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EDITORIAL

The Tale Of Turbo Levo Man

Words Andrew Major
Date Jul 19, 2017

Levo-Man, Levo-Man, climbs whatever Geoff Kabush can. Spins a gear, any size. Battery power on his side. Look Out! Here’s Turbo Levo-Man.

The One vs. The Many

In much of the vastness of North America, access issues complicated by electric bikes (pedelecs*) will be non-existent. Some of the first mountain biking I ever did was on trails shared with dirt bikes where I saw another rider, motorized or otherwise, once out of every twenty rides. The trails saw so little traffic and required such advanced moto skills that passage could only be noticed temporarily and only when the ground was most saturated. 

Unfortunately, at the risk of sounding like a mountain bike snob, I think these machines raise concerns about the future of mountain biking in almost all the places I have any interest in riding , locally and pocketed throughout Canada and the USA. I'm not talking about the emotional reaction they produce in many riders, myself included - but rather the somber assessments of respected trail advocates about how these machines could affect hard fought access and the reaction from trail builders. In other words, the soul of this sport.


Is he strong? Listen bud, he'll pedal through the thickest mud. Is it still a mountain bike? No throttle or the like. Hey, there… There’s Turbo Levo-Man.

If you are waiting for a 'yeah, but' that's because this isn't really a piece about e-bikes. It isn't about easily procured software to trick speed limiters and boost power output. It isn't about the difference between an ahole with a Smart Car and an ahole with a Porsche. I'm not intending to split hairs between the different types of e bikes on the market and debate which ones should be allowed or not-allowed. This isn't about how in a few years the motors and batteries will be all but invisible in carbon and aluminum frames. 

This is a piece about one e-bike. A red one. The man who rides it. A large one. Cynicsm, ownership, appropriation, culture, forgery, beauty, corruption and friendly hellos. This is my tale of Turbo Levo Man. 

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Most folks I know would love to be just a bit stronger hammering up the Good Sir Martin climb on Seymour. I know I often long for a half-step around the poisoned chalice that is 'Christmas Corners'. An extra shot at the Bean is as far as most of us go. Photo: Dave Smith

Turbo Levo Man

It's Snowmaggedon 2017 and the lower trails of Mt Seymour are an oasis of dirt in a sea of white. It seems that I'm stopping to catch my breath and catch up with someone I know at every trail crossing and I've modified my ride plans in favor of a more social evening. Generally this is a sport of friendly-loners*** and there seem to be an infinite number of interesting people to meet on the trails. 

I'm at the junction of Penny Lane, Good Sir Martin and Severed Dick trail, a spot where I will see Turbo Levo Man more than once in the coming months. I recognize his bike instantly from as far away as I can see. Being a bike nerd and tuned in to the latest-and-greatest it seems is both a blessing and a curse but the hyper yellow on candy red finish and the albatross that doubles as a bottom bracket shell are dead giveaways.  

I inhale slowly. Two of the guys I'm chatting with are vehemently, maybe venomously, anti-e-bike. On the internet and in conversation. 


The thrill is insane. As he climbs like a plane. Straight up Penny Lane. He arrives in no time.

"Up to 530 watts of additional power." Turbo Levo Man's facial expression was screaming 'BULLSH*T, BULLSH*T, BULLSH*T to the marketing department's claim that the bike would "make climbing nearly effortless". Suddenly he slows down considerably and as he finishes the last punch I notice that the bike is silent rather than 'quiet'. I've ridden enough pedelecs to tell the difference. 

He's leaning on the trail sign post catching his breath when one of my anti-e buddies pipes up. Oh boy. 

"That's a bitch of a climb eh?"

Turbo Levo Man nods and it's smiles and friendly banter all around. After a minute he excuses himself and goes off pedaling up the trail. I watch him. Some distance up the trail he suddenly sits up a bit and accelerates. It's notable how much faster he is going as he disappears around the first corner of Good Sir Martin. 

Laughing I inquire if anyone noticed that Turbo Levo Man was riding an e-bike. This is the first time I've asked this question and I'm the only one who notices TLM's big battery boost. 

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How far away can you recognize a pedelec from? The Di2 NSMB ThunderVolt had fat carbon tubes, beeped at me regularly and had a battery & wiring but forward momentum was generated by 100% meat engine. Photo: Dave Smith

When Life Is A Beer Commercial

I've only exchanged brief salutations with Turbo Levo Man so for all I really know he's a zero-f*cks-given kind of guy. And sure, the whole cutting the motor before riding up to a crowd of people should kick start Spidey senses. It's just that he seems like an okay dude rather than one of the four electric-men of the bikeocalypse. 

I have no concrete information on why he purchased a pedelec. Maybe he bought into the marketing that e-mtbs are some how an evolution, rather than a bastardization or appropriation, of mountain bike culture? Maybe he's an ex-rider looking for an accessible way to re-introduce himself to a sport he's long loved? Maybe he's one of the old, sick or disabled people that are held up as the reason e-bikes should be accepted en masse as if investing in their development and accepting them onto hard-won trail networks is somehow altruistic?

I guess I should grow a set and ask next time I see him. 


Levo-Man, Levo-Man Throttle-less e-bike Levo-Man. Access rules? He ignores. Action is his reward. To him...

Maybe he just bought into the beer commercial?

The Coastal Crew hucking, ripping, railing and rocking e-assist sleds down an awesome trail near the Coast Gravity Park. Professional athletes enjoying a Bosch-sponsored high alpine cheese plate party while a Gary Fisher voice-over waxes poetic about the birth of mountain biking and "uphill flow". Wade Simmons having a "mind blowing" time in the South of France taking in incredible scenery while riding up 400 years old staircases. Wow. 

On the North Shore I can't help but notice the pilots never seem to match the promotion.

Cynical Sales

No matter how unfit I am I achieve a great deal of satisfaction out of cleaning technical climbing sections, and completing 'epic' rides, under my own steam. Most folks I know feel the same way. 

Oh sure, we'll cheat a little bit. Carbon rims, cranks, bars, single wall tires up front and any other trick to cut the fighting weight of our bicycles. Eagle for when the vultures are circling. When the sun sets a big part of the magic of mountain biking is the fact that it's powered by meat-engines. Oh sure, twice the trails can be ridden for half the effort with an electric motor between your legs but at the end of the day it's a fraction of the accomplishment for a fraction of the effort. 


...life is a great big bang up Wherever there's a plug-up You'll find Turbo Levo-Man.

As I write this I feel like the Jehovah's Witness standing outside the Shoppers Drug Mart at the corner of Penny Lane and Severed Dick trying to save Turbo Levo Man's soul, or at least experience , when it comes to riding the trails we share. I don't believe that this one sinner is having any impact in terms of access or erosion and he certainly seems friendly and slow enough that he's not burning our relationships with other trail users. 

My issue is that someone has cynically sold him an experience that is a forgery. Can he truly be part of our community without riding the trails himself under his own steam? I wish whoever sold Turbo Levo Man his bike had pulled him aside and said "dude, it's going to suck at the start but pedaling a bike under your own steam will give you a way bigger reward in every way in the long run." Maybe they did?

I wonder sometimes if Turbo Levo Man knows what he is missing? Having traded a percentage of his mountain biking experience for faster lap times and easier hill climbs. I can only conclude that he does not. 

*Defined in this case as bicycle-shaped-objects where pedaling is assisted by an electric motor.
**The bike happens to be made by Specialized but it could just as easily be a Trek Powerfly, a Scott E-Genius, a Rocky Mountain Powerplay, a Cannondale Moterra or any number of other companies. 
***Apologies in advance to 'that guy' who is always angry that I'm labeling him as part of a 'tribe'. 

Comments

rvoi
+5 Meister dddd Cam McRae Pete Roggeman Andrew Major
rvoi  - July 19, 2017, 7:19 a.m.

Talk to the guy! Pretend he doesn't have three heads and ask him why he has that bike. The only e-bikers I know are commuting and recreating with them on pavement and dirt roads. I think it would be interesting to see what drew him out onto the trails with that juiced beast.

Reply

dtimms
+3 Meister Cr4w Pete Roggeman
dtimms  - July 19, 2017, 8:04 a.m.

Nice to see this editorial and opinion on e-bikes. I have only seen one on a trail. A helmetless dude flying up a connector logging road. Made me chuckle. That said, I could care less what people want to do for fun. I could care less if e-bikes were allowed on all trails. I don't see how some dude on a 50lb pedal assist e-bike is going to harm anything? The Forest Service can't clear trees off trails, let alone police if a bike is e-bike or mountain bike. That said, I will NEVER buy an e-bike. If I ever want/need a motor, I will get a damn dirt bike and really shred!

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
+1 Cr4w
Pete Roggeman  - July 19, 2017, 8:19 a.m.

They're still not common on the shore, but I've certainly seen a few in the last few months. Coincidentally, I did see one older guy riding one up the fire road who was also helmetless. Seems like a combo destined for trouble.

Reply

sospeedy
0 Andrew Major dddd
sospeedy  - July 19, 2017, 8:33 a.m.

Bravo Andrew! 👏👏

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - July 19, 2017, 10:56 a.m.

Thanks!

Reply

jitenshakun
+4 WasatchEnduro Meister dddd Cam McRae
Jitensha Kun  - July 19, 2017, 8:53 a.m.

When my knees go I'll be at my LBS the next day to buy a full squish e-bike.

Reply

wasatchenduro
+1 Endur-Bro
WasatchEnduro  - July 21, 2017, 6:25 p.m.

I'm already planning on it..... for my 65th bday. I figure the 26 years I have left will give em time to refine the tech. Hope my knees hold up in the meantime.

Reply

coexist
+1 Andrew Major
COEXIST  - July 19, 2017, 8:59 a.m.

Nothing easier to quit than other peoples vices (hobbies). 

They are fine until they start to affect access for regular bikes then they are gone.  Everything else is a straw man argument.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - July 19, 2017, 10:41 a.m.

"Nothing easier to quit than other people's vices."

That's a great quote. Original?

Reply

coexist
0
COEXIST  - July 19, 2017, 1:15 p.m.

Paraphrased Mark Twain quote.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - July 19, 2017, 3:16 p.m.

Cheers. I've long appreciated his "faith is believing what you know ain't so".

Reply

craw
+1 Cooper Quinn
Cr4w  - July 19, 2017, 9:44 a.m.

I rode one and found the power on/off timing to be incredibly distracting when riding anything technical. I don't know how long it will take to make this aspect of the experience precise enough to make me happy about dropping 10k on a suitably equipped pedelec. Or the fact that as a physical outlier to this sport it will be at least another 5 years before a suitable pedelec is offered in a configuration I could actually ride. Eventually these complaints will be solved. They'll be light, unobtrusive, fit well and have long run times, you'll barely know it's an e-bike. What will I do then? Hold out as a purist? I think I just might. The physical challenge and satisfaction is a massive part of this sport for me.  I rode a Levo and found it pedalled like a toy. As if the extra mechanical translation just disconnected me from the experience. Apparently more than say, suspension or carbon.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 dtimms
Andrew Major  - July 19, 2017, 10:44 a.m.

The new Bosch trail tune goes a long way to improving the original feel. They'll only get more seamless with time. 

As the motors get smaller and smaller and smaller the only bikes on the trail you'll know for sure aren't pedelecs are rigid steel or Ti single speed hardtails - join the movement!

(Just to clarify, I'm advocating joining the rigid single-speed movement not the battery powered one)

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
+4 Avner B. Meister Cr4w Cooper Quinn
Cam McRae  - July 19, 2017, 9:59 a.m.

I love your passion Andrew!

I'm curious about whether downhillers or shuttles can have soul?  Should they too be pulled aside by bike shop employees and steered away from their purchase? What about Park riders or skiers that don't do backcountry?

Reply

cooperquinn
+1 Todd Hellinga
Cooper Quinn  - July 19, 2017, 10:24 a.m.

It's part of the argument FOR e-bikes, certainly. Shuttling is just.... motor assisted riding. Sort of. 

But you can take e-bikes a lot of non-shuttle-able places. (here's where Todd chimes in about e-bikes on Lord of the Squirrels, or something like that).

I don't think the #parklyfe argument really works, though, as bike parks are for-profit commercial operations. 

And while I get your point, there is no e-touring (although, it will be interesting with e-sleds coming out hot and heavy to see how that shapes up, as a lot of the argument against snowmobiles in many areas is noise pollution and pollution....).

Reply

coexist
+4 ReubenSandwich Avner B. Andrew Major dddd
COEXIST  - July 19, 2017, 10:50 a.m.

The hubris is thick.  You don't do something the way I do it so it must be wrong.  Let me enlighten you.

Reply

FlipFantasia
+5 grambo David Reid Endur-Bro Cr4w Andrew Major Cooper Quinn dddd
Todd Hellinga  - July 19, 2017, 10:55 a.m.

I'm sorry, why do we want to turn our non-motorized trail systems into shuttle trails and bike parks?

Reply

AndrewMajor
0 Todd Hellinga Meister
Andrew Major  - July 19, 2017, 10:56 a.m.

In all honesty Cam I don't commit any thought to the matter. I've read this point re. shuttling more times this year than I've shuttled in the last decade and I can't remember the last time I road in a list assist bike park. I also don't ski at all (backcountry or lift) so I'll leave it to someone else to be the arbiter of soul for those activities.

Turbo Levo Man and I are chasing the same experience on the same trails - often enough on completely polar opposite machines - and that's why his choices and experiences are interesting to me.

...

The obvious answer - politics aside - is to classify pedelecs as their own thing (the reason I prefer to use that term rather than e-bike) and to negate the shuttle argument by simply opening some shuttle-heavy trails to pedelecs. Prohibition doesn't work so why not designate certain routes as being open to pedal-assist. 

For example up Old Buck and down Ned's.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
+3 Avner B. Meister dddd
Cam McRae  - July 19, 2017, 2:03 p.m.

Why can't you have an opinion about shuttling or riding in a bike park if they only rarely ride that way? How much have you ridden an e-bike in the last year?

My question was nothing to do with classification either. You have decided that "someone has cynically sold him an experience that is a forgery." Ostensibly that is because he is not climbing solely with his own power. That seems to mean that those who participate in other sports where they don't climb using their own power at all have also been sold a forgery? Does that make it even worse since TLM's e-bike won't even move if unless he adds power? Or is there something about the e-bike in particular? What about motorcyclists who burn fuel both uphill and down? It seems to me that we need to sort these issues out in order to figure out where we as a community and an industry stand on this new way of riding bicycles in the mountains.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+2 Todd Hellinga Cam McRae
Andrew Major  - July 19, 2017, 3:44 p.m.

Cam, it's not really a matter of what I "can" have an opinion on. 

I find it hard enough to have well formed thoughts and ideas on the things I think about regularly. For-profit professionally maintained bike parks aren't on my radar. Shuttling as a general rule doesn't interest me.

Re. Skiing or dirt bikes. Why do my thoughts about mountain biking have to be applicable to any other sport or activity taking place on different sport surfaces? I prefer aluminum handlebars to carbon, that doesn't mean I have an opinion on what material my mom's curling broom should be made of.

Regarding the cynical sale of a forgery that's my opinion on riding pedelecs in the woods on the trails I use as a replacement for a mountain bike. 

...

I don't think there is consensus to be found in the industry or trail user community and I think you highlight it very well in expressing your opinion on pedelecs:

"to figure out where we as a community and an industry stand on this new way of riding bicycles in the mountains."

I fundamentally disagree with the idea that this is a "new way of riding bicycles". I'm not looking to argue the semantics of what qualifies as a 'motor bike' but as I see it at the very least pedelecs are a hybrid category of their own. 

Reply

avner-b
+1 dddd
Avner B.  - July 20, 2017, 4:07 a.m.

Andrew,

you  barely talked to the guy yet you know what sort of experience he is chasing (and coincidentally it is the same as yours...) .

Were you born with ESP, or is it something you can teach me?

Avner.

Reply

Captain-Snappy
+1 Meister
Merwinn  - July 19, 2017, 11:19 a.m.

I don't really care if someone wants to ride an e-bike on dirt. It's their money. I just hope new to MTB'ing e-owners realize while they're getting assisted climbing up the hill, there's nothing assisting their skills to get them back down. That being said, it certainly doesn't mean all e-owners lack the competency to descend a trail.

Reply

cooperquinn
+3 Adrian White Mammal Cr4w
Cooper Quinn  - July 19, 2017, 2:36 p.m.

Which is certainly another very valid point to the debate. 

Trail networks are traditionally designed so that the farther up/out you get, the more difficult trails may be (and they're often built differently, as they aren't designed to see as much use). Its very easy to see riders getting in over their heads, either on trails that exceed their skill level, or too far from home and running out of fitness. 

And no, it certainly doesn't mean all, or even most e-bike owners are in this situation. But its reasonably easy to see why some people are concerned about the number of e-mtbs in Whistler available as rentals.

Reply

craw
0 grambo Cooper Quinn dddd Meister
Cr4w  - July 19, 2017, 2:45 p.m.

E-noobs trying to negotiate Hey Bud or Gargamel. Ugh.

Reply

Captain-Snappy
0
Merwinn  - July 21, 2017, 10:42 a.m.

It's a reason many clubs don't allow e-bikes: e-owners may be able to get up the trail with the fastest of the non-e-owners, but can they descend just as fast? 

Battery power <> bike skills

Reply

avner-b
+1 dddd
Avner B.  - July 20, 2017, 4:20 a.m.

Merwinn

would you also say that you hope that riders new to downhilling or bike park riding  realize while they're getting assisted getting up the hill, there's nothing assisting their skills to get them back down?

I can tell you that riding up trail in a e-bike requires more skill and fitness than a chairlift or a shuttle.

Just because someone decides to spend most their time and energy on descending rather than climbing, doesn't make them less of a mountain biker/

Avner.

Reply

JVP
+2 Mammal Cooper Quinn
JVP  - July 20, 2017, 11:23 a.m.

Oh Avner.  "Just because someone decides to spend most their time and energy on descending rather than climbing, doesn't make them less of a mountain biker/".  You're so wrong.  The best mtbers can crush a DH at warp speed, nail that massive gap, clean that tricky climb, and ride an xc epic at a crazy pace.  We all know this, and we all respect these beastly riders.  I'm a mere mortal compared to these superhumans.  I'm also fairly agnostic about ebikes as long as they don't ruin trail access.

So yeah, if you don't do all of it, you're less of a mountain biker.

Reply

Captain-Snappy
0
Merwinn  - July 21, 2017, 10:48 a.m.

I don't think you understood my post. I said " I just hope new to MTB'ing e-owners realize while they're getting assisted climbing up the hill, there's nothing assisting their skills to get them back down. That being said, it certainly doesn't mean all e-owners lack the competency to descend a trail."

So, not all e-owners may have the skills to get down, but some very well may, such as yourself. I winder about noobs, who think they can ride the access road to Top of The World but lack the skills to descend the trail.

A battery powered bike does not give one descending skills.

Reply

dddd
+2 Avner B. Meister
dddd  - July 19, 2017, 12:56 p.m.

Perhaps I am reading it wrong, but there seems to be such an "holier than thou" attitude here... a real turnoff. This article makes me want to buy a pedelec out of spite.

Why can't our admittedly laid-back community accept different applications? Are you genuinely afraid pedelecs will take over the trails? Are you afraid that there will no longer be a place to ride a mountain bike? These are not realistic fears.

Reply

cooperquinn
+2 Andrew Major Todd Hellinga
Cooper Quinn  - July 19, 2017, 1:30 p.m.

I think the potential exists for governments and land managers to see ebikes and mountain bikes as one and the same. And the potential exists for them to ban both, as that's a pretty easy way to draw the line, instead of arguing minutia of the different types, wattages, and throttle demands of different classes of motor assisted cycles. 

So, no, I am not necessarily afraid of them 'taking over the trails', but I am absolutely a believer it could impact the places I can ride a mountain bike.

Reply

dddd
+1 Meister
dddd  - July 19, 2017, 2:07 p.m.

The mountain IS big enough, we can share. 

If governments and land managers head down that path, we will continue our fight (and in greater numbers with our pedelec brothers and sisters) to keep access open; but until that happens, it would be great if mountain bikers didn't do their dirty job for them.

Reply

cooperquinn
+1 grambo Andrew Major Cr4w Meister dddd
Cooper Quinn  - July 19, 2017, 2:16 p.m.

So hypothetcal situation for you, @dddd. 

Land manager says, "OK, we've had enough e-bikes, and we can't really tell the difference, and we don't have the resources or a good technique to enforce this. No bikes. Period." 

What's your next move? 

I would suggest we should be proactive, and figure this out, rather than reactive.

Reply

mammal
+1 Andrew Major Cooper Quinn dddd
Mammal  - July 19, 2017, 2:24 p.m.

I don't think dddd lives in an area where control by land managers has entered his periphery.

As a mountain biker, I think that if you know where to ride, you should hold at least a lingering sense of responsibility to find out how the policies and rules for these areas are established. I'm fully aware that ignorance is bliss for a lot of people though, and I really hope they are outnumbered by those who are more aware.

It's not fear of sharing, it's a fear created by the awareness of the opposing (and in many cases, more established) opinions, and how they could work against our establishment access.

Reply

craw
0
Cr4w  - July 19, 2017, 1:36 p.m.

Also, this exists  http://www.vivax-assist.com/en/product/vivax-assist/vivax-assist_4-0.php   so eventually even a standard-looking hardtail could have an e-assist. TBH this is the kind of assist I could get behind: just a little boost for long drawn-out climbs, but otherwise light and out of the way.

Reply

cooperquinn
+3 ExtraSpecialandBitter Chris Petsche Jan
Cooper Quinn  - July 19, 2017, 2:51 p.m.

STOP GIVING AWAY MY SECRETS!!! 

Without mechanical doping, I won't be able to maintain my very-mid-pack Fiver ranking!

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
+1 Cooper Quinn
Pete Roggeman  - July 19, 2017, 5:08 p.m.

Why Cooper keeps entering Fivers on a hardtail: re-examined.

Reply

fmeister
0 dddd Avner B. Mammal Jan
Meister  - July 19, 2017, 6:37 p.m.

Andrew I feel your article very cynical. You make your opinion very evident that you dislike pedelecs and that they do not belong anywhere on trails in a very innuendo way.  Ever thought of running for a political party. Why can't you just be happy for TLM, he is out enjoying the forest like many other user groups- shuttlers, horseback riders, park lift riders and people that drive their pollution pumping cars all are assisted in one form or another.

Pedelecs do not destroy trails up or down, proven fact. Andrew your a purist whatever that really means. I'm good with that and I will not fault you for that but there are people out in the world that are willing to try different variations of sports. ie snowboarding comes to mind it was not a purist sport they where not even allowed on chairlifts. the whole argument was that they where going to kill the ski runs by sliding down them. Now look where they are some 30 years later.

We  as a community need to come together. One  argument that was mentioned earlier was that harder trails that are farther out are going to get ruined by all the extra traffic they may get. I have to say that if that is the case the trail was poorly constructed with out much thought to lay out. What is going to hurt us more is a contest put out by a certain movie wanting clips of people ROOSTING BERMS. though fun to some extent, ruins trails.

Stop fighting each other, just because it is a different form of our sport we need to come together to further our cause for access etc.

For the record no I don't ride an e-bike, but I have been around since Todd started building illegal trails on the shore back in the late 80's. I was there when Ernest Christ tried to kill MTB's from the shore in the 90's as well. I live to ride and ride to live.

My 2 cents

Reply

AndrewMajor
0 Cr4w Todd Hellinga dddd Meister
Andrew Major  - July 19, 2017, 7:12 p.m.

Hi Meister,

I certainly don't intend to come across cynically - that's on me the writer though not on you - but if you mean to say I sound "elitist" then I will own that. 

There are a number of reasons I don't think pedelecs should be allowed on the trails where I live (the North Shore) because of specific issues to do with hard fought access, previous user issues, danger due to multi directional trails and etc - due to climbing speeds. 

There are a number of reasons I don't think pedelecs should be allowed on certain trail networks where they essentially turn rarely ridden trails - treasures not designed for mass traffic - into shuttle access trails. See Todd's comments on various pedelec pieces for the concerns in Whistler Valley. 

Most places there will be no issue with access or interactions and if someone wants to ride a pedelec in those places that's great for them. 

I meant for that all to be an aside - as in I didn't mean for this piece to be about any legitimate concerns I have about pedelec's on the trail network. 

.

Regarding Turbo Levo Man. We have a very polite - I'd call it standard - trail user relationship on the same sport surface that we also share with hikers, dog walkers and trail runners. I do think his choice of a pedelec is depriving him of a lot of the mountain bike experience but I intended (again entirely on me the writer) to highlight the differences in experience in an entertaining way (hence the Spiderman theme song and trying to present it as a story). 

Again, my failure to get my point across. 

At the end of the day I love mountain biking for all its perfect imperfection - grown adults playing and scaring themselves in the woods, under their own steam, on kids toys.

For the record - if it matters - while I see the great advantages of pedelecs on the road as car replacements I feel the same way about using them for road riding adventures. 

Anyways, I wasn't trying to make any overarching comments about pedelecs (I'm on record for the reasons I'm against them for where I live/ride) but merely my thoughts on the pedelec experience in my back yard. 

I hope that you at least found it entertaining.

Take care,

AM

Reply

cxfahrer
0 dddd Mammal
cxfahrer  - July 19, 2017, 11:16 p.m.

E-MTBs are just one more kind of using trails. Like horses, trucks, motos.

There are a lot of E-MTBs in areas where the infrastructure and the trail network favour them - which is essentially riding not too far away and not very technical but going uphill first. Many holiday regions are like that, and you can rent them anywhere.

I am not that optimistic regarding battery power and overall weight for the next 20years, so people using them will always be cautious when going for an adventure.

So they will be a problem where there are easily accessible trails from a not too elevated mountain top, and where those trails are not too technical (like most built trails that are not DH). I dont think that anyone would try to ride such a 20kg beast down a real alpine trail.
Well, maybe, if it is his own E-MTB and not a rented one...

Reply

extraspecialandbitter
+1 Mammal grambo dddd
ExtraSpecialandBitter  - July 20, 2017, 8:23 a.m.

Psh, Millennials.  Bunch of entitled children that think everything comes easy.

I was all excited about the new Altitude until Rocky released their Powerplay.  Now I have to put my money where my mouth is and look elsewhere.

Edit: Mostly because I told people, "If you buy a regular bike from a company that sells e-bikes, then you are supporting e-bike development".  Then 2 weeks after I said that... (shot myself in the foot).

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cam@nsmb.com
+1 dddd
Cam McRae  - July 21, 2017, 8:50 a.m.

Millenials? Do you think millenials are the primary buyers of e-bikes? I don't think that's correct. Likely baby boomers. Certainly by my anecdotal sample that is the case. And then the generation immediately after is probably next.

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extraspecialandbitter
-1 dddd
ExtraSpecialandBitter  - July 21, 2017, 9:18 a.m.

That was the joke.  They're honorary millennials.

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partswhore
+2 dddd Meister
partswhore  - July 20, 2017, 11:49 a.m.

Food for thought here, one the builders at one of the most tech zone in the S2S rides a Levo almost exclusively; makes a 90 min awful road climb into a bearable rip outta the house.  Just my two cents...

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bmak
+1 dddd
bmak  - July 21, 2017, 8:19 a.m.

It's full-court press on e-bikes at NSMB.

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cam@nsmb.com
+1 dddd
Cam McRae  - July 21, 2017, 8:57 a.m.

If you are suggesting we have decided on taking an anti-e-bike stance whenever we talk about them, I wouldn't say that's accurate bmak. We have no corporate policy on what can or should be said about e-bikes or anything else. This was Andrew's idea and his alone. We have presented other opinions as well. 

And there is this as well. https://nsmb.com/articles/loam-ranger-goes-electric/

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AndrewMajor
-1 dddd
Andrew Major  - July 21, 2017, 9:18 a.m.

I was assuming bmak means a Full Court Press as in NSMB is mounting an aggressive defence of pedelecs (yielding none of the court to riders who are against them) but it could also be read as the opposite of that.

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bart
+2 Andrew Major Cam McRae
bart  - July 21, 2017, 8:26 a.m.

After you told me this story in Sedona I have shared it every chance I get.  I will own an E-bike one day, I have seen how it changes people lives, got them back into cycling and who are now enjoying themselves again, it shows on their face every day.  I'm still going to ride my current bike for the time being, but I would pick an e-bike over a motor bike any day - I want to spend time out in the wilderness, be in the quiet and serenity, not huffing gas fumes.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - July 21, 2017, 9:11 a.m.

Cheers Bart, I really enjoyed chatting pedelecs with you and the different perspective you bring in terms of where, when and how you ride.

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rockford
0
rockford  - Aug. 16, 2017, 9:04 a.m.

I rode a Giant Dirt-E at a demo day here in Mission and I'll say the two things that I decided: 1) that I'd never buy one (maybe never is a strong word, but not any time soon) and 2) that 'pedalecs' are a good thing for the sport.  

I had fun, but definitely lost that sense of accomplishment.  It was replaced with a sense of guilt as I passed rider after rider on the climb.  What the ride did do for my own riding was inspire me to work on my strength cause I can handle it, I just don't have it...yet!

Why I think they are good for the sport is demonstrated in a couple use-cases that come to mind.  First one is for a Mom or Dad that have kids that ride and wants to join them but doesn't stand a hope to keep up - either due to fitness, or maybe a physical ailment (asthma, bad knees, etc).  This is a playing field leveler for that scenario.  And if Mom/Dad get in better shape, they can shift over to a pedalmech and carry on for a lifetime of riding.  This scenario plays out for a buddy that wants to join the group ride, but hasn't ridden in years like Bart eluded to.

The other is the inverse - I love riding with my kids, but their legs won't have strength to do a substantial climb for at least 5 more years.  If there was a kids e-bike (sorry, pedalec) then I'd be seriously considering getting them one so they could come for a rip on the local hills with Dad.  The price would stop that from actually happening, but given the means, I think that would be rad.

There are so many more use-cases where these things are good for the sport (AMTB among them) that I say any restriction is a bad one.  From my day of riding one, I can't see any logical argument about why to restrict them.  They don't damage trails.  They don't affect other people's enjoyment (loud pipes on a moto).  They won't increase trail traffic in a measurable way.  Avid local riders account for 85% of trail traffic on the North Shore (and aren't likely to don an E-Bike) so the notion that tourists gaining access to places that are normally quiet doesn't hold water.  There is no downside I can see.

All the arguments I've heard amount to "I don't know why, but I just don't like it" and "it's not cool if I'm the KOM on a trail and someone with a motor takes it" which are not based in any rational thinking - just fear.  Life is a ride, not a race.  Let's share it with as many people that want to.

I don't think TLM is missing out on anything.  He's having a different experience and that is just fine.

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