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eBike wars


Nate H · · Colorado Springs · Joined Apr 2018 · Points: 51
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: 51
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: 51

 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. 

Chris Terry · · Lafayette, CO · Joined Jun 2019 · Points: 0

I recently got an ebike in addition to my reg MTN bike. It's a fat tire, class 2. 'Love it' is an understatement. It's a game changer for me and others. I joined some ebike online groups and learned something very important about the riders I didn't expect. 1. eBikes are selling fast so expect them to be everywhere within a few yrs. 2. A major demographic of riders are either retired or handicapped. Seems the vast majority in my groups are over 50. We see posts all the time which say I have not ride a bike in 20 yrs but now I can ride with my friends or spouse. Or now I can ride into the mountains and places I could never get to before.  Also vets and people with disabilities which have new freedom. Some use it to go grocery shopping instead of calling an Uber. They have their freedom back. One big surprise for me was the RV people's enthusiasm. They are buying up tons of ebikes to explore on their trips (many are folding bikes), (most are retired and some are well over 70!!). So for the serious MTN bikers out there who hate eBikes just imagine this; You crash hard. You can never ride decent again or perhaps at all BUT you can still use an eBike! Times are changing. Please keep an open mind. Most eBikers are older and respectful of others.    

Charles Bloyer · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2017 · Points: 0

I for one hope these things get banned wholesale. I'm tired of pulling over for glorified motorcycles to pass me, just to get in my way on the way down because they never took the time to develop any technical skill.  Sorry for the unpopular opinion.  I may have a different opinion when I'm too old to climb...but I'm not seeing elderly on these things. I'm seeing couch potatoes.

Nate H · · Colorado Springs · Joined Apr 2018 · Points: 51
  1. Charles Bloyer wrote: I for one hope these things get banned wholesale. I'm tired of pulling over for glorified motorcycles to pass me, just to get in my way on the way down because they never took the time to develop any technical skill.  Sorry for the unpopular opinion.  I may have a different opinion when I'm too old to climb...but I'm not seeing elderly on these things. I'm seeing couch potatoes.
Thank you, this is exactly one of the things that I hate. Three weeks ago I was climbing a very steep and difficult climb. I had a good rhythm going and I was getting up there. Then a dude with an electric motor on his frame and a throttle on his bar yells out “Move over!”. This trail is really skinny and pretty exposed. Any bad move and you will be tumbling down a hill for a good while. This guy, rather than realizing that it was a bad idea to try and get somebody to pull over, just keeps on going. Eventually this guy yells “MOVE” one last time before attempting to force me out of his way. Fortunately for me, the trail had widened just enough for me to not topple over the hill but come on! Now most eBike users I see on a trail aren’t normally like this and I get that this is one in a thousand but really. These people are the ones who shouldn’t have eBikes. The people who should have eBikes are people who are disabled or much older. Not “trail bosses” who think that their motor permits them to own the trail like it’s theirs. These people have no idea of the work that the rest of us put in to get to our sweet descents. They don’t care about the fact that they don’t own the trail. Get these couch potatoes a real bike and see what happens.


Chris Stanton · · Park City, Utah and Orinda, CA · Joined Jan 2019 · Points: 0
Nate H wrote: This guy, rather than realizing that it was a bad idea to try and get somebody to pull over, just keeps on going. Eventually this guy yells “MOVE” one last time before attempting to force me out of his way. Fortunately for me, the trail had widened just enough for me to not topple over the hill but come on! ... Now most eBike users I see on a trail aren’t normally like this and I get that this is one in a thousand but really. These people are the ones who shouldn’t have eBikes.
I agree that people such as the individual you mentioned shouldn't have eBikes. They shouldn't have normal bikes, cars, skateboards, snowboards, skis, or any other means of transport, for that matter. Put a jerk on/in a device meant to amplify human power, and you get just amplified jerk-ness.

But responsible eBikers (the 999 out of your 1000) should not be held responsible for the transgressions of a few bad apples, or lumped into that same apple barrel.

They don’t care about the fact that they don’t own the trail...

Activist hikers in Marin County managed to ban all mountain bikes on most trails in the county. They do think they own the trails. There are definitely some similarities to the present discussion regarding e-bikes.

Trails are a shared resource. I've been riding/hiking on mixed-use trails for 30 years. In my experience, most people are courteous and things tend to work out, whether you're a hiker, mountain biker, equestrian, or e-biker.

There are a few exceptions - certain trails are built and optimized for certain purposes. Downhill-biking trails at a resort should not be used by uphill hikers, and equestrian race courses should not be used by hikers/mountain bikers/e-bikers. There are certain hiking trails that really aren't suited for any bike.

But in general, I think it's wrong to focus on the means of transport used - let's focus on responsible trail use instead.
Chris Stanton · · Park City, Utah and Orinda, CA · Joined Jan 2019 · Points: 0
Charles Bloyer wrote: I for one hope these things get banned wholesale. I'm tired of pulling over for glorified motorcycles to pass me, just to get in my way on the way down because they never took the time to develop any technical skill.  Sorry for the unpopular opinion.  I may have a different opinion when I'm too old to climb...but I'm not seeing elderly on these things. I'm seeing couch potatoes.

I've posted quite a bit about my 30+ year history with mountain biking on this thread. I guess I'm wondering if you think I turn into some kind of mad demon when I ride the first bike vs. the second.

I personally see no reason I should be allowed to ride Bike #2 on basically all trails but Bike #1 on only some trails.

Some might be concerned about a greater environmental impact, but both bikes have the exact same 27.5" x 2.8" tires. The e-bike is a little heavier overall, but when you take the weight of the rider into account we're talking 190 vs. 205 lbs.

By the way, the Santa Cruz (non-E) is geared quite a bit higher and I can hit much higher speeds on the downhills with it.


Erik theman · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2019 · Points: 0

I wasn't going to comment but, I just read so many comments that seemed poorly thought out and sadly misguided, that I had to throw in my two cents.  I have an ebike(class 1). I can and do work out as much on my ebike as I ever did on my old bike. Period. The thing you anti ebikers are overlooking is that MTB's (all of us) have a certain mentality that draws us to this sport in the first place. We enjoy the challenge. We enjoy the pain. That didn't change when I switched to an ebike. I didn't just start taking it easier on myself lol. I don't just bike up hills nice and easy, with my beer hat on. I go faster. I go up steeper hills, I go up more hills, I bike longer, much longer, hours longer. I literally burn more calories (yeah I actually track it).

Would Lance Armstrong be a lazy fat POS on an ebike or would he just be stronger and better(if possible?) than he was? (btw he took drugs for the same reason I ride an ebike, he was a winner and wanted to be stronger and better.)

I doubt I am anything special or a minority here at all.

Also I would never have improper etiquette on the trail, I find these other stories appalling, but you aren't much better than someone who decided to hate all black people because one was rude to you once. If you outright hate ebikes or people that ride them, you guys are just ignorant petty bigots. Is this even the kind of MTB you want to be? whining about other people on a forum?

I hope you enjoyed my poorly thought out sadly misguided comments.

Nate H · · Colorado Springs · Joined Apr 2018 · Points: 51
Erik theman wrote: I wasn't going to comment but, I just read so many comments that seemed poorly thought out and sadly misguided, that I had to throw in my two cents.  I have an ebike(class 1). I can and do work out as much on my ebike as I ever did on my old bike. Period. The thing you anti ebikers are overlooking is that MTB's (all of us) have a certain mentality that draws us to this sport in the first place. We enjoy the challenge. We enjoy the pain. That didn't change when I switched to an ebike. I didn't just start taking it easier on myself lol. I don't just bike up hills nice and easy, with my beer hat on. I go faster. I go up steeper hills, I go up more hills, I bike longer, much longer, hours longer. I literally burn more calories (yeah I actually track it).

Would Lance Armstrong be a lazy fat POS on an ebike or would he just be stronger and better(if possible?) than he was? (btw he took drugs for the same reason I ride an ebike, he was a winner and wanted to be stronger and better.)

I doubt I am anything special or a minority here at all.

Also I would never have improper etiquette on the trail, I find these other stories appalling, but you aren't much better than someone who decided to hate all black people because one was rude to you once. If you outright hate ebikes or people that ride them, you guys are just ignorant petty bigots. Is this even the kind of MTB you want to be? whining about other people on a forum?

I hope you enjoyed my poorly thought out sadly misguided comments.

 I think the Lance Armstrong comparison wasn’t the best to make as he was outright cheating, not a winner. Giving yourself a completely unfair advantage against others in real competitive racing is wrong and should never be considered as being a “winner”. I don’t consider him lazy by any means but I do see him as a selfish person who would rather cheat than see somebody else win. I have no respect for him and he should have never used performance enhancing drugs. It’s fine if he used them for non competitive rides but when you are racing, especially on the world stage, it’s unethical and wrong to cheat like that. 

Also no, I don’t hate all eBikers. In my past comments on this forum I’ve said many good things about eBikes. I’m only  against class two and three eBikes on MTB trails. I do run into a lot of eBiker jerks on the trail but we all run into jerks at times. Lots of people out there try to ban all mountain bikers from trails just because they had one negative experience with a mountain biker. (Another commenter made a great point about the situation in Marin, California) There’s even a valid argument in the favor of eBikes asking if you consider lift accessed downhill “not real mountain biking”. The dude I was talking about in my last comment was riding a class 2 mountain bike. My opinion is that class 1 mountain bikes should be allowed on almost all trails unless there is a real reason why they shouldn’t. (There aren’t many) but ban class 2 and 3 eBikes from the trail as those can be a serious hazard to other riders. I wouldn’t let dirt bikes ride my mtb trails and I wouldn’t let class 2 and 3 eBikes ride them either. I don’t see an eBike rider as “stronger” or “better”. When I see an eBiker, I think of somebody who needs a little extra help getting up the mountain or somebody who is conserving their energy as they have a big ride later. If you’re using the eBike to go longer and work harder then more power to you! As for whining on a forum, yeah that’s exactly what I’m doing, it’s also what you’re doing. I’ve seen some really great points from both sides while whining on this forum. I don’t think any of us here have ever said we hate all eBikes and eBikers, that would be pretty terrible if we did. Keep shredding, even if it’s on an eBike! As long as it’s Class 1, it’s good to go.

Erik theman · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2019 · Points: 0

I agree with what you said about the classifications.

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

I shared this thread with a friend of mine who's involved in mountain biking advocacy and trail-building in St. George, Utah. She sent along this very touching story:

My own experience with eBikes is very much influenced by one of my biking friends. Dylan was a normal kid who developed a rare neurological disease called Guillan-Barre when he was 17 years old. He went from normal to completely paralyzed on a ventilator within one week. And then he spent the next several years in and out of hospitals and rehab units with a feeding tube and tracheostomy.

He was in a wheelchair for 4 years, then a walker, and then a cane. And finally, he learned to walk unassisted again. He rediscovered bikes a few years ago and was amazed to find that he could still pedal a two-wheeler.

He is now 30 years old and is still significantly disabled. His balance and strength are significantly impaired, but he can still bike. But his disabilities limit how far he can go. On a pedal-assist bike, he can go much further and can keep up with our group of friends. Even though he is often on a trail illegally, his bike does absolutely no damage to the trails and it would be heartbreaking if someone kicked him off of the trails because of his eBike.

I sometimes see other eBike riders on trails where they are technically illegal, but have never had an issue with them being rude or out of control or in any way negatively impacting my experience on the trails.
I guess the point is that you never know.
baffledsloth · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 13

Ban em.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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