7 mile lap at our trail system. And there are people out there who are not of the racer mindset and will never be able to put in that type of training volume. For that person, being able to motor along close to “race pace” makes the ride more fun, so they aare likely to keep it up instead of dropping out after 5 months.

The sport is not going to lose the hardcore Strava addicted lycra set. We arent going
anywhere and being addicted to data and performance numbers makes a fun ride miserable, but thats the discipline. Guys like my older buddy who just want to get in a quick ride and enjoy the experience will drop out not long after the process starts to be a grind, but i want to keep these people around. The older folks, people nursing injuries, chubby young folks who need to lose a few - theyre all welcome.

and yes, regarding younger , out of shape folks. The e bike will get them into shape too. Ive taken a few rides on some and its not hard for me to get my HR up to 175 on one. Thats a real workout load, so the
argument that youd get in more of a workout on a standard bike is flawed. You just go slower.
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Old 05-26-21, 09:24 AM
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My comments above are about what i see in my area, i will add, and i think most of the e bikers i see are using them as intended. Nobody is putting in hot rod batttery packs that i know of (but ihave seen commuters doing this—. If i see someone going uphill at 12 mph on my way to work, then note that they are not pedalling, something is wrong there

And ive never seen any of the bikes that may be a scourge in other areas — the bikes that look like full downhill bikes and with motors where the crankset is supposed to be. I agree- those should definitely be restricted if possible. And the “extreme sporty sport” types on them blowing out berms would be better off on a real motorcycle
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Old 05-26-21, 10:05 AM
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In my DH area the "more use, more damage" concept is flawed as well, regarding e bikes. Many areas are serviced by access roads that people ferry their bikes up in pickup trucks or have wide, well built up trails.

That user group is usually young and very athletic and they do the most loops. One day I overheard one guy tell another he had done ten runs - pedaling up and down two is a good day for others.

The e bike user gets an assist going up but not any more than a pickup truck. Even with the e assist they won't equal the repetition of groups being ferried to the top while they rest.
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Old 05-26-21, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by DMC707 View Post
How so?
Come on, follow your own conversation. Here is a recap:

Originally Posted by katsup View Post
Their rides have basically tripled in length and difficulty.
Originally Posted by DMC707 View Post
Thats a good thing
Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
Yes, triple the trail wear for the same ride is awesome.
(I assumed the "awesome" part would be understood as sarcasm)
Originally Posted by DMC707 View Post
How so?
How so? well, see the first post you were responding to.
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Old 05-26-21, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by DMC707 View Post
My comments above are about what i see in my area, i will add, and i think most of the e bikers i see are using them as intended. Nobody is putting in hot rod batttery packs that i know of
I think time will tell how many people will succumb to the draw of higher output setups, especially as batteries improve in capacity. But I will say that it was an eye opener for me when I realized that the damage I was seeing on our local trail system that I though was a dirtbike turned out to be a throttled e-Bike. It was not a legal setup for those trails, but it would be indistinguishable from a legal pedal assist to almost anyone.
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Old 05-26-21, 11:53 AM
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This may be true but one could argue that good full suspension technology has also really changed the natural landscape in more ways than e bikes might.

I could show major construction projects going on right now on our local trail with huge ramps and runouts being carved out of the ground. Monster jumps. Trails that go where nature once was undisturbed (outside of the more natural game or hiking/horse trails that old mtb riders followed) because the bikes can do it. Red Bull Rampage (for example) mars some otherwise untouched arretes in Utah pretty significantly for their events...

Sure, e bikes will have some impact that will have to be addressed and mitigated, but let's not pretend modern mtb trail building doesn't.
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Old 05-26-21, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
Come on, follow your own conversation. Here is a recap:




(I assumed the "awesome" part would be understood as sarcasm)

How so? well, see the first post you were responding to.

So an e bike can allow even a person in moderate shape to survive a 25-30 mile ride. Lots of people do that with regularity on non motorized bikes though
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Old 05-26-21, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by DMC707 View Post
So an e bike can allow even a person in moderate shape to survive a 25-30 mile ride. Lots of people do that with regularity on non motorized bikes though
but now there are more people riding 25-30 miles of trail. And those people doing 25-30 miles on normal bikes can do many more miles.

This is not really a complicated concept: Triple the mileage someone covers (something you say is a good thing) and you triple the amount of trail wear they contribute. Also, by increasing the range, you increase the use of more remote trails that preciously had less use and needed less maintenance.

And while eBikes can increase the amount of trail used per rider, they don’t increase the number of volunteer hours per rider, or club memberships per rider. Or trail advocates per rider.
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