Haibike Xduro AMT 27.5 E-Bike Review

Words Cam McRae
Photos Kaz Yamamura
Date Nov 3, 2014

Blasphemy! I have tested an electric-assist mountain bike. Brace for hate mail and death threats! If you have read this far after coming to the conclusion that NSMB.com is endorsing these bikes for use on mountain bike trails (and many will not read this far before unleashing the hate) you can put the pin back in the grenade. A test does not an endorsement make, and forming an opinion requires knowledge of the subject. Beyond that, I personally think e-bikes are here to stay, particularly in urban environments, and they are likely coming to our trails in at least modest numbers in the coming years. If we decide they are the enemy we’re going to need to know something about them. If not we are as well.

Haibike_NSMB_KazYamamura-2

The 2014 Haibike Xduro AMT RX 27.5 was the lower spec model of Haibike’s 150mm travel Xduro AMT line, but for 2015 three carbon-framed models reside in a higher bracket and, of course, an e-fatbike has arrived as well. There is also the 180mm travel Nduro for those looking for something burlier. The battery lives where your water bottle would normally reside.

Talking about E-bikes on a mountain bike site without talking about THE ISSUE is like discussing marijuana while ignoring its fluid legal status. It can be done but it’s a cop out (Washington State has it right, for the record). If you’d only like to hear about how this bike rides, feel free to skip the commentary below.

My Political Stance
There’s a lot of hysteria about electric assist mountain bikes. The Loam Ranger shared some thoughts on the topic here, and while I agree that many of the objections stem from an elitist bias, there are some legitimate reasons to fear the electric beast.

Haibike_NSMB_KazYamamura-3

The Xduro has a high pivot and guide wheel set up. Did it pedal efficiently? Who cares when you’ve got 350 watts pushing you along. I didn’t have any chain issues while I was testing the bike.

Pedelec is the awful name for assist-only bikes that only add juice when you power the pedals with your legs; without leg power or gravity they don’t move. These bikes are limited by legislation to 32 kmh/20 mph in North America. E-bikes include both bikes like the pedelec tested here and powerful e-bikes that can go with the twist of a throttle. Pedelecs could be quite compatible with human-powered bikes but I’m not so sure about throttle bikes, which don’t currently seem subject to any regulation. Banishing throttle electrics from the trails is a much easier call, so let’s discuss Pedelecs, even though it sounds like the label for someone allergic to salt.

Cam_E-Bike_NSMB_KazYamamura-6_2

Exhibit A: I’m clearly guilty as charged. I could say I didn’t enjoy Xduro, but I’d be lying. While not as ridiculously fun nor as capable downhill as the carbon-framed 160mm travel 650b bikes I’ve been riding lately, it was still a very solid downhill performer that I enjoyed riding.

Mandatory climbs make trails less accessible. In a given interval an E-bike could easily knock off twice as many laps, and on a burlier bike, further burdening trail maintainers. This is only relevant if it turns out these bikes become very popular, and that is anything but certain. Think of the difference between shuttle access trails and pedal access; it could be that bad.

Haibike_NSMB_KazYamamura-9

A controller allows you to change between the five assist modes (from no assist to Turbo) and the i button changes the information shown on the display.

If land managers lump e-bikes in with conventional mountain bikes it might change the access equation and clearly we don’t need taller hurdles. The powers-that-be might also re-evaluate current access if they decide these bikes are to be feared for any reason.

Haibike_NSMB_KazYamamura-11

The frame has some nice details including well-executed internal routing.

On the plus side, easing access for riders whose physical limitations preclude climbing under their own power is to be encouraged in my view. I’d happily absorb the inevitible abuse and ride an e-bike if it was the only way I could keep riding with my buddies because of some affliction.

Otherwise if I’m riding my mountain bike and I encounter someone riding the trail with a pedelec, I can’t see how this will limit my ability to enjoy the experience. E-bikes are also megawatts better than shuttling and lift access in terms of fun factor, exercise, efficiency and environmental impact.

Unlike the weed question, I’m on the fence here. While an offroad Pedelec isn’t something I’d currently add to my quiver,  I don’t see the access issue as black and white. Those who see the case as open and shut, saying that there is no place for motors in mountain biking, often don’t object to chairlifts or gas-powered shuttling, which seems like a contraciction. I know the hardcore set will hate me for this but the truth is I’m not willing to say I’m dead set against pedelecs on trails, but nor am I prepared to give my meaningless endorsement until the dust settles and more information is available.

Haibike_NSMB_KazYamamura-16

The Crank Brothers Kronolog post worked without complaint for the duration of the test.

The Bike
Never heard of Haibike? It’s a German brand owned by the publicly traded Accell group, which also owns Ghost, Lapierre, Raleigh, Diamondback, Redline and several others. Hai means shark in German. Yep. Sharkbike. The bike is powered by a Bosch Midmount Performance 36 Volt, 250 Watt motor with a 36 volt, 400 wh lithium ion battery.

Performance electrics are an emerging category of electric bike that are designed to go toe to toe with top end road and mountain bikes in terms of handling and feel. On the mountain side minimizing the impact of the battery and motor weight is particularly important. Haibike accomplishes this by placing this mass as low as possible and centring it at the bottom bracket.

Cam_E-Bike_NSMB_KazYamamura-2

I changed very little despite stem, bars, grips and saddle that were not to my liking, but the bike still handled just fine.

For the most part these bikes are built up with conventional mountain bike componentry, and you can swap wheels, fork, rear shock, bars and stem etc. with a regular bike. This 2014 model rolls on 650b wheels and comes with a Crank Brothers Kronolog dropper post. The 150mm of travel is damped by a Fox 32 Talas CTD up front and Fox Float CTD in the rear. The rear suspension uses what Haibike calls a 4 Link system, composed of a rocker and a pivot positioned on the chainstays.

Haibike_NSMB_KazYamamura

The large display gives you the usual speed and distance information as well as your assist mode, remaining range at the current setting and battery level.

The spec isn’t great with a stem that is too long paired with a too-narrow bar, an uncomfortable saddle and terrible grips. The Deore brakes were surprisingly good though and the wheels and tires worked fine. At the same time I didn’t bother changing much because everything worked well enough for me to decipher how the bike rides, and I wanted to see how the bike rides out of the box.

ebike_guts

The Bosch-made guts of the Xduro pedelec from left to right; the motor, the display, the battery (vertically oriented) and the controller to the right of the display. The intuitive system worked without a hiccup. There is a slight delay when you first put pressure on a pedal but the system immediately cuts power when it notices you have stopped pedalling, making it extremely safe and easy to use.

The Ride – UP
The bike arrived months after I expected it, at a time when I was travelling often and my testing schedule full. As a result I rode the bike less than I would have liked. Fortunately it didn’t take long to unravel its mysteries.

Cam_E-Bike_NSMB_KazYamamura-3

Not suprisingly the Xduro climbs incredibly well. It’s easy to get the power down but it takes some time to get used to hitting technical sections with speed. The AMT RX had a 10 spd 11-36 cogset mated to a 22 tooth chainring. I climbed some steep singletrack pitches I never would have made it up with a regular bike. I encountered a few that were too steep though – and she’s a heavy push.

Pretty much everyone’s first reaction to a pedelec is a huge smile followed by one word reviews; amazing, awesome, incredible. You push your foot down and you get a taste of what it was like to be a fully juiced Lance Armstrong. The bike leaps forward in response your power, but boosted by 350 watts of electric motor.  On my first steep climb I was able to hold 20 km/h.  A misconception is that you aren’t able to get any exercise on an e-bike but that is garbage. I put in my usual effort, and sometimes more to keep my cadence in the target range, but I went much faster. I quickly realized getting a workout wouldn’t require any change to the way I rode, I just went further and faster.

Cam_E-Bike_NSMB_KazYamamura-5

I rode the Xduro on trails that would challenge any bike – and it responded without complaint, despite the relatively steep 68 degree head angle.

Apparently Nico Vouillioz likes to train on his Lapierre pedelec because he can climb singletrack at downhill speeds, sharpening his handling skills while gaining vert. Angling your bike to deal with berms on the climb is an odd but thrilling sensation and with the right trails the ascent can approach the stoke level of downhilling.

Cam_E-Bike_NSMB_KazYamamura-4

47 lb bikes are not supposed to be nimble, but the location of the battery and motor defies that logic.

The Xduro can come in handy when you are pressed for time. I rode from my house to Expresso trail on Fromme, traversing  singletrack to arrive at the fireroad before climbing and descending, and made it home in 42 minutes. I don’t think I could do the same ride under my own power in less than 90 minutes.

Haibike_NSMB_KazYamamura-4

That looks like a regular bike.

The mechanism itself works seamlessly and soon feels natural. There are four assist settings that predictably affect the battery life. You can choose from ECO which adds 50% of the power you put into the pedals to TURBO which adds 275% of your force to the rear wheel. A left hand bar-mounted control allows you to switch the power up and down.  Descending I usually turned the system off, and it pedals just fine like that but otherwise I kept it in Turbo mode because, well, TURBO!

Haibike_NSMB_KazYamamura-13

The Bosch system gave me nothing to complain about – except when it shut off at 32 km/h (by law pedelecs can’t go above that speed in North America) and reminded me of my mortal limitations.

The system senses when you are shifting gears and clutches the motor briefly and the range is advertised as between 40 and 56 kms (25-35 miles).

The Ride – DOWN
At 47 lbs, the Xduro is as heavy as an early Banshee Scream with a Monster T, despite being equipped with lightweight componentry. I expected the bike to feel sluggish and awkward on the trail but I quickly forgot the extra heft. I could change direction easily, bunny hop over obstacles, corner aggressively and attack steep sections. The bike was a little under-forked with a 150mm Fox 32 but it performed adequately and the rear suspension action was good. Overall the setup and spec are nothing special but even without top level parts and a steepish 68 degree headtube the Xduro descended just fine. A few tweaks and swaps would have pushed it to very good.

Cam_E-Bike_NSMB_KazYamamura-9

The downhill ability of the 47 lb Xduro shocked me. In a short time I completely forgot about the extra weight and rode it exactly like an un-electrified bicycle.

I didn’t go easy on the Xduro, riding some very steep and challenging trails and others that were fast and rough, and it surprised me by handling it all without problem. I rode Bobsled – our local bermy flow trail – with some buddies, observing our no pedal rule, and kept up just fine. In short it rides down like a mountain bike.

Cam_E-Bike_NSMB_KazYamamura-7

Of course I’m not smiling. You can tell by this photo.

Final Analysis
There’s no denying that this is a fun bike to ride, both up and down, but it was lonely. I only rode it once with my buddies and that was to get photos for this article. Otherwise they were too damn slow and there was no point in crushing them on the climb only to sit and wait twenty minutes for them to arrive, so I chose other bikes on those days. It became clear over time that despite the appeal of speed and the thrill of climbing singletrack at serious pace, the whole experience was less satisfying than a ride completed using my own inferior motor. And yet more satisfying and far less hassle than shuttling or riding the chairlift. These bikes are so good now, it’s scary to think where they’ll end up as batteries and motors get lighter and more efficient. What is certain is that they will get more popular as they improve and mountain bikers are going to have to figure out how we are going to respond, preferably without hysteria.

This particular model, the XDURO AMT RX 27.5, comes with a suggested price of $6350 in US dollars. Considering the well made frame with internal routing and hydro-formed 6061 tubing and the level of component spec, you are likely paying a premium of between $2500 and $3000 for the Bosch system that makes it go.


Hopefully this time around those of you who see red at the mere thought of E-bikes will read what is written here before commenting.

Comments

guy-kibbee
0
Guy Kibbee  - Aug. 5, 2016, 1:23 p.m.

It's almost too funny to read the remarks from the "bike snobs". Who do you think you are to tell anyone what kind of bike they ride? Isn't bicycling about fun? If I want to ride an ebike, it isn't any of your business whatsoever. I see the weekend warriors, stuffed into their "colors" like Dubuque Plumpers, pretending like they are in the Tour de France. It is ludicrous. The arrogance, smugness, self righteousness of the bike crowd is quite astounding. I have to wonder how many bike snobs drive a Prius or BMW, the two cars known for the most arrogant drivers. How do you people get to be so haughty?

Reply

e-bike-champion
0
e-bike champion  - Jan. 10, 2016, 1:39 p.m.

why do non e-bikers think they have the right to use trials exclusively , do they own them ! maybe me and my e-biking friends will decide that we will have some exclusive trials just for e-bikes and ban all pedal only bikes from 'our trails' what nonsense you all spout , if you want exclusive trials I suggest you buy some land and make some private ones !!!

Reply

iain-urquhart
0
Iain Urquhart  - Jan. 9, 2016, 3:40 a.m.

If walkers, mountain bikers, ebikers, horse rideists, all worked together for access they'd be much more productive instead of all bickering about who was there first. We all do the same damage in the grand scheme of things but at least they are doing something and not getting fat. In some places it may even be worth working alongside the motorbike boys and the 4x4ists. I don't have issues with any of them.

Reply

joe-goodwill
0
Joe Goodwill  - Nov. 7, 2015, 10:57 p.m.

Thanks for an impressively balanced and open-minded review, plus some
real insight into what it is like to ride a Pedelec on some tough
terrain. I ride a Haibike Xduro Trekking Pro hybrid commuter bike. I do a
commute that I could not possibly do on an unassisted bike (25 km each
way, massive hills), even if I was 30 years younger. I believe these
bikes are the key to make cycle commuting accessible to all (not just
very fit, very young people). My full review of a commuter Haibike is
here -

Reply

steve
0
Steve  - May 2, 2015, 2:55 p.m.

Hello Cam,
It's a while after the event but your story makes interesting reading and didn't have much trouble provoking the anticipated response in the comments section, which I daresay would have been exactly the case in another age when snowboards first made an appearance on the worlds ski slopes. Now they're in the Olympic games.

I live in New Zealand and as you and much of your readership will be aware it is a mountain biker’s paradise. The e-mountainbike (eMTB) is emerging slowly in this country. I have been an early adopter after being forced to hang up my Giant hardtail many years ago due to a chronic knee problem. I have been concious of the controversy this new modality will generate as popularity grows and for that reason I have been very observant of my own impact on the environment and at the same time trying to gauge the trends in other countries.
Where North America, (USA and Canada) are distinguished in this issue is the relative dearth of regulation in the classification of e-bikes. The EU would probably be the most regulated jurisdiction and that is where most of the dedicated eMTBs are being sourced from. It is tied in with what is known as the European directive EN15194, which is the specification of the pedelec. So the power will always be limited to 250 watts and they have to be propelled primarily by human muscular energy. EN15194 has been adopted by the UK and Australia and for New Zealand we're almost there but have a marginally higher power cut off at 300 watts which is historical dating back to when the rule was established.

I have tried to place all the objections into either one of three categories; Social, Physical or Ecological.They are many and varied and it is beyond the scope of this comment to list them all, however suffice to say it is my opinion that none of them can be justified for physical or ecological reasons and I put that down to two elements of the Pedelec eMTB's characteristics, weight and power. The weight factor is irrelevant. There is no difference from an 84kg rider on a 14kg mountain bike to a 74kg rider on a 23kg eMTB.
The power being limited to assistance only is 250 Watts continuous rating. Most mountain bikers will output between 200 and 300 watts over a sustained period.In a nutshell the forces through the contact patch of the rear tyre are going to be equivalent. They are both going to leave the same footprint on the forest floor.
So that leaves the category of social impact. That is where the most vocal objection is squarely placed, that of a threat to future trail access.It is however a perceived threat and in your country, because it is akin to the wild west when it comes to e-mountain bikes,then you do have real concerns and the threat is likely to eventuate if it remains open slather to eMTBs on your trails.The answer of course is two fold. Adopt EN15194 into your rules and embark on campaigns to educate and inform all the stakeholders involved.

In our country the government has embarked on a massive infrastructure project to build a nationwide network of off road back country trails to give us an edge in the future boom of cycle tourism. They traverse a wide variety of countryside and much of it is single track in wilderness areas.The negative consequences to tourism of prohibiting eMTbs on these tracks would be significant given that a third of the population in our country and our major tourism partners will be over 55 in about 2020. However that has not dampened the enthusiasm of the naysayers, most of whom have never ridden a pedelec eMTB and are probably simply reiterating what they read on blogs throughout the English speaking world and most of it from the USA.

Layered over all I what I have mentioned above is the issue of the law and land management. All of our public open spaces are managed by either a central or local territorial authority. There are a couple of Principal legislative Acts that govern how the land is to be administered and like a lot of law it's constantly being challenged to keep up with technological advances.The emergence of e-bikes is no exception.
Currently, as is the practice in your country, land managers are content to simply place e-bikes into the category of motorized vehicles. But therin lies the problem. Their prinicipal Acts do not interpret a motor vehicle and the definition has to be borrowed from other legislation. Power assisted bikes or pedelecs are classified as not being a motorized vehicle in our law. They are expressly worded as being equivalent to a cycle. Their principal Acts give them the option to decline the interpretation because it's not intended or inconsistent with conservation prinicipals for the type of land they manage, but they have to justify the reason for doing so. A social objection such as a threat to future access quite simily does not hold sway. That is squarely the State’s problem and not that of the pedelec e-bike or the person who rides it. So where you have a designated cycle track on public land then unless there are physical or ecological reasons to support prohibition, you can't ban them. And that is how it should be. You cannot in any civilized society have the State making arbitrary rules.

E-bikes are here to stay and with the burgeoning demographic facing all of our societies there is going to be uptake because these bikes are getting so good. You have had a taste of the Haibike today. In three years time this bike will be 4kg lighter will go twice the distance on the same charge, and will handle equally well to any all mountain steed you have ever thrown your legs across.Three years after that you won't be able to see where the electrics are placed.
So the way forward is to first and foremost understand the technology. Understand the design parameters and the legislation surrounding it. Convince yourselves they are not a threat and abandon the self flagelatting luddite attitudes trying to build a barrier to progress. That approach simply will fail leaving a lot of grumpy old mountain bikers in it's midst. We are all going to sucumb to lower limb degeneration at some point. Some sooner than others. Swallow some pride and revel in the fact that the camaraderie with your riding buddies will endure well past todays cutoff point.

Reply

drewm
0
DrewM  - Nov. 21, 2014, 2:07 p.m.

Reply

CraigH
0
Craig Hunt  - Nov. 7, 2014, 3:50 p.m.

Is the crank interface ISIS? Sure looks like it in this pic:

Reply

oldmanbike
0
OldManBike  - Nov. 5, 2014, 9:52 a.m.

You're a mountain-bike site. You review mountain-bike products. And you posted a review of an ebike. How could you be surprised that people would interpret that as you taking a position about whether an ebike is a mountain-bike product?

You guys made the choice to play along with an ebike marketing campaign to a mountain-bike audience. Some weaseling in the review about how it's not an endorsement doesn't change the basic choice you made. You made it a product to review instead of an issue to address.

That choice comes with consequences both ways.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - Nov. 12, 2014, 9:26 a.m.

We already addressed the issue OMB, in an earlier editorial. And if you are so scared of E-bikes that you think our effort to review one of these, figure out how they work, how widespread their appeal may be and what the consequences of their appearance might be, is going to have some impact on whether or not they appear and become popular, then it's possible you are over-reacting some. Of course I would have preferred to put the time in to review another bike and I would have enjoyed that more, we have a backlog of excellent bikes to test, but knowing about these issues requires knowledge of the bikes themselves. And knowledge is power.

Reply

oldmanbike
0
OldManBike  - Nov. 12, 2014, 1:42 p.m.

Wait, are you saying you don't think MTB media reviews will have any impact on whether people buy them? You figure Haibike is passing out review bikes just because they man-crush you?

Reply

oldmanbike
0
OldManBike  - Nov. 13, 2014, 7:04 a.m.

Pinkbike has taken the position that they won't review ebikes. They could be flogging the same 'knowledge is power' schtick. But they've taken a principled stand in favor of their readers instead. I'm disappointed NSMB won't.

Reply

brandon
0
brandon  - Nov. 5, 2014, 9:13 a.m.

looks like i need to stop reading mtb related stuff on the interwebs. shit like this makes me want to throw my bike away.

Reply

constantinos
0
Constantinos  - Nov. 5, 2014, 1:16 a.m.

All the magic is in the effort.I wouldnt imagine a skater on an electric skate or a good bmx rider on an electric bmx.Why the mtb community should accept a bike that helps you out doing something that always meant to be "hard" in order to take you out of your comfort zone.I really don't like all this hype making mountain biking a mainstream sport.Anyone who wants to try it should get out of his comfort zone either he wants to climb a steep and long section or ride a downhill one.As for those who cant ride a bike due to "limitations" well.. do you remember Trevair?He accessed the trails with no motors.I believe that web sites/communities like NSMB should insist on the true nature and spirit of mountain biking culture.

Reply

random-jobber
0
random jobber  - Nov. 4, 2014, 11:53 p.m.

ok. cool, you reviewed this bike and results were, well, as expected. woooo, someone designed (+50 years ago) a motorized vehicle that can travel with motorized assist off-road. So why the heck is NSMB (north shore) riding motorized vehicles on trails for non-motorized usage? kind of silly you promote such a thing with pictures and positive reviews. Lets not even touch on the swath of expectations that all the normalz will just bashy bashy on teh skinnez… c'mon, this is a North Shore e-zine, and you just rode a motorized vehicle on non-motorized trails on the North Shore… Ugly contradiction.

Reply

anon
0
anon  - Nov. 4, 2014, 10:20 p.m.

Fuck this. Seriously fuck this so hard. I cannot BELIEVE this thing has 27.5 wheels on it. What bullshit.

Reply

poo-stance
0
Poo Stance  - Nov. 5, 2014, 7:45 p.m.

Fuck this bullshit response!
Come out swinging like the bar height comment on team robot and make an article over/invalid/pointless whatever all with a single comment

Reply

chilipeppah
0
Chilipeppah  - Nov. 4, 2014, 9:42 p.m.

Can we get a list of MTB manufacturer's that are making e-bikes so we don't support them with our dollars? Thx

Reply

drewm
0
DrewM  - Nov. 7, 2014, 10:40 p.m.

This. It will definitely make choosing your next bike easier -- it sounds like pretty much every major company that jumped on the fatbike wagon has an electric bike coming (if they couldn't be bothered to cash in on Fat or 29+ I guess they're skipping adding motors too).

Could you go a step further (speaking for the local trails) and say that any shop planning to sell electric mountain bikes might as well stop donating to their local trail association, because at that point we know it's just another marketing opportunity, not out of any responsibility/altruism to your customers/riding and building community?

Maybe that's not fair… I suppose a not insignificant number of riders who would solidly skip a shop battery powered douchery would still order from CRC even if they were advertising 1/2 priced pedelecs with a free set of wet scream tires thrown in.

Reply

poo-stance
0
Poo Stance  - Nov. 4, 2014, 7:27 p.m.

Not sure I get the logic on this one.
Rider finds regular bike riding too difficult/hard/physical.
So in order to "help," they take a bike that should at most weigh 32lbs, and add another 15lbs of weight in the form of batteries, motors, and cables.
Then this person is given due to the electric motor, more instantaneous power than any pro cat rider could ever dream of laying down with their legs
All the while, basic components, and geo numbers like a Fox 32 that most everyone on this site complains about are left to handle controlling the bike.
Brilliant!

This is almost as out to lunch as a certain company adding kits to Santa Cruz bikes. Maybe they assume people don't know what dirt bikes are?

Reply

primodeelux
0
primodeelux  - Nov. 4, 2014, 5:15 p.m.

'Wow! The board is really lighting up……..let's take the next call…………go ahead caller.'

Reply

rivers-mitchell
0
Rivers Mitchell  - Nov. 4, 2014, 4:53 p.m.

I think these bikes look like a lot of fun, but the fact that they are a motorized vehicle will cause issues for all trail users as the pedelec's gain popularity.

The knee jerk reaction you see here reminds me of hikers when MTB's started getting popular…lol. The possibility is there that this will create more traffic on the harder to get to trails. I can also see how awesome a bike like this would be to trailbuilders….able to build trails further up the mountains while still carrying all their tools.

I think there needs to be studies done on how much extra wear and tear to the trails that pedalec's do as well will they actually cause more people to ride the non lift/shuttle trails? Right now people are working with a lot of assumptions without facts and that is usually dangerous territory that helps no one.

Anyway, I would love to throw a leg over one and try it for myself. Good post Cam. The more we talk about the issue the better.

Reply

chilipeppah
0
Chilipeppah  - Nov. 4, 2014, 9:33 p.m.

Can we get a list of MTB manufacturer's that are making e-bikes so we don't support them with our dollars? Thx

Reply

drewm
0
DrewM  - Nov. 7, 2014, 11:05 p.m.

So, Rivers, basically what you are saying, if I can take a shot at paraphrasing is: "innocent until proven guilty"?

Until we can provide proof that motorized bicycles that can "easily knock off twice as many laps", can "hold 20km/h" on "steep [climbs]", and adds up to "275% of your force to the rear wheel" do significantly more damage to low usage trails (presumably through what, you and Cam doing some hot laps of dark side trails?) we are treading the "dangerous territory" of making assumptions?!

Dude.

Reply

rivers-mitchell
0
Rivers Mitchell  - Nov. 7, 2014, 11:58 p.m.

Back that shit up with data. What I am saying is that everyone against it sounds like hikers when MTB started…"they (mountain bikes) are so much faster, and cause much more erosion!", see the similarities? That's all I am saying. You sound like hikers and equestrians when mountain bikes started showing up on their trails, scared of what these new machines will do to "your" trails. It took a long time but we are now starting to gain their trust, we have shown with scientific studies that we do no more damage than they do….do you think these studies were done on gravel roads and doubletrack….nope.

Hey Drew….I got one of these for ya…

Does this mean I think they should be on the trails, no. I said they look fun and I would like to test one out for myself so I can talk about them with a little more knowledge.

They are a motorized vehicle and they do not belong on trails that do not allow them. Period. There are tons of areas to still ride them legally and I would MUCH rather see these up in the hills than a full on moto, you can't roost these bad boys, no gas smell or noise pollution, very nice. But a MTB they are not.

Reply

drewm
0
DrewM  - Nov. 8, 2014, 2:10 a.m.

Okay… so now you are saying they aren't mountain bikes and they shouldn't be on mountain bike trails… But, even though I can extrapolate from the damage I have seen (human powered bike vs. motorized bike) that motorized bikes are bad for sensitive trails I shouldn't talk about it until such time as that there are enough of these bikes on the trails, that you don't think they should be on, that I can show you the damage they do?

Reply

david-simons
0
David Simons  - Nov. 4, 2014, 4:52 p.m.

You thought you would get hate mail, huh? Well you were right, though there's no bitterness to my hate. If a bicycle has a motor to assist powering it, it is no longer a bicycle but a motorcycle. See the word 'motor' in the title? That's it's description. For god's sake (yes, lower case g as there is no god) don't let motorcycles abuse the access to trails and paths that bicycles currently enjoy, otherwise we'll all be riding on the road, all of the time. Don't get me wrong now, I also ride a road bike for training and I enjoy it immensely,

Reply

mammal
0
Mammal  - Nov. 4, 2014, 2:46 p.m.

I've already added 2 separate points in this thread, and I hope my third hasn't been covered, if so, sorry (have read most of the posts but not all).

For me, as I get further into the mountain bike culture, I also tend to act with more responsibility toward the mtb community and it's related goals (being a good patron, trying not to piss off other trail users, attending maintenance days and trying not to destroy trails). One of the big problems I see with pedal-assist bikes, and this has been mentioned, is that it will get more novices into the game. It's not the ultra-experienced type who are lusting after these things, and the injured or incapable are truly a minority. But these new bikes are thrusting people who haven't learned the responsibility that comes with the sport into locations where it's expected that those who have made it there, know what they're doing and how to act.

When you first start mtb'ing, you may not be aware of the responsable culture either, but at least you're probably only accessing the easier or lower trails where builders pay attention to this type of traffic. I feel that starting newbies off by giving them access to pretty much all areas, opens the door to massive trail damage, probably unbeknownst to them as they haven't developed that sense of self-awareness and responsibility to other riders and trail users. If, in my first few months of mtb, I was placed on the trail head of remote loamers with an overweight bike and powerful brakes, I probably would have done extensive damage during my ride compared to how I tend to ride now. Over 15 years of riding has ingrained a sense of responsibility, respect and community towards those who share this space with me, and people shouldn't be in that position until they have learned that respect.

This doesn't come from any elitist position, but I am truly worried that hoards of folks will be unknowingly breaking down what decades of progress has built.

Reply

climberbkr
0
Mark Obsniuk  - Nov. 4, 2014, 1:07 p.m.

Wow what a thread. One thing I noticed which I didn't think about with the previous article is trail usage. Rick at Lynn Valley bikes told me a story about an eBike rider who was doing laps around lost lake. They did a lap or two to about 10 of the eBike rider. To me this just screams motor assisted is the wrong way to go here. We'd have to dramatically increase the trail networks to support the things.
Kaz's story about the thing causing a crash is not to be taken lightly as well. Sure lack of familiarity is something that led to the incident. Ones fitness and abilities acts as a natural filter. As one person mentioned they foresee people getting into trouble much more easily then before.
In the end I think there needs to be caution here. Many people seem to be worried about the future trail access. There have been two articles about eBikes and many people conjecturing about the access issues. What I would like is to have an article that investigates the trail access issue. I've been out of that world for over a decade. There are others who have a better relationship with the powers that control trails around here.

Reply

blackbird
0
tw  - Nov. 4, 2014, 11:52 a.m.

I think these newish technologies (dare I call it that) present a sort of checks and balances problem.

If these bikes are on the trail I can foresee:

A significant increase in trail conflicts with not just riders but hikers, landowners, dogs etc.

A significant increase in injuries and the need for rescue. One comment touches this, but it takes some real skill to pilot a pig of a bike on these trails, and if you need the motor to get up……

These two things will inevitably increase the interests and involvement of political bodies, the very ones NSMBA was designed to engage.

I think the e bike solution is simpler than it looks: if there is a chairlift, you may use your e bike on those trails. Otherwise, you are out.

…….if you can't use an e-bike for enduroooooooo……..

Reply

poo-stance
0
Poo Stance  - Nov. 4, 2014, 7:16 p.m.

47lb bike with a Fox 32 up front seems like a bad idea. Add in the speed these things go at. Sounds like an issue is bound to happen, sooner rather than later.

Reply

nathan
0
nathan  - Nov. 4, 2014, 10:36 a.m.

Interesting to think that people who can no longer climb due to a limitation will be the people to benefit the most. If they have a limitation riding up to the trail, will they not have a limitation riding down on a heavier bike? If these bikes allow less skilled people to access more trails, then we'll see more people wanting these trails dumbed down so they can ride them. What will happen if these bikes allow more people to access difficult trail that they can't ride down. The trails will get more eroded and they will more likely get hurt.

Is it elitist to want to preserve the trail experience? I think e-bikes will be great for commuting, but keep them off the trails. Its elitist of beginner and less experienced riders to want trails to cater only to them.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - Nov. 4, 2014, 12:22 p.m.

I think those are valid points Nathan.
It would however be elitist if you object to having easier trails on the Shore, or even a more balanced level of difficulty that allows kids and new riders to gain the skills needed to get to the next level.

Reply

0
uncle duke  - Nov. 4, 2014, 10:27 a.m.

sounded promotional to me…..

Reply

dstein86
0
Daniel.Stein  - Nov. 4, 2014, 10:16 a.m.

Isn't the current assumption for north shore trails that they are all for 'non motorized' use only? If this is the case then it's not even up for discussion, e-bikes have motors, and are therefor banned on current trails. When the NSMBA applied for the Aviva Community Fund Grant, one of the excerpts from the grant application was, 'To create a network of multi-use, non-motorized trails to provide access to youth and novice cyclists" Non motorized means no motors, sorry guys, no e-bikes.

Reply

Jerry-Rig
0
Jerry Willows  - Nov. 4, 2014, 11:45 a.m.

To me this is the main point. Do the trails allow for motorized access? If no, then no E-Bikes whatsoever. Think of Stravadouches ripping up Bobsled and Expresso. What a nightmare.

Reply

leeloam
0
leeloam  - Nov. 12, 2014, 10:12 a.m.

so your a play by the book rulz is rulz kind guy? what do ya think about illegal trails? what about riding them and what about building em? must
follow rulz

Reply

0
AlanB  - Nov. 4, 2014, 3:21 p.m.

A motorized bike is motorized bike. It doesn't matter whether it's powered by gas or electricity. Period.

The hiking/biking/mixed-use trails of the North Shore were designed and built for non-motorized use. Period.

Reply

craw
0
Cr4w  - Nov. 4, 2014, 9:53 a.m.

I think this is an intriguing ideas despite all my misgivings (most of which were covered in the article). When this technology gets smaller and lighter it might become a desirable high-end option - just like carbon rims are today.

As an advanced rider, if I was going to drop $7k on another machine it would be one of the emerging electric trials motos - which would allow me to really expand on what I could do out there! But this is apple to oranges.

Reply

walleater
0
walleater  - Nov. 4, 2014, 9:37 a.m.

I think it's fair to post up a review. I'm really not seeing 'hardcore' mountain bikers buying into these. a 47lb bike with 6 inches of suspension would not be my first choice. It's not Y2K any more. I'm also not seeing the people that are going to buy them cycling up to areas now only really accessible via helidorp or a massive walk. If they rip up Bobsled…..so what? Plenty of people shuttle loamers…. There's also the argument that buying a $10,000 26lb plastic 'enduro' bike is cheating 😉 Ride up Fromme on a 50b VPS with Monsters like the good old days 😉

Reply

Captain-Snappy
0
Merwinn  - Nov. 4, 2014, 9:26 a.m.

Not that keen on them for MTB use, but maybe that's just me being jealous in advance about getting smoked on climbs. I can see a few newbs getting lost and hurt, for lack of skills and trail knowledge due to a false sense of power and range. I would not want to be a beginner pedaling a dead 47lb anchor somewhere is the back roads of Squamish.

Alternatively if they can keep my 70 year old dad on a commuter bike and and I can draft off him on a road ride, they can't be all that bad. 🙂

Reply

Captain-Snappy
0
Merwinn  - Nov. 4, 2014, 8:49 a.m.

" A test does not an endorsement make, and forming an opinion requires knowledge of the subject."

I couldn't agree more.

Reply

0
mightyted  - Nov. 4, 2014, 8:28 a.m.

I see E-bikes as a niche market for riders with injuries or other limitations. If I saw someone riding up Fromme on one I would probably just assume there was something going on there where they weren't able to pedal up on their own power.
My concern would be that it would appeal to a beginner level rider looking to start MTBing to get into shape. So big fella buys one for 6k+ plus and keeps it because they don't resale well due to battery life issues. Then big fella never achieves the benefit of the sport because all he rides is his little motor bike.
The short of it, if you're looking to improve your fitness by trying MTBing, start with easier trails, not easier bikes.
And I would never poo-poo on NSMB.com for posting these sorts of articles. It's up to the consumer to put some thought into how they spend their money, not NSMB's job to shelter us from certain marketing.

Reply

drewm
0
DrewM  - Nov. 4, 2014, 8:51 a.m.

Sorry Ted, that's BS. These are not a niche product being marketed to people with physical issues limiting their access -- and a tiny % of the bikes sold will be used for this purpose.

E-Motorized offroad bikes are this industries answer to three-hole-Golf courses with larger holes. They are about getting a maximum % of an experience for a minimum amount of effort. They are about saying "I played a round of golf at lunch" without qualifying it was three short holes with a hockey net on each green.

They are about able-bodied people accessing your favourite trails at Burke, Eagle, the Whistler Flank, and many other places that require a serious commitment to ride without making that commitment.

And, if these companies sell as many bikes as their investment indicates they believe they will then they will create huge issues.

I love mountain biking -- but when I am too old or broken to do it I would rather accept that then ruin it for anyone else. Somewhere - guaranteed - these bikes will result in trail closures if they catch on.

Absolutely Cam & Co can take the "let the consumer choose" approach… they have to eat. But it doesn't change the fact that their publication is born of an area that had - and has - huge access issues and I would, personally, be disappointed if they chose to ignore that in what they include under the heading "Mountain Biking."

Reply

0
mightyted  - Nov. 4, 2014, 9:01 a.m.

I said niche market, not niche marketing. Of course if the E bike makers will take as big a slice of the pie as they can get. But to clarify, and as I have said before, I have too much faith in my MTBing brothers and sisters to really think this will take off on the shore.
We seem to disagree on this point but If I am wrong, then hopefully the NSMBA and DNV work together to control E-bike access.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - Nov. 4, 2014, 9:02 a.m.

How about the 'help the consumer get educated' approach so they can make a decision? And based on this argument it seems like you think shuttling should be banned. Is that the case?

Reply

drewm
0
DrewM  - Nov. 4, 2014, 9:22 a.m.

Nice -- nope, I have zero issue with shuttling. The trails I shuttle are built with that level of traffic in mind.

Do you want all your favourite trails to look like Ned's etc?

Reply

aonymous
0
Aonymous  - Nov. 4, 2014, 9:27 a.m.

I know NSMB is taking the "informing the consumer" approach in their rationalization of this article. But this is bike sales PR just like any other bike test. The Loam Ranger was taking an effort to educate patrons of this website, this is just a bike test with a mild disclaimer.

Shame on nsmb.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - Nov. 4, 2014, 9:34 a.m.

I don't Drew. Which is why I made that very point in my article.

Reply

nouseforaname
0
Nouseforaname  - Nov. 4, 2014, 10:06 a.m.

Shuttle accessed trails get shuttled. These bikes give shuttle access to non shuttle trails. I don't want all trails to become CBC to 'handle' the 'traffic'.
IMO the whole "you like shuttle access trails" or "you're not opposed to chairlifts" arguments are complete red herrings.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - Nov. 4, 2014, 10:19 a.m.

Actually that isn't how I presented that argument NUFAN. I have used that in response to those who say things like "it's black and white, there is no place for motors in mountain biking," despite the motors used for shuttling and lifts. I admit that I think these bikes have less footprint than shuttling or lifts, and that they are more enjoyable than both of those methods, but that does not mean I endorse them or think they should be approved for use on mountain bike trails.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - Nov. 4, 2014, 12:40 p.m.

First of all, Anonymous, if I can call you that, this is not a publication- wide article. My name is on this article and my thoughts are within so you are saying shame on me. We don't take the perspective that we all have to agree on a topic and it's not legislated by me. You are correct that this is a bike test, which is why I identified it as such. I'm not sure what your point there is.

Second of all, we are not in the business of PR. We take reviews and journalism seriously, and there is no motivation for us to try and sell e-bikes. I wrote honestly about my experience on the bike and that is all. You can (anonymously!) suggest this is shameful - but I was well aware that this would be unpopular. This is much more likely to cost us traffic and advertisers than benefit us, but it's clear that these bikes are likely to become more popular and being informed about them makes it more likely we'll be able to come to some conclusions about how and where they should be used.

Information is power while hysteria produces bad policy. The Ebola 'crisis' in the US is a great example of that.

Reply

still-anonymous
0
Still Anonymous  - Nov. 4, 2014, 1:04 p.m.

First: NSMB posted your article on the front page, so I believe I am right in imputing this article to the website as a whole. NSMB, like every organization, is made up of individuals. And enough individuals thought this was a sufficiently meretricious article to put on the landing page. Thus, I'm imputing this article to NSMB as a whole, as I do not believe you are a rogue agent acting against the wishes of NSMB.

Second: I stand by my comment that bike tests are advertising. Bike companies give you bikes because you'll test them, write about them, all in the hopes of increasing sales. Yes I know you are not hired by the companies to do this, but if bike (or car, or anything else) reviewers don't write favorable reviews they wouldn't get bikes to review. When this becomes a pay site and you buy your review bikes I will then believe you are completely objective. (I'm not saying this is inherently bad, but there is and always will be bias in these reviews)

Third: You and I both know the "cost us traffic" line is bs. I'm willing to bet this is one of your most heavily clicked articles all week. You knew this article would be inflammatory, and will do nothing but make your numbers look better.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - Nov. 4, 2014, 2:05 p.m.

Correct, Cam is no rogue agent. But none of us think that article was meretricious.

Confession: I had to look that word up.

Conclusion: you should too, because we see value in the article, and if it were meretricious to us, we wouldn't. Stoked to have learned a new word today, though.

In the case of buying review bikes, you open a different can of worms. There are many small sites out there started by enthusiasts who test what they own - sometimes they buy something solely with the intention of testing and writing about it, but usually that is not the case. I doubt I have to explain the inherent bias of tests performed under those conditions. Then there are very moneyed sites that buy all review samples…yet I fail to be able to list one off the top of my head. The bike industry has exactly zero publications that work that way. Globally. Car industry - I can't say for sure but I'm going to guess it's the same, because they routinely test cars whose value comparison obliterates the difference between a 4k and 10k bike, and I doubt they're paying for 150k Porsches for reviews and then selling them.

As for bias: yes, it's impossible to ignore. Cam wrote a great piece about bias recently:

.

We don't hide from it, but by being up front about the fact that a review has bias, it helps a reader understand it better. In fact I recently read a great article by a tech reporter that claimed that without bias his reviews would have zero value - and he was right. The word bias is like the words ignorant or selfish - they have negative connotations but shouldn't always be taken negatively.

On traffic: yep, we're getting good numbers on this article. But there are also people saying things like "shame on NSMB" or "I'm going to stop reading your site as a result of this article". And that's fine - not because we want to lose readers or because we get upset when people don't agree, but because we welcome open debate and expression here (and secretly we think even the haters will be back to read something. sometime. boy we sure hope so, anyway).

But sticking our head in the sand rather than looking into this issue for ourselves would not be doing our readers any favours, We can't have an educated opinion before becoming more familiar with the issue, and regardless of how contentious this is, it will be coming to a head at your local Trail network one day. We could pretend this doesn't exist, or we could examine the issue, and doing that is not as simple as one opinion piece. Tackling an issue responsibly requires examination from multiple angles, even if some of those opinions aren't popular. Reviewing at least one bike of this type is a necessary part of that process. By all means take a pro or con stance, but let's not be so insecure that we can't fathom being able to do the diligence, come to intelligent conclusions, and then mobilize our numbers to defend our trails and access and maybe figure out whether these bikes have a place for some people in some places - even if those people are different than we are and those places are specific trails designed to handle increased traffic and access is heavily regulated.

Testing a bike can be seen by some as 'promoting' and I won't deny there is value for Haibike in having their bike tested here. But anyone that reads this article is also going to read the comments - and having participation in the discussion around these bikes is important. Writing that we only write positive reviews is a little unfair to us, I think. We point out problems with bikes or components, and a lot of people respect the reviews we publish as a result. I also have had several product managers and engineers tell me that they would rather see us pick something apart than gloss over it - they like to be challenged to be better, too, and the good ones have enough confidence to know that they're not perfect, but are always trying to get better. I'd like to think we're like that, too, which is another reason why we welcome our critics, as long as they're reasonable.

Reply

nouseforaname
0
Nouseforaname  - Nov. 4, 2014, 2:06 p.m.

Cam, I know that you are making a counterpoint to the 'no motors allowed' viewpoint of Ebike detractors. Just because motors are 'acceptable' on chairlifts or in a shuttle truck, doesn't change whether or not the bikes themselves should (or not) be allowed motorized access to bike trails.

You can't shuttle the trails I usually ride, and they are better for it. If they were shuttle accessible, I'd probably shuttle them, because I AM lazy, and I know others would too. Then they'd be the same awful trenches that define beaten down trails, needing years of TAP-like resurrection. One of the big issues bike trails face around here is Moto access - trails used by Motos are nobodies idea of fun to pedal.

Ebikes are not appropriate on any trail that is a pedal bike trail. I'm willing to bet that even some of the super armoured Seymour and Fromme trails would see extra wear and tear with extended use by Ebikes; and if they do then what of the rest?

It wasn't cool when it was that Emotorbike with Monster Ts on, it's not cool now.

I hope I'm not being too knee jerky or accusatory towards you - and I hope that you don't feel that this is personal.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - Nov. 4, 2014, 2:31 p.m.

Not taken personally at all. Actually I think we are on the same page for the most part, and like Drew you are making some of the same points I made. I'll be a devil's advocate again though, because it's what I'm best at and because this needs to be flushed out.

What about shuttling up a road (not a trail) with an e-bike, turning the motor off and using gravity to get you to the bottom? Motor used going up, like shuttling, and no motor going down, like shuttling. What would you think about that?

Reply

agleck7
0
Agleck7  - Nov. 5, 2014, 9:26 a.m.

I think this is where it could be ok, but how on earth would you enforce that?

Reply

yvr
0
YVR  - Nov. 5, 2014, 10:14 a.m.

Testing a bike and publishing an online article is promotion. It's a plain and simple contract. No money has to change hands - only 'consideration' (i.e. something of value for each side). Manufacturer offers product for 'test'. NSMB accepts product for use. NSMB gets to use the product for free and manufacturer receives (public) feedback. NSMB gets use of product (or free product or product at discount - I'm assuming POC doesn't expect return of used helmets/gloves) and the ever valuable 'content'. Manufacturer takes risk of potential negative feedback … but that's rare as everyone has to eat. Worst case odds in most cases is getting '3 stars out of 5'.
If manufacturers didn't want to promote a product via NSMB, they could offer the product to anyone on the street. Or solely collect rider feedback at a bike demo event. Or in-house engineering feedback. Or in-house administrative assistant feedback. But they don't. Because NSMB is a promotional platform gone long past the days of a simple blog/discussion thread.
For NSMB to weasel out of a sense of responsibility to the MTB community under the guise of 'we're just educating the consumer' is weak. Even more hypocritical when NSMB is publically shaming RedBull for disserving the MTB community for less than optimal Rampage commentary.

Reply

nouseforaname
0
Nouseforaname  - Nov. 9, 2014, 1:12 p.m.

Cam, if you posit that people are going to use the motor on the up 'road', why aren't they going to use it on the trail? Trails round here are not chainless fun fests, they require pedal work. Leppard - man I'd love to be able to throttle my way through that trail, because my leg motors sometimes suck. Your idea is so self sacrificing that it flies in the face of everything we know about human nature.

Reply

leeloam
0
leeloam  - Nov. 12, 2014, 9:57 a.m.

So instead stick heads in the sand? That's bullshit. These effing things are coming and info about them needs to get out. Pretending they don't exist or not getting the info ab

Reply

david-reid
0
David Reid  - Nov. 4, 2014, 8:17 a.m.

Its going to be an interesting next couple of years watching how this plays out. The rules of the playground are not concrete in many areas. For instances in Squamish, Crumpet woods is a multi-use trail system between trial riders and Mtb-ers. It shoudn't work, but does, as the trials riders are looking for a different type of ride (not focused on speed, but technical difficulty and/or hard climbs) and are not that interested in the XC mtb arteries in that zone. Once you have an engine, suddenly ups - are just as fun as the down.

The interesting thing, is once you realise that you want the bike to ride up as well as down, the bike will become an electric trials bike (which are already available). At the moment, the electric mtb's seem lost to me, and disdainfully looked at by mtb-ers, and moto riders alike. To me they are the moped of the forest. Probably fun, but embarrassing to be seen on.

Reply

drewm
0
DrewM  - Nov. 4, 2014, 7:39 a.m.

Some bike companies are pushing e-mountain bikes ($$$). There will be more e-mountain bikes on trails. Most of the issues are dependent on how many.

These bikes, combined with Strava, will increase the load on more sensitive trails that were not designed for high traffic. As they get lighter natural barriers like mandatory hike-a-bike sections will offer no greater deterrent then to any other rider.

These bikes will create right of way conflicts as climbing speeds are substantially higher and riders on two way trails will have to be aware of ascending and descending traffic.

It is not a black-and-white issue now -- there are not enough of these hybrids out there -- but it certainly has the potential to be.

If this concerns you, then you definitely have to question whether you support companies supporting e-mountain bikes. Whether that is companies that make them, stores that sell them (online & brick-and-mortar), and publications that support them.

I, for one, am disappointed that NSMB.com is promoting the use of E-mountain bikes on North Shore trails. I would be hugely disappointed to see them accepting advertising revenue from these companies.

Every one of these bikes sold is a step towards access issues, trail damage, and user conflicts.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - Nov. 4, 2014, 8:44 a.m.

Promoting Drew? Did you read the article? I don't think I did any promotion but because I respect your opinion I have looked again.

It seems I was pretty clear that I wasn't promoting and I mentioned that interpreting a review as an endorsement would be a mistake. I went on to say that in order to reach a decision and have some sort of unified voice about these bikes it's imperative we know what we are dealing with. It doesn't seem to me that pretending they don't exist is a solid strategy.

Reply

drewm
0
DrewM  - Nov. 4, 2014, 9:16 a.m.

Really? I don't comment on articles I don't read… I read a glowing review of the experience of riding the bike coupled with a wishy-washy "no black and white" overview of potential access issues without actually putting any skin in the game. No?

"everyone's first reaction… Is a huge smile"

"A misconception is that you aren't able to get any exercise on an e-bike but that is garbage"

"I just went further and faster"

"works seamlessly and soon feels natural"

"… I could change direction easily, bunny hop over obstacles, corner aggressively and attack steep sections"

"I only road it once with my buddies… Otherwise they were too damn slow and there was no point in crushing them on the climb only to sit and wait twenty minutes for them to arrive…"

Oh but wait… "a test does not an endorsement make." Really -- you don't read this article as an endorsement?

"Mandatory climbs make trails less accessible… E-bike could easily knock off twice as many laps… further burdening trail maintainers." BUT "only… if it turns out these bikes become very popular, and that is anything but certain… it could be bad."

What is certain is that the industry is going to try damn hard to make these bikes popular through marketing budgets (advertising) and sending products out for testing… if a review like this one sells one more E-Offroad bike and there are access issues in the future, where do you stand?

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - Nov. 4, 2014, 9:45 a.m.

You got me Drew. I admit that I told the truth about my experience with the bike rather than let my political view skew my impressions. I find the truth to be satisfying and addictive, but it can also be troublesome when it is misinterpreted by those whose agendas allow a bias to obscure their vision.

No money has ever changed hands for an NSMB.com bike test and we often test bikes from those with whom we have no advertising nor business relationship. We have never pursued advertising related to E-bikes and no company has tried to buy it from us.

One of the conclusions one might come to based on my findings is that these bikes are going to be popular, because they are fun. And that information may be a call to arms for some, and if a call to arms is necessary it should probably happen sooner than later. If you'll notice this has stirred up emotions and challenged people to form an opinion, some of whom may not have had an opinion before.

Perhaps this is high falootin of me - but I consider myself a journalist; someone who has the responsibility to examine the issues before us with as much objectivity and consideration as possible without allowing personal biases to avoid challenging topics or conceal information.

It was pretty clear to me that this article would make some people see red, make others declare they never want to visit our site again and make very few people in our audience happy. And to me fear is a terrible reason to avoid telling the truth.

I plan on continuing to tell the truth and to tackle challenging topics with the hope that our audience is intelligent and objective enough to appreciate that. Otherwise this little endeavour of ours wouldn't be worth the effort.

Reply

drewm
0
DrewM  - Nov. 4, 2014, 9:59 a.m.

Not sure how to respond to that Cam. I wasn't calling you on telling the truth of your experience with the bike or questioning your integrity vis-a-vis reporting on a bike test.

I was calling you and NSMB.com, with all your knowledge and experience with trail building, for making this a bike review when it could/should be a lot more.

I don't have an "agenda," I have a strong opinion. I was only sharing my strong, personal, opinion to explain why I'm dissapointment.

Sorry.

Reply

0
mightyted  - Nov. 4, 2014, 10:11 a.m.

You should try writing an article for NSMB some time, Drew. You clearly have the chops for it.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - Nov. 4, 2014, 10:13 a.m.

But you accused us of promoting something - when we did not. Reporting findings and promoting are very different things. You may argue about whether we should have tested this bike, but again I feel strongly that pretending a technology doesn't exist does nothing to protect us from it, if we decide need protecting.

If you want me to draw a line in the sand then I will say I'd prefer not to see these bikes on trails that can't be shuttled, but I think they are much better than shuttling and chairlifts where those are the methods used to get to the top. But a trail by trail approach would be impossible, so where does that leave me? Right where I said I was.

One thing I was certain of was that this would generate discussion about this topic - and I feel strongly that this discussion needs happen. I also knew that getting the discussion going in this way would produce a backlash, but I hoped most of it would be reasonable rather than knee-jerk and accusatory.

And most of it has been.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - Nov. 4, 2014, 10:14 a.m.

He has and I'd like to see more of it. In response to this or something else.

Reply

drewm
0
DrewM  - Nov. 4, 2014, 10:47 a.m.

Cam, I re-read the article and my comments and it was absolutely not my intention to suggest that this review was any quid-pro-quo for advertising. I merely wished to draw light to the fact that companies will be spending a great deal of money and energy promoting these bikes and we will be seeing more reviews (more bikes sent out for review) and more advertising in the future.

I hope -- though I make no claim to any right to dictate how you run your site, which I enjoy -- that I will never see e-bike ads on it.

On re-reading the article I still think it reads as highly favorable to e-bikes.

Reply

drewm
0
DrewM  - Nov. 7, 2014, 11:39 p.m.

Cam, an interesting re-examination (I should note someone else, sadly had to point it out) of your review (and before you object re. my not thoroughly reading it, yes I noted your comments re. the cockpit and wanting to see how the bike rides out of the box and caveats for headangle and fork spec):

Namely, on a site that is generally reviewing sub-30 pound carbon super bikes with modern geo -- or at least in the interns cases bikes that are approaching 4k with updates and have modern geo -- would we (ignoring the motor for a second -- when "Descending [you] usually turned the system off") accept this reaction - on NSMB - of a bike with a relatively steep head angle, a Fox 32, a long stem, narrow bar, and any weight over ~35lbs (never mind 47)?

"The Ride - Down: I could change direction easily, bunny hop over obstacles, corner aggressively and attack steep sections"

I think it's the super-positive review of the bike itself (as much as raving about the motorized experience) that set my bullsh*t meter off -- it just seems out of place compared to other bikes reviews.

Reply

still-anonymous
0
Still Anonymous  - Nov. 4, 2014, 9:21 a.m.

I agree with you 100%

E-bikes already look like normal mountain bikes to the lay person. With every Tom Dick and Hairy running around every trail at 20mph I am worried that the difficult trail access situation in my home town (a mtb mecca) will become much worse. I could see it being very easy to just ban all mountain bikes since determining which bikes were and were not e-bikes would be too difficult.

I'm also disappointed in NSMB for posting this article. The question shouldn't be HOW do e-bikes work, it should be WHY e-bikes should or should not be banned before they do permanent damage to trail access and reverse everything IMBA has done in the last 20 years. Bikes are given to magazines/ website for subtle promotion. This one is no different.

I've only seen e-bikes on the trails a couple of times. And so far they have lived up to my worst fears. People on motorized DH bikes being much harder on the trails than any normal mtb would be. As an example, I was passed by a guy on an old specialized big hit going uphill on singletrack (he was going a solid 15+mph). Because of his motor he just passed me off trail instead of waiting five seconds for a legitimate passing opportunity. As I saw his rear tire kick up leaves and sticks I saw the inevitable reduction of mtb trail access.

Reply

mammal
0
Mammal  - Nov. 4, 2014, 7:27 a.m.

Trying to be objective here, even though I'm dead set against it.

But I just realized something I haven't before: people climbing steep, bermed trails at 20km/h, while others are descending those same trails at 30km/h. Sure IMBA trail etiquette dictates a right of way, but that's all out the window when those 2 speeds meet in a low-vis area. At least under your own power, with slower climbing speed there's some buffer time to react.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - Nov. 4, 2014, 10:22 a.m.

Good point.

Reply

jonas-dodd
0
Jonas Dodd  - Nov. 4, 2014, 6:46 a.m.

They should have called it hai-rad, lolz

Laughs aside, to me if it has a motor it's a motorbike and doesn't belong on regular mtb trails. End of story. Go ride a logging road with the moto crowd. I love dirt bikes and motorcycles in general, but e bikes have zero appeal for me and should be banned post-haste.

Reply

lex
0
lex  - Nov. 4, 2014, 5:58 a.m.

I asked Mr. Chang what he thinks about Ebikes and this was his response:

Reply

guest
0
guest  - Nov. 4, 2014, 6:55 p.m.

Reply

poo-stance
0
Poo Stance  - Nov. 5, 2014, 7:43 p.m.

Eff Im chocked I wasn't logged in for this gem!

Reply

GladePlayboy
0
Rob Gretchen  - Nov. 4, 2014, 5:49 a.m.

Interesting…. I'm still on the fence with e-bikes but the thought of a quicker ascent is not entirely without merit in my neck of the woods. Most of my rides are solo and I have a personal no shuttle rule, so occasionally a bit of "assistance" might be nice. However, that might also make me fat.

Reply

charles
0
charles  - Nov. 4, 2014, 5:38 a.m.

Agreeing w/ the Author that it's simply not black and white (gijoe) .. . … Just imagining my 78 year old dad being suddenly able to come on some singtrack rides again with me. I think there's real potential out there - not for the crowd that reads this website though (or PB, or whatever) but maybe as we all age and keep collecting injuries, there's a place for this product.

Reply

mammal
0
Mammal  - Nov. 4, 2014, 7:34 a.m.

The flip side is that the long slow road to gaining fitness gives you a nice window to also gain technical bike handling skills. With pedal-assist bikes, the less skilled newcomer can find themselves quite far off the beaten path without the skill set to get them through it, or keep from dragging brakes and blowing out corners with their over weight bikes.

Reply

gijoe
0
gijoe  - Nov. 4, 2014, 12:52 a.m.

e bikes are an embarrassment, get off your lazy ass punk.

Reply

bagheera
0
Bagheera  - Nov. 4, 2014, 12:05 a.m.

I'll hold back on the hate, but there is a point that's missing when
comparing pedelecs to chairlifts etc. Where there's a chairlift, there's
usually a bike park. You pay for access (which is not an issue) and the
trails are regularly maintained by a paid crew, often using heavy
machinery. This is not the case with "regular" bike trails. Also, not
all trails can be accessed by shuttling (either because there is no road
or because driving is prohibited).
There are areas where access and
the impact of users on trails are not an issue because those areas are
hard to reach. It takes time, it takes effort. Pedelecs change this,
creating all kinds of problems, which would make up a whole article.
In
alpine/remote areas, this also creates the problem of ill-prepared
people who suddenly find themselves in remote areas/dangerous situations
(already a problem in the Alps, mostly with hikers who start from the
end of a chairlift). The ensueing rescue often endangers the rescuers as
well.
Yes, I can see the appeal of pedelecs, but they're a can of
worms I'd rather not have opened. Mind, I'm fine with pedelecs for
commuting (already a huge thing here), even though they can be
dangerous, mostly because people ride at speeds they're unable to
handle.

Reply

0
t.odd  - Nov. 4, 2014, 7:09 a.m.

nailed it

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - Nov. 4, 2014, 10:23 a.m.

Well said.

Reply

doug
0
Doug  - Nov. 8, 2014, 10:24 p.m.

Take the last 3 paragraphs; imagine you're a hiker/walker; now replace pedalec with bicycle. We have become the establishment fear-mongering the inevitably changing future.

Reply

kaz-yamamura
0
Kaz Yamamura  - Nov. 3, 2014, 10:57 p.m.

I have a 'cool story bro' story about this particular e-bike. Cam let me ride it up Fromme when we went to take a few photos, and going up the fireroad at 20km/h was a great feeling. However when we stopped to shoot, I accidentally left the bike in 'turbo' mode, and when I pedalled after we got the shot (going down) it sped forward, sending me onto a skinny at an angle. I landed on my side with a thud and instantly came to a halt. Later I found that I tweaked my shoulder in the little incident.

Reply

Please log in to leave a comment.

Trending on NSMB