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eBike wars


Original Post
David Whiting · · Rancho Santa Margarita · Joined Sep 2018 · Points: 0

Hi, I'm David Whiting, Metro Columnist and outdoor writer for the Orange County Register and 10 other SoCal newspapers including the LA Daily News and Riverside Press-Enterprise. I just wrote a column on eBike wars  in Southern California, Class I and II bikes gaining access to paved bikeways and trails prohibited to eBikes.
I'm wondering what the general consensus is among mountain bikers vs. ebikers on single track and wider dirt paths. I ride as does my wife and we are split on this.
Here's a link to the controversy and what I wrote. I'm hoping to continue this conversation with the general public at a later date.
Thanks for listening, David

That Guy Haas · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2017 · Points: 36

I don't like the attitudes of many eBikers. This a generalization and I've met few who were really cool and just like riding that tank, but most are not Real Mountain Bikers. And everyone has an idea what I mean by that. eBikers want to get outside, which is AWESOME, but they want a easy route, which is fine, but it puts them in a different class. I always think of the Hover Round commercial where they are at the Grand Canyon, eBikes are one step above that. And on the trail, they are often rude and act as though you should yield to them, they don't even want to split the trail, they want the centerline. Like people at Walmart, riding those electric carts and expecting everyone to jump out of their way, when really there is plenty of room for us both to pass. I assume it's because they tire easily, and maybe lack good balance, but still. I wonder if often it's their first "MTB" and think since they dropped $3000 on it, some how they bought their way in.

OK OK, I don't like eBikes, they are riding motorized vehicles on trails intended for people power, Hiking and Biking. (Horse trails are usually wide enough for everyone)

I think single track riding is for people who are trying to "get it in" I think ebikers should stick to fire roads and stay out of the way.

Also, since you're a writer, may be we can make people understand the danger of thinking that the downhill riders should yield to the up hill riders. I know it sucks to start peddling up hill again, but I'm going ++30 MPH how the heck can I stop on a dime for someone riding up hill at 4 mph. It's crazy and people get hurt. Somehow (Youtube) people took the Hiking guidelines and just applied them to MTB and it spread. And like I said, in my experience, a lot of these newer people on get real rude about not even splitting the trail, they stay dead center, like it's a some kind of stand off & expect you to come to a skeeeeeeeeetching halt and give them the entire trail, because they researched this one youtube and someone said so.

I grew up PNW and downhill has the right of way for safety sake.

I may sound like a hog, (like how I'm hijacking this thread JK) but I'm not, I yield all the time. Every passing situation is a judgment call, but the first and foremost concern is "who can yield more safely" then it's "who will have an easier time starting again if a full stop is required" A good example is a hiker, we always yield to hikers, but often courteous hikers see that it's safer or just easier for them to let us pass and they call out for us to go ahead and pass. We have to share trails, and we have use good judgement about who can safely yield and who cannot. (I strongly prefer directional trails for this reason).

So in conclusion, eBikes Sucks.

Pejman Khosropour · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2018 · Points: 0

Funny how often we repeat our prejudices and never learn from the past.  Like When mountain bikes we're banned when they were first introduced....same with snow boards or other new things...

E bikes are no different from say carbon fiber frame bikes.  What they will do is to give more people access to this sport...help people exercise and enjoy outdoors and consequently help them care about this sport and environment.
 

That Guy Haas · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2017 · Points: 36

Ebikes are different because the mind set that it takes to buy one of those tanks is different. The riders are different. Get Ebikes under 30# and that might change, but as it is now 80% of Ebikers are not "connected" to riding. An Ebike is nothing like a carbon frame, it's more like taking a hover round to the Grand Canyon. Or that twack in a parking lot who blocks the rest of traffic while waiting for the closest spot to the doors, when they could have parked 10 minutes ago and just walked an extra 200' but they'd rather be in the way & block the rest of us, but hey at least they don't have to exert themselves.
They also don't seem to lust after airtime...different breed.

Old DW · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2018 · Points: 0

Chances are the eBike rider is older and has paid the taxes that allow those who have not to have a place to ride while they should be working.

Jim Maher · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 0

It’s kind of funny what people say about eBikes. 30 years ago when we were fighting for mountain bike trail access the hikers were saying the same thing. Let’s face it you can now go 30 mph downhill with technology and uphill 8 mph with technology. If you do think a ebike shouldn’t be on the trail go back to riding a hard tail with a rigid fork and see how you do on the same trails?

Let’s just face it it’s not the bike it’s the rider and the riders not being responsible, giving both eBikes and mountain bikes a bad name. If you ride in a nice responsible way who cares? 

Philip Smith · · Unknown Hometown · Joined 30 days ago · Points: 0

The existence of ebikes is ridiculous in nutshell. What's the point of this? My team from Edubirdie (check EduBirdie website) had a competition with ebike team Cradles. Just for personal achievement. We were on mbikes of course. The track was in 18 km distance in the California Mountains.  It'd taken ~25 minutes to beat Cradles. An ebike just cannot make it in rocky and dusty track.  

Enrico Taroni · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0
There is no "eBike war" ! The title used is' misleading and foment hatred between the two categories and, for this reason, completely unsuitable and wrong ! I think hat there are two types of riders, the good ones and the bad guys ! In many years of mountain biking I have seen many good ones and, unfortunately, many bad guys regardless of what  kind of bike they used ! I found that people that ate e-bikers are the one that never tried or used an e-bike and expresses judgments without knowing what he is talking about. Virtually ignorant ! Exactly ignorant like those (hikers) who initially did not want bicycles in the trails in the woods. Personally after so many years of mountain biking I have moved on to an e-bike and I am exactly the same rider as before and I respect everything and everyone as before. Most of the time I ride trails with non electric bikes without any problem and nobody has ever complained that I have an e-bike ! The real problem is ignorance, only a great ignorance no matter what you drive !
Jim Bo · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2017 · Points: 0

As a 25+ year MTBer who's been back on the saddle for 3 years now - and has lost 40+ lbs - thanks to "lazy" pedal assist technology, it's pretty simple to me:

Low-power pedelec ebikes (sub-750W [1 hp], pedal-activated motors) are bicycles, and should be treated as such on or off road.  eMoto Bikes with 1000+kW and throttles are not bicycles and should be relegated to motorized trails.  

No doubt, there will always be asinine riders (electrified AND not) amongst us, but the online (often anonymous) reactions of many "real" MTBers to electric mountain bikes harkens back to when folk-music hero Bob Dylan plugged in an electric guitar onstage for the first time in the 1960s.  He was booed and boycotted for a few years, but eventually the rift became forgotten and folk-rock emerged to keep the folk genre alive.

FWIW, though, I've encountered several dozen MTBers in my assisted trail excursions, and not one chided or chastised me face-to-face for having a battery and pedal-activated motor on my bike.  If they hadn't seen me, they'd never have known an ebike had been on "their" trails.

Additionally, a 2018 pilot project in Jefferson County CO found that allowing eMTBs on their natural surface bike trails had no negative effects on the trails, including user conflicts etc. eMTBs are allowed anywhere MTBs can go there now - this is the future and resistance is futile!

Jeff Hood · · Miramar Beach, FL · Joined 21 days ago · Points: 0

I have a Fat Tire Yolo Bolt Mtn Bike. I ride with my friends that have regular mBikes. They have no issue. I usually ride with no power/pedal assist when riding with them so I do not leave them behind. I think of it as a "work out" I'm pedaling extra weight. I'll do the same miles as them. But here is the thing. I can go on a 20 or 30 mile trail (yes up hill, etc) and come back with hardly any battery used. I go further. I experience more in a ride due to the eBike. We have a moto "Go Further". I get the same workout as someone going only 7 miles or 10 miles due to pedal assist. Now what I am against is bikes with a throttle (that is no different than a motorcycle).  They are expensive and that may be the reason some people are pissed off.

Roberto Castillo · · Belen · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 20
That Guy Haas wrote: Ebikes are different because the mind set that it takes to buy one of those tanks is different. The riders are different. Get Ebikes under 30# and that might change, but as it is now 80% of Ebikers are not "connected" to riding. An Ebike is nothing like a carbon frame, it's more like taking a hover round to the Grand Canyon. Or that twack in a parking lot who blocks the rest of traffic while waiting for the closest spot to the doors, when they could have parked 10 minutes ago and just walked an extra 200' but they'd rather be in the way & block the rest of us, but hey at least they don't have to exert themselves.
They also don't seem to lust after airtime...different breed.

Respectfully, I totally disagree with you. You are far from the bullpen. I own and operate 2 trail networks in Costa Rica. I have been a mountain biker since the late 80´s and I just transitioned to e-bike a couple of months ago. Both trail networks are 100% single track and have some good technical sections, the topography is quite steep and the climbs are not friendly to say the least. I was also rejecting the concept of e-bikes until I rode them and started understanding them. We are talking about pedelecs here. At least in our networks, we have not seen a "new biker" coming to ride their e-bikes here, all of our e-bikers are long time mountain bikers.... and our mountain bikers are not cross country mountain bikers either, these are trail riders. We have had not a single conflict between conventional riders and e-riders... Other than the classical and mandatory bullying and joking when someone "gets out of the closet" and get an e-bike, but that´s all. 

I am in love with my e-bike because it lets me now ride along with my sons and that quality time has no price. It is also resulting in a better quality exercise by far; I used to spend over 80% of my riding time in zone 5 in the cardio... too anaerobic, now, if I ride along conventional riders I will be mostly in zone 3 and with some zone 2 and little zone 4. If I´m riding solo or with other e-riders the pace is higher so I will be between zones 3 and 4 depending on the particular ride, this is just much healthier.

This may be an educational issue where you ride, e-riders should (MUST!) behave accordingly and coexist with the rest of the traffic. Our e-riders clearly understand that conventional riders are slower and may even be struggling on the uphills and will stay behind until there is an appropriate spot to overtake. Downhill is not an issue at all since there is not a big advantage with the e-bikes... however, I must say I´m faster now downhill with the e-bike than what I used to be with my Santa Cruz Bronson 2 CC and that is a great bike I am comparing this with.

That Guy Haas.... ask for a demo ride in a good EMTB just for your benefit of experiencing and understanding what is this about, it´s mind blowing.
Roberto Castillo · · Belen · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 20
Philip Smith wrote: The existence of ebikes is ridiculous in nutshell. What's the point of this? My team from Edubirdie (check EduBirdie website) had a competition with ebike team Cradles. Just for personal achievement. We were on mbikes of course. The track was in 18 km distance in the California Mountains.  It'd taken ~25 minutes to beat Cradles. An ebike just cannot make it in rocky and dusty track.  

Wrong... wrong... .wrong, on our trails, good emtbs perform perfectly, as good as the best mtb.

Roberto Castillo · · Belen · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 20
Jim Bo wrote: As a 25+ year MTBer who's been back on the saddle for 3 years now - and has lost 40+ lbs - thanks to "lazy" pedal assist technology, it's pretty simple to me:

Low-power pedelec ebikes (sub-750W [1 hp], pedal-activated motors) are bicycles, and should be treated as such on or off road.  eMoto Bikes with 1000+kW and throttles are not bicycles and should be relegated to motorized trails.  

No doubt, there will always be asinine riders (electrified AND not) amongst us, but the online (often anonymous) reactions of many "real" MTBers to electric mountain bikes harkens back to when folk-music hero Bob Dylan plugged in an electric guitar onstage for the first time in the 1960s.  He was booed and boycotted for a few years, but eventually the rift became forgotten and folk-rock emerged to keep the folk genre alive.

FWIW, though, I've encountered several dozen MTBers in my assisted trail excursions, and not one chided or chastised me face-to-face for having a battery and pedal-activated motor on my bike.  If they hadn't seen me, they'd never have known an ebike had been on "their" trails.

Additionally, a 2018 pilot project in Jefferson County CO found that allowing eMTBs on their natural surface bike trails had no negative effects on the trails, including user conflicts etc. eMTBs are allowed anywhere MTBs can go there now - this is the future and resistance is futile!

Right on the money... I operate 2 trail networks and have seen no negative effects on the surface of our trails due to emtbs.

Nate H · · Colorado Springs · Joined Apr 2018 · Points: 35

I can’t say that I absolutely hate eBikes and I love hearing about people who lose weight and get outdoors thanks to these eBikes. I would like to say however that eBikes to me should not be used as a mode of making riding easy and instead they should merely be used as a tool in your arsenal. I’ve known plenty of people that use their eBikes as a glorified electric dirt bike and cruise up the trail like it’s nothing. These people often expect you to yield to them as they shoot past you on the climbs. At the same time, you see people who are getting themselves outdoors to make a change who need a little pedal assist to help them on their journey. These people I think have every right to be using an eBike but the electric dirt bike people do not. I certainly think that you shouldn’t only ever use an eBike. Use the bike as a stepping stone to getting in shape then ditch the eBike for a tried and true mountain bike. Obviously if you have some condition that keeps you from getting in good enough shape it’s fine but otherwise there always needs to be a point where you ditch the eBike. I don’t believe eBikes cause any more damage to a trail then a regular bike does. But yeah, eBikes are a tool and a stepping stone to getting in shape but they certainly shouldn’t be used as a way to just make riding easy.

Chris Stanton · · Park City, Utah and Orinda, CA · Joined 4 days ago · Points: 0

Mountain bike tech has changed a lot since I bought my first MTB, a Schwinn Sierra, back in the '80s.

Front suspension, full suspension, downhill-specific bikes, fat bikes, and now eMTBs. Some people embrace new technology, some people resist it, it's more of a personality thing, I think.

I'm the type to embrace it. I was still in high school when the very first Rock Shox came out (people complained about that, too). I saved up money from my summer job to buy one. And two weeks ago, I became the owner of a Specialized Turbo Levo, my first eBike. It has the 27.5x2.8 tires, full suspension... it's a sweet ride.

I got it mainly for use in my commute (that's how I justified it to my wife, at least). I live in a part of the Bay Area with lots of steep hills, and the road from my place to the BART station goes up and down, up and down, up and down... It's very steep in parts, and there's no way to ride it on a normal bike without getting sweaty. On the eBike, I can cruise to the station without breaking a sweat. And on the trip home, after a long day at the office, I'm often tired and hungry... it's really nice to have the pedal assist.

One thing I don't think people realize is that eMTBs could lead to the creation of entirely new sports. I took it out on some snow-packed trails in Park City over the winter break, and it's a definite game-changer when it comes to riding in the snow. The extra power the motor provides makes it possible to ride snowy trails at the same speed (or faster) as you might ride a normal MTB during the summer.

Call it e-snow-mountain biking. It's a sport, and it's a workout, and it's different from other types of mountain biking I've done. Even though I made heavy use of the pedal assist, I’d get pretty tired after an hour and a half of riding. Balance and momentum work differently, plus it’s a heavier bike, so it requires a bit of muscling around sometimes.

In that way, it’s similar to downhill mountain biking. People who’ve never done DH often think it’s not much of a workout. But you definitely get tired riding DH. It’s much more upper-body intensive, but still with lots of rapid bursts of hard pedaling. I find that I need to stop and rest more frequently riding DH as compared to XC.

I have yet to try my eMTB on loose, rocky uphills, but the pedal assist could transform those types of rides from torture to joy. Certain rides have long, painful grinds uphill to get to the good stuff… with an eBike, you can do laps and spend a lot more time on the fun parts of the trail, without running an environmentally-unfriendly car shuttle. The possibilities are endless.

The history of mountain biking is a story of technological disruption and controversy over trail use, starting with the very first mountain bikes. eMTBs are just the latest chapter. Every new innovation has made it easier to more people to access more terrain (and more difficult terrain). eMTBs are no different.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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