Do you think electric bikes should be considered mountain bikes?

calvin

Active Member
The editor of the magazine Mountain Bike Action stepped down in protest of the publishers inclusion of electric mountain bikes in that magazine: http://www.bicycleretailer.com/nort...vain-leaves-mountain-bike-action#.U9JuwP4WV1x . Lightly discussed in the comment section of the above article is another closely related question you might consider: whether an electric mountain bike should be allowed on trails previously used exclusively by human powered bikes. In Arizona, electric bikes (that are legal) are allowed anywhere human powered bikes are.
 

Brambor

Well-Known Member
He probably wanted to go anyway so he picked the best topic to go out with a bang and get all the attention that comes with it. Much to do about nothing. It's just a magazine.
 

Rusty

Member
I was on (their ?) website a few weeks ago and found this a hotly debated topic. Thankfully, there were many supporters...

What made me wince is their depiction of a "typical" e-bike rider as someone on a stealth bomber, missing a tooth or two, riding one handed chewing on a candy or tobacco LOL, spewing gravel everywhere, and endangering life and limb.

The Stealth is a neat bike, but there is like what, only a dozen or so in the entire country???

E- bikes are the future. These guys should be joining up with us, not fighting us. I think that they are using the wrong approach.
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
This is one perspective.

http://reviews.mtbr.com/the-angry-singlespeeder-electric-mountain-bikes-friend-or-foe/2

The National Parks seem to take the view that there should be no motorized vehicles (on trails), even mountain bike trails. The signs around here say "No Motorized Vehicles", where I have hiked.

A lot of the trails around here were once accessed by "Jeeps", and it seems a little silly not to let electric mountain bikes on them. Some trails are definitely more fragile than others.

The people with ATV's are constantly griping about trails that are closed to them, even sponsoring mass rides up closed trails to protest. Who are the mountain ebikers going to align with, the ATV lobby or the standard mountain bike folks? If anyone.

It would be easier if the electric mountain bikes closely resembled the characteristics of mountain bikes, but with power for less athletic people. Making the less athletic people superior to the best rider with years of experience seems guaranteed to upset some riders.

The Forest Service and the BLM are separate, and then there is the Parks Service. Like everything over the last 10 years, people generally take positions and don't move from them.
 

Chandlee EBS

Active Member
@calvin, thanks for posting that, I hadn't seen it.

It's truly unfortunate that this is the perception of electric mountain bikes. I'm hitting my local trails several times a week with both electric and normal mountain bikes. Recent encounters with hardcore riders often lends itself to a cold shoulder or a comparison to a motorcycle. I've had groups of riders scoff at me and ignore me completely when I approach them for a chat. If you're mountain biking with an ebike, get used to it. It's not going to stop soon.

It is going to stop though.

This hatred for electric assist stems from elitism and naivety. Very little can be done about the elitism. Quite a bit can be done about the naivety. I'm constantly inviting the best riders I encounter to try out an ebike on a trail. Elitists won't even try. Naive riders fall in love with it (granted, they're trying a Haibike, who wouldn't?). That said, none of these hardcore riders are coming my shop to buy a eMTB. They love the novelty of it, but it's not their gig. Why should it be? It adds 20 lbs to the bike and is going to make it harder to load and unload weight, bunny hop, flick, manual, etc... okay, maybe, not manual, but you catch my drift.

I've had a few young, fit costumers go in for an eMTB, but frankly, it was almost always the first time they'd tried single track and the experience was so enabling and fun that it became part of their daily routine. Many of them have taken on regular MTBs as their confidence has grown. I'm one of those riders, actually.

Far and away the most common customer for the eMTB is someone in their late-40's or 50's that simply choose that style for the "capability" to go off road or because they find them comfortable or cool. I almost always invite them to join me for a single track ride. Upon completion, they're almost always sweaty, exhausted, wondering "how anyone could do it without pedal assist" and anxious to go again. They're also in love with their ebikes.

Are these really the riders that mountain bikers are afraid ruining their trails?

Some things to remember:
-Ebikes can offer dramatic assist on uphill and level ground, but it's still slower in the downhills.
-If you're hardcore rider, then you're still faster than the vast majority of ebike riders on the trails. They're just less sweaty.
-If you're concerned about trail maintenance, then you should probably get an ebike. They leave the same footprint as a normal bike and you can carry way more equipment for upkeep.
-If you're concerned about ebikes being overpowered, your concerns are covered by the law. Anything over 750 watts is considered a motorized vehicle and should be prohibited on your bike trails. If you see an ebike that is spinning its wheels from a stand still, then it shouldn't be there. Ask them to leave, take pictures, contact the proper authorities.
-If you're on a high power bike and riding on bicycle trails then stop it. You're just ruining it for the rest of us.
-If you are riding a proper ebike on the proper trial, be the most courteous person there. You have it easier than everyone else.

-Chandlee
 

EddieJ

Well-Known Member
I'm currently on my hols in Switzerland and after seeing a Haibike outside a bike shop, I went in for what turned out to be very lengthy chat. I'm struggling to type this on my phone, but for a shortened version, it turns out that all of bike shops over here, see e-mtbs as the future and are starting to embrace it big time. I'll add to this when I get back.
 

JoePah

Well-Known Member
All this exposure in MTB magazines and bike shops is due to a strong push by some deep pocketed manufacturers. They are buying influence and more or less telling these bike shops to get aligned with the Ebike business plan.

Seems like a great way to increase revenue and broaden market appeal, by offering a line of mountain bikes that is 100-200% more expensive than the previous top of the line.

I just don't know if there are enough of us with that kind of excess disposable income willing to support this new block of very expensive bikes.
 

Bike_On

Well-Known Member
@calvin, thanks for posting that, I hadn't seen it.

It's truly unfortunate that this is the perception of electric mountain bikes. I'm hitting my local trails several times a week with both electric and normal mountain bikes. Recent encounters with hardcore riders often lends itself to a cold shoulder or a comparison to a motorcycle. I've had groups of riders scoff at me and ignore me completely when I approach them for a chat. If you're mountain biking with an ebike, get used to it. It's not going to stop soon.

It is going to stop though.

This hatred for electric assist stems from elitism and naivety. Very little can be done about the elitism. Quite a bit can be done about the naivety. I'm constantly inviting the best riders I encounter to try out an ebike on a trail. Elitists won't even try. Naive riders fall in love with it (granted, they're trying a Haibike, who wouldn't?). That said, none of these hardcore riders are coming my shop to buy a eMTB. They love the novelty of it, but it's not their gig. Why should it be? It adds 20 lbs to the bike and is going to make it harder to load and unload weight, bunny hop, flick, manual, etc... okay, maybe, not manual, but you catch my drift.

I've had a few young, fit costumers go in for an eMTB, but frankly, it was almost always the first time they'd tried single track and the experience was so enabling and fun that it became part of their daily routine. Many of them have taken on regular MTBs as their confidence has grown. I'm one of those riders, actually.

Far and away the most common customer for the eMTB is someone in their late-40's or 50's that simply choose that style for the "capability" to go off road or because they find them comfortable or cool. I almost always invite them to join me for a single track ride. Upon completion, they're almost always sweaty, exhausted, wondering "how anyone could do it without pedal assist" and anxious to go again. They're also in love with their ebikes.

Are these really the riders that mountain bikers are afraid ruining their trails?

Some things to remember:
-Ebikes can offer dramatic assist on uphill and level ground, but it's still slower in the downhills.
-If you're hardcore rider, then you're still faster than the vast majority of ebike riders on the trails. They're just less sweaty.
-If you're concerned about trail maintenance, then you should probably get an ebike. They leave the same footprint as a normal bike and you can carry way more equipment for upkeep.
-If you're concerned about ebikes being overpowered, your concerns are covered by the law. Anything over 750 watts is considered a motorized vehicle and should be prohibited on your bike trails. If you see an ebike that is spinning its wheels from a stand still, then it shouldn't be there. Ask them to leave, take pictures, contact the proper authorities.
-If you're on a high power bike and riding on bicycle trails then stop it. You're just ruining it for the rest of us.
-If you are riding a proper ebike on the proper trial, be the most courteous person there. You have it easier than everyone else.

-Chandlee
Chandlee,
Take pictures and report to authorities? Seems a little bit harsh. What if the peak power is over 750W? That would outlaw the E3 dash/peak, Spec Turbo, Focus, etc.

I understand the 750W (1hp) limit to be derived from the road-safe, arbitrary limit of 20mph, motor only speed for ebikes on the road. Less than that and normal bicycle laws apply to them. Over 750W and one moves into moped territory and eventually a motorcycle/dirt bike class.

I know there needs to be limits and definition. I am not sure the road spec of 750W should apply to off orad riding on trails. The issue is a motorized vehicle (ie. national parks definition) more than the limit.

Ebikes offer silence compared to the ICE bikes and less speed, so we should align to the traditional MTN bike vs ATV's, IMO.

All bikers are expected to be in control when on the trail, and ride appropriate to the trail traffic and conditions. That is the speed limit and consequently power limit, IMO, when OFF ROAD. When on community bike paths, with posted speed limits, then th espeed limit applies. Communities prohibit anything motorized because it is too easy to abuse, and many pre-auto driving youth can't pass up the temptation to go afap. This is a challenge for the eco minded, commuter friendly, ebike types.

Great post on the market. Keep up being a super ambassador.!
 

DashRiprock

Active Member
Ebikes offer silence compared to the ICE bikes and less speed, so we should align to the traditional MTN bike vs ATV's, IMO.
You probably saw it coming.. ;) .. yet I respectfully disagree.
I can tell you with some certainty that aligning yourself with one group over uniting with them all (at the least the ones who aren't making a living off of dividing themselves already) will result in less access for all of us.
Not to sound like a broken record...but the powers that be presently (and very effectively) keeping us off public property are all for keeping us just as divided as possible and far away from the lanterns and pitchforks required to force change in the future.

If you could (now, with these better bikes) ride some of the atv trails that I've been blessed to experience...you might change your mind.
 
It's going to be interesting, the demographic of ebike owners is a bit older, we have more $ and we vote more often, without those 2 factors, I'd say it's a lost cause, but I think it may well turn out in favor of the ebikes. Not the monster Stealth Bomber type of ebikes, but the <750 watt bikes.
 

DashRiprock

Active Member
It's going to be interesting, the demographic of ebike owners is a bit older, we have more $ and we vote more often, without those 2 factors, I'd say it's a lost cause, but I think it may well turn out in favor of the ebikes. Not the monster Stealth Bomber type of ebikes, but the <750 watt bikes.
I would say that is true except for the fact that older people in general rarely take up causes which publicly embarrass or 'buck' fellow seasoned citizens normally in a position of power to change anything. As with young people's present (sad) lot in life here in America...they are going to have to start the fight themselves and hope that enough older people support them 'anonymously' (at least my generation is spineless when it comes to causes of any kind requiring simple discourse or heaven forbid confrontation). ;)
 

Bike_On

Well-Known Member
You probably saw it coming.. ;) .. yet I respectfully disagree.
I can tell you with some certainty that aligning yourself with one group over uniting with them all (at the least the ones who aren't making a living off of dividing themselves already) will result in less access for all of us.
Not to sound like a broken record...but the powers that be presently (and very effectively) keeping us off public property are all for keeping us just as divided as possible and far away from the lanterns and pitchforks required to force change in the future.

If you could (now, with these better bikes) ride some of the atv trails that I've been blessed to experience...you might change your mind.
Dash,

I see your point - support full access for all and don't take sides and be divided. In reality, I'm do not think full access is ever going to happen. There will always be political/environmental forces that will dictate the pecking order of access and prohibit accordingly. If we classify ourselves (All ebikes) as ATV/dirt bike, like a few purist mnt bikers want, then that is a huge negative. There will be classifications, for sure. I suggested that ebikes remain classified at "bicycles" and specifically as a mtn bike for off road access.

I could be wrong, but I expect any place atv's have permission, mtn bikes already can ride there, but not the reverse? So ebikes already are allowed to experience what atv's can do?

I'm not saying to not advocate for our dirt bike brothers. It can be a blast, and they should have trails to ride too. I'm saying align our classification towards non-motorized vs motorized. It's complicated to say an electric bike is not a motor bike...
 

DashRiprock

Active Member
"...Dash,
I see your point - support full access for all and don't take sides and be divided. In reality, I'm do not think full access is ever going to happen. There will always be political/environmental forces that will dictate the pecking order of access and prohibit accordingly..."
My argument would mirror the title of this thread...do we let someone else do the 'considering'...or do we make the arguments ourselves? Unity allows this...division doesnt.

"..If we classify ourselves (All ebikes) as ATV/dirt bike, like a few purist mnt bikers want, then that is a huge negative. There will be classifications, for sure. I suggested that ebikes remain classified at "bicycles" and specifically as a mtn bike for off road access..."
I'd like to classify myself as simply a taxpayer who demands that he or she not be shut out from ANY public resource regardless of my physical ability to access same in a manner that some mere unelected bureaucrat deems 'appropriate'. The only manner in which we all can accomplish this is to be willing to sustainably maintain said resource monetarily for everybody...which are the two concepts which absolutely sickens the vast majority of Americans most...I have to share and I must pay-to-play.

"...I could be wrong, but I expect any place atv's have permission, mtn bikes already can ride there, but not the reverse? So ebikes already are allowed to experience what atv's can do?..."
I'm not certain that a mountain biker of any kind would get kicked off of an tav trail where I live (more maintained trails than anywhere in the nation at one time)...yet the associated cost (fee) to legally operate on these trails just tripled (or more) this year. Will a mtbker or ebiker pay it? How about others who use the trail...yet who refuse to pay? The biggest problem we had with motorcyclists in the past is that they wanted to ride all of the 50" trails and wider...yet keep nearly equal mileage all to themselves in the most pristine areas of the state (even when parallel trails were proven as viable and long ago installed on the 50" trails for their benefit). Convenient classification breeds contempt in my mind and divides us even further.

"...I'm not saying to not advocate for our dirt bike brothers. It can be a blast, and they should have trails to ride too. I'm saying align our classification towards non-motorized vs motorized. It's complicated to say an electric bike is not a motor bike...
What I don't believe a lot of enthusiasts understand is that these groups (for the most part) preach division and a "you're either for us or agin us" attitude. There is no middle ground in this atmosphere and support flows to a gang-like attitude ("..I may not be active in the organization...but I darn sure have the bumper sticker and patch!"). This kills access for non-enthusiasts alike (mainly the young, disabled and elderly) which subtracts from the pure numbers needed to act outside the box in regards to equal access for both them and us.

Public spaces are ours to maintain properly so that the maximum amount of citizens are able to enjoy them 24/7/365 (life is short). If we allow others to divide us, define overall physical ability and means of travel (not to mention denying 'pay-to-play'; thus eliminating the bureaucracy itself) we get what we deserve.
 
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Bike_On

Well-Known Member
Pay to play..on public land...isn't that double dipping? We already pay taxes.

Yes, but incentivized taxing I suppose.

I do not like the we vs. then attitude, and I'm not advocating that support.

Classification will exist because there needs to be limits and responsibility with the freedoms. Things get destroyed and people get hurt more without them.

The states are coming to grips with ebike laws, and limits are being imposed on freedoms we have been enjoying for the last decade. It s**ks, but needed for the market to evolve.

Good rides.
 
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DashRiprock

Active Member
Pay-to-play (to me) is defined as divorcing ourselves as much as possible from the tax funding structure not because it should be set up that way in an ideal world...but because we have not been able to 'handle' the legacy-tax concept to date (debt/unfunded liabilities in the trillions understandably causing public land access issues to become one of the lowest funding priorities in history).
As far as limits, responsibility with freedoms, injuries and destruction...I just don't know how we'll ever accomplish anything 'great' again in this country if we don't give folks a chance to police themselves (i.e.: 'Friends of the Trail' groups), get rid of liability in all forms and fine the living heck out of violators to scare others using fairly inexpensive technology to do so.
I just want more people out there enjoying the same things that I've been blessed to experience to date.
What scares me is not the fact that I won't get to see all the places on my bucket list..but that a lot of people much younger than me will never experience what already now is pretty much past history if you believe those presently in control (vast areas of our forests, parks and any other publicly owned area now deemed 'theirs' and certainly not ours).
 

Brambor

Well-Known Member
I totally do not understand the argument against ebikes.
I ride mine almost every day. I pedal, I sweat, I get tired on uphills. The only difference is that I get farther faster.
I don't see my bike any different than regular bike in the basic sense of pedaling with your own power to get propelled forward.

There is additional technology benefit that gives me extra power to go faster and easier on uphills. How is that different from a 30 lb Townie Cruiser bike versus 15lb Carbon racing bike? Both people pedal to get propelled forward but one person goes further faster because their bike is lighter and their equipment is more aerodynamic and therefore for the same effort they go faster. ... I'm puzzled with the naysayers.
 
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Rusty

Member
I am totally with you. I don't "get" the naysayers. I understand the enthusiasm about bicycles - all bicycles. I share it! But an ebike is just an improved bicycle, with exciting new technology. It gives more capability and more options. I can ride sweat free to work (in one half the time, compared to my other bikes, I might add) hit some single track after work, like I did yesterday, and have a blast! So what is wrong with that? I am getting rid of my road bikes and my mountain bike, my Peak electric bike expands the capability of both bicycle categories so much - that it will be taking the place of all of my other bikes!!
 
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ChrisD_

Member
Catching up on this thread and I'll add my answer in response to the subject: no. Electric bikes below the power / speed restrictions should be bicycles indistinguishable from any other type - cruiser, tour de france racer, penny farthing or mountain bike. This not to dismiss or denigrate the disputes that riders of particular types of bikes face, access to special categories of land be they "off road" OHV parks, etc. So I guess that puts me in the 'unity' category.
 

Chandlee EBS

Active Member
What if the peak power is over 750W?
Hey @Bike_On,

I was only referring to advertised power. The manufactures should be accountable for the numbers they publish. I certainly wouldn't consider the peak/dash/specialized turbo illegal on our trails (though good luck taking a Turbo on single track). None of those bikes are performing like all-terrain-vehicles.

I'm basing my definition of a "motorized vehicle" on HR 727, which draws a line in the sand. Simply speaking, a bicycle trail-legal electric mountain bike's performance should compare to that of a powerful, experienced rider's.

What I see as a problem in the mountain biker community is a misinterpretation of what electric bicycles are allowing. There's criticism that this is a gateway for OHV power on mountain bike exclusive trails. Mountain bikers worried about this need to understand that their concerns are protected under the law.

Fortunately, as eMTB riders, we too are protected under the law.

To be clear, I'm not trying to create some kind of a rift in eMTB supporters, because legislation already defines what is "motorized" and what is not. Arguing that "motorized" ebikes should be allowed on non-motorized trails opens an age-old can of worms that adds fuel to the fire for ebike haters. Let's just stay out of that and enjoy the incredible privileges that we are allowed.

-Chandlee