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INTERVIEW

Santa Cruz Ebikes? Interview with Seb Kemp of SCB

Words Cam McRae
Date Feb 11, 2020

Rumours are more common than pedal wounds in the MTB world, and I heard a juicy one a few years ago. A source (who always claims to be reputable) told me that when Santa Cruz management proposed making an ebike, the entire engineering staff threatened to quit. Electric bikes were just starting to pop up in North America, and the vitriol that accompanied them gave the story a whiff of truth. In reality what I was smelling was bullshit and the project was already underway.

While mutinous rumours were greatly exaggerated, it's no stretch to imagine that Santa Cruz might have been hesitant initially. At the time many riders felt like the sky was falling (even more than now) because these bikes existed at all and bikes that make things easier didn't seem to mesh with some elements of the Santa Cruz image. It just might align nicely with the, "we just make the bikes we want to ride," ethos however, as more riders opt to add a boosted bike to their stables.

The Heckler looks like a Bronson after a cycle of steroids; the lines are unmistakable but the brawn becomes clear after a second look. It's motor and battery are well concealed and only the recently-launched Specialized Levo SL, which has much less power and battery life, hides the electrified truth better. But a subtle ebike is still an ebike and this left me with questions.

Who better to answer them than Santa Cruz brand manager, and fallen journalist, Seb Kemp.

Title image - Adrian Marcoux

Cam McRae - Santa Cruz is off the back in terms of e-bikes considering how long Specialized, Trek and others have been at it, which suggests you've thought long and hard on this. Was there a time when an e-bike was off the table for Santa Cruz? If so why?

Seb Kemp - We spent a lot of time thinking about this. We started discussing this three years ago. From a philosophical point of view we spent a lot of time reviewing this. We spoke with riders and the people who's values and opinions we trust in order to inform our decision, we tried a lot of ebikes, we rode some more, we traveled the world, we debated this hard, we experimented and pressure tested our ideas (on both sides) and revised things. And then from a product side we purposely didn't rush something to market as a cash grab like it seemed has gone on. We feel what we've come out with skipped the beta-testing stages that's occurred with some ebikes from some brands. This is a fully realized machine and not a bike with a motor and battery strapped onto a frame.

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Looks like a Santa Cruz.

Once the serious discussions about bringing one to market began, what were the pros and cons discussed?

It had to fit our product philosophy that we apply to all our bikes - it has to be something we want to ride, something we believe in, something quality, something that feels finished, something that is reliable, tough and rides really f-ing well on actual real world tough trails. Then it has to match our No Missed Rides philosophy - which is that it's robust enough to handle real world use and backed up with our well-regarded Rider Support service promise.

Santa Cruz has seen incredible growth recently but it still has the cachet and reputation of a boutique brand. Companies like Yeti and Ibis haven't gone electric yet. Do you expect there to be some backlash from long time customers who are anti e-bike?

We've seen a lot more long-time customers and life-time mountain bikers ask us for this than people request us not to. I also don't think we're the last company to be coming out with an ebike...

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It's likely no accident you can't easily tell this is an ebike. Photo - Adrian Marcoux

What would you say to a customer who says Santa Cruz has sold out?

We started the company by building mountain bikes and we still focus on making mountain bikes. We make a lot of different mountain bikes for different riders. It's business as usual.

Do expect to lose some customers?

Some customers might not want an ebike, and that's fine. There's still plenty of options for them. In the same way a downhill customer doesn't get his knickers in a twist when we release an XC bike I don't think anyone has to regard us making an ebike as a personal affront to their view of mountain biking. Mountain biking is a patchwork of different riders and experiences. Choose the mountain biking you're into and have fun (and don't be a dick about it).


I personally don't care about what the "industry" stats have to say and would much rather think about what switched on mountain bike innovators and life-long bikers believe. - Seb Kemp

It seems from the press release that the answer to 'why are you making an e-bike' is to ease access to trails like those built and maintained by the Sierra Butte Trail Stewardship. E-bikes make mountain bikers even more cynical than we already are however and it's clear that profit is one significant motivator. How important is the e-bike market to the industry now and how big do the indicators suggest it will be in the coming years?

Hey, I don't think too much about "the industry" (that term implies some shadowy centrally connected organization, often with the connotation that there's some nefarious scheme afoot - which is definitely not reality, it's just a bunch of bike obsessed dorks doing their best to fuel their love of biking) and the stats that are bandied about, but what we saw was a lot of really influential people in our lives say they were excited by ebikes well before we announced that we're making one. There's people like Greg Williams of the SBTS who said that after 25 years of deeply caring about getting people to experience the trails he tends to that ebikes could actually improve the experience of riders, his organization, and the local land managers by spreading traffic out and increasing the opportunity for accessing public lands. Greg isn't the only one. Ash Smith, Trans-Provence mastermind, was the first person to open my eyes to the potential. Sven Martin told me he wanted one and after I told him to lay off the pies and toughen up I saw the uses he was envisioning for his job and his local trails. Chris Ball is a mountain bike hard nut of the type-two fraternity who a lot of people really respect and he surprised me with his openness to ebikes. These perspectives didn't necessarily come from people with a profit-motive.

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Never look directly at the camera! Seb riding unassisted in New Zealand. Photo - Sven Martin

Were most Santa Cruz dealers chomping at the bit to get these to sell? Were some dealers wary?

We've spent more time fielding "Would you just get off your high horse and make one!" emails from retailers and riders than otherwise.

I'm of the opinion that many of the criticisms of e-bikes spring from elitism rather than legitimate concerns about how these bikes will affect the mountain biking world, but I also believe there are some legitimate reasons to proceed with caution in terms of granting access and promoting e-bike use in some areas. Where does Santa Cruz stand on how e-bikes will impact advocacy, where they should be used and what strategies should be employed to ensure e-bikers mesh well with other trail users?

Certainly. Ebikes have the potential to be a disruptive technology and then so are bicycles in general but more often than not bikes are a force for good. At Santa Cruz we've always tried to convey an ethos of responsible mountain biking - whether that's how and where we ride them or how we give back to trails, organizations, events and riders that make mountain biking so f-ing colorful. With ebikes, like mountain bikes, it's up to the individual to use them appropriately. That means having trail etiquette, following the signs and adhering to rules of the trails you're on. In the same way that's it's a mountain biker's responsibility to know what trails are off-limits and to use the trails appropriately. Like mountain bikes, not everywhere all the time. The thing with ebikes is that the rules of access differ widely across the world, across states (or Provinces), counties, towns and even forests, so users need to educate themselves and don't be dicks. That's why we led with the Downieville SBTS story because that's a legitimate sanctioned multi-user trail network that presents an example of responsible trail use and management. Sidenote: if Downieville wasn't ever on your bucket list or you haven't been for years, then go there now and lose your mind in the big empty space full of empty trails. I went four times last year (and once already this year) and I'm genuinely besotted with the riding experience there.

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Yep. It really plugs in.

No matter which side of the e-bike divide you sit on, it seems obvious these bikes will create more trail traffic. What is the Santa Cruz strategy for offsetting the increased maintenance that will be required once e-bikes become more common in North America?

There's been an increase in traffic without ebikes. Trails the nation (and world) over are seeing more users and in many areas the management of the trail networks is under-resourced. Mountain biking isn't a niche sport anymore. That's why we started PayDirt last year as a way to increase our commitment to trails and the people and organizations that tend to them. We've always given a lot back but this was about increasing our commitment. I hope everyone gives back. That means every MTB company, but also every rider – does everyone reading this buy trail passes, club memberships, or donate their time? Sorry to preach but you should put back at least as much as you take from the trails, if not more. Regardless of ebikes, there's just more people on the trails than at any moment in the past and the impacts of that need addressing. If you hate ebikes because of what you perceive might be increased users on the trail I urge you to look around and see how your own riding group has expanded in recent years and think about what that means to the trails.

I assume you have spent some time on one by this point? Can you tell me your thoughts on e-biking in general and the Heckler in particular?

It's another mountain bike. I love all kinds of biking and all types of bikes. I own a lot of different bikes - downhill bikes, XC bikes, trail bikes, jump bikes, freeroad bikes – and I ride them all. I love the diversity of mountain biking and I choose my rides based on what I feel like doing that day. A Heckler means different rides, it isn't going to be my only bike from now on. I'll use mine for accessing the trails I build and maintain. I'll use it to scope out new areas and re-explore old, forgotten trails that are just too far away or "protected" by heinous climbs. I'll use mine to expand my trail map and to expand the technical riding possible. I'm genuinely excited about riding really technical terrain in new ways. Old school techniques are gonna be back in fashion, that's my prediction.

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Not Seb Kemp. Definitely Heckler. Photo - Adrian Marcoux

Do you think e-bikes are beginning to be tolerated by more hardcore riders? How is public perception shifting?

Certainly looks that way. I'd say often it's the "more hardcore riders" (whatever definition of hardcore someone has) have been the early adopters.

I know you have some friends who are aggressively anti-e-mtb. How will you plead your case as they decide which methods of torture to employ?

Haha! My good friends are dickheads and we have fun ribbing each other no matter what the subject. This'll give them so much ammunition that they should thank me. But none of them (even old Flip) is that aggressively anti-ebike. In fact, I've caught them giving ebikes flirtatious sideways glances recently. But whatever, if they're into them or not it doesn't matter. No e-evangelism here. Just because ebikes exist doesn't mean everyone has to ride them. Just choose your mountain biking and go have fun (and don't be a dick about it).

And now about the Heckler itself

Heckler is kind of a brash name for a bike that is already going to be thought of as rude by some people. How did that decision come to be?

In 1996 when Rob Roskopp released the original Heckler it was a tongue-in-cheek heckle to the established mountain bike norms of the time. The Heckler was for a very long-time the most reliable, all-round mountain bike that had a huge fanbase of riders who loved how it climbed and descending in a no-nonsense way. The Heckler morphed over the years, changing how much travel it had and the geo it boasted, it was always reinventing itself as riders and riding changed. So resurrecting the Heckler and giving it a new lease of life with new technology seemed to make perfect sense. And yes, we know there's gonna be people heckling us so we thought we'd beat them to the punchline.

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This is Seb Kemp (front) riding an ebike. Photo - Adrian Marcoux

An element of the spec I find unusual is the Shimano motor with SRAM drivetrain, without any Shimano options. Why did you choose the Shimano motor, for one, and why not Shimano drivetrains or components?

Santa Cruz believes in consumer choice and building customer bikes the same way we’d build them for ourselves. That’s why you see us combining components from both SRAM and Shimano for example. It's why we've always paired Fox and RockShox suspension together if we felt that was the best choice. It’s why we spec’ing legit tires, and it’s why we stick with standards that make sense. We design and build bikes with performance, durability, serviceability, supplier support and—most of all—our customers in mind. We aren't beholden to the demands of OE simplicity but instead to just offering the best mix of bits for riders.

There are e-bikes that are unapologetic beasts and some that are more svelte and less powerful. The Heckler seems to be in the middle. What is the philosphy there?

Make a mountain bike that's suited to the rigors of modern mountain biking, and that means going up, down, over and through the best bits of any trail. Ebikes have the ability to enjoy more types of trail in new ways – the bits of trail that usually you want to forget or fast-forward – so the Heckler had to be fun and agile everywhere. You think steep technical climbs or long drawn out fire roads are just necessary evils so you can access the downs? On an ebike it's possible that climbing will become the most giggle-inducing parts of the trail. Crazy but true.

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Ebike air. Photo - Adrian Marcoux

What did the engineers discover once they began working with VPP in this application?

Lower-link VPP offers the kinds of on-trail performance that's appropriate for modern trails but packaging it around a mid-drive motor and all the other stuff that's necessary for a rough-and-tumble ebike was no easy task. We didn't think it would be possible at first but Aaron Foley (lead designer on this project) and the whole design team worked hard to get it to all come together. The result is a really stout chassis with what we think it the best suspension on any ebike currently available. One trait that differs on the Heckler is that there's slightly less anti-squat because we found you're seated a lot more while pedaling so you want more of a cushion and the motor gives you the zip you need.

Currently there are only CC carbon-framed models available. Will lower-priced options be added in the future? Aluminum?

No plans to offer aluminum on the Heckler. We specifically went for the most high performance ebike we could make.

What existing Santa Cruz model do you expect the Heckler to ride most similarly to? Obviously the wheel size and travel seem closest to the Bronson, but there are other factors at play here.

The Bronson is the most fun, playful and all-round capable bike we make. Lots of people love it because of how it loves back wheel, it pops when needed, it'll handle the roughest trails and it's really intuitive to ride. Rear chainstay length is critical on ebikes. You want enough length that the front is planted but you don't want it too long because then bike handles like a telephone pole. 445mm chainstays was the target and 27.5-inch wheels were the only way to package that. More so, extreme geo might be cool in the trailhead parking lot or forums but if you want something to ride everywhere well then insanely an long reach, rear centre and excessively slack headangle isn't actually that useful. The geo on the Heckler (similar to the Bronson - 65.5-degree HA and 76-degree SA) is a well-rounded algorithm of numbers for going everywhere.

But if I had to describe it I'd say it feels more like a Nomad going down and a Blur (when I'm feeling really fit) going uphill.

Thanks Seb! Let the heckling begin!

For more on the new Heckler click here...

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Comments

Captain-Snappy
0
Merwinn  - Feb. 11, 2020, 9:11 a.m.

I can't blame SC for not going alu, my Norco alu e-commuter is 43 lbs, w. no suspension. Maybe when battery tech isn't 15 lbs alone they'll opt for an alu frame because it really sucks pedaling a dead ebike up anything.

Reply

pdxkid
+8 Velocipedestrian danimaniac Dan Sandy James Oates Cam McRae Andrew Major mike twk
pdxkid  - Feb. 11, 2020, 9:39 a.m.

What I believe to be a legitimate critique of e-bikes is the issue of recycling/disposal. These things are being built fast and evolving fast. Will there be backwards compatible batteries? I kinda doubt it. I feel like the manufacturer should bear some responsibility when it comes to recycling or decommissioning the bike, when that time comes. As more and more battery powered convenience crap floods the market (Lime scooters for example) I see more and more batteries going to the landfill.

Reply

Captain-Snappy
+2 Andrew Major Cr4w
Merwinn  - Feb. 11, 2020, 10:11 a.m.

Why would batteries not be backwards compatible? It's simply the connection between the battery and the motor that needs to be maintained, not the battery tech itself. A smaller/lighter/better new tech battery should be able to be retrofitted to easily fit a larger old-tech battery space. Additionally, the used Li Ion battery mkt is evolving. Or am I missing your point?

Reply

pdxkid
+1 ZigaK
pdxkid  - Feb. 11, 2020, 12:25 p.m.

I see battery technology changing, that could be one form of obsolescence. But the more likely scenario is that manufacturers will use this as an opportunity for planned obsolescence like they do with hub spacing, for example.

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xy9ine
+7 Velocipedestrian Todd Hellinga mike pdxkid Andrew Major twk Cam McRae
Perry Schebel  - Feb. 11, 2020, 12:59 p.m.

battery packaging form factor will certainly be an issue with future tech development / long term cell replacement. perhaps there will be an emerging cottage industry retrofitting new cells to older designs & motor service / chip tuning upgrades. unlike conventional bikes, that have a lifespan of more or less forever / until they break, what happens to a 10 yr old ebike (that originally sold for 5 figures) that's sports motor or battery tech that's no longer supported?

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Timer
+6 ZigaK DMVancouver Velocipedestrian twk mike pdxkid
Timer  - Feb. 11, 2020, 3:58 p.m.

No manufacturer will ever do this. From a marketing point of view there is absolutely no reason, zero, nada for making new battery tech backwards compatible. Just look at the rate that most tech loving bikers replace their acoustic bikes. Two seasons max. Anything more is beyond the design envelope of most bike companies.

Batteries  will likely be soldered and cast into the frame, making replacement costly or impossible. Just like it happened with notebooks and phones.

Reply

LoamtoHome
+4 ZigaK Andy Eunson twk Velocipedestrian
Jerry Willows  - Feb. 11, 2020, 9:49 a.m.

At least there was no "grow the sport" bs....

Reply

Brocklanders
+4 Andy Eunson Jitensha Kun Niels Cam McRae
yahs  - Feb. 11, 2020, 10:19 a.m.

The EMTB camp I think have given up on playing every angle trying to sell them. First it was easy for those who have ailments, then it was just as good a workout a normal ride. I was at first against them, but now could care less, as long as everyone gets along and we are having fun.

Reply

shoreboy
+2 twk Timer
Shoreboy  - Feb. 11, 2020, 3:45 p.m.

The picture that captions "It's likely no accident you can't easily tell this is an ebike" is somewhat offensive.  Unless I am partially blind, it isnt hard to spot an ebike from a normal bike within a second of looking at it. Why are they trying to hide that it is an ebike anyway? Are they ashamed of it in some way?

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Seb_Kemp
0
Seb_Kemp  - Feb. 11, 2020, 3:54 p.m.

That caption was penned by NSMB not SCB.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
+1 Dan
Cam McRae  - Feb. 11, 2020, 10:34 p.m.

Indeed the caption is mine. Is that unclear? If so it was unintentional.

Are you saying the photo is offensive or the caption? Or both?

My point was that the materials Santa Cruz provided seemed aimed at emphasizing the experience you can have on the bike, and how that experience is similar to a 'regular' mountain bike experience. It's light on tech explanations, we never hear the motor in the video, and there isn't a plug in sight except in one detail photo that was provided. Dan's comment below illustrates this as well. 

As far as being able to tell easily, I can tell you that at times this is not the case on the trail. I've sometimes noticed riders pedal by, motor off, without most of the group noticing the bike had a battery and motor. Obviously some are more easily recognizable than others, but the Heckler, for better or worse, is an example of one that is well disguised.

Reply

shoreboy
+3 Mammal Vik Banerjee Velocipedestrian
Shoreboy  - Feb. 12, 2020, 8:22 a.m.

Perhaps offensive was too strong a word.  It was the caption that triggered me a bit. In that picture, it is very clear that it is an e-bike. Enormous downtube and the motor are quite clear. Maybe its just the constant marketing as you mentioned above. Trying to make it seem as if its very similar to a non e-bike in both appearance and experience. In my opinion they should just be marketed for what they are, an alternative to mountain biking that offers a different outdoor experience.

Reply

Seb_Kemp
0
Seb_Kemp  - Feb. 15, 2020, 8:12 p.m.

Hi Shoreboy, the answers I gave in the interview and everything about the marketing reinforces exactly what you request: that it's an alternative way of mountain biking. This doesn't replace mountain bikes, it just provides a different experience on the right trails, in the right places, for some people.

Reply

norona
0
Dave Norona  - March 27, 2020, 8:59 a.m.

Agree people were trying to hide them, i guess from embarassment, I was never embarrassed. But there is a lot of shaming by riders, which is odd, as most of them are parents and would not like their kid being shamed at school, heck they even wear pink shirts for that. I remember when pat from Norco told me that you would not be able to tell their new bike was an e-bike(before vlt was released) I was passed that, as people know when your going as fast as you are with a high cadence. I will say that one reason that has slowed some people to an e-mtb is the shaming or people who feel the need to question someone else decision. Things that would be viewed as very wrong to do in any other sporting arena, and quite sad really. But this is slowly going away as more people try them and ride them and the smiles they give, much like what any sport gives you.

Reply

dan
+1 Shoreboy
Dan  - Feb. 11, 2020, 7:46 p.m.

Perhaps the content is being saved for a ride review but I’m a little surprised not to see any comments about range or performance of the Shimano motor. Specifically, what are the advantages of it over a Bosch or other unit? Why not go homegrown like Rocky? How many hours of riding has Seb experienced on it?

In addition to support of the environmental impact comments, I also have to share a digital double take at the price sheet for this bike. $13K USD is beyond eye watering. Perhaps someone with more time on their hands than me can break out the deltas on the specs to show how a $6K premium pencils out between the base model, and the oral surgeon spec with its i9 hubs, AXS kit, and King headset.

Reply

shoreboy
+2 Cam McRae Dan
Shoreboy  - Feb. 11, 2020, 8:34 p.m.

Challenge accepted!  I used JensonUSA as much as I could for pricing.  I also had to assume that you would be credited with zero dollars for the components on the base priced spec, so this is the full dollar amount for the upgrades. I used the cranks in the AXS upgrade kit rather than the Shimano ones they had listed cuz it was easier. All in USD. 

An XX1 Eagle AXS 'upgrade kit' (Shifter, Cranks, Chainring, Chain, Rear Derailleur, Cassette) = $2000

i9 hubs =$650

King Headset = $140

Code RSC brakes = $490 for the pair

Reverb Stealth = $400

Fox 36-E Float Performance = $829 (this is not even the top of the line fork)

SC Reserve 30 Rims = $1200 for the pair (yes, thats just for the rims)

SC Di2 Carbon Bar = $150 (bit of a guess on this one)

TOTAL = $5859

So it would be close to $6000 IF you were paying full retail AND you got absolutely nothing for the components that are being replaced on the base bike.

Reply

dan
0
Dan  - Feb. 11, 2020, 9:40 p.m.

Holy cow that is awesome. Haha I owe you a cold one.

Reply

peterk
+1 Mammal
peterk  - Feb. 13, 2020, 9:37 a.m.

Probably similar to the jump in price from an NX build to a GX, or GX to X0 which seems totally out of line with the actual price differences. It's like they don't know we can go online and check out the price difference between the different levels and it's just a couple hundred bucks at most. I think SRAM gives away NX to bike companies for free.

Reply

norona
0
Dave Norona  - March 27, 2020, 8:24 a.m.

They all work very similar and range is based off of your cadence, power and fitness. The motor works off of your cadence and torque. For instance if you put your gearing in the smallest cog and try and climb up fromme access road, you will get zero help from the motor, you actually need to be in the right gear to give you proper cadence which is 85-110. The higher you cadence and power the less the torque on the motor hence a longer lasting battery. I personally ride in boost all the time and get between 24-26km on a battery. This is about an hour an 1hr 15-25 min of riding or what would be done in 3 hrs. Example would be ride from Highlands across carpenter Bridge, up the plunge to somewhere over there, down, back up the plunge to hoods and down back home 21km in boost 2 bars left 52 minutes, I have done two laps of somewhere over there and one on hoods same ride and battery went red on my way down the university hill. Or I can take two batteries and ride from Highlands, to 7km on sea 2 sky gondi road, drop one battery, ride up to hanging gardens, down and back to road and up to top of gondi, have a coffee, new battery in and then ride pixie, and mischief and rogue all the way back down through crumpit to coffee at counterpart and home with 3 bars left on 2nd battery 44km and 2.5 hours.

Reply

RAHrider
0
Reed Holden  - Feb. 13, 2020, 10:09 p.m.

I still don't understand why able bodied people want a simulated cycling experience. The best reviews for these things are that they "feel like cycling." 13K to feel like Lance (in more than one way) I guess? It seems really weird to me that people who want a motorized experience want to limit it to just "a little extra." I think this is the soft sell before ebikes morph into what they should really be, a quiet, non-smelly motor bike. It is bizarre that they are using fragile parts on a 50lb bike. Don't trials motorbikes weigh about the same? If I blow up bike hubs with my human legs, why would I use the same hub with a constant 500watt output? I agree that the caption that you can hardly tell it's an ebike is wierd. Kind of  continuing the fallacy that ebikes are just like regular bikes but better. I am looking forward to the time when the bike companies nut up and sell ebikes as their own thing. You can see the progression away from being a "better bike" with the ebike specific forks, chains, cassettes etc. Once they develop their own market, they will dump the bike moniker and do their own thing I suspect.

Reply

Seb_Kemp
0
Seb_Kemp  - Feb. 15, 2020, 8:09 p.m.

Hi Reed, Trials (motor) bikes are much heavier. They're much lighter than motocross bikes but still very heavy machines. You're still talking 2-3 times heavier than this bike. https://www.redbull.com/ca-en/8-crazy-facts-about-trial-biking. And parts, while needing to be at the upper end of the of reliability and strength don't need to be that heavy, you'd still gotta pedal it and throw it around. There's a balance and I do think that putting what's already considered wimpy parts for 'regular' mountain bikes on ebikes is a bit of a miss. Hence why this has 27.5-inch version of the DH rims that the Syndicate race on, 4-pot brakes, 200mm rotors and a Fox 36, for example. Scrimping anymore in these departments might get the weight into the realm of gimmicky marketing but it won't help the ride quality.

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norona
0
Dave Norona  - March 27, 2020, 8:13 a.m.

As someone who did a lot of  acoustic ride, trials rides and moto enduro's, you have to think differently. These are different but mostly like acoustic mountain biking. So good in fact I have sold my moto, and my trials, after riding those over 12 years. I just can't get enough of the e-mtb, 7500km of single track last spring summer, and rarely ever a road, or an acoustic climbing trail. :)

Reply

RAHrider
0
Reed Holden  - Feb. 16, 2020, 8:48 p.m.

Hey Seb, Thanks for the response. My comment was certainly not specific to your Emoped, just a general comment on the mode of transportation. The bike parts seem like the weak link (next to the meat engine on top of them I suppose) on all these contraptions. When they stop trying to be bikes, I think they will hit their zenith. It seems like a good idea that you guys are overbuilding your machines. The 12 speed drivetrain seems like a weak link though. I go through those things way too fast and it's just my little legs driving them. If I was going 2-3xfaster all the time and covered 2-3x more distance, I'd be blowing through drive trains like nobody's business.

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norona
0
Dave Norona  - March 27, 2020, 8:06 a.m.

I just sold one with 3500km on the shimano mid range drive train that worked perfectly still(and still does according to the new owner), what you might not realize is efficiency is everything, if you are smooth and efficient riding around and when shifting you don't wear stuff as much as when your struggling and grinding. Since I climb up super tech trails I do need to grab a gear every now and then, however these are designed to make you more efficient, and they work! This is 11 spd. Also all Shimano components are e-bike spec'd, I have over 16,000km of riding the devinci's and have not broken a chain or anything yet. Again you have to ride one to experience one, dreaming up negative's does not really work, as if they were true, you would hear about them. Happy Riding!

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Brocklanders
0
yahs  - Feb. 17, 2020, 8:41 a.m.

Top build pushing 16k CAD all in. I'm sure they will sell well in Silicon Valley. No one I know would cough up that kind of money for a bike that in a few years will be outdated tech.

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