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The E-Bike Equation: Thoughts after riding the Specialized Turbo Levo FSR 6Fattie in Moab

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Specialized Turbo Levo Moab UT Photos c specialized (8)
Photo c. Specialized / Colin Belisle

When Specialized first invited us out to Utah, we had no idea what was in store. It was soon revealed however, that we would be headed to Moab to test out the Turbo Levo FSR 6Fattie. Their first full suspension e-mountain bike. Huh.

With mixed emotions, we accepted the opportunity as a chance to at least have first hand knowledge on what the bike is – and isn’t. After all, as Einstein is often quoted, “the only source of knowledge is experience.”

So we set out to gain that experience. On e-bikes. On legal trails. In Moab…

Specialized Turbo Levo 6fattie moab ut photos c bikerumor (4)
No mountain bike trails were harmed to get this view.

It wasn’t that long ago that I was having a discussion with an employee of Haibike, another brand that sells a lot of e-bikes… Out of genuine curiosity, I inquired what their plan was for the sale of e-mountain bikes in the United States considering you weren’t able to ride them on mountain bike trails. Without missing a beat he said there were plenty of places at that very moment that e-bikes were completely legal to ride off road. He actually chose Moab as an example. While the Moab BLM recently declared that “motor assisted bikes” are illegal to use on any mountain bike trails in and around Moab, it seems to have been missed by many that the ban does not apply to all of the OHV trails that are open to anything from Jeeps to motos. If you haven’t been to Moab, there are far more trails open to motorized vehicles than not. In fact, many legendary “mountain bike” trails (like Slickrock) were actually pioneered by motos and are still open to the motorized set today.

All of this played directly into Specialized’s decision to host this event in Moab. It wasn’t intended to ‘poke the bear’ but rather clear up some misconceptions on the current legality of e-bikes. Also… Moab turns out to be an incredibly fun place to ride an e-bike.

And ride we did.

Specialized Turbo Levo Moab UT launch photos c. specialized (14)

Specialized Turbo Levo Moab UT Photos c specialized (3)
Specialized Brand Manager Sam Benedict was eager to show the way. Photos c. Specialized / Colin Belisle

We put more miles on the Turbo Levo in two days than I have on a classic bike (as Specialized likes to call them) here in a week. Brutal, tiring miles. One of the favorite criticisms of e-bikes seems to be that to ride one you would have to be lazy, or weak, or a terrible rider, or hoping to ride without getting a workout. After two days on a Levo here, I was beat. My legs were admittedly in pretty good shape on the return home. My upper body though? I felt like I had been weight lifting for a week. Overall, it actually seemed like more of a full body workout than the leg-intensive workout of a classic bike. There were quite a few points in the rides where we all looked at each other, out of breath with our hearts beating out of our chests thinking, “I thought this was supposed to be easy?”

Specialized Turbo Levo Moab UT launch photos c. specialized (13)
Chris, Sam, and Jonesy showing the motos how it’s done. Photos c. Specialized / Colin Belisle

Specialized Turbo Levo Moab UT launch photos c. specialized (12) Specialized Turbo Levo 6fattie moab ut photos c bikerumor (28)

There is no doubt that this was because the motor assist kept our legs feeling more fresh at the end of each ride, which in turn led to more riding. Two-a-days on some of Moab’s most iconic and brutal trails like Amasa Back (from town) and Slickrock Trail. Everything we rode was completely legal for e-bike use which led to some interesting encounters with other trail users. On Amasa Back we ran into a large group of moto riders at a relatively tricky section of trail. As the motos struggled to get their heavy bikes over a boulder strewn climb, we simply picked up the Levos and scrambled up. We didn’t see them again until we had already reached the summit.

Specialized Turbo Levo Moab UT Photos c specialized (1) Specialized Turbo Levo Moab UT Photos c specialized (2)

Specialized Turbo Levo 6fattie moab ut photos c bikerumor (5)
14 miles of road between us and the trail? Just hit Turbo.

This brings up another argument against e-bikes – they’re so expensive (they’re actually similarly priced to many mountain bikes), why not just get a motorcycle? That ride up Amasa back seemed to be all I needed to answer that question. Don’t get me wrong, I love motorcycles, and probably always will. But I love mountain bikes more. And compared to a motocross bike I found the near silence of the Levo combined with the relative light weight to be more like a bike than a motorcycle. You still have to pedal. You still have to ride it like a mountain bike downhill. It just helps fast forward the flat parts and gives you the ability to ride more trail. Keep in mind that we are talking about pedal assist bikes here – there are no throttles. If you don’t pedal, it doesn’t go.

Specialized Turbo Levo Moab UT launch photos c. specialized (1)
Photo c. Specialized / Colin Belisle

One thing is for sure, the addition of a motor in most cases will not give you super human mountain bike handling powers. It might make you faster on the climbs, but if you don’t have the skills, you will stumble as much (or more) as you would with a classic bike. There are of course some exceptions like Slickrock trail – the combination of endless grip and smooth rolling terrain really will leave you feeling like Superman. But generally, the Levo seems to amplify what is already there. If you are a fast rider, you will be even faster on the Levo. A mediocre rider? You’ll still struggle through the technical sections, but you will probably be a bit faster on the smooth sections.

Specialized Turbo Levo Moab UT launch photos c. specialized (27)
Forget e-bikes, let’s talk about that plus tire grip. You can SEE that front tire contact patch from here! Photo c. Specialized / Colin Belisle

That’s largely due to the fact that the Levo really rewards you for continuously pedaling. That means you really have to pick your lines quickly lest you stop pedaling and the motor bogs down. Then there is the potential for too much power to push the front end or send the bike out of control if you aren’t ready for the boost. There may be some truth to the fear that e-bike riders would suddenly find themselves in a situation where they are way over their head, but more likely they would have turned back long before they got to that point. The 6Fattie’s big contact patch certainly helped to stay planted to the trail, but it still requires just as much skill to pilot at high speeds.

Specialized Turbo Levo 6fattie moab ut photos c bikerumor (23)
Chris from Western Spirit was crushing it on the Turbo Levo 6Fattie Hardtail

Also, in spite of the bigger tires and motors, no one was sending plumes of roost off the back tires. While riding the Sovereign trail system it was often hard to make out where the riders ahead had gone in spite of the sandy trail surface. The Levo certainly allowed us to cruise at ridiculous speeds on the pavement, but once on the trail, normal trail obstacles made it difficult to maintain anything other than slightly higher than average speeds except on few of the less technical climbs. On the climb up Amasa Back our speed never got much past 12 mph with the average closer to 6 or 7. And that was with a group of extremely talented riders pushing each other to the summit.

Specialized Turbo Levo Moab UT launch photos c. specialized (4)

Honestly, this was an extremely difficult post to write knowing the cauldron of hate that e-bikes seem to stir. But trying to remain completely objective here, throw a leg over the Levo and you’re going to have fun. There’s really no way around it unless you are lying to yourself. Every rider who approached us at the trail head at first couldn’t figure out what it was. Then realization set in, and we encouraged them to take a spin for our own sake more than anything, paying close attention to their reaction. They all came back with a big grin, some even joking about trading in their classic bike. This is one of those things you really do have to try in order to understand it.

Specialized Turbo Levo Moab UT launch photos c. specialized (8)
Photo c. Specialized / Colin Belisle

Fun aside, is this really a mountain bike? Does it belong on non-motorized trails? Personally, I’m fine with their current restrictions to OHV trail use only. A place like Moab made it clear that just because we weren’t on mountain bike specific trails it didn’t mean it wasn’t fun. In fact, I think the nature of the OHV trails may have suited the e-bikes more. Riding Slickrock on an e-bike will forever alter your opinion of the infamous trail.

Of all of the arguments against e-bikes though, I think the trail access issue is one of the few that does have a lot of merit. If you’ve been around mountain biking for any length of time, you know that trail access is a contentious issue and that an army of great people are constantly working to improve that. At this point in time, it seems that adding e-bikes to the mix would unnecessarily complicate things. Perhaps in the future when non-motorized mountain bikes are no longer viewed as the enemy to Wilderness, e-bikes could possibly gain acceptance, but for now it seems like the obvious answer is to keep them to motorized, off road vehicle trails.

However, even if e-bikes are kept to OHV trail use, we still foresee issues in the future. For starters, the Turbo Levo hardly looks like an e-bike at all, and e-bikes are only going to get more stealthy. That makes the act of enforcing trail use much more difficult for those in charge. As the history of mountain biking (and Strava use) shows, trails are still poached to this day by ‘classic’ bikes, so would e-bikes be any different? And even if trails aren’t intentionally poached, we have to figure that there would be a number of riders who purchase an e-bike and simply aren’t aware of trail restrictions and end up violating the rules even if they have no intention to. Specialized does make a plea to potential users that they follow the rules and stay on e-bike legal trails.

Specialized Turbo Levo 6fattie moab ut photos c bikerumor (3)

All of this left us still a bit unsure of the future of e-bikes off road in the United States. Our time with the Turbo Levo was undeniably fun and destroyed many of the misconceptions surrounding electric bikes, but still left us worried about potential trail conflicts. Even if confined to OHV trails (and streets), e-bikes will more than likely open the door to a new group of enthusiasts who may never find themselves on a classic bike – or enthusiast riders looking for the ability to ride more miles in a day. Of course this would greatly benefit companies like Specialized and others who are selling e-bikes which is certainly part of the equation and needs to be kept in mind. In the long term we just have to make sure that what’s good for the industry, is also good for the sport.

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KellyN
KellyN
6 years ago

So, about that elephant in the room… what was the battery life like?

elpataron
elpataron
6 years ago

It is not a classic bike. It’s a bike.

It isn’t an e-bike. It’s a motorcycle, and what you just did was ride a motorcycle in Moab. A very weak battery powered motorcycle.

Ren
Ren
6 years ago
Reply to  elpataron

Motorcycles are activated by a throttle. There is no throttle on this e-bike. And I don’t think specialized is trying to rename bicycles, they just use “classic bike” as a handy name to reference traditional bicycles in the context of e-bikes.

Ironically, plenty of motorcyclists refer to their gas powered 2 strokes as ‘bikes’ as well. Vocabulary is a weak argument against e-bikes.

AC
AC
6 years ago
Reply to  Ren

It’s not the throttle that defines a motorcycle, it’s the engine. Ebikes are not solely human powered. Ebikes = motorcycles. Nothing wrong with motorcycles, I have a couple and love them. But they don’t belong on no motorized trails, and in the US p, they will hurt bike access. I guess that’s ok as long as specialized can make some $.

Cheese
Cheese
6 years ago
Reply to  Ren

It is propelled by a motor, so yes, it is a motor bike.

MIrwin
MIrwin
6 years ago
Reply to  Cheese

Calling it a motorcycle is a misnomer. We all now what a traditional motorcycle is and this is not one by that definition. It’s a pedal assisted bike: no pedal, then no motor assist. So how is that a ‘motorcycle’?

Kyle MacDermaid
6 years ago
Reply to  elpataron

It’s a moped technically. But yes, it’s not a bicycle.

Marc Lindarets
6 years ago

*cough* motorbike *cough*

“you know that trail access is a contentious issue and that an army of great people are constantly working to improve that. At this point in time, it seems that adding e-bikes to the mix would unnecessarily complicate things.”

The cycling community needs to distance itself from motorized recreation, full stop. Pedals or no, regardless of output, e-bikes are motorized. No amount of hand waving will change that simple, straightforward distinction. For OHV trails fine- but motorized bikes have no business on nonmotorized trails.

Mike
Mike
6 years ago

I will say, that Moab is about the only place where e-bikes are likely to get quickly accepted… it’s my understanding that slickrock was staked out by motorbike guys after all. Best of luck in Northern California…

hllclmbr
hllclmbr
6 years ago
Reply to  Mike

“All” might be pushing things a bit too far. “Some” or “a few” seems more apt

Mike
Mike
6 years ago
Reply to  hllclmbr

Um, “after all” just an expression. I just mean that the original trails at slickrock were mapped out (like in the 1960’s and before mountain bikes) by dudes on motorbikes and motors are allowed on certain trails near Moab now, so it’s not particularly odd, historically to allow e-bikes there.

Chris
Chris
6 years ago
Reply to  Mike

He just misread your comment. I think he read “slickrock was all staked out by motorbike guys”. If he didn’t, it’s a weird thing for him to pick up on.

Colin M
Colin M
6 years ago

Bring it on. That is real technological advancement. All bikes that cost $5000 plus should have pedal assist.

Tim
Tim
6 years ago

This article just gave Specialized and e-bikes a lot of misleading press. The choice of Moab for the photo shoot was intended to distract on three levels- a visual one (the place is beautiful), a historic one (Moab is an iconic MTB trail), and a factual one- the trails there are technical and don’t allow very high speeds most of the time. And in my view, the biggest danger from e-bikes comes from their much higher average speed. Because the article never considers what the impact of introducing e-bikes on different styles of trails (technical, slow ones versus fast, wide-open ones) might be, it leaves the impression that, well, because it’s OK in beautiful, beloved [but unique] Moab, your fears are all overblown.

Eric Hansen
Eric Hansen
6 years ago

The article was VERY well written and worked through all the arguments surrounding e-bikes.

Motor + bike = motorbike, and there are motorbike trails criscrossing the nation.

Tim
Tim
6 years ago
Reply to  Eric Hansen

The article absolutely did not work through all the arguments surrounding e-bikes. The bikes were tested on trails where it was not usually possible to reach a high speed. This is a glaring omission.

Eric Hansen
Eric Hansen
6 years ago
Reply to  Tim

These bikes were ridden on, and the article was written about operation on multi-use trails for which motor biking is legal. What’s the issue with speed differentials, here? Try to actually read the article before replying.

traildog
traildog
6 years ago

I don’t think anyone has ever argued that e-bikes wouldn’t be fun. Whether they are fun or not, or how much more they allow you to ride in a day or week, is totally irrelevant.

Chris
Chris
6 years ago
Reply to  traildog

Helicopters are fun too. So is watching cartoons. Pinatas. So much fun. “There’s really no way around it unless you are lying to yourself.”

bikewho
6 years ago

unless you have a physical limitation or disability, these things should be banned from trails. This IS A MOTORIZED vehicle and if you’re that slow and lazy that you can’t pedal up a hill, maybe you should just get a buss pass, go to the corner store, buy a can of pringles and aerosol cheese and get even fatter .

JustTheFactsM'am
JustTheFactsM'am
6 years ago

Talk about being suckered into participating in the marketing spin – yeesh! It’s not a f*ing “classic bike.” It’s a bicycle. If it has a motor in it (or an engine) it’s a motorcycle. Period. BR should stick to the facts and leave the marketing doublespeak to the Specialized sales people.

Got a bike with a motor in it? Ride it freely on trails designated for motorized vehicles, and have a blast! There’s plenty of room for these things right along side gas-powered motorcycles and ATVs. Stay off the single track.

scotty Ø (@scottythe1nonly)

These bikes are opening up a can of worms within the advocacy community all over the country. Motor Bikes will be used by anti MTB groups to shut off access. The arguments will sound like this:

Allowing MTBs on trails will leave the trail suseptable to motor bikes that the land managers won’t be able to police, and will damage trails

Or

MTBs don’t need access to non motorized trails because they have motors now and can share ORV trails.

K
K
6 years ago

ban these please

Padrote
Padrote
6 years ago

Riding moab on any two wheeled vehicle is difficult.

Dinger
Dinger
6 years ago

Anyone who would call a pedal-assist bicycle a motorcycle has not ridden a pedal-assist bicycle or a motorcycle. The two glaring differences are weight and speed.

The argument that the e-bike will result danger from higher average speeds disregards the fact that all of conventional speed limitations are still there. Traction and technical ability will prevent a heavier bike with a motor and battery from going any faster on level or downhill single-track any faster than a capable rider on a conventional bike could. An e-bike can certainly help a rider go uphill faster, but dangerously so? Not likely.

Instead of fiercely protecting what we imagine is a trail-kingdom, we should be considering the possibility of a growing voice that can gain everyone more access. Are there some issues? Sure, but the sky isn’t falling. This can work, easily.

Wuffles
Wuffles
6 years ago
Reply to  Dinger

Okay, I’ve ridden more than a few e-bikes, and own the commuter one specialized makes.

Are they fun? Yes.

Are they motorized vehicles? Yes.

Now, for the flip side- do e-bikes get brought up at every land-use meeting by hikers and equestrians as an example of why bikes should be banned? Yes, every goddam time. And every time they use their political clout (the Sierra club being the biggest stick, but far from the only one).

Some issues? That’s a killer issue. Look at the recent ruling on the wilderness. If you don’t think the sky is falling, you’re not paying attention.

Want to ride your e-bike in the wild? Go build an e-bike trail.

Champs
Champs
6 years ago
Reply to  Dinger

For that matter, you could broaden the appeal of other sports just by making the goals bigger. Every free throw, every midfielder from distance, etc. Wouldn’t be missing the point at all.

kcr138
kcr138
6 years ago

I have long thought that a fat bike would be a great companion while jeeping in Moab- the going is slow on the jeep trails and being a passanger can be a bore. This would be a good option for that- when you want to goof around on the jeep trails without too much effort. (although it’d be more fun if you didn’t HAVE to pedal, haha). But these don’t belong on Porcupine Rim, the rest of Whole Enchilada, Mag7, or my local trails in Arizona. I agree 100% with Eric’s commment. Nice work, and lets keep the motorized bikes on motorized trails.

pmurf
pmurf
6 years ago

I’m not an expert in either mountain biking or motorcycles, but I feel like tons of people are overlooking the idea of pedal-assist when they so assertively claim that an e-bike is a motorbike. Semantics aside (I realize that it has a MOTOR and is a BIKE-ish vehicle), there is at least SOME difference between a vehicle that requires a simple hand movement to throttle and one that requires you to operate it with all the mechanics of a bicycle. This isn’t an argument for or against their use on trails, just a statement of definition. E-bikes are not absolutely bicycles nor are they absolutely motorbikes. They live somewhere in between, and to declare the absolute of “They’re motorcycles!” is ridiculous.

Wuffles
Wuffles
6 years ago
Reply to  pmurf

How is calling them motorized vehicles ridiculous? That is a simple statement of fact.

Marc Lindarets
6 years ago
Reply to  Wuffles

+1

Tim
Tim
6 years ago
Reply to  Wuffles

Uh… he never said e-bikes are not motorized vehicles. He never even said e-bikes are not motorcycles. He said e-bikes are somewhere between bikes and motorcycles. Read his comment closely, and you’ll see that.

Wuffles
Wuffles
6 years ago
Reply to  Tim

Motorcycle, motorbike, moped- they all imply motor vehicle, and the BLM/Dept of Interior treats them with the same classification, which is a distinctly different classification from human-powered vehicles, such as bikes.

There is no in-between classification. It is a motor vehicle, or it isn’t.

Tim
Tim
6 years ago
Reply to  Wuffles

OK, e-bikes have a motor. But if as you say they are classified as motorcycles by the BLM, then the BLM’s categories are very, very wide. An e-bike probably has what, 10hp max? I’m not saying I’m pro e-bike, I’m saying e-bikes and motorcycles are not comparable in weight, performance, or danger.

Chris
Chris
6 years ago
Reply to  Wuffles

@Tim
“An e-bike probably has what, 10hp max?”
I’m not always a huge fan of slippery slope arguments, but it’s easy to see upgrade kits and mods in the near future as these get more popular.
ebikes are really popular in Singapore, and they’ve just legislated to stop the upgrade market that’s grown up. Guy hooted past me on a bike path when I was doing 35kph. He must have been doing close to 50kph on his suped up ebike judging by how fast he blew past. Not pedaling, by the way.
That was late last year. I’d imagine if you want an MTB ebike that can do more than just add a bit of oomph to your pedal, soon it won’t be, and probably isn’t right now, too hard to get one.

rlee
rlee
6 years ago
Reply to  pmurf

Yes they are pedal assist, the ones I have ridden are docile. But if we embrace them in a few years they won’t be like anything we see now.

BRETE
BRETE
6 years ago

“Classic bike” is a phrase that pisses me off. I’m not changing the name of my bike, or what I do, to accommodate this dumb a** idea. I ride a BIKE. If people ride an eBike (I’d rather call it LameMoto) that’s totally cool. I ride a BIKE.

bearCol
bearCol
6 years ago
Reply to  BRETE

Using the term “classic bike” is not appropriate here. This isn’t complicated. You call a mountain bike a mountain bike, and if there’s any form of power assist you call it something other than a mountain bike.

-rizza
-rizza
6 years ago

In a few years you won’t be able to tell ebikes from real bikes and law enforcement will just start treating all riders to a lot more regulation and enforcement. Thanks ebikes, you turned bikes into cars.

eesny
6 years ago

Love It!!!

This’ll allow people of different fitness levels to ride together! This’ll allow for longer rides. This will provide “assistance getting home” safety buffer. Lot’s of goodness – clean quiet electric goodness…

Can’t wait!

bearCol
bearCol
6 years ago
Reply to  eesny

I find riding skills are the biggest separater for who rides with who more than fitness.

Jerry Hazard
6 years ago

“Not (absolutely) bicycles” about covers it.

TomM
TomM
6 years ago

Was Femke Van den Driessche at this PR event?

delquattro
delquattro
6 years ago

Look at the Luddites who can’t distinguish between a smelly, smoky, noisy 20hp motorcycle with footpegs and a bicycle with pedals, a motor whose power is measured in watts, and limited by battery weight.
Luddite opposition like this is not open to the possibility that one day the technology could progress to the point where your chainrings are replaced with a generator, your cogset is replaced with a hub motor mounted front and/or rear and your chain is replaced with wires.
I welcome the e-bike’s development as I continue to ride my classic bike.

Lose a quarter
Lose a quarter
6 years ago
Reply to  delquattro

You seem to be unaware of the large energy losses entailed by the conversion from mechanical energy to electric and back.

John
John
6 years ago
Reply to  delquattro

What you’ve described already exists, they’re called “mopeds”.

dustytires
6 years ago

I don’t know what the big deal is. This is a great way to get new people on bikes, which is great! and a bunch of current so called mountain bike riders will be able to be out longer and burn more calories, great as well. Descending skill requirements are dropping by the foot with IMBA affiliates digging up rock and roots by the ton, so why not make the ascending easier? Come on people, we don’t drive cars without air conditioning or automatic transmissions, why would we want to pedal 100% of our fat asses up the hill when we could be assisted. Face it, this is the future in a big way. Want another thought to gnaw on? When YamaKawaSukOndaKtm decide to make electric motorcycles with pedals they will turn this industry sideways. If they can sell a fuel injected, four stroke motorcycle for the same price as a high end mountain bike without a freakin motor hmmm. We can also assume that the motorcycle companies are at least taking notice, with their product loosing land access acreage in almost every part of the world, throwing some money at pedal assist motos and some $ for politicos to ensure that their new pedal assist motos have a place to ride? Game changer ? maybe.

boner
boner
6 years ago

perfect bike for Oakridge OR where many of the trails allow motorcycles 😉

bearCol
bearCol
6 years ago

I’ll pass, I like riding mountain bikes.

jmhix
6 years ago

It’s illegal plain and simple, its even posted on the BLM’s website…

Eds. as stated in the article, the bikes were ridden only on authorized ORV trails in Moab, of which there are many.
http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/moab/recreation/mountain_bike_trails.html

bearCol
bearCol
6 years ago

The one silver lining I see is when I ride the Amasa area I’ll only have to see these ugly motor bikes on the jeep road. Rock Stacker, ahab and Jacksons are where the goods in that area are and E-bikes aren’t allowed! The sad thing is you know some motor bikers are going to poach.

Bill
Bill
6 years ago
Reply to  bearCol

Your article is well balanced. I blame Specialized for this abomination. Anything for a buck, even selling out the cyclists that built your company. I don’t think it is an accident the S e-bikes are stealthy and so closely resemble an actual bike. Nothing but conflict out of this as these move on to actual trails where they are banned. In a weird way I think of the case of the busted cyclocross racer with the hidden motor. Perhaps Specialized could hook up one of their sponsored Tour de France riders with a stealthy e-bike. I regret having bought so many Specialized bikes for myself and my kids. Done. You should be ashamed M. Synard.

sk8dad
sk8dad
6 years ago
Reply to  Bill

I concur on all of the Bill’s points.

Shame on the Big S for the blatant intent to blur the lines between assisted and human-powered. While it’s true in this case that the tests are done on multi-use trails, I’m afraid there are many who would take Specialized’s move as carte blanche permission to ride any mountain bike-legal trail. In this very competitive industry, once the flood gates open, what’s to keep hordes of small manufacturers from China (a country known for gross violations of environmental regulations) from building overpowered electric motorcycles disguised as “e-bikes” capable tearing up all sorts of terrain with their massive torque? At that point you can kiss mountain biking the human-powered sport good bye.

On earlier argument regarding access for the less fit…too freaking bad! If you can’t be bothered to stay or get in shape to get your fat a** up a mountain, you don’t deserve to be there. The only case where this is acceptable is for the case of legitimate physical handicaps. I’d be okay if your bike came with a handicap placard riveted onto the frame with your picture on it. Same goes future development of exoskeletons and robotic pack mules for ‘backpackers’. The whole point of this sport is that it’s supposed to be hard. If you want it easy, why bother with mountain eBikes? (deleted)

Durianrider
Durianrider
6 years ago

Ive got a collection of bikes including 2 ebikes that I use for motor pacing or running errands after training instead of driving. They are really handy and total excuse killers. Motors for the road, glycogen for the dirt.

For me Moab on an ebike is fine if you have a physical impairment but otherwise the trails should be left to sweat and tears.

preston
preston
6 years ago

(deleted)

Morpheous
Morpheous
6 years ago

(deleted)

Immrfun
Immrfun
6 years ago

For all the safety hype I have never read nor do I believe there is any data to indicate e bikes cause any more accidents and injuries to either the cyclist or to 3rd persons. Many of the previous comments smack of protectionistic phobias by monofocused NIMBYs. I’ve seen similar analogous hype by the hang glider community when paragliders appeared on the scene. The rhetoric about paragliders and their use of the same sites was brutal. As the paragliding community grew and even came to parity with the hangies, they eventually figured out that the negative hype was moronic and that they had far more in common than different. They joined forces and became a viable force in site preservation, safety, and other issues. As an example, E bikes allow older people to get back outdoors and extend the years they can do what they love. They bring experience, funds, connections, and clout. I would think that the NIMBYs would want all the support they can get. Just a thought.

Jon
Jon
6 years ago

Luddite galore on here today. Bitch, bitch, moan, moan. Dread to think of their views in the past on full suspension, di, etc. Sounds like all the whinging on disc brakes on road bikes. You have to pedal or it won’t move and it doesn’t make a racket so it’s not a motorbike. Rich that horse riders complain about mountain bikers. Have you seen how they destroy the trail!!

For people like me now with kids that can’t get out riding every week I think these type of ebikes sound great. Would allow me to do a whole solid days hard biking like I used to do, but which now my legs just wouldn’t be able to cope with. Yes the answer would be just get out and do more riding to get super fit again. But that just isn’t an option with kids, work, home life, etc. At the end of the day mountain biking is about having fun and staying fit. If this allows me to still do this and push my skills then bring it on.

Runwhatyabrung
Runwhatyabrung
5 years ago
Reply to  Jon

As you get older you will just need to dial up the wattage accordingly so you will still be able to do a solid days riding like you used to do. Good. Done.

jdog
jdog
6 years ago

These are here to stay. Like them or not. They are a ton of fun and very useful. Personally I maintain a local Mtb trail network with an ebike and a bob trailer. Anyone who has done 4 hours of trail building and then pulled a 100+ lb trailer home after, knows just how tired you can be. This innovation has made for in increase in time spent building single track locally. I will honestly say that there is zero increase in trail impact from an e-bike. Every bike brand will make one in the next 5 years or sooner. They are already on your local trails and like the article says, they are less obvious than you think. I would still prefer my 100% human powered bike, but I see these as a way to increase trail usage and access awareness. The easy thing here is to shun them, but until you have ridden one in the woods and formed an opinion based on a real experience, you are being closed minded. I also own a KTM woods bike and to call this a motorcycle is laughable.

Heffe
Heffe
6 years ago

Motor + cycle = motorcycle. Already there are people with poor bike handling skills blazing (illegally) on e-bikes on bike paths in my town. License them as motorcycles, get them off of bike paths and bike trails and onto streets and motorcycle trails.

Robert
Robert
6 years ago

Just ordered my ebike yo ride around the sweet single track in my neck if the woods. KOM here I come!

Horst Leitner
Horst Leitner
6 years ago

Keep the ebike innovations coming. I’ll need one in 30-40 years to keep me pedalling.

Jackhead
Jackhead
6 years ago

Super stoked about these!

BIKERUMOR – Thank you so much for covering this! Not all of us are all freaked out about batteries on our bikes (not even most of us)! Some of us actually ride for fun, and this looks like fun! I already have my order in for the Expert version of this abomination.

To all you hardcore e-bike haters… Why do you have full suspension? HTFU! So you want a lower gear? HTFU! What’s up with all that carbon fiber and those lightweight wheels? HTFU! Water bottle holder? HTFU! Drink when you get back home. (deleted). Chamois to pad your soft tush? HTFU! E-bike that let’s you ride further and faster and have even more fun? HTFU!!

Sometimes I ride around with my brakes on to make it harder for me to pedal. It makes me mad to think about pedal assist. Not!

Greg Thomas
Greg Thomas
6 years ago

What’s the big deal? Ride them on motorized bike trails and there’s no controversy.

hobblealong
hobblealong
6 years ago

As a paraplegic who can get out there with an ebike, and cannot without, all this talk from the able bodied is just typically self centred professional offendedism. eBikes do not increase trail wear anymore than a normal MTB, its not like you can pull huge power slides. Ignorance rules.

sk8dad
sk8dad
6 years ago
Reply to  hobblealong

hobblealong,

For those with legitimate physical need such as yourself, an e-bike offers the perfect solution. I think most mountain bikers would be perfectly accepting in such case–especially if such cases are clearly regulated so that Charlie Cheeseburger can’t just buy one of these and go. The fear is abuse. The Chinese manufacturing complex does not care about our trail rules. There’s nothing preventing them from building “e-bikes” capable of huge power slides because it’s essentially a free feature within the drive software. Similarly, there’s nothing preventing them from building “hoverboards” that burn down your house as we’ve seen in recent news. Without tight regulation as is the case right this moment in our industry, Specialized’s move essentially kicks off a free-for-all arms race whose logical end is enormously powered electric motorcycles with vestigial pedals for decoration.

Jimbo08
Jimbo08
6 years ago

Bill, Don’t be so hard on Specialized. They are relatively late to the e-bike game. Other bike manufacturers, auto manufacturers were making some really fine pedal assist bikes long before the Big S. Specialized is investing heavily in good e-bike tech that will have its place, as they continue to develop better mountain and road bike tech for our pleasure.
I do like that each e-bike I see on the road is one less gas powered polluter.

Gebus
Gebus
6 years ago

Cant wait to get my wife one.. Specially a fat version.. Since ever since see injured her back she cant ride with me and is handicapped forever… Some of you are plain angry

bart
bart
6 years ago

A great read! I am a mountain biker and having ridden an E-bike off road I can truly say that it has changed my perception. Lets get more people out on the trails. More people riding bikes(all bikes) means more people are going to lobby for more trails and that is good for everyone! For now you will still find me on my classic bike, but I am sure you will find me grinning ear to ear on an E-bike at some point.

Eric
6 years ago

I look forward to renting one my next visit to Moab. In my area there is not many OHV places to ride so it would not get used.

John Moore
6 years ago

As I get older and slower, I have some interest in e-bikes and I’m happy to see innovation in the space. I’ve got riding buddies as much as 20 years younger than me and living in the foothills of CO means we often start our rides with a few thousand feet of climbing. Today my choices are:
– ‘let’ them ride away from me, hope we regroup at top
– redline it up the hill, keep them in sight have a tough day after such a hard effort
– get new friends

Inviting my wife on a ride offers her the same choices, and if I take her on a ride with more climbing than your average freeway overpass offers, I think divorce enters her mind fairly frequently.

E-bikes offer some solutions to these that still appeal to me as a ‘biker’ with 4 decades of competition history. It sounds way more like biking than taking shuttle runs in a pickup to go downhilling.

I agree there are concerns, hopped up Tesla-style bikes turning backcountry trails into Supercross jump parks isn’t something I want to deal with on my regular trails, and I’m even more worried about people motoring at 40MPH down urban bike paths with joggers, kids and dogs meandering around – but I think we can learn to find good policies that allow the space to grow.

Thor
Thor
6 years ago

awesome I got bum knees and like to ride my ebike
yes its heavier and I get a good workout without blowing my knees
get off that high horse and think about older peeps like me who are working on trails even if they are not allowed to ride with MY bike …

Flatbiller
Flatbiller
6 years ago

Currently working on an original “Specialized lawsuit” comment. Will post once I come up with a good one. I swear that it will be unlike any of the other ones that have been posted–this one will be good, promise.

Right now, it has something to do with how Specialized is trying to sue Nikola Tesla’s estate…

Fly Boy
Fly Boy
6 years ago

I’m chuckling, as this is solely an American issue. The rest of the world sees ebikes as bicycles, so manufacturers are wise to churn them out.

BennyM
BennyM
6 years ago

Like the not-so-info-mercial tenor of this piece than the last, one, thank you Bike Rumor

HarresonS
HarresonS
5 years ago

These bikes are human powered- not motor powered, theres no throttle, they only move when they are pedaled, a bicycle only moves when its pedaled. I live in the interior of BC, Nelson- many our trails require a hard effort to get up them because of the steep terrain- and the average novice rider has to push their bike, no matter how low their gearing is. Pushing a bike is not mountain biking, and takes the fun out of the sport, having a e-bike you still have to pedal but gives you an assist is not a motocycle- the same as a parent pushing their kid up a hill- it makes cycling a lot more enjoyable for those older, or novice riders who don’t have the endurance or the muscle to ride up stuff without a little help. If an e-bike helps someone get into and enjoy mountain biking, its helping the sport grow, you cannot stop progress- this is like the farmers trying to stop the combine harvester when it was 1st invented

RobertR
RobertR
5 years ago

lots of stupid postings here- by people who probably never even rode an e-bike. e-bikes assist when pedaling up. no pedal, no up. thats why they are not called motorcycles. and they don’t make you faster down, they ride, feel and maneuver 100% like the bike you e-haters are sitting on.

“keep them on motorized trails” ?! get your head out of your ass, better try one of those bikes before you post complete BS on the net.

Robby G
Robby G
5 years ago
Reply to  RobertR

The hate dates back to the motorcycle on public trails days. These descendants can not stand to see trails enjoyed so much…and now with e-bikes it’s easier than ever. They still don’t want mountain Bikes in general on trails. The same hate came back in the early eighties when mountain bikes started showing up on trails. I personally think e-bikes are awesome and I plan to buy one. It will stand next to the full suspension 29er and the KTM 350XCF-W. I just hope people use them wisely and not screw it up for all of us. Ride in Peace…my friends.

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