Should eMTB's Be Allowed On Traditional MTB Trails?

J.R.

Well-Known Member
A new study seeks to answer that question. When I didn't own an ebike I may have said no, after riding and owning one I say; probably. I've read a fair amount on this topic and now know that ebikes with one horsepower or less function much like a traditional bike, but I'm still in the probably or maybe camp.

I have little doubt that one eMTB set against one traditional MTB will have identical impact on the land, more or less. But if you take that same trail that sees a couple hundred uses a year, increase to a couple thousand uses a year because more people are physically able to ride it due to electrical assist, is there any doubt there will be a bigger impact on the land?

I think this study is a step in the right direction. A lot of questions need answers, it's good to see people are attempting to answer those questions instead of arguing based solely on conjecture.

Where Should Electric Mountain Bikes Roam? Actionhub, 4/21/15
 

Brambor

Well-Known Member
as long as they are pedelecs, basically class 3 not exceeding power of class 3 I say let them on the trails. If the trails are soft, regular bikes contribute to trail damage as well as electric. If the trails are dry then there is (IMHO) no discernible impact. The difference is in throttle ebikes that have the power and looks of a dirt bike motorcycle. I would not allow those on traditional mtnb trails that are open to nonmotorized vehicles only.
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
as long as they are pedelecs, basically class 3 not exceeding power of class 3 I say let them on the trails. If the trails are soft, regular bikes contribute to trail damage as well as electric. If the trails are dry then there is (IMHO) no discernible impact. The difference is in throttle ebikes that have the power and looks of a dirt bike motorcycle. I would not allow those on traditional mtnb trails that are open to nonmotorized vehicles only.
It's not a one to one issue, it could be 10 to 1. If you take a trail that today will see five riders and tomorrow you add ten more because people can do it with assist, there will likely be an impact. How much impact? Today there aren't answers to that question. How watts is applied to the wheel on mountain trails I feel is less a factor, a 10% grade trail you aren't going anywhere by adding a throttle. How would it be to limit tire footprint? That argument is starting to get some traction with the fatbike popularity. Set the power limit to 350, 500 or 750. Cyclists are already segmented enough.
 

Brambor

Well-Known Member
I don't have a dog in this fight as when I bike for pleasure I don't care how fast or how far or whether I need to walk some part of the trail. To me it's the time outside that counts as quality/happy time.

This is probably the main reason why I chose not to buy eFatBike last year. I realized I don't need the power during days off and I quite enjoy how it all slows down with regular fat bike to a point where it is almost like hiking. I feel I enjoy the sights more that way.
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
Grrrrr.... wolf-wolf..... no dog in there for me either. I just hope it settles a few arguments in the mtb trail world. In the countryside where I live there's a fair amount of single-track trails and few mtber's and I wonder? I would like to see more organized events and ones that include e-mtb's. It could be a good spectator sport.
 

stevenast

Well-Known Member
It's not a one to one issue, it could be 10 to 1. If you take a trail that today will see five riders and tomorrow you add ten more because people can do it with assist, there will likely be an impact.

Your argument is for twice as many e-bikes, that math is not even close. Right now there is about one e-bike sold for every 200 conventional bikes in the United States.

Hikers don't want to see any mountain bikes on these trails. Conventional mountain bikers don't want to see e-bikers.

If the trail or the ecosystem is so fragile that a bike is going to harm it - then prohibit ALL bikes. However if a regular mountain bike can rip up and down the trail without harm, then so can an e-bike.

The argument against increased users is very undemocratic by the way. Maybe they should advocate grandfathering trail use and not letting new young people ride trails on any kind of bikes.
 
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stevenast

Well-Known Member
My point is:

Increased trail use is a GOOD thing (more park fees for trail maintenance, more people benefiting from their tax dollars, etc...)

- or, if it isn't for some reason - then...

NO bikes should be on the trail.

Edit: simultaneous posts with you guys lol
 

stevenast

Well-Known Member
I'm still in the probably or maybe camp

I'm really not trying to argue with you, @J.R. but the words above are definitely "taking a position" - you have your doubts and just stated that. People reading your original post are going to come away with the knowledge that you have doubts about e-bikes on trails.

I think e-bikes should be allowed anywhere any bike is allowed. People reading that will know my position too now.

It's a debate ... that's what its called when two people state different opinions.
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
I'm really not trying to argue with you, @J.R. but the words above are definitely "taking a position" - you have your doubts and just stated that. People reading your original post are going to come away with the knowledge that you have doubts about e-bikes on trails.

I think e-bikes should be allowed anywhere any bike is allowed. People reading that will know my position too now.

It's a debate ... that's what its called when two people state different opinions.

Steven, I was just about to remove my response to the "your argument" post, because you edited your first post. Then you posted again and said I'm "definitely taking a position". Probably and maybe says I'm not. You don't know my position because I don't. I'm in the learning process, I have an open mind. I do wish you would read the words I post, that's all there is on a message board.
 

stevenast

Well-Known Member
trying not to make too many posts, but I'm not going to edit this in this thread lol.

Saying you're not sure is basically the same as having doubts. I'm not saying you definitely are opposed to it... I'm just saying you definitely are not sure - which is a position!
 

Paul E.

Active Member
But if you take that same trail that sees a couple hundred uses a year, increase to a couple thousand uses a year because more people are physically able to ride it due to electrical assist, is there any doubt there will be a bigger impact on the land?
If the land is protected simply by limiting how many people are physically able to ride, wouldn't it be even more important to legislate against too many people being in shape? If the trails get too worn out, raise taxes on salad and gyms and increase subsidies on corn syrup and so forth.
 

Llcjay

Member
Ebikes on trails is such a rare issue I can't see it mattering. FL has a ban on them. Don't know about other states.
 

opimax

Well-Known Member
If you believe that mtn bikes and ebikes share the same amount of wear and tear on the paths then there should be no debate and they are equal and should share the trail with out debate.. If you believe that ebikes will cause more wear and tear then their is a debate. I believe the question is is an ebike a gateway device to to Harley's riding on the trail or at least use something similar, an argument then it should be stated that way and that is your issue.

To me it goes back to when is an ebike a bike and when is it a motorcycle. They have motorized pedals out that would make you regular bike an ebike. I personally don't believe that they would do any extra damage w/the amount of power they produce but it is an ebike or motorized assist, actually 2 motors!

Bambi says hikers cause issues , hikers say any bike causes issues, bikers say ebikers cause issues, ebikers say throttle controlled bikes cause issue, etc.

My opinion is weight and and power but I am not in a position to say what those limits are
 

Paul E.

Active Member
Sorry for getting a little snarky. This is a serious issue and there's no place for that here. Obviously limiting the assistive technology in bikes is the right way to do this. Which brings me to: GEARS. Did God create Bicycle with gears? NO! Man with his meddling ways and covetousness and greed added gears to Bicycle to make cycling EASIER and FUNNER for whole lot of people. What could possibly be more clearly sinful than that, except electric motors of course? Cycling is not supposed to be easy and fun! I say ban the blasphemous gears and leave trails and bike paths to those righteous who deserve them, the real cyclists on their fixies!

P.S. We don't talk about that breakaway sect that also wants to ban chains and sprockets and only allow penny farthings and pedalless wood frame kick bikes. They're a bunch of insane fanatics.
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
The real problem will be when our countryside, mountains and beaches are inundated with 8000 mountain bikes later this month!:eek::confused:o_O

;)
 

Brambor

Well-Known Member
and what about knobby tires and tires with studs ? :)

BAN THEM!