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eBike wars


Nate H · · Colorado Springs · Joined Apr 2018 · Points: 50
Anthony Nguyen wrote: @ Nate

All very good points. So for the people who struggle to climb, You would rather have them get off their bikes and push up every climb, taking up twice as much trail space?

I do agree that getting around someone hike-a biking is pretty annoying. In my opinion, part of being able to ride a trail is to be able to climb it. If someone is hike-a-biking then unless it is an impossibly steep climb or a nasty rock garden then they probably shouldn’t be on that trail. 


Part of mountain biking is working up the fitness to get up the trail and then ride down. Maybe the person walking their bike shouldn’t be on that trail in the first place. Obviously if that person struggles to climb due to a medical condition or other issues preventing them from climbing normally then they absolutely should still enjoy the sport of mountain biking even if that means the extra help of an ebike. Otherwise, it really comes down to fitness. I know all too well how hard it is to get into the condition needed to pull long and steep climbs. But it really is worth it. 


That’s not to say you can’t be in good shape and ride an ebike. It can still be a workout for certain depending on the amount of work being done by you vs. the motor. However, true mountain biking will get you into shape and although it’s more difficult, I’d rather be doing my workout on a mountain bike than sweating away in a stuffy gym. 


So back to what you said, if you are going to be pushing your bike up the climb instead of riding it up, it might not be the best idea to be on that trail in the first place. It’s all about working your way up until you can climb up on the bike. This is true progression and it’s what mtb is all about.

Chris Stanton · · Park City, Utah and Orinda, CA · Joined Jan 2019 · Points: 0

There are many different reasons people become mountain bikers. Some have fitness as their highest priority. For others, it’s just being out in nature. For still others, it’s the technical challenge. For some, the thrill of exploring new terrain draws them in.

It’s not either or - I think most mountain bikers fall into many (if not all) of the above categories.

As mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve been riding mountain bikes since the ‘80s. I build trails, I teach kids mountain biking skills, and I’m involved in bicycle advocacy in general.

I have three mountain bikes, one of which is “e” - am I any less of a mountain biker when I’m on that one versus the other two?

Nate H · · Colorado Springs · Joined Apr 2018 · Points: 50
Chris Stanton wrote: There are many different reasons people become mountain bikers. Some have fitness as their highest priority. For others, it’s just being out in nature. For still others, it’s the technical challenge. For some, the thrill of exploring new terrain draws them in.

It’s not either or - I think most mountain bikers fall into many (if not all) of the above categories.

As mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve been riding mountain bikes since the ‘80s. I build trails, I teach kids mountain biking skills, and I’m involved in bicycle advocacy in general.

I have three mountain bikes, one of which is “e” - am I any less of a mountain biker when I’m on that one versus the other two?

Very strong points, and in my opinion, no you are not any less of a mountain biker on the Ebike. Here’s why:

You do not solely rely on the eBike. That is the point I am trying to make. If you are an experienced mountain biker who is looking for something to use if you need to have an easier ride on some given days then an eBike is for you. If you are starting out as a beginner and choose an eBike over a regular mountain bike just to make it easy then no, it isn’t real mountain biking. 
As I said in my last post, mountain biking is all about progressing and getting better. Even if it might be harder for a beginner, it is certainly worth it in the long run. You said you’ve been mountain biking for decades which means that you have already progressed well beyond a beginner and it’s totally acceptable if you want to use an eBike for some rides. My concern is beginners who decide to buy an eBike over a normal bike because they do not want to work for their reward when mountain biking. (Excluding people who have real medical conditions or other real issues that prevent them from riding a normal bike.) 
One of my friends decided to start mountain biking a few years ago but he chose an eBike over a normal mountain bike. 2 months ago, he sold his eBike and got a real mountain bike. All of his time on the eBike hit him hard and for the first week, he could barely climb trails that he flew up on the eBike. It was very hard for him to keep up with us on even relatively mild climbs. Those same two months later, he is now in much better shape. He has been eating healthier, working harder, and getting better. Now he gets times on the climbs that rival his times on the eBike just a few months before. It’s only been a few months but the transformation has already been amazing. 
     So, eBikes are for some people. Some need them because of conditions and some are experienced riders that want to take the edge off on rides every now and then. But in no way are eBikes for beginners. Working your way up the ladder the way to go, not cruising on up on an eBike. Sure it might be easier but you miss out on a lot of the health benefits of mountain biking as well as missing that feeling of achievement and reward that makes all that hard climbing worth it. 
Chris Stanton · · Park City, Utah and Orinda, CA · Joined Jan 2019 · Points: 0

Thanks for your thoughtful response. In the grand scheme of things, I really don’t think we’re that far off from each other.

I think you’re agreeing that eMTBs are an appropriate (and good) choice for some riders, at some times, due to physical conditions (age, disabilities, injuries, etc.) which may (or may not) be obvious to an outside observer.

So how does that translate in terms of trail access rules? Those rules tend to be absolute (e.g. no eMTBs on trails narrower than Z feet in width, or that happen to be in jurisdiction X vs jurisdiction Y).

Nate H · · Colorado Springs · Joined Apr 2018 · Points: 50

 When it comes to eBikes being allowed on trails, I see almost nothing wrong. EBikes don’t cause any more damage to trails than a normal mountain bike does, they don’t take up more space on the trail, don’t pose a hazard to other riders, and they are almost always a nonissue. If it was up to me, I would allow all eBikes that rely only on pedal assist on the trails. I would be against allowing eBikes with throttles or full power modes that turn it into essentially an electric dirt bike.

But other than that, I have no issue with eBikes on trails whatsoever. As long as they follow the rules that everyone else has to follow then there really isn’t a problem. My issue with eBikes is beginners using them as a cop out. It really is so much better to work to achieve your sweet decents then it is to just fly up the mountain with no regards to what it took to get up there. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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