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Not A Review

A Month with the Santa Cruz Heckler E-Bike

Words Cam McRae
Photos Deniz Merdano
Date Apr 21, 2020
Reading time

I wasn't sure what to expect. Would an e-bike ruin my desire to power my ride with only my own paltry engine? Would my riding patterns change? Maybe I'd get hooked on the narcotic of watts as others have? I had an idea of what climbing would be like but not descending and I hadn't spent time on an emtb since 2014, when I rode a Haibike Xduro. It rode surprisingly well, with lack lustre components, a Fox 32 and sketchy geometry. Things have changed a wee bit in that time, and having Santa Cruz enter the market was an interesting milestone. Trek, Specialized, and Giant have been making e-bikes for years now, but as a boutique brand with a loyal clientele, Santa Cruz wasn't about to plunge until the water seemed safe. Or maybe somewhat safe is more accurate. Is it safe for us? Probably not, but we're one ankle into this fetid puddle already so let's get wet, before we even have a menu dropdown for e-bikes.

The Heckler

Santa Cruz did a stealthy job making the Heckler look like a bike. As in, a bike without a motor. A close look reveals the Shimano power plant mounted at the bottom bracket, and the fat, battery-filled downtube, but well-placed black finishing conceals both quite successfully. The naked eye might miss the 650b wheels as well, which was an interesting choice. Santa Cruz sales hit another gear when the Tallboy was launched. One of the first 29ers that was universally praised, it sold better than all other Santa Cruz models combined. Santa Cruz opted for tweener wheels here to generate a livelier ride that compensates for the extra heft (46 lbs). I'll bet you a set of Reserve wheels there's a big-wheeled version on the horizon.

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I've been feeling better than ever in the air lately, but on the Heckler that went up another notch. I was on an XL and the size was perfect.

The power made available by the Shimano E8000 drive unit is vastly superior to what I experienced on the Xduro six years ago. It struggled when things got steep and needed high cadence to get really going. So far only skill has prevented me from getting up any hill I've attempted on the Heckler. Fromme's climbing trail, which I have only attempted at non-peak hours, is certainly faster, but the frequent switchbacks make the difference less pronounced. If I was short on time I took the fireroad.

Ride Selection

I stayed close to home on my first rides, and going too far wasn't an option in the age of COVID-19, but I went for longer rides and in less time. Heading up the fireroad on Fromme at 20km/h (12 mph)* was quite comfortable and it made the temptation of more laps hard to resist. Which means, there is no question that e-bikes increase wear and tear in areas that can't be shuttled. I ride from home sometimes on my usual rides, but on the Heckler it was automatic. Ripping on the road and arriving at the trailhead in a third of the time, is a seductive revelation.

*I caught up to a group of women who were formerly XC racers, one sponsored and on the national team, and they were going about 7 km/h - but just toodling along and chatting

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Nothing to see here.

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The head unit works well, and the Santa Cruz bars are allow the wires to be routed inside. Beyond a cleaner look, the protection offered is a big benefit.

Another ride I started doing involved riding over the Cleveland Dam and into West Vancouver to an ugly climb. It's a steep double track with occasional rock features to climb and lots of rocks strewn everywhere. It's a brutal challenge normally but with the electric boost it becomes fun, but still very hard work. I particularly enjoy getting the front wheel up in the air and powering up something ridiculous like a trials moto. There is skill and finesse necessary to get up challenging sections and it's incredibly satisfying when it goes well. Going for longer adventures in less time is one of the bonuses of an ebike. On my old legs, the fun to effort equation doing the same ride unassisted is less compelling. That isn't necessarily worse, but for me it's the difference between doing a ride like that a few times a year or a couple of times a month.

Covid Pal

As a pandemic bike, the Heckler and e-bikes in general, make a lot of sense. It's easy to stay 2 metres away from others, and to ride from home, and it makes riding alone a little more fun. Despite the downturn, I wouldn't be surprised to see a bump in e-bike sales based on the reality show we're all currently starring in.

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Climbing on an e-bike is most efficient with high cadence. The drive cuts out at approximately 19mph or 30kmh, making you feel weak.

E-Down

Descending on the Heckler was quite surprising. On smoother bermy trails I was generally faster. The low slung weight, much of it below the front axle, seems to propel you forward and sink confidently into corners. At times it feels like a stabilizing gyro in the middle of your bike, and I often found a next level of comfort and confidence in the air. There were even times when I felt like I could move the bike around a little. I noticed this particularly on trails with gap jumps I sometimes have a hard time making. On the Heckler, without any pedal strokes, I seemed to always hit tranny. A bonus is that this confidence transfers nicely back to other bikes I'm riding, which I didn't expect.

Getting up and over things, despite Danny MacAskill's brilliant displays, is generally a little harder. Sometimes extra speed closes that gap, but in the real jank, where speed and momentum are in short supply, the Heckler can feel a little unwieldy. At around 46 lbs, it's not as porky as many others though and in many situations I was surprised by the bike's agility. Often the aforementioned mass below the front axle height, seemed to allow me to push through rough bits that would have stopped lighter machines.

It's easy and often preferable to turn off the motor on the descent, but occasionally I left it in boost to mainline some extra torque. Battery life takes a little hit this way, and I did manage to almost kill the 504 Wh battery a couple of times, but not quite.

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It may not be stylish, but at least it's fun. Cornering, pushing through rough sections, and airtime, were all very gratifying on the Heckler.

Shimano E-Steps

Occasionally there would be a startup error on the E7000 display. With the help of Jeff Bryson I learned that one issue was powering up the bike with even slight pressure on the cranks. The computer would detect this and, rather than shoot you into the traffic, disable the motor. There was another error I had a few times that seemed like a glitch, and once the battery had to be unplugged before everything fired up again.

Other than those minor issues, the Shimano system worked really well. Unlike other companies, who substitute components of the Shimano drive system for cheaper generic bits, Santa Cruz went for the entire system. The plug is much better than another we've been riding lately, as are the connections at the head unit. Another bonus is that Shimano's diagnostic tool will be able to ferret out any issue, which isn't the case when cheaper wires, plugs, and connections are used. The Shimano Etube app (I have no idea what Etube means) works well and allows you to choose three levels for each power range; Eco, Trail, and Boost. I went full moto and put each at the highest level, and the Heckler really moved. In fact it was so much faster than other e-bikes that I had to sometimes ride in Trail mode when they were in Boost. And the difference wasn't my superior fitness.

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Carrying speed on flow trails seemed easy.

Riding Habits

Choosing a riding partner (one only - at 2 metres currently) is trickier. Riding an e-bike when your riding partner is not kind of sucks, for both of you. It's fine on the way down but in most other situations the e-bike is so much faster that riding together is either painful or impractical. The nice thing is that you can ride with faster people and shrink the difference as long as you are both on e-bikes. I went for a ride with Seb Kemp, and while the pace could have been a little slow for him, particularly on the way up, he could stay in trail and if he got too far ahead I just slipped it into Boost without telling him and closed the gap. While we had two e-bikes around I would disinfect the bike, in a very large autoclave, and invite friends to saddle one up.

Over the course of a month, when I was riding 4 to 6 times a week,* I generally rode the Heckler once or twice a week and other bikes the rest of the time. I didn't keep a scorecard but I'd guess it got between 25 and 30% of my attention. It certainly wasn't the happiest concubine. That number may have dropped a little were it not for COVID-19, but a lack of group rides changed my habits significantly. No shuttle bumps and no rides with more than one other person made for fertile e-bike attraction.

*the testing schedule has been heavy

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The thumb activated mode button to choose Eco, Trail or Boost. Notice the wire entering the bar.

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The wires here are tidier than most, thanks to internal routing in the Santa Cruz branded bars.

Ruined by Electricity

My biggest worry was that my affection for the elegant simplicity of the bicycle would be compromised. I wasn't sure if I would saddle up without power and discover the most efficient vehicle known to man had lost some of its magic and feel sluggish and slow. Occasionally those first pedal strokes back on my usual bike felt like pedalling through glue, but only when I started on a steep climb, and the sensation always faded. Thankfully, the silence and agility of the mountain bike hasn't lost any of its allure. I imagine it's like a backcountry skier rides the lifts on a powder day, (since every day on a mountain bike is a powder day) and then goes back to skinning for vert. Both experiences are sweet and have distinct attractions, but for me it feels like one won't ever replace the other. There's likely a Tinder analogy in here, but an e-bike never turns my head or makes me catch my breath like the distilled mechanical perfection of the bicycle, but the access and speed of a bike like the Heckler is undeniably seductive.

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Heckle all you want, for an e-bike she looks pretty good.

Like a Harley in a Graveyard

E-bike etiquette is something I worried about. I tried to slow down when passing other riders climbing, and I always made an effort to say hello. Sometimes I just said, "sorry," like a true Canadian because I felt rude and entitled passing riders under their own power. I was hoping someone would say something confrontational, so I could engage them and ask a question or two, but it never happened. The Pandemic likely had some influence on that. If an F-bomb had been lobbed my way, I'm sure I would have sympathized and aligned with at least a portion of their sentiments. Mountain bikes already have a PR problem, and e-bikes are bound to sully our reputation further, at least to begin with. While many who own an e-bike are long time riders who understand how hikers, dog walkers, residents who live near trailheads, and the public in general often see us, and govern themselves accordingly, those who are new to riding and start off with an e-bike don't know that history. Being surrounded by a community that can demonstrate good behaviour is very helpful, but new riders may not have that access. The road ahead looks a little bony, but not unrideable. At least I hope not, because electric mountain bikes seem to be here for good.

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The power button lives near the bottom bracket junction.

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The charger hatch cover is a little finicky and not glove friendly, but it seals well and stays put.

In Closing

A conversation started on the way up the fireroad today. I helped an Italian on a Levo with a Trust fork, navigate a little and we merged with another pair. One of them asked if we felt bad passing riders (I do), and a conversation started. The Italian talked about having an e-bike four years ago and almost coming to blows when a rider tried to prevent him from riding down a trail. One of the other pair said, "I don't get it. Mountain biking is supposed to be fun, and these are really fun." I looked over my shoulder and said, "I'm not sure that's the best justification." He gazed back at me puzzled and asked what I meant. "Well," I said, "I've heard the same thing about crack."

I've used that line before, but it's no less true now. If we aren't examining the net impact of a new way to ride bikes, and failing to mitigate potential negatives, simply because it's fun, we are putting our sport, and frankly, our way of life, in jeopardy. Vigilance is key and bike companies, and media companies like this one, need to take the lead to ensure we don't ruin what many have fought hard for years to achieve.

Personally, I've come to the conclusion that I'd appreciate having a bike like the Heckler around all the time. The ability to get out for a quick ride that that ticks many boxes means I ride a little more. High speed climbs allow more vertical and more trails. And finally, E-bikes are superior in every way to shuttling, heli drops or riding a chairlift. Today, carving out some extra time on the way up opened my schedule for an hour of trail work that wouldn't have happened otherwise.

That's where I stand. Heckle away.

cam@nsmb.com
Cam McRae

Age - 54

Height - 6'/183cm (mostly legs)

Weight - 165lbs/75kg

Ape Index - 0.986

Inseam - 33"/84cm

Trail I've been stoked on lately - Fifth Horseman

Bar Width - 770mm

Preferred Reach - 475-490mm

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Comments

lev
+4 twk Cr4w Pete Roggeman Bogey
Lev  - April 21, 2020, 12:54 a.m.

I don't know why Santa Cruz still get called boutique bikes? All of their massive range of bikes are readily available and they are owned by a big company that own a few others.  That ship has sailed. 

I'm not anti e-bike, but am still resisting getting one - but not sure why.  I hope when it does happen, I don't regret getting one years before.

Reply

FLATCH
+2 Cam McRae Joseph Crabtree Meister Mammal
flatch  - April 21, 2020, 4:13 a.m.

Seems not that long ago Cam, you were removing e-bike content weren’t you?

Times they are a changin’

Reply

GladePlayboy
+9 Cam McRae Sandy James Oates gregster77 Pete Roggeman Allen Lloyd Dan Kos E-wok Doug M.
Rob Gretchen  - April 21, 2020, 6:09 a.m.

Good article Cam... nothing negative from me on your experiences and take aways.    E-bikes have a place in our riding culture.    But I love my normally aspirated bike even more after getting off one.... its funny.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
+6 Pete Roggeman Rob Gretchen Dan Tremeer023 E-wok Doug M.
Cam McRae  - April 21, 2020, 8:20 a.m.

Normally aspirated is pretty good! Thanks!

Reply

dan
+1 Pete Roggeman
Dan  - April 24, 2020, 10:23 a.m.

Relatively new dad here with a recent 'first ebike ride' experience.

TL;DR: I get it. The convenience is attractive, but I wouldn't buy one for several reasons - most important of which are cost and lack of access to trails where they are permitted.

Just two weeks ago I first took an ebike out for a recon lap up a service road on my local mountain. It was a friend's 140mm travel Ghost SL AMR (by no means superlight but maybe it's supposed to be SLAMR? I don't know. It was a 2019 or 2018 version of this) Anyhow, I am about 6'5" and it's a size medium so right off it was ideal that I was riding a little-used area on a weekday morning. I am sure I looked like a total goof.

What I was setting out to do was connect a full lap to connect a large, somewhat-unused area that woudl conclude on a very freshly-built (albeit unsanctioned) trail. For this I thought the ebike would be a slightly better tool for the job. The 5.5 mi approach is usually a 90-95 minute affair on my Slash but given that I had a short window to ride, I cannot deny that i was looking forward to putting this thing into full-power mode to hasten the service road climb. It was over in 36 minutes. I had one glitch like the one Cam refers to above: it was the result of me powering off the battery during a brief descent on the road, and powering up with pressure on the pedals. Of note, I nuked 60% of the battery on the climb and as a result got range anxiety for the balance of the ride knowing that I still had one significant climb left before I had completed the lap. (I never did run out of juice.)

Based on a sample size of 1 on a bike that obviously was too small for me, I can admit "I get it". It rode *fine*. It handled the limited singletrack of my lap without any complaint. I've ridden enough motos to know that the mass is going to melt away as velocity increases. But given that I am lucky enough to live adjacent to some world-class trails in Bellingham - most of which are off-limits to eMTBs - AND I am a new dad with seriously limited discretionary income, there's just no way I am going to be an ebike owner any time soon. Would I get one if i won the lotto? You bet. And I would count on having to mostly ride it alone as I only know one other ebike owner (for now).

It's interesting to think about the potential for this market during this pandemic... will people be motivated to buy one because the riding alone reality isn't as much of a penalty? Or will people be more thrifty with their funds because the future is so unknown? OR yet again, will people taking the plunge and incur the big expense precisely BECAUSE of the uncertainty? Me, I am squirreling away nickels and dimes for an EXT shock for my Slash. I'll be naturally aspirated for quite a while.

Reply

grimwood
+4 Pete Roggeman Greg Bly Andrew Major Jerry Willows
grimwood  - April 21, 2020, 8:24 a.m.

Interesting article, Cam. And seems timely as e-bikes seem to be rapidly multiplying during COVID... I owned the Norco Range e-bike earlier this year and I came away with mixed feelings. Like you, I found it almost impossible to ride with someone who was riding a 'regular' bike. None of my buddies had e-bikes and one of my favourite things about riding is getting out there with other people, so that was a strike against it for me.

Climbing on the e-bike was certainly entertaining and you can climb some seriously steep pitches at pace. But descending, I felt it stole some of the fun and what I love about bikes. I felt like I was always stuck on the line I picked and couldn't easily transfer the bike around the trail. And I always felt more gassed on the descents than I do on my regular bike. Part of that might be due to the weight of my Range coming in at over 57 pounds...

Overall, I felt like everything got turned down. Climbing sucked less, but descending wasn't as fun. And running out of battery on an e-bike and having to pedal home is just terrible. I think I'd dip my toes in the e-pond again when the bike weights get to 38-40 pounds and the assist is only 20% or so.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
-2 Meister Joseph Crabtree Reed Holden E-wok
Pete Roggeman  - April 21, 2020, 9:58 a.m.

> Overall, I felt like everything got turned down. Climbing sucked less, but descending wasn't as fun.

That's an interesting take I hadn't heard or considered before. Having been on several of those rides with Cam (on a Range VLT) I'd say I can understand where you're coming from. We did a few loops we wouldn't normally have done, and explored some areas that would have taken longer, and I liked that part, but if you boil down the riding experience, I found myself wanting to get back out on one of my other bikes, and not the e-bike, on the reg. I think it'll take more time on e-bikes to nail that feeling down.

Regarding the bike weight and power to weight ratio, also interesting, because so far when discussing this with others (not necessarily e-bike owners), I can't get a consensus on whether they like or dislike the idea of bikes like the Levo SL that offer less weight and less power assistance. Sounds like for you, though, that bike may be one to consider.

Reply

Jotegir
+2 Cam McRae Andrew Major
Lu Kz  - April 21, 2020, 12:36 p.m.

It makes sense that there's no consensus on the lighter/less power crowd versus the heaver-but-turbo-is-awesome crowd as they are different products to satisfy different needs. The one style of bikes makes a ton of sense for someone who used to ride all the time but now finds that they can't ride with their friends anymore due to age/injury/etc. That lighter/less power option might help solve the lousiness of riding with a friend without an e-bike.

As a younger person, that bike makes absolutely no sense for me to own. The only reason I'd be getting an e-bike is either 1. to replace my car (or my threshold I guess) when commuting - not an issue right now, believe it or not, or 2. to replace the back of a truck for shuttling. Why would I want the less power bike for that?

Reply

Timmigrant
+3 Pete Roggeman Dan E-wok
Tim Coleman  - April 21, 2020, 12:46 p.m.

Interesting to see the differences in experience. I really liked how the Range VLT descended. The only place I found it more difficult than my analog bike was trying to gap things in the trails. I actually found it just as fun (and faster) on the trails I expected it to suck like on Dales and Forever After. 

For me the smaller battery, lighter e-bikes don't make a ton of sense. There isn't enough assistance to warrant the extra expense over an acoustic bike. It has too much overlap with an acoustic bike for me. I'd want a more powerful, longer range, longer travel e-bike that would open up new self-shuttle options on big alpine rides, and huge bike park-esque vert days in non-bike park zones.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
+2 Tim Coleman E-wok
Pete Roggeman  - April 21, 2020, 3:53 p.m.

Oh, I found it descended quite well, indeed. I just didn't find myself pining to ride it and every time I jumped on a 30 lb bike instead of the 50 lb one, I just enjoyed it more.

Reply

Timmigrant
+1 Pete Roggeman
Tim Coleman  - April 22, 2020, 3:11 p.m.

That's fair and completely agree. I'd far rather descend on my acoustic bike.

Reply

JBV
0
James Vasilyev  - April 24, 2020, 10:44 a.m.

you have a 30 pound bike?!!?

Reply

Arama
+1 Cam McRae
Arama  - April 24, 2020, 7:54 p.m.

Levo Sl looks to be exactly that Mike.

Reply

morgan-heater
+3 Niels Pete Roggeman JVP
Morgan Heater  - April 21, 2020, 9:44 a.m.

I 100% agree that e-bikes are better than shuttling in every way. Shuttling, while awesome for shear descending volume, also sucks. Who wants to go out to the woods and spend all day driving? In 5 or so years when the tech has stabilized a bit, I will definitely be looking for a burly dual-crown shuttly-bike.

Reply

Timmigrant
+5 Mammal Morgan Heater Pete Roggeman 4Runner1 Dan
Tim Coleman  - April 21, 2020, 12:05 p.m.

I sit on the opposite side here. I'd far rather go do a shuttle pedal with a bunch of buddies on a lighter, cheaper, more nimble bike that doesn't run out of battery, and or ride the bike park with a big crew of friends. That said I really enjoy getting in a fast solo rip on an e-bike when I don't have anyone to shuttle with. So if you're a parent and maybe can't nail down a time to meet the crew for a shuttle, the e-bike has a lot of upside.

Reply

mammal
+2 Pete Roggeman Dan
Mammal  - April 21, 2020, 12:16 p.m.

I'm right there with you Tim. For me, shuttles or park days are more about the friend vibe, and ripping a dedicated DH bike for a few laps is a feeling that can't be replicated (although big smashing trail bikes are likely coming close). 

Definitely makes sense for others who are heading out solo though, just not for myself.

Reply

morgan-heater
+4 Pete Roggeman Velocipedestrian Tim Coleman Meister
Morgan Heater  - April 21, 2020, 12:43 p.m.

The annoyances of shutting to me are figuring out how the shuttle order is going to work, loading/unloading bikes and people, cramming into an over-loaded pickup on bumpy back road, and being in a car for several hours.

The advantages are hanging out with friends and getting tons of descending in.

If I had a group of friends with e-bikes that rode like down-hill bikes but could be pedaled at 15 miles per hour uphill for 5 or 6 laps, I think we could hang out with friends and get lots of descending, while also getting exercise on the climbs and not having to deal with all the truck rigamarole.

The math is always going to be different for different people, of course.

Reply

gregster77
0
gregster77  - April 21, 2020, 10:02 a.m.

So curious, how many laps to top of 7th for example could you knock out on this thing before running it dry?
And did you try pedaling unassisted up fire road? 

I have a 2019 bronson  which is basically the normally aspired (we need to make this a thing!) version of the heckler I hear. 

On a weekend where I don't have my daughter, i can knock out 1600m elevation doing fromme laps, and it's holding onto the bike on the descent that makes me stop.   

Also tempted with the quicker ride though, something to smack out during my work at home lunch break during covid.

Totally agree about the extra laps + tear & wear on the trails though.  Maybe we need to require ebikes to display the local mountain bike associate membership sticker to make sure trail contributes has been made :D

(oh i don't want to open up a tax flame war here, I know a noob who drags their brakes will also damage trail, as will someone who rides normally aspired daily compared to someone who rides ebike on weekend only.  No such thing as a "fair tax")

Reply

Timmigrant
+2 Cam McRae Pete Roggeman
Tim Coleman  - April 21, 2020, 12:01 p.m.

I got 1,000 m of vert in about 2 hours on a base Range VLT in Trail Mode. I was part way up Good Sir Martin when it ran out of battery and had to finish the climb unassisted. It was doable, but as expected took a lot more effort than an acoustic bike. So I think the e-bike sweet spot is blasting out quick hour / hour and a half laps getting in as much vert as possible. The bigger batteries, and replaceable options on some bikes will increase this range and vert accordingly. But unless you're in the lowest assistance 1,600 m is going to be a stretch, and then at that point, why bother, you'll be just about as fast unassisted and will have a lighter, more nimble bike for the descents.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
+1 4Runner1 Meister satn
Pete Roggeman  - April 21, 2020, 3:57 p.m.

Turbo Kenevo can handle that amount of climbing, no problem. Beastly battery and efficient motor.

Also, we really need to do away with this 'acoustic' term. That word has to do with sound, it is not the opposite of electric.

Reply

Jotegir
-1 Deniz Merdano Tim Coleman 4Runner1 mrbrett Meister
Lu Kz  - April 21, 2020, 5:20 p.m.

The acoustic term is for fun. And I think it's fun. 

So too bad.

Reply

Brocklanders
+1 Pete Roggeman
yahs  - April 21, 2020, 7:07 p.m.

It makes no sense please explain

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
+4 4Runner1 gregster77 Tim Coleman Meister
Pete Roggeman  - April 21, 2020, 9:21 p.m.

Sure, I'm all for fun, too, but that's why we end up with 'enduro' being a category and other really bad monikers like 'down country'.

Reply

Timmigrant
+3 Lu Kz Kos mrbrett
Tim Coleman  - April 22, 2020, 3:42 p.m.

I'm definitely calling them acoustic down country bikes from now on! :)

taprider
+6 Lu Kz Cam McRae Joseph Crabtree ZigaK Velocipedestrian Greg Bly DMVancouver mrbrett 4Runner1 E-wok
taprider  - April 21, 2020, 9:24 p.m.

the "cheater bike" term for ebikes is fun too

so also too bad

Reply

Jotegir
0
Lu Kz  - April 22, 2020, 5:53 p.m.

I have no problem with people calling them cheater bikes.

fartymarty
+2 Lu Kz satn
fartymarty  - April 21, 2020, 11:31 p.m.

Meat powered works for me.

Reply

4Runner1
+4 Niels Perry Schebel ZigaK Tremeer023
4Runner1  - April 22, 2020, 7:19 a.m.

Agreed. Just call them 'bikes' and e-bikes. No need for new terminology.

Reply

skooks
+2 goose8 Reed Holden Cr4w E-wok
Skooks  - April 22, 2020, 7:21 p.m.

No, They aren't just E-bikes. They are motorized bicycles. The E-bike term is the marketing department trying to pass them off as the same as real bikes, and minimizing the fact that they have a motor. Terminology matters.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
+1 E-wok
Cam McRae  - April 23, 2020, 11:38 a.m.

Maybe someone can give me the name of a modern product that wasn't thought up by marketing departments? The hoverboard is one that always makes me laugh. Products are named so they sell, and the inventor/marketing/production people always come up with the name. I don't think it's inaccurate or misleading however. If a vehicle has electric power, by it's very nature it has a motor. An electric car isn't called a motorized electric car because that part is understood. If you call it a motorized bike you aren't distinguishing it from one powered by gasoline. You are welcome to dislike the name and call them whatever you like, but there's nothing strange about product inventors, innovators and marketers naming their product so it sells and is accepted as broadly as possible.

mammal
0
Mammal  - April 24, 2020, 7:33 p.m.

E-bikes it is then. Bikes, and E-bikes. Let's keep them different.

tashi
0 Reed Holden Greg Bly E-wok Meister
tashi  - April 23, 2020, 10:15 a.m.

I agree. 

That’s why I call them mopeds.

Reply

Timmigrant
0
Tim Coleman  - April 22, 2020, 3:41 p.m.

The battery on that looks healthy on the Turbo Kenevo, but it's still gonna be shy vert wise in my experience in Trail Mode. You could eek out 1,600 m in ECO mode. I think I'd prefer something with a replaceable battery though. If it was going to be my self shuttle bike, I'd stash a battery or two in the car, and rip laps.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
+1 E-wok
Pete Roggeman  - April 23, 2020, 1:16 p.m.

When I tested the bike at the Northstar bike park in Lake Tahoe, I logged 1300m of climbing on fairly technical trails (plus the downhill) and still had half a battery left at the end of the day. Conservatively, call that a 2,000m climbing budget. In my experience, climbing fire roads is considerably MORE efficient than technical terrain. So, for two laps up to 7th? No problem. In fact, I don't think it would be a problem on that same Range...Cam and I did several rides where I went over 1,000 m and still had half a battery left.

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Timmigrant
0
Tim Coleman  - April 27, 2020, 12:11 p.m.

Maybe I'm too fat. Range VLT demo got me just over 1,000 m of vert on Seymour between Old Buck, Mt. Seymour Parkway and GSM in about 2 hours. Battery died part way up GSM and had to finish the climb unassisted. I was using Trail the entire time. You could get more vert going slower in ECO (if you were on an E-Bike with your buddies on ACOUSTIC bikes), but that somewhat defeats the point of the E-Bike for me personally (which would be getting more vert in less time).

pete@nsmb.com
+1 Dan E-wok Joseph Crabtree
Pete Roggeman  - April 21, 2020, 3:59 p.m.

I have a big problem with the 'increased wear and tear' argument, here's why: that is never discussed when it comes to fit/advanced/or pro riders - all rider types who cover more ground, generally ride more days per year, and have the fitness and speed to get more laps in per hour than an 'average' rider. And yet, this problem never comes up - it's just intended as a benefit of fitness + skill. Sure, that fitness and skill had to be earned, but that doesn't make the wear and tear any less real. So, to me, that argument doesn't belong. BUT we're not getting into it here, as you said, so I guess we'd better not get into it!

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morgan-heater
+9 Andrew Major Vik Banerjee 4Runner1 Jerry Willows JVP ZigaK Tim Coleman mrbrett Tremeer023
Morgan Heater  - April 21, 2020, 5:06 p.m.

Fit folk are always going to be a small chunk of the population though, whereas e-bikes could penetrate pretty deeply once they get cheap enough.

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pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - April 23, 2020, 1:11 p.m.

Not in these woods. North Van is not normal for the number of fit/pro/advanced riders. Ditto Squamish, Whistler, Pemberton, and Bellingham.

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Timmigrant
+1 Velocipedestrian
Tim Coleman  - April 22, 2020, 3:16 p.m.

Pete from my experience working on trails, and observing riders I'd say your fit / advanced / pro riders might ride more distance but are generally much less damaging to trails. From what I've seen intermediate and beginner level riders are generally much harder on trails due to more braking over longer distances. E-Bikes are going to allow your intermediate level riders to cover much more distance and do significantly more descending.

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pete@nsmb.com
+1 E-wok
Pete Roggeman  - April 23, 2020, 1:10 p.m.

Tim, that argument falls apart when you consider shralping turns, which is advanced rider territory. Sorry, I just don't buy it. The way trails are built these days, reinforcement in areas where braking occurs is way better than it used to be, which perhaps mitigates damage by all user groups, but still...the 'e-bikers get more mileage and therefore do more damage' is, to me, just another example of anti-e-bike rhetoric put out there by people grasping for arguments, with - so far - absolutely no data to support it.

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taprider
+1 Tim Coleman
taprider  - April 24, 2020, 11:33 a.m.

The  fit/advanced/or pro riders who ride uphill more and cover more distance (vs the  downhill strong/advanced/or pro riders who shuttle and uplift more) are also more efficient by wasting less energy (such as they brake less, lose traction less and schralp less) and are overall lighter on their tires (by that I mean, impact to the trail surface not just body weight)

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andy-eunson
+1 Mammal
Andy Eunson  - April 24, 2020, 6:10 p.m.

But put a fit advanced rider on a powered bike and they will do more trail in a given amount of time. Any rider on a powered bike will be capable of more distance in an hour than normally aspirated riders. I don’t know if that increased mileage would be a big issue or not though. Trail associations may have to mark more trails at the bottom as downhill only though. My neighbour came upon a rider on a fat tired ebike today riding up AMPM which is designated “downhill only” on trail forks but I couldn’t tell you if it is signed as such at the bottom. My neighbour was going down.

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Brocklanders
+4 4Runner1 Andy Eunson Joseph Crabtree Skooks Tremeer023 E-wok
yahs  - April 21, 2020, 6:59 p.m.

Food for thought. Isn't the whole I get more laps in on a ride on my emtb kinda selfish? My time is more valuable than yours? I guess for some it's all about how many laps they get. For others like myself I'm just happy to be out there, enjoying the experience.

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pete@nsmb.com
+2 satn E-wok Lev Joseph Crabtree
Pete Roggeman  - April 21, 2020, 9:24 p.m.

I think you could make an argument along those lines...but is that much different than arguing that you can ride more because dual suspension is easier on your body, faster because your bike is lighter, and harder because you have better brakes, geometry, suspension, etc...all of these things added speed, range, and capability to our riding no matter what our 'baseline' capability was...e-bikes are a bigger and more immediate advantage, I'll concede, but it's still the same phenomenon, just accelerated.

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Brocklanders
0
yahs  - April 22, 2020, 2:35 p.m.

Sure, fair argument but the newer bikes don't climb twice as fast. I don't hate them, they have a place. From what I have seen locally the emtbs  haven't been selling like the industry had hoped. Don't know what it's like everywhere else. Those I know that have had them have sold them due to various reasons I won't get into. None of these owners were that impressed. Also most people can only really afford one MTB , would you wanna only have an ebike? Not currently.

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Harris
-1 E-wok
Harris  - April 24, 2020, 6:21 p.m.

I think that a registration sticker really isn't much to ask. The OHV community all use them on a state by state basis down here, and the result is a consistent income source for trail advocacy, maintenance, and new trail construction. $35 a year is pretty minimal, and a lot of people are even willing to pay extra into a local club for more local benefits. I know my dues are being used to increase the size of the trail network in Downieville, with the intention to link a number of the Lost Sierra communities together via old mining trails and new built sections.

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pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - April 27, 2020, 7:29 a.m.

In Switzerland, any bike that is ridden on the roads requires a sticker. That sticker provides a form of insurance coverage, but it also gives a bit back to the roads. Your sticker idea for e-bikes is good, but wouldn't be considered 'fair'. However, I'd just say take it one step further and make that sticker mandatory for all bikes in a given trail network. Call it $30. Still cheaper even than a day of XC skiing, let alone downhill, and I think most riders would gladly pay $30 annually to ride in several trail networks. There'd be some grumbling at first but not once the money started showing up in the form of more trail maintenance and bigger budgets for trail associations.

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pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - April 27, 2020, 7:29 a.m.

In Switzerland, any bike that is ridden on the roads requires a sticker. That sticker provides a form of insurance coverage, but it also gives a bit back to the roads. Your sticker idea for e-bikes is good, but wouldn't be considered 'fair'. However, I'd just say take it one step further and make that sticker mandatory for all bikes in a given trail network. Call it $30. Still cheaper even than a day of XC skiing, let alone downhill, and I think most riders would gladly pay $30 annually to ride in several trail networks. There'd be some grumbling at first but not once the money started showing up in the form of more trail maintenance and bigger budgets for trail associations.

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craw
+6 Cam McRae Lev Mammal Shoreboy 4Runner1 Joseph Crabtree goose8 E-wok
Cr4w  - April 21, 2020, 10:40 a.m.

Not to harp on this further but here we go. So here's another company that can't bring Itself to vary chainstay length or seat tube angle by size now thinks I need a battery and motor on my bike?

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pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - April 21, 2020, 9:24 p.m.

I think better geo is coming soon to e-bikes, but it just takes time.

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Vikb
+4 Tehllama42 Joseph Crabtree goose8 Cr4w
Vik Banerjee  - April 22, 2020, 6:43 a.m.

They'll make more money selling e-bikes than by varying CS length.

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tehllama42
+1 Harris
Tehllama42  - April 22, 2020, 8:37 a.m.

This is precisely it - 80% of bike buyers couldn't fully suss out the difference in performance anyway, and that's a large expense for a definitively marginal improvement in handling.  The real answer is that tall goofballs like me tend towards designs with inherently long chainstays (Rocky instinct on 452mm chainstays are truly forward-looking for a 2014 design - but I wouldn't want those on anything but an XL/XXL), shorter riders will seek out the shorter chainstay designs (Kona Process, etc.), and that more or less self-solves.

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dan_l
-6 Skooks Joseph Crabtree Lu Kz Cam McRae Tim Coleman IslandLife Pete Roggeman flatch JVP Lev
dan_l  - April 21, 2020, 11:12 a.m.

Mountain bikes are already too fast under most riders and adding a motor increases the risk to other trail users.

If someone is in poor physical condition and needs motor assist putting them on an off-road bicycle with a motor is dangerous for them

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Timmigrant
+4 Lu Kz Niels flatch sansarret satn E-wok Joseph Crabtree dan_l
Tim Coleman  - April 21, 2020, 11:54 a.m.

The e-bikes are faster on the climbs for sure, and maybe marginally faster on flat ground, but I don't think they're significantly faster on the descents, where the speeds are the highest. So I'm not sure I buy in to the argument that adding a motor significantly increases risk to other trail users. I actually think that's more of an issue for e-bikes used on the roads.

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cam@nsmb.com
0 Tim Coleman Andy Eunson Joseph Crabtree dan_l
Cam McRae  - April 21, 2020, 12:42 p.m.

Mountain bikes are as fast uphill as the rider's legs can push and as fast downhill as the rider's skill and the terrain allow. How are they too fast exactly? Do you have some evidence of this?

And your second comment is equally lacking in merit.

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dan_l
0 Joseph Crabtree IslandLife
dan_l  - April 21, 2020, 1:28 p.m.

I guess my concern is that yes a MTB is as fast uphill as a riders legs can push them. However an EMTB is as fast as the riders legs plus the motor can push them. We now have a situation that uphill riders are able to go significant speeds, with their heads down, into other trail users. 

On the flat normal people with normal people skills are able to go faster than Olympic athletes: https://youtu.be/2NkMrgoCIiE?t=780  

Even downhill they are quicker. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AF97lV798iM

To my comment "lacking merit", I ride with someone who got an EMTB because he is getting older and he felt he needed it. Unfortunately this led to an injury with uphill speed being the cause. He is lucky to have made a recovery but as people get older adding speed to an already dangerous sport can lead to injuries that could have otherwise been avoided. Ironically instead of extending their riding years they are sidelined if they can't make a recovery.

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cam@nsmb.com
-1 E-wok Joseph Crabtree dan_l
Cam McRae  - April 21, 2020, 4:44 p.m.

So your sample size is one? And you think e-bikes are dangerous uphill? They can be in the wrong places at the wrong times, just as normal bikes can be, but more so because of the added speed. I still don’t believe “mountain bikes are already too fast,” however.

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pete@nsmb.com
0 Tremeer023 E-wok Joseph Crabtree dan_l
Pete Roggeman  - April 21, 2020, 9:29 p.m.

It's embarrassing but I've injured myself riding uphill before, and I didn't need an e-bike to do it.  Your friend that did so could probably have managed that injury just as well without a motor.

I get the point you're trying to make but I don't see it bearing itself out in real life. The thing about riding uphill too fast is that if you run out of skill, you'll also run off the trail if it's even halfway technical. And if it's not a technical climb, it won't be tight and narrow - not an error people will make often. On the way down, you're usually not pedaling and speed in technical trail sections has a way of reminding you when you're out of talent, usually faster than you run out of trail.

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peterk
+4 dan_l Velocipedestrian Kos mrbrett
peterk  - April 22, 2020, 7:31 a.m.

I can see people failing to understand this where their home trails are one way (uphill climb trail followed by downhill). The problem is on 2 way, multi-use singletrack trails with limited sight lines. It's already possible to ride too fast for the trail and other users with leg power (hammering out of corners), but an advanced rider (top 20% of riders) is only able to do it 3 days a week, for maybe 20 minutes per ride before their legs get tired. With an e-bike, any rider can do it 7 days a week for 1hr per ride. If ebikes gain significant traction (pun intended), 2 way trails will be un-rideable.

As far as erosion on 2 way trails, braking power will always cause significantly more erosion than pedal or motor power.

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velocipedestrian
+1 Cam McRae mrbrett E-wok
Velocipedestrian  - April 22, 2020, 5:54 p.m.

This.

My closest to home trails are mostly two way, dual use. There is already conflict with walker/rider interaction, n00b riders going 20km/hr uphill is not going to help.

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Jotegir
+3 Cam McRae Pete Roggeman E-wok
Lu Kz  - April 21, 2020, 12:01 p.m.

I didn't think I'd be on an E-bike for at least 10 more years. But if bike parks don't open and we aren't supposed to shuttle, might come a lot sooner than I thought.

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Timmigrant
+8 Lu Kz Andrew Major Pete Roggeman Jerry Willows JVP rolly Tremeer023 Cam McRae
Tim Coleman  - April 21, 2020, 12:52 p.m.

The only thing I think needs to be worked out is the etiquette of riding e-bikes in existing acoustic mountain bike areas. The main conflict I see here is e-bikes are so much faster climbing than meat motor bikes. How should e-bikers approach blasting up a popular single track climbing trail on a busy day. This isn't an issue by itself, but I hope that folks riding e-bikes are polite and realize pulling over for someone on a motorbike is annoying and can create animosity. If you're riding an e-bike on a busy Saturday in your local zone, expect to wait a bit to conveniently pass lots of folks of the climbs, and maybe consider taking the double track route where passing is easier.

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Jotegir
+1 Pete Roggeman
Lu Kz  - April 21, 2020, 1:41 p.m.

I think the etiquette point is extremely valid. Personally, I can't get too annoyed when I get passed by an e-bike, because half the time our store sold it to them (sorry ebike haters, gotta keep the lights on). That said, I totally know what people are thinking when they express displeasure at being passed by them, whether it's a bit of a teasing pfff cheaters or they got ran down on a tech climb. I feel that. 

I also think that where I live most of the antagonism you see between mountain bikers and residents, hikers, horseback riders, landowners, each other, etc is diminished because until they closed half of them, there were more than enough trails and crown land for everyone's activity. We'll see if the current closures of some parks will lead to more battles in the near future.

Personally speaking I'm mostly considering it because Ihave at least 1 friend who has one and several that are all considering them at the moment because of the no-parks no-shuttles thing and I would almost exclusively ride the shuttle trails that I don't really like climbing anyway. This is a little different than North Van because most all but 2-3 of the shuttle trails nearby are forest road only and don't have climbing access other than in-use FSRs.

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pedalhound
+2 Pete Roggeman satn
pedalhound  - April 21, 2020, 2:48 p.m.

I think that the etiquette will be the biggest issue here, not really with old guys like me who are thinking about getting an ebike, I have been riding mtb for 30+ years and know the rules and attempt to be nice to everyone I come across out there, but someone new who get's an ebike because the look fun and are fast...may not know to slow down when passing, smile, wave, make jokes...this is a very social sport and I hope it stays that way.

As for the doing more damage to the trails because you can do more laps, I get that, but am not a fan of that argument, we would have to roll those super fit riders into the same category...does not make sense. Where this extra range can come into play is being able to open up trails further out, spread the user base out a bit more and open up opportunities to explore and recon land that was not viable before.

I am pretty close at pulling the trigger on one of these mopeds so I find it very helpful to see posts like this and people having a civil conversation about a topic that they may not agree with...thanks for this space Cam.

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4Runner1
+3 Skooks satn ZigaK Pete Roggeman E-wok
4Runner1  - April 22, 2020, 7:26 a.m.

Except you don't need a battery to open up trails further out. In fact, the battery will die way out there and you'll be riding a 50 lb pig all the way out. 

People need to stop making excuses trying to justify their 'want' of an ebike. Just buy an ebike if you want one. Or don't.

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cam@nsmb.com
+1 Greg Bly
Cam McRae  - April 22, 2020, 8:42 p.m.

Why would you want one if you can't justify it? I wouldn't buy anything I couldn't justify.

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cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - April 22, 2020, 8:42 p.m.

This comment has been removed.

pete@nsmb.com
+6 4Runner1 Skooks sansarret mrbrett mrraulduke Mammal
Pete Roggeman  - April 21, 2020, 9:30 p.m.

Legit issue here. I've already been passed a handful of times in the covid era by folks on e-bikes who don't verbalize their intent to pass and don't give enough room.

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skooks
+2 Greg Bly mrraulduke
Skooks  - April 22, 2020, 8:51 a.m.

Happens alot on my commute as well.  Riders need to learn to warn people when they are passing, especially at speed. This applies to everyone of course, but I get passed much more often by people on motorized bikes.

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skooks
+2 Cam McRae Pete Roggeman 4Runner1 E-wok
Skooks  - April 21, 2020, 1:05 p.m.

As I age, I appreciate every day I can get under my own power on a real bike. Will I ever get a motorized bike? Probably. Right now I have zero interest in them.

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Captain-Snappy
+6 Cam McRae Pete Roggeman 4Runner1 satn ZigaK E-wok
Merwinn  - April 21, 2020, 4:03 p.m.

I think e-bikes have a place and a customer in their sights. For me, I bought an e-commuter so I was so damn tired by the time the weekend arrived. So far an e-MTB isn't for me, but ask me again in 10 years at the tech advances, batteries get smaller, and prices fall (?). Never say never because we all change over time.

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LoamtoHome
+2 4Runner1 Tim Coleman
Jerry Willows  - April 22, 2020, 8:06 a.m.

prices won't fall....  average price of normal bikes keep rising.

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Timmigrant
0
Tim Coleman  - April 22, 2020, 3:25 p.m.

As do motors and batteries. There might be some savings in packaging, but I don't see a huge decrease in price, or increase in range unless there is a step change improvement in battery technology.

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pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - April 23, 2020, 1:20 p.m.

Depends on whether you account for inflation.

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FLATCH
+7 Kurt Adams Pete Roggeman Cam McRae satn Tim Coleman goose8 E-wok
flatch  - April 21, 2020, 6:32 p.m.

Easily the most mature online conversation about e-mtb I have seen. 👍

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pete@nsmb.com
+3 satn Tim Coleman goose8
Pete Roggeman  - April 21, 2020, 9:31 p.m.

Thanks to everyone for that ;)

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sweaman2
+2 Pete Roggeman Joseph Crabtree Cam McRae E-wok
Sweaman2  - April 21, 2020, 7:04 p.m.

Love the conversation.

I'm on the side of ebikes may cause more erosion.  If we take 4W/kg to be indicative of a fit cyclist then less than 10% of people fit in that category. 

Source: https://www.trainerroad.com/forum/t/the-bell-curve-of-cylists-how-fast-are-the-average-tr-users/5840/51

If your average cyclist is 3W/kg and weighs 100kg (because it makes my math easier) then that's 300W.

Adding 250 watts to that means the ftp is now 550 or 5.5W/kg. Basically Olympian.

By the same math it takes someone at 2W/kg up to over 4W/kg so your beginner can now ride as much as top 10% could previously.

So an ebike allows way more power and travel distance than just upgrading your average cyclist to "a bit fitter".

I await someone to point out the flaw in my logic. :0)

If they're here to stay I agree etiquette is the key going forward.

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Jotegir
0
Lu Kz  - April 21, 2020, 8:45 p.m.

Those are some thicc 100kg cyclists

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JBV
+3 Carlos Matutes Pete Roggeman E-wok
James Vasilyev  - April 21, 2020, 7:08 p.m.

by the way it's eebs, vs bikes. makes it the easiest to say, type and distinguish. i still haven't had the fortune of riding an eeb on the trails, but by all accounts, it's a hoot and must be experienced. i do know that at least one of my knees will make it a sure purchase within the next decade or sooner as big climbs will become all but impossible to access the kind of trails i like most..

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kurt-adams
+4 Pete Roggeman Cam McRae satn E-wok
Kurt Adams  - April 21, 2020, 7:37 p.m.

Cam ! Fantastic read, thanks.

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andy-eunson
+6 Pete Roggeman satn twk Vik Banerjee Skooks Andrew Major Tim Coleman E-wok
Andy Eunson  - April 21, 2020, 7:48 p.m.

I’m seeing far more ebikes in Whistler this spring. So far one young guy, Seb, and a bunch of guys that look older than me. I’m 62. I mostly ride alone so I have no trying to keep up issues one way or the other. For myself, I like climbing. I like the challenge. I see the issue a bit like rock and mountain climbing. Gym climbers aspire to climb outside, aspire to climb walls aspire to climb alpine walls and big remote peaks. Like aid climbing versus free climbing. It’s better to climb without a motor. It means something. 

For many mountain biking is only about the down. Ebike is ideal for that. 

But the we get those saying ebikes are great for getting more people riding. That may be so but do we want more riders? I haven’t ridden North Van in about four years but it sounds like volume is an issue in places at least parking. There have been conflicts in the past resulting in someone biting another person and booby traps. So I ask you all, do we want growth?

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sweaman2
+4 Pete Roggeman twk Joseph Crabtree Andrew Major
Sweaman2  - April 21, 2020, 8:11 p.m.

If by "we" you mean companies looking to sell more bikes then of course. 

If by "we" you mean those who maybe built the original trails and fought for access then the answer is more varied.

And therein lies my big issue with this. Companies looking to sell more units and paying lip service to the potential negative consequences. Note - not singling out Santa Cruz here and they have perhaps done more than others.

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andy-eunson
0 Pete Roggeman E-wok
Andy Eunson  - April 21, 2020, 8:49 p.m.

By we I mean all of us trail users. My friends that hike a lot tell me local trails are really busy. I took them to a remote trail here in Whistler and he remarked at how soft the surface was as opposed to North Shore trails which were pretty worn and pounded. I sense that people in general are getting outdoors more. If more people use trails either on foot or bike then there will be a need for more trails, parking and other things to support greater use. In alpine skiing you see lift lines and the response seems to be higher capacity six and eight person high speed lifts. That makes the runs more crowded and to me less enjoyable. I don’t think any mountain bike trails are so crowded yet as to be “unenjoyable” but I could see that coming.

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taprider
+1 Cam McRae
taprider  - April 21, 2020, 9:44 p.m.

I can see "the trails are too crowded to be enjoyable" for some riders on the North Shore.  They are wanting to rip the downs on the popular trails, but there is already a train of riders ahead of them (I prefer jank and technical climbs, so it isn't bad for me yet). But jank, rather than flow, reduces the speed difference between user groups, so more jank or technical-trail-features that force a rider to use more body english, or to ride around as a form of speed chicane, could possibly reduce ebike problems.

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Jotegir
0
Lu Kz  - April 23, 2020, 7:24 p.m.

And here I'd thought that jank increases the speed difference between users. New and intermediate riders are more likely to go 'trail speed' on crank it up than in deep.

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taprider
+1 Andy Eunson
taprider  - April 23, 2020, 9:57 p.m.

the other trail users around here are walkers, dogs, runners etc. 

the North Shore is not a dedicated mtn bike park

Jotegir
0
Lu Kz  - April 23, 2020, 7:24 p.m.

And here I'd thought that jank increases the speed difference between users. New and intermediate riders are more likely to go 'trail speed' on crank it up than in deep.

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ohio
0
Marc Fenigstein  - April 24, 2020, 4:48 p.m.

This comment has been removed.

sweaman2
0
Sweaman2  - April 21, 2020, 8:11 p.m.

This comment has been removed.

Losifer
+4 Joseph Crabtree Andrew Major Pete Roggeman goose8
Carlos Matutes  - April 21, 2020, 10:11 p.m.

One issue with the increased erosion factor of ebikes that I don’t see discussed much Is one of rider skill. As @Sweaman2 pointed out, an ebike allows a rider of average fitness the power output of an Olympian, While that high level rider may be able to turn those extra laps, they also have invariably had the saddle time to learn things like turning without skidding their rear tire. 

As the director of a trail advocacy organization in the States, I have many other concerns as well.

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Shoreloamer
+4 4Runner1 Skooks Andrew Major Pete Roggeman
Greg Bly  - April 21, 2020, 10:56 p.m.

I'm old I love the concept of human power. That is my personal attraction to bicycles. It empower s me. I think there will be two types of riders and they don't mix well. Go ahead ride your motorized pedal bike. You won't be riding with the human powered crowd. There is no pleasure being passed uphill by a smug fat dude on his E bike . Cheap thrills yes but no feeling of triumph for actual effort. 

I'm curious if you break traction on an E bike does the motor churn up dirt with the rear tire still spinning or do you stall out as you would with a human powered bike?

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pete@nsmb.com
+1 E-wok
Pete Roggeman  - April 23, 2020, 1:24 p.m.

To your first point, I really think the future lies in technical and steep uphill trails that allow e-bikers to really challenge themselves. That and wide climbing roads that leave lots of room for all kinds of rider speeds.

To your second point, when you lose traction, you also lose the pedals pretty quickly, and the motor cuts out. So in my experience, the damage done isn't much different.

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xy9ine
+2 E-wok Pete Roggeman
Perry Schebel  - April 23, 2020, 2:03 p.m.

i've only tried an ebike once, but having the ability to power up tech lines that were otherwise un-climbable (at least by mortals) *was* pretty entertaining. much preferable to blasting fire road @ 30km/h for sure. certainly opens up new realms of route options.

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otagoboy
+4 Lev twk 4Runner1 Joseph Crabtree Andrew Major yahs ZigaK JVP Lu Kz E-wok
otagoboy  - April 21, 2020, 11:51 p.m.

An e-bike requires power from the grid, and unless this is all coming from hydro, solar or wind generation they are greenhouse gas producing vehicles. For commuting they make sense as an alternative to a car (more "fuel" efficient). But as a replacement for a human-powered mountain bike, they are introducing an entirely new source of greenhouse gas emissions. Sure, some people may use them instead of a car to get to the trails, or instead of a shuttle system, but many others already use them in the same manner as a standard mountain bike and drive to the woods/hills to save their electric "fuel" to maximise time and distance on the trails. Without doubt there is a demand for e-mountain bikes, just as there is a demand for V8s, large SUVs, motorboats, etc; people want cool fun stuff. Electric cars, trucks and boats make sense as an alternative to these forms of transport. However, the majority of bikers are already using the zero emissions, obesity fighting alternative to e-bikes, so why go backwards??

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aegli214
+3 Cam McRae JVP pedalhound Lu Kz Pete Roggeman 4Runner1 Joseph Crabtree
aegli214  - April 22, 2020, 1:32 a.m.

The idea that E-Bikes aren't green because they use electricity is absurd. The amount of power and E-Bike uses is negligible. For perspective, a Tesla Model 3, the most energy efficient electric car in existence uses 500 WHs of battery for every 3.45 KMs it drives.

Even if you were charging your bike on pure coal power (it's Hydro in BC), a full charge would generate around .5kg of CO2. That's the same as driving about 1 mile in a fuel efficient car. That's absolute worst case. In BC, the impact is about zero.

Exercise is not carbon neutral unfortunately, unless you are eating home grown food. For instance, if you ate an extra half a Big Mac because you exercised more, you'd have released an extra 2 KG of CO2, equivalent to charging an E-Bike battery 4 times from a Coal plant.

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Timmigrant
+3 Cam McRae ZigaK Pete Roggeman
Tim Coleman  - April 22, 2020, 3:31 p.m.

You're pointed in the right direction, but you're missing a lot of inputs. The energy to produce an E-Bike is much higher than to produce a regular bike. I'd also argue that the E-Bike won't last as long, and is less recyclable. 

Also the power coming out of your wall in BC is not all hydro. All of the production in BC is hydro yes, but we are a net power importer, and that imported power does not all come from renewable sources.

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aegli214
+2 Greg Bly Pete Roggeman
aegli214  - April 24, 2020, 8:36 p.m.

It's still dwarfed by the carbon impact of manufacturing the bike.  On average, a cheap bike takes around 240 KGs of CO2 to manufacture.  I couldn't find any data on high end mountain bikes, but it's probably more due to all the fancy suspension components, fat tires, dropper posts, etc.  To be conservative, we'll go with a cheap bike.

The 18650s in the battery pack are the "carbon heavy" component of an ebike.  18650s average between 30 KG CO2 and 50 KG CO2 of emission per 500 WH for their mining, manufacture, shipping etc, and has been dropping.  This means adding a battery pack to a cheap bike would only add an extra 16% CO2 emissions.

To put this in perspective a carbon frame takes around 60KG of CO2 to manufacture, while an aluminum frame takes 170KG to manufacture.  This means the choice between carbon and aluminum frame matters more than whether the bike is an ebike.  It's 40KG of CO2 for the battery, but an extra 110KG for an aluminum frame vs a carbon frame.

On top of this, 18650 cells are highly recyclable, because they are standard cells used everywhere from laptop batteries to electric cars, and demand for their raw materials is high.  The same cannot be said about most other bike components.

In terms of energy mix, BC in 2018 generated 74 TWH with 95% of that clean energy.  We exported 8.7 TWH and imported 9.6 TWH, giving a net import of 0.9 TWH.  This puts our energy mix at 93.8% clean energy.  That puts charging an ebike from completely empty in BC at 0.031 KG of carbon emissions worst case.  This is less than eating 1/100th of a Big Mac.

Now consider that a person will typically use his ebike to offset some shuttle laps, or use it to bike to the trail head instead of taking their car.  It only takes a couple of skipped shuttle laps to put you in the green.  Now your ebike is considerably more green than your non-ebike.

There are some reasonable arguments against ebikes, but extra emissions is not one of them.

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twk
0
twk  - April 22, 2020, 3:43 a.m.

While I usually have the same criticism of ebikes, it should be pointed out that the amount I eat also depends on how long my (unmotorized) rides are, so that zero-emission point doesn't entirely stand.

I haven't done the math which is worse for the environment, and that also depends on one's diet and supply chain(s).

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Harris
+3 Andy Eunson Tim Coleman Pete Roggeman
Harris  - April 22, 2020, 5:14 a.m.

Cam,

I'm curious how you feel about motorized bicycles vs offroad motorcycles. I've tried a few different models of motorized bicycles, ebikes, eebs, however people prefer to call them. I do not own one, but go for rides with a couple of older people who do from time to time, as well as encountering them fairly often on my local trail systems. Downieville is a prime example, and fortunately for me one of my relatively local trail areas. What I've found is that for the cost of an additional bicycle, and in an area where the trails that allow ebikes are true multi use and often OHV funded trails, I would rather ride a dirtbike. Sure they're noisy and actively burn fuel, but it is a different experience from my bicycle, and gives me the ability to not only ride a few miles from home, but complete 100-200 miles of exploration in a day. Sure a new KTM is more expensive than the average ebike, but most riders find no issues at all with a 10 year old dirtbike, and I can't think of a single moto rider who actively thought about replacing or upgrading a component like brakes or hubs. 

I suppose my real question is regarding the differences between the two given access and cost of ownership. Somewhere like Moab or Downieville where many of the trails are multi use, how do you feel about the comparisons. I can see a much greater acceptance of ebikes after a few more generations, and possibly even an aftermarket where aside from replacing batteries, people are much less fussy about how pricey their rear derailleur is, and will contentedly ride an older bike with a motor attached.

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cam@nsmb.com
+3 Lu Kz Harris Pete Roggeman E-wok Joseph Crabtree
Cam McRae  - April 22, 2020, 9:13 a.m.

The e-bike vs moto is an interesting conversation. Where I live it’s not an option close at hand so it’s off the table. The closest spot where I could ride a moto is Squamish and it’s a 45 minute drive without traffic issues. 

I am quite fascinated by trials Motos however and if I lived somewhere with easy access I’d be keen to try it. I’d be much more keen if the smell, direct fossil fuel consumption and noise were reduced. E motors are here but the range isn’t there yet from what I understand. 

I love the idea of getting further away on an e-bike and a moto takes that to the next level so there’s lots of appeal there  

I haven’t ridden often in places where motos and bikes share trails, or encountered many motos while I have been in those places, so I can’t make a very informed comment. From what I hear about places like Sun Valley and Moab it works pretty well. Which makes me think e-bikes and bikes should be able to do the same

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Harris
+2 Cam McRae Pete Roggeman
Harris  - April 23, 2020, 12:23 a.m.

Thanks for the response! Moab and Sun Valley seem to be pretty good about sharing trail networks, and the moto riders in Downieville typically avoid the classic downhill due to the volume of cyclists on it, but every time I've encountered one there they've been polite and stopped so that we could pass one another safely. Same goes for when I'm on my dirt bike on multi use trails. Occasionally someone will start a conversation with the "hey you can't ride that here" comment, which is amusing when OHV fees fund a lot of the trail development, and like cycling, the most of moto enthusiasts are pretty good about sticking to the trails that are made for them. 

Trials is something I'd love to try out as well, but I'm not a fan of 2 stroke motors for some of the reasons you listed, so I'll continue waiting for someone to put out a proper electric version. The talk of range brings an interesting point however. KTM has started releasing electric motorcycles at the youth level, and I assume will continue releasing bigger bikes as kids grow up only knowing electric power for a dirt bike. They've also got a couple of "freeride" trials/enduro crossover models, one of which is electric. The Alta Redshift is a proper dirt bike complete with durable knobby tires at 300mm of travel front and rear, and is good for 40-80 miles of range depending on how much you're getting into the throttle.

Ultimately, what I've found is that trails that are fun on my mountain bike aren't often the most fun on something with a motor, as it's just too much mass to move as quickly. I generally only use the multi use "mountain bike style" trails to transit to something looser, with whoops and longer straights, or large rocks to play on. I feel that places like Sun Valley, Moab, and Downieville should be looked to as an example of how to integrate mountain bikes and ebikes. Directional trails are essential at all moto trail centers for safety reasons, and should probably become the norm at more bicycle trail centers as well.

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Harris
0
Harris  - April 23, 2020, 12:23 a.m.

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Vikb
+14 4Runner1 Jerry Willows Andrew Major Joseph Crabtree Greg Bly Velocipedestrian taprider Skooks ZigaK DMVancouver Cam McRae Tremeer023 goose8 mrraulduke Mammal E-wok
Vik Banerjee  - April 22, 2020, 6:53 a.m.

I've been a long time motorcyclist so I get having "fun" with motors. Personally I gave that up to ride 100% human powered bicycles for a variety of reasons [Mostly health benefits, environmental impact and cost].

I have no issue with people wanting access to public trails. I do have an issue with lumping in human powered MTBs with mopeds. If the mopeders and the companies that want to make and sell mopeds advocate successfully for trail access by dealing with all the same issues MTBers have....great. I don't like the argument it's just a mountain bike...please ignore the motor. This simple and obvious step would address a significant source of the negativity between the MTB community and the budding moped community.

My other concern is I have never seen a motorized sport where people didn't hack their machines to go longer and faster. So I expect no matter what gets sold at the moped shop we'll end up seeing machines that are de-restricted for higher speeds, are equipped with thumb throttles and have extended battery range to power them. I can see no practical way to enforce what is a legal moped vs. what is a hacked moped. There just isn't a reasonable way to do so.

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LoamtoHome
+8 Skooks Andrew Major Joseph Crabtree Velocipedestrian taprider DMVancouver Pete Roggeman goose8
Jerry Willows  - April 22, 2020, 8:17 a.m.

very valid points....  another point if going to be hiker/biker conflicts on the uphills/flats with the increased speed.  Fine if you are respectful, but a significant portion of mtb's are not.

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cam@nsmb.com
+3 Lu Kz taprider satn James Vasilyev E-wok Vik Banerjee Joseph Crabtree
Cam McRae  - April 22, 2020, 9:27 a.m.

You can’t ride an actual moped on the North Shore. I get your point, and you may come back with a hyper-literal response the way my son used to when he was younger, but it’s the sort of approach that degrades the conversation and initiates the personal attacks that aren’t productive. Yes, they have a motor and pedals. But they aren’t mopeds, and you are clearly using that term to insult those who ride them and e-bikes in general.

That’s your choice and your right, and you are obviously welcome to your opinions, but it’s a little disappointing when this dialogue has been so productive. It reminds me as well of mountain bike opponents who say, “they’re basically motorcycles,” and it worries me when we use the tactics of our opponents against each other. 

I am on side with restricting access carefully when it comes to more powerful, ungoverned    E-bikes, and I agree that such restrictions may be difficult to enforce.

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Vikb
+9 Joseph Crabtree LWK Andrew Major Velocipedestrian Skooks 4Runner1 ZigaK Lev DMVancouver Tremeer023 goose8 Mammal Lu Kz James Vasilyev E-wok
Vik Banerjee  - April 22, 2020, 10:48 a.m.

You are putting words in my mouth with regards to the term moped. I didn't say anything derogatory about them in my post. I think it's important to differentiate between mountain bikes and mopeds. Tacking an "e-" to the front of MTB is part of the ploy to equate two different activities because those stakeholders don't want to do the heavy lifting of advocating for themselves as the distinct user group they are.

I don't think this ^^ is an unreasonable point of view nor is it unproductive. It just may not line up with what you think, but presumably having a different point of view is okay.

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cam@nsmb.com
+5 Lu Kz Harris Pete Roggeman satn James Vasilyev E-wok Joseph Crabtree
Cam McRae  - April 22, 2020, 4:40 p.m.

Okay Vik, if it wasn't to be derogatory, why did you choose that term? E-bikes are bicycles that have electric motors added to them. You can even add a motor by swapping the rear wheel. Electricity added to a bicycle = e-bike. You may not like the name but that's what they are called. You may even think it's the wrong name, or as you said above, a ploy by bike companies to allow them to gain acceptance. That doesn't change what they are called. We all refer to duff-covered trails as loam. Technically this is incorrect, but this has become the name and we all know what it refers to. A name doesn't need to be technically correct for it to be the name, although I would argue that e-bike is the correct name for an electric bicycle. 

For reference, this is a moped:

It is gasoline-powered. It can be ridden without touching the pedals at all. It doesn't determine power output based on the input of your legs. It has a throttle. It can't be ridden on a technical mountain bike trail. There is a consensus about what a moped is and it aligns with the photo above. Which is nothing like the Santa Cruz Heckler in the photos below. I realize you are aware of this, which means you are using the term incorrectly for some purpose. What is that purpose then?

Making the point that e-bikes have motors and should, therefore, be classified similarly to other motorized off-road vehicles is a reasonable one that can be easily made. Name-calling doesn't give that argument more weight.

You may not appreciate or care about civil discourse, but considering what the rest of the internet is like right now, either on other mountain bike sites or on Facebook, I think it's becoming more important than ever. 

Call it whatever you like, but using moped 7 times in a post about e-bikes is the sort of strategy I'm more used to seeing in a Facebook post some republican has made about "Shillary" or "Killary" Clinton.

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Brocklanders
+1 Cam McRae
yahs  - April 22, 2020, 6:47 p.m.

Lol the ebike camp started it with the acoustic bikes thing...

Kidding aside...I liked your write up. Thought it is honest and insightful. I'm just curious and don't take this the wrong way. You didn't hammer home how great these ebikes are  the greatest thing ever. Like all the sponsored shills do on social media and other bike sites. Wouldn't Santa Cruz be kinda pissed about that? I mean it's all about sales. Or did you just borrow it for a month off someone and decide to do your own writeup?

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cam@nsmb.com
+2 Pete Roggeman satn
Cam McRae  - April 22, 2020, 8:31 p.m.

I would take the same approach whether the bike came from Santa Cruz or if it didn't, but this one did. I always do my best to distill my actual thoughts, and I certainly never try to please the bike companies. I think of the readers as my customers and that's whose trust I care about. That said I've never had any pressure to say anything in particular or pushback about my thoughts from Santa Cruz. (I can't say that about every bike company however, but most are pretty good).  

Santa Cruz actually cares about authenticity and they know if we tell the truth about their bikes, and our experiences on them, we will do the same with their competition. They also realize that media outlets that think everything is always awesome can't be trusted by their customers, at least not the ones who are paying attention.

pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - April 23, 2020, 1:41 p.m.

It's a bit sad that you expect to see all 'reviews' talk about how positive something is, but I don't put that on you, yahs, that's the fault of a lot of the sites/blogs/channels and the companies that support them. Because you're right - 'reviews' all too often just blow rainbows up the ass of whatever company provided them with something free to use/keep because they don't want that gravy train to stop docking at their station.

However, we're in our 20th year, and people still trust us, so presumably, our commitment to telling the truth in our reviews has paid off. As a result, we have good relationships with companies in the industry and with our readers.

There are other sites that do a good job of it, but they are few. And altogether too many that just love everything, which means they're not a very good resource for the reader when it comes to deciding about whether to buy something. In general, you're not going to get impartiality from social media - at least if you're talking about a 'reviewer' on social media that also doesn't have a site or something else to keep them honest. Ditto, Youtube. There are exceptions but most social media and youtube channels are run by 'personalities' that are there for your entertainment, not for sharing objective or particularly informed opinions. There's nothing wrong with that, but it's good to know what you're getting as a consumer.

joseph-crabtree
0 Vik Banerjee Cam McRae Lu Kz James Vasilyev
Joseph Crabtree  - April 22, 2020, 11:39 a.m.

Cam,your disappointed that someone disagrees with you?

Personally I'm a bit disappointed that that you're publishing e-moped (call it what you want) content and passing it off as something to keep you amused during this lock-down BS.

At least PB gave us a choice to filter out this crap.

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cam@nsmb.com
0 Deniz Merdano Joseph Crabtree
Cam McRae  - April 22, 2020, 3:19 p.m.

I said nothing about being disappointed that someone disagrees with me. I have no problem with someone disagreeing with me. 

If you'd like to discuss what I actually said, I'd be happy to, but you are suggesting I said something I didn't say.

Edit - funny that you downvoted my post pointing out that you attempted to distort what I said. But you downvoted all my other posts as well so there's that!

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cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - April 22, 2020, 9:31 p.m.

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Shoreloamer
+1 Skooks Cam McRae E-wok
Greg Bly  - April 22, 2020, 6:01 p.m.

E bikes are not basically motor cycles . They truly are motor cycles. If you want to get technical about it and use actual defining terminology. It's not a derogatory comment it's a fact.

Ok it's a bicycle with a motor not a motor cycle according to Wikipedia. 

Could be called a moped ........

I have to add that this may be the first protagonist / antagonist review I have read about E bikes . 

Great work Cam! 

Edited as my initial remark is less than accurate.

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skooks
+6 Joseph Crabtree Cam McRae 4Runner1 ZigaK DMVancouver Tremeer023 Greg Bly E-wok
Skooks  - April 22, 2020, 7:30 p.m.

I think motorized bicycle is the most accurate term. Sure, They are a motorized cycle, but they're not the same thing as a motorcycle.

I think the term E-bike is a slimy way to market these as being essentially the same as a real bike.

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cam@nsmb.com
+1 E-wok
Cam McRae  - April 23, 2020, 11:54 a.m.

As I pointed out above, every modern product is named by those who invent/innovate and market that product. If you wore one of those hats you would have been able to choose the name. There is nothing strange about this and it's not more slimy than the naming of any other modern product. Do you really think there are people that don't realize that e-bikes have motors? That the name fools people?

There is the term pedelec to distinguish between throttled and ungoverned e-bikes, which aren't allowed on most trails and don't require any pedal power at all to move, but that's about the worst name ever and hasn't got any traction, which reveals another point about naming; crappy names that aren't accurate, or don't communicate accurately, don't stick.

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skooks
-1 Reed Holden satn E-wok
Skooks  - April 23, 2020, 12:54 p.m.

"Do you really think there are people that don't realize that e-bikes have motors? That the name fools people?"

No, of course not. However, by sliding that e- in front of the word bike, they are implying that motorized bikes are pretty much the same thing as a real bike. They aren't.

cam@nsmb.com
+2 satn E-wok
Cam McRae  - April 22, 2020, 9:34 p.m.

Any motorcyclist would laugh their ass off at that statement. Is a scooter a motorcycle? How about a motorized skateboard? A Hover board? It has two wheels and a motor. Should we just call everything a motorcycle?

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cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - April 22, 2020, 9:34 p.m.

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cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - April 22, 2020, 9:27 a.m.

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D_C_
+3 Cam McRae goose8 mrraulduke
DMVancouver  - April 23, 2020, 8:45 a.m.

The advocacy portion of @Vik Banerjee's post is the salient point, and the part that is worth discussing/debating/acknowledging.

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Shoreloamer
+2 taprider Tremeer023
Greg Bly  - April 22, 2020, 6:10 p.m.

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ChazzMichaelMichaels
+2 Cam McRae Pete Roggeman
ChazzMichaelMichaels  - April 23, 2020, 12:01 a.m.

I couple of months ago I watched half a dozen older ebike users (who passed me on the climb), ponder how to get down their choice of four black trails. See the climb up is blue, but it's steep and long. So previously only the fit or determined would get up it. The whole point was so that inexperienced riders would not get up to the black trails by mistake.

Solved by trail signage sure, but will it mean we see trails get hidden again? NB trail advocacy is less of an issue here in NZ, the only rule I've seen is pedal assist only. 

The issue I've had and the author pointed out is when one of the regular group riders get one. It happened to us, we couldn't keep up on the flats or climbs (our climbs are granny ring chat sessions), he'd let us go on the downs. So he doesn't ride with the group anymore. He could do two or three times the distance we did so it made sense for him let us go.

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kos
+3 Cam McRae Pete Roggeman Harris
Kos  - April 23, 2020, 7:21 a.m.

Cam, you're not old, you've just reached the age of "maturing nicely".  I'm a bit older, and I'll be getting an e-bike next season, but it will be to replace my dirt bike.

E-bike content surely brings the commenters!

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taprider
+4 Cam McRae Pete Roggeman Andy Eunson Greg Bly
taprider  - April 23, 2020, 10:40 a.m.

I turn 60 this year. As a gift to myself (before the covid lockdown) I got a road bike, instead of an ebike, to go faster.

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cam@nsmb.com
+2 Pete Roggeman Harris
Cam McRae  - April 23, 2020, 11:58 a.m.

Thanks Kos. I'm not sure about the maturing part, or the nicely part, and the bit at the bottom is already out of date and I'm now 5fucking4.

I would ride road a little if I lived elsewhere. It Italy perhaps. Or maybe out in the Fraser Valley. I find the road riding here on the North Shore, and within roadie-pedal distance, really crappy. Cypress and Seymour might be a couple of the best rides and you can be damned sure if I'm pedalling up either one I'm coming down singletrack! Sold my road bike about five years ago and I haven't regretted it for a moment.

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cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - April 23, 2020, 11:58 a.m.

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Silk
+4 Greg Bly Cam McRae Pete Roggeman mrraulduke Mammal E-wok
Silk  - April 24, 2020, 8:12 p.m.

This is all the Heckler I need

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Silk
0
Silk  - April 24, 2020, 8:12 p.m.

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qduffy
+2 Pete Roggeman E-wok
qduffy  - April 25, 2020, 8:57 a.m.

I'm a bit late to the party here. An interesting read for sure. E-bike use is normalizing. I'm not ready for one yet, but I might be in the future. I'm e-bike curious I guess. 

I've only ridden one, in Rostrevor, Northern Ireland, a couple of years ago. It was an older bike, and I found the 1/2 pedal stroke of delay somewhat confounding for technical climbs. I know the new models are more responsive, so they'd be interesting to try. But then my son and I had to ride some double track and I could push him up it at 15mph without him whining about the climbs. That would be worth it alone.

A few other observations - I was in England last year and went into a bike shop in Horsham. They had no human powered mountain bikes at all. None. The shop employee said interest had dried up and all they sold were e-bikes. People there self shuttle, so it makes sense. Europe is already headed firmly in the direction of e-bikes. Maybe expensive fuel makes a difference?

And the recent BC Bike Show, for those that attended and can validate my observations, seemed to be 95% e-bikes and gravel bikes with nothing in between. Does that portend the market direction? Is the tide of acceptance changing? 

I think in my peer group, we won't see any e-bikes until one of us bites the bullet and the dam breaks (sorry for the mixed metaphors).

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a.funks
+3 gregster77 Pete Roggeman E-wok
a.funks  - April 25, 2020, 11:02 a.m.

I got a Levo in late 2018 which I commute to work on (sometimes via some trails) and use for MTBing too.

Before the pandemic shut things down, for my regular group ride I’d ride to meet the others in turbo mode, then turn the power off and do most of the ride unassisted. Yes, it’s a bit heavy uphill but there are MTBers that weigh 20lbs more than me and they cope - it’s a good challenge!

Downhill it’s brilliant and very fast - I sold my other full-sus (Spitfire) because couldn’t see it being used enough. After the group ride, I’d then switch back to full power to get me home more quickly. Plenty of others drive to/from the ride.

This last month or so I’ve been back on my 150mm 27.5 hardtail instead (Bird Zero AM slacked out to 63.7 deg HA). Why? It’s safer because it isn’t as fast and although the back end feels wild the front is very trustworthy; and I’m riding solo straight from the house and not commuting.

You can call ebikes motorbikes or mopeds if you want but with the power off the Levo works fine as a MTB uphill or on the flat and great downhill (the extra frame mass works wonders for the suspension action). I’m not generally riding further on the Levo, I’m just fitting the same distance into less time, which as someone running his own business and with three small children (including a five month old baby) really helps with family life.

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Ebikessuck
-2 Cam McRae Pete Roggeman Arama E-wok
Ebikessuck  - April 25, 2020, 5:09 p.m.

This article has no weight. We all know the connection with Seb who use to be part of NSMB who is now SC’s brand manager. 

Hey buddy can you write about our new sick ebike and give it props so we can share it on our social media’s??

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cam@nsmb.com
+1 E-wok
Cam McRae  - April 26, 2020, 9:56 p.m.

Cool story bro!

I write what I want. Don't give a flying fuck if it doesn't line up with your virtue signals. Does the part about being able to ride more laps, and the potential for increased maintenance have no weight? The challenges with etiquette, particularly with new riders attracted to riding by the e-bike? The problem with justifying something because of how compelling it is at the expense of more substantial considerations? The fact that bike companies and media outlets have a responsibility to help manage what seems to be the inevitible acceptance of the ebike? 

Or are you only referring to the parts that align with your narrative?

Awesome first post on the day your registered though.

Welcome to the site(!) and thanks for chiming in.

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syncro
+4 taprider mrraulduke Cooper Quinn Mammal
Mark  - April 25, 2020, 5:21 p.m.

Cam, you should get Andrew to ride this for a month and then write a counter piece to your article. That could be interesting.

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cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - April 27, 2020, 9:19 a.m.

That’s a non-starter on several levels.

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craw
0
Cr4w  - April 27, 2020, 1:29 p.m.

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craw
+2 Cooper Quinn Mammal
Cr4w  - April 27, 2020, 1:29 p.m.

I would really enjoy that.

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cooperquinn
+1 E-wok
Cooper Quinn  - April 27, 2020, 1:30 p.m.

This is the kind of heckling I can get behind.

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mammal
0
Mammal  - April 28, 2020, 7 p.m.

Best idea I've heard in ages.

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cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - April 28, 2020, 9:23 p.m.

TBH I'd appreciate it as well. But I can already see the article in my head.

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mammal
0
Mammal  - April 28, 2020, 7 p.m.

Best idea I've heard in ages.

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syncro
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Mark  - April 25, 2020, 5:21 p.m.

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bimguy
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bimguy  - April 26, 2020, 1:40 p.m.

It's not uncommon these days that I see more eBikes in a couple hours on Fromme than I do in an entire day on DNV/CNV streets and bike pathways. I'll be more encouraged by the direction of society as a whole when I see these stats flip.

If you want to tick boxes for more rides, more climbs and more vert, get an eBike for running errands and/or commuting. It's North Van for crying out loud; there's always vert on the way home.

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pete@nsmb.com
+1 taprider
Pete Roggeman  - April 27, 2020, 7:42 a.m.

If you ride across into Van on either bridge, you'll see (and if you're me, be passed by) a half dozen e-bikes on the bridge deck alone, to say nothing of the approaches or exits. Your experience doesn't match mine by a long shot, though I'll concede that with every season, there are more e-bikes on the trails.

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cam@nsmb.com
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Cam McRae  - April 27, 2020, 9:18 a.m.

Sounds great for roadies but I have no idea why that’s relevant here.

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cam@nsmb.com
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Cam McRae  - April 27, 2020, 9:18 a.m.

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bmv88
+1 Cam McRae
bmv88  - April 27, 2020, 10:03 a.m.

Good article Cam. I demo'd an ebike last year and my feelings were very similar to yours. I'll probably add one to the quiver at some point just not ready (mentally or financially) yet.

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