Home > Bike Types > e-Bike

E-Bikes: To trail or not to trail… an open letter to IMBA from NEMBA’s Executive Director Philip Keyes

76
Support us! Bikerumor may earn a small commission from affiliate links in this article. Learn More

LaPierre_Overvolt_SX_800_Yamaha_mountain_ebike_MTB_complete_cwb

There is no doubt that e-bikes provide a great alternative in various situations like commuting, but there is a lot of concern on whether they should be accepted allowed on the trails. The concern for e-bikes on the trails is less about people losing their KOMs and more about safety (newbies doing speeds they’re not capable of handling, etc.), avoiding damage to the trails, and the difficulty of regulating the amount of e-power whether it’s pedal assist or full-throttle.

Aside from using aero-bars on a group ride and a Softride beam for downhill, there has not been a more talked about or shunned piece of equipment more than e-bikes heading past the treeline. Now that mountain bike access to wilderness areas is being pushed for those of us without motors by the STC, the topic of powered assistance is drawing even more of a debate. The topic concerns NEMBA’s (New England Mountain Bike Association) Executive Director, Philip Keyes, enough that he felt it necessary to draw up this open letter to IMBA…

LaPierre_Overvolt_SX_800_Yamaha_mountain_ebike_MTB_Yamaha-drive-system_cwb LaPierre_Overvolt_SX_800_Yamaha_mountain_ebike_MTB_head-unit_photo-by-Damian-McArthur

 

OPEN LETTER TO IMBA: 

ABOUT WILDERNESS,THE SUSTAINABLE TRAILS COALITION AND E-MTBS

 

TO:       Mike Van Abel, IMBA Executive Director
Robert Winston, Chair, IMBA’s Board of Directors

FROM: Philip Keyes, Executive Director, New England Mountain Bike Association

December 7, 2015
Via email

Dear Mike and Robert,

Once again, I’m writing you and IMBA’s Board of Directors on behalf of the New England Mountain Bike Association to urge you to support the Sustainable Trails Coalition’s initiative to allow human-powered travel in our nation’s wildlands. Last I wrote, it seemed that you and your Board were considering supporting the STC, but given IMBA’s December 1stBlog Post, this does not appear to be the case – hence this open letter to you and your Board.

Also, I am writing you to ask IMBA to clarify its position on e-MTBs. We urge you to reaffirm IMBA’s 2010 policy position that mountain biking is a human-powered form of recreation. We hope you will confirm your position that electric-assist mountain bikes should be managed like other motorized vehicles on public, natural surface trails, and not be granted special status on non-motorized trails.

We publically voice these concerns because we believe that these are the two most important national issues facing the mountain bike community today.

I.  Regarding IMBA, Wilderness and the Sustainable Trails Coalition

In your August 2015 blog post, IMBA and the Sustainable Trails Coalition, you more than hinted that IMBA was considering offering some level of support to the Sustainable Trails Coalition (STC), and you urged your readers to “stay tuned.”

This was gratifying to hear and we were optimistic that support was going to be offered. However, Mark Eller’s December 1st Blog Post responding to Outside Magazine’s articleabout the STC made it clear that IMBA is not offering any tangible or financial support whatsoever.

We believe that this is a huge mistake and we urge IMBA to reconsider and become active in supporting the initiative to remove the ban on mountain biking in Wilderness.

Please consider the following:

  • IMBA’s current strategy to work with Wilderness groups to protect certain trails from becoming Wilderness is compatible with seeking to modify the Wilderness Act or the interpretation of this Act. We do not believe that our or IMBA’s ability to advocate to protect critical mountain bike trails is contingent upon acquiescing with the status quo that bikes do not belong in Wilderness.  We believe that land management agencies and Wilderness proponents will work with us even if we make it clear that we do not agree with the ban and are actively seeking to change it.
  • IMBA’s current position to not support the STC will negatively impact IMBA regardless of the success or failure of the STC. Conversely, IMBA will benefit by supporting the STC regardless of the outcome. If the Sustainable Trails Coalition is successful at modifying the Wilderness Act without IMBA’s support, IMBA will appear as irrelevant and out-of-date, basically sidelined in what is arguably one of the most important access initiatives ever undertaken by mountain bikers. On the other hand, if IMBA offers no support to STC and STC fails, many mountain bikers around the country will lay blame on IMBA for not getting involved or providing the assistance necessary for success.  Not supporting STC is a lose-lose for IMBA. On the other hand, if IMBA supports the Sustainable Trails Coalition it will benefit regardless of the outcome. If the STC initiative is successful, IMBA can truly and deservedly share in that success. If unsuccessful, at least IMBA will be seen as having the fortitude to stand up for mountain bikers and do what is right. As is said, “It is better to have fought and lost than to never to have fought at all.” The mountain biking community will understand this and will support the organizations that fight the good fight.
  • We do not believe that introducing legislation to modify the Wilderness Act will result in the gutting of the land protections offered in the Act. We believe this to be Wilderness proponent propaganda. Clearly the intent of the Act is to prevent wildland development and widespread mineral extraction. It is also clearly not Congress’ original intent to ban muscle-powered recreation.
  • We believe IMBA’s membership would support the STC, if asked. In one of Vernon Felton’s articles on Wilderness in Bike Magazine , IMBA is quoted as saying that “IMBA’s membership is split on whether mountain bikes should have access to wilderness areas.” We have a hard time believing that there is a 50/50 split, and it’s more likely that it’s only a very small minority who believe that the bike ban is just. IMBA has never surveyed its membership on this issue, and probably should. NEMBA is IMBA Member #150 and we’ve never been asked.

There is still time for IMBA to show concrete and tangible support to STC but it needs to happen soon.  Here are some ways we hope IMBA can help the Sustainable Trails Coalition:

  • Publically endorse STC’s initiative and urge IMBA’s membership to support STC through financial donations and lobbying their senators and representatives.
  • Urge your partners in the bicycle industry to support this campaign. Urge PeopleForBikes to do the same. The bike industry should financially support this initiative but seems to be waiting for IMBA’s green light.
  • Make supporting this issue and the proposed legislation IMBA’s number one goal of the 2016 National Bike Summit this March. If IMBA did this, we believe that it will be one of the most well-attended bike summits by mountain bikers ever.
  • Utilize IMBA’s lobbyists and staffers to partner with the STC in Washington, DC and actively engage Congress on this issue. This is why IMBA exists.

This fight is winnable. It can be a win for everyone, including IMBA. It will be inspiring to the thousands of advocates around the country and hundreds of thousands of riders around the world to have IMBA on the right side of history on this issue. Otherwise, sadly, IMBA loses.

II.  Power-Assisted Electric Mountain Bikes

Moving on to the issue of e-MTBs, we hope that you and your board of directors will reaffirm IMBA’s 2010 policy position that e-MTBs “should be regulated as with other motorized off-road travel.” We are concerned that IMBA is poised to abandon this position.

NEMBA’s position is as follows:

“The recreational use of electric and power-assisted bicycles, ORVs or ATVs on natural surface trails should be managed using the same guidelines and policies as other motorized vehicles.”

Power-assisted bicycles are improving in speed, power, and battery life, and we believe it important for land managers to develop management principles now.  NEMBA is also aware that some senior citizens or people with disabilities might want to use these vehicles on natural surface trails. We support this under the ADA guidelines that agencies have already adopted for the disabled.

IMBA recently undertook its own independent study of the impacts of e-MTBs (paid for by the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association and PeopleForBikes) that indicate that the impacts of low-powered Type 1 e-MTBs are about the same as human-powered mountain bikes, not unlike Wilson and Seney’s 1994 study. This data was presented to the bicycle industry at the Interbike Trade show last September.

This raises the question whether IMBA should be engaging in this type of research, and we are very concerned that IMBA is using this data, perhaps under pressure from the bicycle industry, to shift to a more accommodating position on e-bikes on trails.

Bicycle Retailer’s Interbike Show Daily contained two articles indicating that IMBA is becoming more willing to advocate for electric bicycle use on non-motorized trails.  The September 17th Show Daily article titled “IMBA Report could open the door to e-MTBs on trails”  comments that IMBA’s “study may be the first step toward opening up some trails to e-mountain bikes that are currently closed to them.”

The September 16th Show Daily quotes IMBA’s fact sheet about e-MTBs saying “IMBA recognizes e-MTBs, particularly those equipped with Type 1 pedal assist, are substantially different from other motorized uses, and may warrant a separate category and new management strategies.” The fact sheet goes on to say, “IMBA’s initial study suggests that with proper management, e-MTBs have the potential to offer a beneficial use of public land with acceptable impacts. […] This is a new category of trail use with the capacity to promote outdoor activity and overall health.”

NEMBA strongly disagrees that e-MTBs should be given their own recreational category on public, natural surface trail systems. We urge IMBA to reaffirm its 2010 position that mountain biking is a human-powered, non-motorized form of recreation and that e-bikes are a form of motorized recreation.  Both may be appropriate recreational activities, but it’s important to maintain the category of non-motorized trails.

Consider the following:

  • For decades, groups like NEMBA and IMBA have defined mountain biking as a non-motorized form of recreation. That definition is the pillar of mountain bike advocacy. Creating a third category for power-assisted vehicles would undermine this basic tenet and significantly blur the distinction between mountain biking and motorized recreation. This will profoundly affect our ability to advocate and gain access to more trails and open spaces. Land managers and environmentalists would once again lump us together with the motorized set, and with all of the negative baggage that goes with it. This has the potential to set mountain bike advocacy efforts back decades.
  • Creating a new category for certain types of e-MTBs would create a management nightmare. Currently it is very difficult to distinguish an e-MTB from a regular mountain bike from a distance, and it is even more unlikely that land managers would be able to distinguish a Type I e-MTB from its more powerful brethren, some of which can attain speeds up to 50 MPH or more. Without a huge staff and significant management resources, there would be no way to regulate and police e-MTB use. It is possible, even likely, that land managers would prefer to ban all bicycles from their properties so that they do not need to spend the resources required to distinguish and manage the different categories of bikes. In addition, land management agencies considering creating mountain bike trails or allowing mountain bikes on existing trail networks will not do so if they think they are opening the door to motorized vehicles.
  • The technology and the torque of e-MTBs is progressing at a very fast pace and some low-level power-assisted bikes already have “turbo” buttons that dramatically boost their speed and torque applied to the driven wheel. The impacts on the trails will also increase and the social impacts of sharing trails with vehicles that can easily attain speeds of 20+ mph will present a host of problems. Events such as the e-MTB race at next year’s Sea Otter will further catalyze a “wattage race” and a desire to race and train on e-MTBs.
  • As IMBA is no doubt aware, this is a hot button issue for mountain bikers around the country. We believe that if IMBA promotes e-MTBs on non-motorized trails, the organization would experience a significant and dramatic backlash from its membership.

We urge IMBA to take a strong national leadership role in preventing e-MTBs from using non-motorized trails. Specifically, we believe IMBA should do the following:

  • Educate national, state and local land management agencies about this new motorized technology and urge these agencies to pro-actively include e-MTBs as a motorized use only.
  • Educate the bicycle industry, through the National Bicycle Dealers Association, the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association, and PeopleForBikes about the appropriate use of power-assist bicycles. As a new product line, these electric bikes offer potential public benefits for transportation, traffic mitigation, pollution control and livable communities. It is toward these ends that the bicycle industry should focus. It should be noted that there currently is not a large market for offroad e-MTBs. The push for e-MTBs seems to be coming more from the industry than from consumers, and IMBA should help guide both consumers and the industry based upon the long standing principle that mountain biking is human-powered.
  • Work with law-makers to be clear that legislation that promotes e-bikes as part of the vehicular transportation mix not include e-MTB access to non-motorized trails. The recent California legislation, for example, is not clear about this and opens up the possibility that public trails could be open to e-bikes unless posted closed.

To summarize, NEMBA believes that these two national issues are critical to the future of mountain biking and we urge IMBA to support our recommendations. If bikes aren’t allowed in Wilderness, mountain bikers will always be second-class citizens on all public lands. If IMBA believes that power-assisted bikes should be allowed on non-motorized trails then our fate will be sealed as being part of the motorized community, regardless of our best attempts to parse the difference.

We urge IMBA to lend its support to the Sustainable Trails Coalition and reaffirm its 2010 position on e-MTBs.

Thank you for reading.

Regards,

Philip Keyes
Executive Director
NEMBA

 

NEMBA.org

IMBA.org

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

76 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Rich W.
Rich W.
7 years ago

Agree on all points.

ascar larkinyar
ascar larkinyar
7 years ago

ebikes are motorcycles and should be treated as such. just because you put pedals on it does not make it a bicycle.

if I put pedals on a car does that make it a non car? no….

Lance David
Lance David
7 years ago

I also agree on all points. I am especially concerned that e-bikes will reduce the effectiveness of the STC efforts. It will just give ammunition to the opposition.

briderdt
7 years ago

Another head nodding in agreement here.

b_p_t
b_p_t
7 years ago

IMBA position = $$$$

duder
duder
7 years ago

An ebike would allow me to ride to several trails that I need to drive to today, and I think that’s a good thing, but I also think where I live at least, there is too much traffic for increased speeds on the trail. I would love to embrace a system where we could ride ebikes to the trail head, and leave our battery there for a human-powered trail ride.

Eric Hansen
Eric Hansen
7 years ago

Motor + Bike = Motorbike

don
don
7 years ago

Complete agreement on both points. Well articulated also.

Within the IMBA board I’m guessing there must be debate regarding their position on STC. I find it very difficult to believe that they are unanimous in their current public stance. They need to get behind STC 100%.

Is there anyway to determine who on the board is in favor of STC and who isn’t? We should get involved and change the board to represent a hire percentage of IMBA members. I’m pretty certain that is not the case today on both topics above.

If this forum is any indication, a major majority support STC and do not support Ebikes.

don

Axel
Axel
7 years ago

I agree with the IMBA needing to be involved but don’t agree about not allowing E-bikes.

Chris
Chris
7 years ago

The only possible exception I can see for e-Bikes would be to allowed disabled persons the ability to access trails where they wouldn’t otherwise be able to on a “human powered” machine. Basically, I would propose that persons looking to ride e-bikes on trails would need something akin to a disabled parking pass. Allowing disabled veterans, amputees, etc. the ability to ride a MTB would be amazing however; for the rest of us who are capable of accomplishing such tasks on our own (albeit with varying degrees of competence) there should be no exception: Your limbs work, pedal damnit! Can’t make it up that hill? Train harder!

Frank
Frank
7 years ago

SPOT ON.

Bravo NEMBA!

thedude
thedude
7 years ago

The whole disabled people argument is really just a facade for companies to promote the E mountain bike to everyone. It just doesn’t seem like a good idea to put disabled people on heavy electric bikes and set them out into the woods alone.

Rich Webb
Rich Webb
7 years ago

Outstanding letter!!

Mike
Mike
7 years ago

YES! Thank you NEMBA and Phil in particular.

Mike
Mike
7 years ago

Oh, and IMBA’s website is NOT: IMBA.org. It is: IMBA.com

TheFunkyMonkey
TheFunkyMonkey
7 years ago

Well, well articulated. Hopefully IMBA listens but I’m not convinced they can see through the money fog that the ebike opportunity is creating.

IMBA is no longer about riders and riders rights, it’s all about the industry and money – to think otherwise is naive. Not saying they don’t do good things from time to time but there is no denying they are trying to dumb down trails while taking stances on topics that ensure the most money flows. Who has more money than riders? The manufacturers. See what happens there?

Hopefully more local orgs make the effort to take a stance with IMBA like NEMBA has.

the dude
the dude
7 years ago

IMBA is supposed to represent mountain biking and mountain bikers building and access to all trails (wilderness or not) I’m absolutely blown away with IMBA’s current stand with STC and agree with IMBA doesn’t get on board, they risk becoming irrelevant.
IMBA’s potential support to e-bikes is simply adding fuel to the fire that they’re losing focus and purpose. This honestly is making me seriously re-think my IMBA Membership.

I have no idea how they come to the conclusion that IMBA Members are 50/50 on STC support. The more trail access the better and if we continue to lose trail access in Wilderness areas, what will be next?

NickVT
NickVT
7 years ago

NEMBA nails it!
It’s as easy as that: either motorized or non-motorized, there’s no such thing like “just a bit motorized”.

Doug B
Doug B
7 years ago

Type I ebikes are just electric motorbikes with foot twist throttles.
Just because you have to pedal, does not mean that you are providing forward power.

Charles
Charles
7 years ago

Kudos to Bikerumor (AND NEMBA) for highlighting the issue, but especially bringing more attention to STC. I am convinced that STC is the way forward (paid lobbying) for the industry. Hope to see more manufacturers get behind STC too, just seems like common sense.

Angry Mechanic
Angry Mechanic
7 years ago

Nobody should believe that the Wilderness issue is new to IMBA, or is as simple as STC portrays it. Considering the breadth of IMBA’s experience re: trail access one can safely assume their approach to Wilderness is deliberately cautious, particularly in light of what’s at stake. The same goes for eMTBs, though I feel a far more immediate peril when it comes to their potential to undo years of advocacy work.

@b_p_t – NBDA, BPSA, etc. position= $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Michael
Michael
7 years ago

I’m curious how many commenting have actually ridden an electric assist bicycle in order to provide comments based upon experience rather than conjecture?

Roy
Roy
7 years ago

Are overweight riders disabled? If so, all of us that are anti motor-bikes don’t have a chance and IMBA will go with the bigger group, may take years of course, but there are no shortage of fat, aging mountain bikers that would love to jump on a new Emotor bike and dial the assist to 80% and chat in your ear on the climbs, of course promising to dial it back as they loose weight haha

Josh
Josh
7 years ago

SO write letters to IMBA telling them that you will not renew your membership if they do not 100% support STC. Last I heard it was still a membership based non-profit.

Brian
Brian
7 years ago

@thedude and @Roy. You’re absolutely right with these points about e-bikes. I keep hearing this argument for “disabled” users. However lets be realistic, I’ve never once seen a company actually show them used for those types of users. And how big is that population. And yes, once overweight out of shape users start using them as disabled they just become the rascal scooters at disney.

IMBA seems to really be dropping the ball on STC and getting criticism from all fronts here. Time to rethink the strategy.

Antipodean_eleven
7 years ago

Well, in the strictest sense, e-bikes are actually ‘mopeds’, where a moped is a teeny weeny motorcycle that has pedals (mopeds are NOT scooters, as many like to call scoters). Mopeds are generally regarded as motorised vehicles inmost countries I have lived and are governed generally in the same way.

E-bikes have no place in environments where only human powered transport is allowed.

Perfectbike
Perfectbike
7 years ago

Inclusion, not exclusion. We must find a way to accommodate e-MTBs.

bart
bart
7 years ago

The E-bike world is emerging and there will be growing pains as it was with Mountain bikes. There are ways to regulate E-bikes without relying on the land managers, you just need to think outside the box a little, which from all these post I read people just aren’t willing to do. As a person with a pretty bum knee I see an E-bike in my future. I have ridden one and am still not beating the racers I work with. As time passes I hope that i will still be able to ride all the same trails I do today. And I am sure if any of the opposition was in my shoes they may think differently. I do not want to ride a trail that has been beat up with people on motor bikes whizzing past me, that isn’t safe! There is a reasonable speed for a mountain bike. a 5000 watt 50 mile per hour bike is not reasonable, A bike with a throttle in my mind is not reasonable. There is a way to include this demographic. I would hope that as we all progress through life that opportunities are left open for us and not closed.

mortimer
mortimer
7 years ago

No to ebikes. But if they are allowed I’m gonna kit one out with some extra lipos, open up the watts and hit the trails. Heck I could build and sell after market power kits. Not really, but how do you regulate how much power is allowed? Will there be inspectors doing dyno testing?

scentofreason
scentofreason
7 years ago

On the disabled: I’ve raced against a guy with one leg, and a guy with one arm (and got beat by both). The guy with one leg was a legend in the pacific northwest. He’d almost hang on the climbs and crush you downhill. A disability is not a reason to flatten and pave every trail. I have no disabilities and there are trails I can’t climb/descend, an may never get the fitness/skill/balls to do so. Why should we level all the trails just so a handful of disabled persons can ‘ride every trail’, when fully abled people can’t ride every trail?
On actually having ridden an e-bike: I have, and I see great potential for commuters looking to save on monthly parking. But the cheapo I demo’d had three assist levels, a little bit, a little bit more, and full moto. NEMBA nailed this one, battery power and life will only get exponentially better (I hear they are even thinking about using batteries to power cars). Every single forestry agency is woefully understaffed. They would be thrilled to just ban all bikes to reduce their workload, and this is exactly what will happen the first time someone runs a hiker off a trail with a motorized bike.
On IMBA: Can not express the disappointment in this group on both counts. Getting us more access to wilderness trails would seem to be a primary function. And keeping bicycles from being grouped with motorcycles would also seem to be a primary function.

nightfend
7 years ago

I find it funny because the industry is so focused on short term profits, that they are blind to the damage that e-bikes can potentially do to cycling as an athletic endeavor.

There are just too many people that ride bikes now who will simply give up on non-assisted cycling when an easy to use electric assisted option is available.

I’ve test ridden a few e-bikes and they make riding ridiculously easy. Why bother with training to be a better athlete when electronics will solve that problem? Need a higher FTP and a faster time, just throw on a stronger motor.

I also wouldn’t want to be an investor in things like Strava and Training Peaks, as those markets will contract in a big way by this.

scentofreason
scentofreason
7 years ago

Almost forgot… Hey bike rumor, get off your a** and start supporting your readership. Every article about e-bikes you post should be written so as to vilify the a-holes who are pushing e-bikes onto us. See all the comments above lambasting IMBA for selling us out? You’re in the same boat. Start pulling your weight by trashing e-bikes every chance you get. Let me help you out. They are no longer ‘electric assist bikes’, (deleted)

Ham Jam
Ham Jam
7 years ago

Perhaps they are doing this, but IMBA should maintain the specifications of what a mountain e-bike is. This way land managers could be on the same page and be able to clearly make rules. E-bikes are happening. Sorry haters. Can’t stop fatbikes on snow trails, snowboards at resorts, cross bows for bow hunting, etc. Just need clear rules for where they are banned. Not a universal ban. Also, the safety argument is dumb. It’s easy to be dangerous on any bike.

Kevin Hodgson
Kevin Hodgson
7 years ago

Stop allowing the higher powered e bikes from being sold in the USA, so that every e bike is a type 1 pedal assist. That’s solved a lot of your problems overnight, regardless of whether you allow them off road, or only on road, or wait 10 years to think about allowing them offroad. Every time I look at kickstarter it’s another bolt on non-legal electric assist kit, or 50mph e bike, or 25 mph electric scooter or other such nonsense. And these monstrosities are filtering back over here. Just ban them like we do over here and only allow the 250w pedal assist. Europes been living with them for years, Switzerland maybe 15 years now. And yes, they nearly are all ridden by old people.

Greg S
Greg S
7 years ago

As much as I’d like to see people riding trails that otherwise would not be able to, ie. disabled or handicapped, it’s a slippery slope into unnecessary controversy allowing them on public trails. Again, it may be unfair to ban the e-bike but it’s a very small percentage that would actually use them on a trail. The e-bikes can only get more powerful and efficient until they resemble a full-on gas-powered dirt bike. What would be the difference then?

MB
MB
7 years ago

Can anyone explain why IMBA is not throwing in with STC? Makes no sense to me, but haven’t seen anything explaining it to the layperson.

Ol' Shel'
Ol' Shel'
7 years ago

As with other businesses that absorbed regional competitors, IMBA has grown too large and detached to properly serve its members. Like too many of our politicians, it can now only look at the largest donors when determining its policies, wary of any position that will starve it of cash.

If IMBA doesn’t reverse its pro-motorcycle stance, I’ll drop my regional membership and just donate money tot he club for their direct expenses from now on. IMBA can rely on the electric motorcycle industry for their financial support.

Gonzo
Gonzo
7 years ago

Imagine…
A land owner that enjoys the trails on his land with the help of an e-bike…
The mayors wife riding the local trails with an e-bike…
Those people wouldn’t have ever gotten out there and bikers would still be complete weirdos to them because sports was never a big part of their lives. E-bikes have a potential to change this.
I’m also still having some trouble accepting these powersuits for cyclists. But there is a possibility that riding your bike together with e-bikes on the local trails can create a huge momentum for mountain biking.
Maybe I’m dreaming but over here on the bike-paths (Europe) I see a lot of people who won’t use an ordinary bike but are all in for e-biking. And they want to enjoy it and they realize that it sucks being cut by a car or if a trail is closed. And they might not do it to any of us (weirdos) anymore…

Matt
Matt
7 years ago

Kudos to NEMBA. You can’t lead if you’re not in front, and these guys have been there time and again.

stikman
stikman
7 years ago

Agreed, wish e-bike and MTB could live as one, id ride one, but, they can’t coexist, so I will live.

rlenglish
rlenglish
7 years ago

If you are disabled and need a e-bike why don’t you ride it on the road? I see lots of people road riding and they look happy.

FoolCyclist
FoolCyclist
7 years ago

Agree.

Motor + Bike = Motorbike

fred
fred
7 years ago

Thank you for the open letter, NEMBA. Also, keep up the great work on the trails.

GoEbikes
GoEbikes
7 years ago

“For decades, groups like NEMBA and IMBA have defined mountain biking as a non-motorized form of recreation.”
Things change….
fact: Type 1 Ebikes don’t do any more damage to the trail than a normal bike, nor are they any more dangerous for the rider than a normal bike would be.
Ebikes open doors for shop sales, getting more people to ride bikes, enable people to feel the same thing a fit biker would feel riding up a mountain, and on and on.
Haters gonna Hate.
I vote for the future! Fat tires, 650b, bb(fill in the blank), Nano tech frame, wireless etc, battery operated, 29+, blah blah blah, go future!!!

imhereforFUN
imhereforFUN
7 years ago

Most comments are very similar to that of the close minded activist hikers that fought so hard to keep mountain bikes off the trails. E assist bicycles are bicycles that aid pedal power in a similar way to how gravity aids cyclists on a downhill grade. Maybe we all should pedal up hill for exercise and walk bikes down hill for safety?

sc
sc
7 years ago

I don’t think ebikes are really a problem. They just help the rider to climb easily and when the descent start it is pretty the same as a human powered bike and doesn’t create any additional problem to the trails, to the other users or to anything else. Give it a try and you will understand what I mean

Kevin K
Kevin K
7 years ago

I know 4 riders with peddle assist e bikes. Two of these guys are well over 70 and they love getting out doing what were doing 20 years ago. They are riding no faster or further that riders 30 years younger. Why can they enjoy not enjoy the trails as much someone with youth and fitness on their side?

What are we afraid of? Too many riders on the trails? Then stop promoting our sport!

I agree ebikes need to have limited power/speed. That’s a safety and track maintenance issue. No faster than a fit rider please.

Eddiecycle
Eddiecycle
7 years ago

Some of these pro-ebike comments are shocking. “You need to try one and you’ll see”? I built an electric bike over 15 years ago when nobody had heard of them and I’ve owned several over the years. They’re super fun, just like my motorcycle is. The argument that they cause no more damage to a trail and are just as safe as a regular bike is just ridiculous. I cause more damage on the days when I’m going hard versus the days when I’m taking it easy, so it’s a sure bet that if I went out with three times the power and an extra 20 lbs I’d be really tearing it up. I’m all for them being allowed on SOME trails, but I’m absolutely against them piggy-backing on decades of advocacy that’s been done in the name of human power. Ebikes should either be classified with motorcycles or they should lobby for their own classification, but there should be no link between mtbs and ebikes.

Erik
Erik
7 years ago

I have been testing out my new e-KTM 530 and absolutely love it! Seriously, if you want to ride an ebike there are ample places where motorized and non-motorized is allowed in most areas. Just go ride your e-bike on trails allowing motorized access, or just get an actual dirtbike so you don’t look like a gomer.

Bryan H.
Bryan H.
7 years ago

Eddiecycle has hit the nail on the head. If the rider of an e-bike doesn’t get winded on the climbs, wouldn’t he want to mount more agressive tires in order to have more fun on the descents? If the e-bike rider doesn’t get tired, couldn’t he easily ride 2 or 3 times more than he normally would each time he goes for a ride? To claim that e-bikes are no more destructive to trails than a normal bike is utterly false. To me, it’s pretty simple; an e-bike is a motorized vehicle, and motorized vehicles do not belong on non-motoized trails.

Kudos to Philip Keyes on getting it right, both on e-bikes and SCT. I’m withholding my IMBA donation this year until I hear their response. It’s likely those funds will instead go toward my local trail building group.

Subscribe Now

Sign up to receive BikeRumor content direct to your inbox.

Subscribe Now

Sign up to receive BikeRumor content direct to your inbox.