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Good, green, Oregon.
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It seems that these are popping up everywhere. These legit bikes from quality companies that have some kind of electric drive system on them. Full squish, fat bikes, hard tails, everything. They're at the shows like Sea Otter, they are in the newsletter email that mtbr.com just sent me, they even have their own magazine.

My question is, who rides these things? Look, I get a commuter, or a cruiser bike, a road bike, a trike, even a mountain bike for a disabled person using one, and it seems really cool in those environments. But I don't see someone who is into mountain biking, ever being interested in one of these true mountain bikes that are electric? Do these major companies really think there will be buyers for these? Maybe there will be, and I'm missing something here.

I know, we probably should define "mountain biking" and what a "mountain bike" is, and what "into mountain biking" means. But even from a very general standpoint, I still wonder, who buys these? What is the point? It seems to go against what mountain biking is and was, but that is just my opinion.

Thoughts?
 

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Perpetual n00b
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When these electric bikes take off, and they will, all hell will break loose. Just one more thing for other trail user groups to complain about us.
 

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When these electric bikes take off, and they will, all hell will break loose. Just one more thing for other trail user groups to complain about us.
About us??? It's not us, and they belong on moto trails only. No more place on our trails than mopeds.
 

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Yeah!
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I am a bit worried that this might lead to a bit of traffic of the non-fit, too lazy to hike or pedal a bike types. Not that I care about that, but I think an increase in non-experienced persons that don't care to become experienced in safe mountain biking or etiquette will be detrimental.

Of my concerns:

1) Excessive uphill speed. Most riders enjoying a good downhill speed on two-way track can stop ok for riders burning (or walking) uphill, but for riders that are closing that distance at a faster rate... we may have to one-day re-evaluate our speed to accomodate unexpected faster riders.

2) We all know how easy it is for an inexperienced rider to misjudge a safe rate of decent. Put someone on a heavy e-bike on those same trails... the weight of the bike masks the roughness of the terrain a bit, so they are going faster than they should, and carrying 20-40 Lbs of weight that can do a lot of damage to themself or others during an impact.

I think, and hope, that e-Bikes will fall under the same restictions as motorized verhicles under three conditions:

1) Weight of all drive components, battery, motor, controlllers, etc, exceeds 15 Lbs.
2) The system provides assist at speeds greater than 10mph.
3) The system provides greater than 30% boost at speeds below 10mph.

I'm sure others can define a better set of rules, but I think these three areas in some form or another could be used to set rules that permit those that are not capable of fully self-powered cycling to enjoy the trails while keeping out SOME of those that might pose a significant danger to themselves or others.
 

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We should probably set the wheels in motion to have them fall into the motorized vehicle category now so it doesn't become a huge issue later. I'm the last person to beat the rules and regulations drum but I don't think they have any place on the trails for which many of us have fought long access battles over the years.
 

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Electric assist is lame. It's popularity is fueled by the fattening of the global population I would say.

I'm classifying electronic shifting/shocks under the same group of "lameness" as well.
 

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GONE
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It's where the industry is going, just like with e-cars.

Humanity is drawing ever closer to a day when evolution eliminates the need for a body and we are just brains living in fish bowls, communicating telepathically and living within a dream instead of reality...
 

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Good, green, Oregon.
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Great posts for sure, and so far the consensus seems to be that none of us are buying/riding them, except for digitalayon. I too tend to agree that it is for lazy people not willing to do the minimum to be fit enough to ride, but still wants the fun benefits. Like others, I am not one for over regulation in any way, but these do need to be governed like any other motorized vehicle. They should not be allowed on bike trails or even paths for that matter. When the signs forbid motorized vehicles, they never get as specific to allow electric powered vehicles.
 

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I But I don't see someone who is into mountain biking, ever being interested in one of these

Thoughts?
On the one hand you could do some long routes but on the other these things are so heavy how much fun can they be and if it conks out you have one special ride ride home. Personally i would spend the money on a deluxe 25 lbs carbon x country bike
 

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My interpretation of "no motorized vehicles" would include electric-assisted bikes. Has anyone claimed that they are not included? I'd be surprised if e-bikes were strictly legal in California Parks though the law may not be enforced.

While I don't like the idea of having these bikes on my local bike trails, I'd be surprised if they became a real issue to mountain bikers. The e-bikes may help climbing but mountain biking isn't all about climbing. Even easy downhill flow trails take skills that most recreational cyclists don't have. Additionally, bikes that can deal with even mildly technical terrain cost real money without the e-motor. Add the e-motor then I can't see an entry-level technical terrain capable e-bike coming in at less than $1k. And that's probably a 40 lbs bike that becomes a pain to ride when out of juice. Maybe people who don't really ride will rent them but they won't buy them. Rental companies will have issues with folks taking their bikes into remote and technical terrain.

There will be exceptions but I can't imagine that there will enough e-riders to impact "normal" mountain bikers. I can imagine avid riders developing conditions (bad knees) so that they latch on to an e-motor enhanced bike to continue riding. There is probably little harm done if that happens.

In Europe there are places where you can rent e-bikes for day or multi-day bike path and road travel (not mountain biking) with battery-swap stops at restaurants and hotels. It sounds like a lot of fun. And even those of us who prefer to skip the motor can probably see the advantage of doing this with an SO or family where not everyone is an avid cyclist.
 

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passed out in your garden
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I met an 80yr old out on the trails last year, riding a 29er electric bike, it was long and heavy, I personally didnt like it, but as he said "there is no way he could enjoy riding like this without an electric bike"
sort of changed my perspective a little, he was still slow and in the way, but he was 80 and doing what we all love, kudos to him
 

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since 4/10/2009
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We should probably set the wheels in motion to have them fall into the motorized vehicle category now so it doesn't become a huge issue later.
Locally, they already are even though some people may not be aware of it. It may be the case elsewhere, too. If they start becoming a problem, the rules are in place to start writing e-bike riders a citation for being on nonmotorized trails.
 

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Bicyclochondriac.
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I have no issue with motorized bikes, as long as they stay on motorized trails.
 

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Great posts for sure, and so far the consensus seems to be that none of us are buying/riding them, except for digitalayon. I too tend to agree that it is for lazy people not willing to do the minimum to be fit enough to ride, but still wants the fun benefits. Like others, I am not one for over regulation in any way, but these do need to be governed like any other motorized vehicle. They should not be allowed on bike trails or even paths for that matter. When the signs forbid motorized vehicles, they never get as specific to allow electric powered vehicles.
I disagree I think they should be on bike paths. Not trails but bike paths. E-assisted bikes are the perfect way to lazy Americans out of cars and on to bikes. But the only way you can get people to actually use them in day to day life is give them alternate pathways to get around off the street. I love the idea for commuting and cargo bikes. I personally would buy one for riding back and forth to work if I could still use the bike bath system here in town. My commute is about half street and half cycle path.
 

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I think the Ban Hammer needs to be dropped on this one. If you can't get yourself up the climbs under your own power then you have no business clogging up the descents you haven't earned. As for the whole disabled argument, well I'm sorry if it's not very "PC" to say this but there are just some things in life that you need to be fit and able bodied to do and MTB is one of them. We can't make the whole world "wheelchair friendly".
 
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