Colorado e-bike advocates spark a quiet revolution 07-19-16

Ann M.

Well-Known Member
Jason Blevings of the Denver Post writes about regional ebike advocates work to open ebike access to recreational and commuter trails for Colorado riders. He spoke with Luis Benetiz, chief of the Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry about his team's push with other ebike advocates in Colorado to create consistent statewide laws governing 20mph pedal assist bikes. This could be a game changer for Colorado attracting more business development from electric bike manufacturers, new ebike shops and tourism for the state with laws that aren't piecemeal, city by city but statewide. A boon too for commuters on ebikes that just want to ride away from congested traffic or enjoy scenery on a local trail.

Lakewood held it's own Electric Bike Expo last weekend to help introduce some of the newest e-mtbs and other cush ebikes where the public could test ride and learn.

Lakewood electric bike show 071716.jpg


With a 16 billion dollar global industry that continues to grow, the challenge focuses on how to improve the ebike industry's sluggish growth in the US. Read the full article in the Denver Post here.
 

Nutella

Active Member
I'd like to see access expanded for commuters, not for emtbs, I don't think 750w emtbs are appropriate on many trails. Hopefully, the new legislation specifies different limits for those different uses.
 

Ann M.

Well-Known Member
I appreciate your view, Nutella. There's a link within the above article to research done by PeopleForBikes and the Bicycle Products Suppliers Association with the IMBA (International Mountain Biking Association) that examines the impact of e-mountainbikes on trails. The preliminary findings are that there is little damage done by emtbs. Perhaps within certain limitations the trails can be shared.
 

Nutella

Active Member
Based on the 250w emtbs I've ridden in and with in Europe, I would agree and 250w is plenty for pedal assist climbing. 750W/20mph bikes are overkill for a emtb and there haven't been any studies done using them since the big manufacturers haven't released any yet. I think the impact of those bikes are different. I think 750w is fine for the road where higher speeds and power are more appropriate. Perfect for a cargo bike for example.
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
After reading the DP article a couple of times I'm afraid no one understands the California law. It's 750 watts but it was meant to cover 28 mph street bikes and emtb type bikes. It's not enough for the street and it is probably too much for the trails. No one understands throttles but a lot of people want a good PAS and a throttle. The layers of land ownership, state lands and federal lands, is completely confusing.

One problem is that people skim the gravy of regulations. Right now, everyone thinks they can have a 28 mph ebike. The laws have only changed in 3 states and not in 47 others. You really weren't supposed to get a throttle with a Class 3, but they are putting 20 mph throttles on some Class 3's. They seem to be shipping class 3 bikes everywhere. In most states Class 3 is meaningless. For all the talk California would lead the way to serious changes in all the states, it just hasn't happened.

I don't understand why people think there will be a surge of ebikes. The US is not a biking culture. I'd like to cooperate with serious bikers, and those are mostly Lycras, around here. But powerful ebikes tend to drive those guys and gals into fervent opposition. The most popular DIY motor is 1500 watts. You can't really expect a 1500 watt fat bike to be welcome on trails. Everyone just does what they want.

This would all worry me, I guess, but I never see ebikes and I rarely see bikes. I honestly think a 6-10 kw motorcycle, street legal, would be a much more saleable product. No pedals, no exercise, but probably cheap and fairly simple with a reasonable battery pack. When they made the PAS bikes you are forced to pedal, they messed up the concept. Sure, you should pedal, but saying you have to pedal is something else.

The whole marketing program is just garbage. They say it makes you feel like Superman, a good pedal assist, that it's just like a bike. Yeah, well, for 95% of Americans bikes are outside their knowledge. They don't care. About 40% of people won't ride a bike, even on a completely isolated trail. About 10% will ride in traffic.

I just keep asking myself if this is ever going to happen. I've had 4 ebikes, still own 3. To me it is fun, but I like going slow and pedaling moderately. I'm not the mass market, for sure.
 

Nutella

Active Member
While I agree that the country as a whole isn't a biking culture, which is too bad, there is a significant population that choose to recreate on bikes. While it won't ever be like Europe, especially on the road, there will be a lot of emtbs coming, it will take a few years for the population to become bigger though.

The lobby behind the CA regulations has obviously learned that it was too vague concerning if you can ride an emtb on single track bike legal trails, with the subsequent Utah regulations that copy it, specifically stating:

(2) An individual may operate an electric assisted bicycle on a path or trail designated

390 for the use of a bicycle.
391 (3) A local authority or state agency may adopt an ordinance or rule to regulate or
392 restrict the use of an electric assisted bicycle, or a specific classification of an electric assisted
393 bicycle, on a sidewalk, path, or trail within the jurisdiction of the local authority or state

I don't understand the separate classes for throttle/PAS either, who cares how you switch on the motor?

I also think there's a market for electric mopeds or small motorcycles like you're talking about.