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Here is what I think the next generation mountain ebike will be, which will be common within 10 years to the point that most quality mountain ebikes and most people buying new ebikes will ride:
  • eBike. All of these modern bikes will have an electric drivetrain. The bike makers will offer a smaller and smaller category of manual bikes.
  • Relatively light (between 32 and 40 lbs) with no range compromise. This will be achieved by advances in eBike motors, battery technology, and frame and component advances.
  • No derailleur: complete gearbox built into the electric drive as one unit with electronic, wireless shifting which may optionally be automatic. The automatic will have infinite gearing, changing 'gears' on the fly in relation to the torque that the rider is applying.
  • Not just torque, but heart rate will drive the pedal assist engine.
  • No visible cables. The brakes may be wireless or at a minimum, the cables will be routed starting inside the handlebars.
  • Regenerative braking, like on electric cars. So after burning some battery life on the climb, on your way down the mountain, you'll be charging the battery when applying your brakes. Regeneration may occur at certain speeds also without applying the brakes.
  • Sophisticated integration of software with the bike so riders can customize aspects of the electric drive, as well as the electronic brakes and even adjustments to frame geometry.
  • A more sealed off design when it comes to the entire drivetrain.
  • Adaptive suspension common: suspension that adapts to the terrain you're on, adjusting travel accordingly.
  • Sealed rear shocks where both front and rear shocks are digitally adjusted with software.
  • Integrated decent size screens built into the bikes with a host of information effectively operating like a smartphone in certain ways.
Some unknowns:

Frame geometry?
Wheel size?
Front and rear shock design?
Frame material? Expecting Carbon Fibre...
 

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Regenerative braking will be quite a challenge with a mid-motor design. I had a hub motored bike that would do it but it was a very small effect, both in terms of charge and deceleration.
 

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The OP article should be more like the next 25 years.
Technological upgrades as mentioned could be expensive so my feeling is small bike annually improvements to entice/force consumers to pay a rising amount for a bike of any kind.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I've been mountain biking since 1990, from Vancouver, BC. I found this forum some time back because I was looking for information about a mountain bike I had in highschool in the 90s made by Tech, which I posted in a thread here months ago.

I own a 2021 Rocky Mountain Altitude C50 and a Rocky Mountain Altitude PowerPlay (eBike) C90. I also have on order a 2022 Rocky Mountain Element C50. Each bike has a purpose. The Altitude C50 is for downhill/the bike park. The PowerPlay is for non-bike park riding (all around trail riding). And the Element will be for lighter trail riding and urban riding. If I'm not at the bike park, I take my PowerPlay everytime. I can dart up hills 2-3 times faster than when on a manual bike and I can ride for long periods of time through big mountains. By the end of the day, I'm exhausted. The PowerPlay makes effectively no frame geometry compromises and has 160 mm travel in the front, and 150 mm in the back. It's excellent going down the hill as well.

The responses to this thread so far are predictable. I find that there is a general bias toward eBikes in the mountain biking community and their saturation rate at this point is low. However, after riding the PowerPlay for a year regularly on Mt. Seymour, Mt. Fromme, Cypress, all around Squamish, and up throughout Whistler and Pemberton, I'm never going back to a manual bike for non bike park riding. This is because the electric drivetrain enables me to power up the mountain extremely quickly and then ride down with a fully capable bike. I still get a workout because I leave it in the lowest assist setting and I can climb sections of mountains that a manual bike could never climb where I'd be walking the bike. My heart rate gets elevated quite high in these sections.

Product Managers from some of the big bike makers are saying what I'm saying. They see that there will be some form of electric assist in most of the mountain bikes in the future. And I agree with Wade Simmons (2001 Red Bull champion) as he refers to his experience first riding the Rocky Mountain PowerPlay:

"I probably just had the most fun in the past 5 years of mountain biking in the last 2 seconds. My mind is just racing with the idea of what's possible. " - Wade Simmons"

Wade is currently riding a few different bikes, but one is a custom Rocky Mountain PowerPlay which he says he gets criticism from people about riding an "eBike" and he doesn't understand why. He loves it and rides the same difficult mountains as me.
 

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I don't see eBikes ever fully displacing real MTBs, at least not in the foreseeable future. I think they will continue to do what they are doing now: selling in addition to real MTBs. THIS is why the industry is pushing them so hard. They will likely eat into real MTB sales some, but the idea that all high end MTBs will be electric is absurd, IMO.

Also, is it me or is electronic shifting not taking off in the MTB world the way we were told it would? Seems to get a lot more buy-in on the Road side of things. I do think that what eShifting there is will continue along the lines the OP describes.

Folks have been predicting the demise of the RD on these forums for as long as I have had an internet connection. Alternatives have been around the whole time, and have never gotten beyond fringe acceptance. I'm all for it, but so far nothing has come along that really makes much sense to me as a better alternative.

I do not doubt that MTBs will continue to internally route more cables and hoses. It serves no practical purpose (just more work, IMO), but folks seem to like it, and it will continue.
Everyone I've talked to who's tried electronic shifting (myself included) really like it. I think price point is what's holding it back from getting more popular. Guys buying $3000 bikes don't want to spend another $1000 on a derailleur and shifter, and most of the stock bikes that have it are in the $8000+ range.

I could see it taking over one day, but someone is going to have to find a way to make it accessible for everyone.
 

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Everyone I've talked to who's tried electronic shifting (myself included) really like it. I think price point is what's holding it back from getting more popular. Guys buying $3000 bikes don't want to spend another $1000 on a derailleur and shifter, and most of the stock bikes that have it are in the $8000+ range.

I could see it taking over one day, but someone is going to have to find a way to make it accessible for everyone.
That and the fact that it's hard to get anything these days. I wouldn't judge adoption of electric shifting when people struggle just to get a bike or components.
 

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Well that would be pathetic if all bikes came with motors, how lazy can america get. I'm 48 and ride single speed most of the time because I want to challenge myself and get a fun workout. I love my geared, full squish bike but it makes me soft, never mind riding a bike with a motor.

Maybe when I'm 60 I will get a ebike, but I truly hope I am in good enough shape to still ride a normal bike.
I am the same age. My goal is 65. I figure then, maybe, a little assist. I passed a couple of hikers yesterday on a climb (meaning I crawled by) and was happy when they said: "self powered, good job."
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Don't batteries only generally last a few hours though? Im not at all interested in ebikes so I'm just asking out of curiosity. I thought someone said a few hours was all you could reasonable expect out of the average ebike?
I keep my bike in Eco mode, the lowest assist setting. I've ridden for 3 hours and my battery was drained only about 35%, meaning I had 65% battery life left. I could have ridden for 9 or 10 hours before I'd have to worry about charging. My PowerPlay has a relatively large battery at ~650 Kwh rated at 120 km range, but in tough terrain with a lot of climbing it won't go that distance, but it's crazy efficient in Eco mode. I also have the Rocky Mountain Overtimepack. It's an extra external battery that clips onto the frame and gives you more juice if needed, although I've never needed it other than I've clipped it onto the bike when my bike has been on my bike rack and it immediately starts charging the internal battery. So you can drive over to another mountain and while you're driving your internal battery is charging. It's called "jerrycanning".

Check out the video on the Overtime pack:

 

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I'm 54 and absolutely love my Intense Tazer Ebike! I ride mainly,at an ebike specific shuttle park in North Carolina. @ridekanuga I can get double and even triple the laps in than my peddle bike. If US Forest Service legalizes class 1 ebikes,I can see a shift in ebikes becoming more popular. Like OP says,I'm having more fun than the last several years of riding!
 

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One of the nice things living in a free society. Those that enjoy traditional mountain bikes can ride their bikes. Those that enjoy ebikes can ride their bikes.

A couple points of fact:

An ebike is a real mountain bike with a pedal assist motor. Any doubt on that watch a few YouTube videos and enlighten yourself.

ebikes are not for the lazy. What a load of bullcrap. It can be as physically challenging as the rider wants it to be based on terrain, gear selection and level of pedal assist.

ebikes helps democratize MTB riding. Now less physically fit or physically gifted people along with older people and people who have sustained injuries can participate in the sport with less worry and potential for issue.

ebikes can help a rider gradually build their endurance which again provides wider access to those considering the sport.

And seriously, for those riders that perpetuate this MTB vs eMTB snobbery BS. Do me a favor. If advances in technology that help make biking more accessible are so vile to you, get rid of that 29lb carbon 12 speed MTB and get a nice 40lb steel bike with a single gear.

Afaic, this current supply shortage not withstanding, we are in a new golden age for bikes with a wide range of choices and options and that is something we should all be happy about. Pedal assist, multiple gears, dropper posts, electronic shifting are all positive advances that have helped open the door to new riders while providing existing riders with beneficial enhancements. Their is no downside just the man made us vs them noise from a few angry pseudo traditionalists.
 

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I think you meant the future of ebike.

We will see motorized and non motorized both popular, like we do today.

With non motorized bikes, I assume we will just see the current trends continue. The exception is suspension that need a big upgrade. With core technology, the last 5 years solved decades long problems of the mountain bike, specifically geometry and drivetrain.

With motorized bikes many of the ideas hinge on using a gear box for ebikes, which is just a matter of time. The lightweight high efficiency chain based drivetrains that we have on bikes today are not relevant with a motor. Some would say not relevant even without a motor ?

One thing I don't think we would see is big digital displays. From the same reasons they are not common on off road motorcycles. Small compact displays, with better integration. Specialized is doing this already.
 

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I think it's useful to look at what things were ten years ago and compare. Nearly everything we think of as mainstream now was niche or gimmick or too expensive then, not invented since... or a natural follow-up, like electronic shifting becoming wireless shifting.

I think you could see more vertical integration instead of having basically a frame-and-build industry and a component industry that are not very closely related.

On e-bikes, I could totally see a lot of automotive and motorcycle stuff... Assisted braking, ABS, traction control, active suspension. 2WD is going to make a showing after ABS and traction control. I don't think you are going to see all the customization imagined by the OP. Not that it's impossible, more that the companies who make it like to lock that stuff down unless it's harmless and fashionable (see Apple or Tesla).

You are absolutely not going to see regenerative braking replace friction brakes. It's just a power issue. A city bike gimmick at best, not for MTB. The motor is capable of <1hp and is going to make less as a generator, and it's just not nearly enough. A motor as powerful as a brake is going to be bonkers, and you need two of them. That's why AWD Teslas have so much useless power. But on a bike they're just too big to lug around. For a MTB where you are counting on freewheeling downhill unless you need to brake, you are not going to be recovering the uphill energy, and on the level it's all getting eaten by wind drag and not ever coming back.
 

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While the OP has his opinions, I think that it's going to be longer than the 10 year cycle he thinks.

I also am not sure anything is going to be a real improvement for what the industry drives vs what people want/need.

E-bikes and electronic shifting are still in the early stages. People are going to want these expensive parts to last more than a few years.

I still prefer riding a metal bike as opposed to plastic. I don't like the feel of carbon rides, and I'm pretty old school in that way.

I have electronic shifting, but it's not because of any reason other than my right wrist has limited mobility and this is the only way I can really ride without running single speed, and I don't ride hardtails anymore. If I still rode a hardtail, running a singlespeed definitely would be intriguing.

I think electronic shifting and gearboxes aren't necessarily inclusive. As they get more refined, I'd expect to see more electronic shifting than gearboxes, or the other way around. I'm not sure we'll see electronic gearboxes anytime in the next 10 years--both are still being shaken out. Warranties, repairs, replacements, how much they're liked, etc. Mountain bikers (both e- and pedal) are fickle.

I think we'll still be not settled on a wheel size (not everyone is a fan of wagon wheels), or geometry. I think we'll still see yet another dumb standard with hubs.

We might have electronic ways to have dropper posts too, other than the $800 Reverb that I don't see the point of throwing money at (my left wrist works fine, so I don't need it like I do the shifting).

Mullets will still be a thing for some people, but not everyone.

We will have at least 3-4 new suspension designs.

Companies will still find a way to push old tech as something new.

I think we'll see more separation on e-MTBs and MTBs, as we are heading that way anyway--specific parts for e-MTBs vs MTBs.. Cost is going to be a big thing. Someone said that e-MTB make the sport more inclusive--I don't see how since they start at $4k AFAIK, and an MTB you can get for less than half that. Also, there are luddites like me who have zero interest in an e-MTB and are more interested in just pedaling. It's enough to check the battery on the derailleur every so often, that I don't want to troubleshoot the pedal assist either.

I still expect air shocks to suck, and people still argue over wheel size and carbon vs AL. :)
 

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You shut your dirty mouth.
Haha. I do think we will see some sort of front shifting again just not anything like a front mech. I can see a hammershmidt 2.0 type thing with a compact cassette to give us similar 11/12 speed range in a much more compact system. It will use a small front ring to provide tons of clearance to go with even lower BB's that reflect the machine built sanitized trails we ride. Shifting will be electronic via one shifter. I don't say this because it's what I would like to see. I'm a fan of mechanical analog shifting but I would be very surprised if E shifting doesn't take over the high end market in 10 years. E droppers will take over too with programable auto drop/rise for certain gears if you so choose.
 
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