I know, evil. Nothing could be worse for MTB than an e-bike, even a very low powered one. Well, that isn’t my opinion, especially after riding a couple.
- The low powered pedal assist bikes must be pedaled to go anywhere. They are human powered and you work up a sweat climbing with them. This one is about 44 pounds!
2. They do not tear up trails and as a very long time trail worker this is a major criteria for me.
3. They are quiet. Not much more noise than a regular mountain bike and often less. You can barely hear the motor if there is the slightest wind or other ambient noise, like crows.
4. They are as safe to other trail users as regular mountain bikes. Most cap out at 20 mph, even less on a climb, and much more if you are on a long ride and want to save battery.
5. They enable longer rides for everyone. More miles means more time enjoying the outdoors. Really? Is that evil?
So what is it like to ride one of these beasts?
Fun!!! I rode dirt bikes very long ago but hated the noise. I love the quiet stable ride and the assist on steep climbs is welcome.
I rode this bike at the fall 2016 Outerbike on the motorized parts of the Moab Brand Trails. I’ve also rode the Haibike there and at the Sea Otter Classic bike festival in Monterey, California.
This is an FSR full suspension Stumpjumper mountain bike with all the usual components, plus a battery in the down tube and a motor. You have to shift to go up hill and I had to pedal hard at times. It is easy to forget to shift at first.
I aimed the bike at rock piles and it crawled over them with ease. I dropped down through them and it was stable and fun. Not all that sporty through bigger rocks though. What you gain in pleasure going up you lose in sportiness going down.
There is one huge drawback, and no, it isn’t running out of battery. That is easy to avoid. If you get into terrain where you want to hike the bike then you are pushing 44 pounds of dead weight. There is no throttle to use the motor to help you along. It is a bicycle, not a motorcycle. Also, most trails are closed to anything with a motor.
Except if you have an illness or disability that qualifies you for the American Disabilities Act. In most cases rangers can’t cite you for being on the forbidden trails. They can’t even ask you what your disability is.