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March 2, 2023, 4 p.m. -  Pete Roggeman

Hi William, I don't think those down votes are imminent! We love that our readers and commenters are generally civil, open-minded folks. Thank you for the feedback, and for expressing it in a balanced way. I'm happy to address it. We thought long and hard about how to handle the e-bike issue. It goes back as far as 2014 or so for us, which is when Cam first tested and wrote about an electric Haibike. The reception was, predictably, not friendly from many readers, but it was so new that we felt compelled to get a bit of saddle time with one and share what that was like. A lot of people were not ready to weigh both sides of that argument and although we love a good debate, we didn't (and still do not) have an agenda when it comes to e-bikes.  To most people, we're a website, and it's not technically wrong to call NSMB a blog, but at heart, we consider ourselves a magazine. When the idea came to Cam in the late 90s, a print mag was what he had in mind. I say that because it informs how we approach topics like technology, the culture of the sport, and, importantly, news. We don't try to be the source of all news - there are other places for that - we focus mostly on the broad strokes. And as far as the MTB world goes, e-bikes were news in 2014, and they are now, too. I know some people will say they're not mountain bikes, but I've never heard anyone make a good argument to that effect. E-bikes and mountain bikes are far more similar than they are different, and no amount of calling them bro-peds or scooters or motorbikes is going to change that, like it or not. In 2014 we decided it wasn't the right time to try to force e-bike content on the reader, so we sat back and bided our time a little bit. Part of that wait and see approach was due to uncertainty over some of the issues and negative effects you alluded to. Part of it was that we didn't want to have the e-bike debate every time we published another article (but we ended up having it dozens of times anyway!). None of this is to say that there aren't issues and potential negative consequences when it comes to e-bikes. Without descending into an exhaustive list of every potential pitfall, I'll just say that for all the hand-wringing and concern about e-bikes leading to revoked trail access or massive user conflicts, at the very least I think we can agree that the doomsday scenarios are not playing out the way we all feared.  To take it a step further, though, I have yet to hear about a single e-bike-related case of revoked trail access. There are, surely, user conflicts out there involving e-bikes, but I haven't been made aware of many high profile ones, or even many at all, or at least not more than already exist between regular mtn bike riders and other trail users. I'm not pretending they aren't happening, however our sport was defined in some way by user conflicts from the beginning - some would say that's what galvanized mountain biking advocacy in so many places and forced it to evolve from barely present to oftentimes very organized and powerful. That doesn't make it ok, however it does make it not new, and not attributable to e-bikes any more than it was already an issue. I'm also not pretending there isn't an environmental issue at stake here. However, it would be pretty rich to take a hardline stance on that but not on, say, shuttling, or bike parks, or any of a number of other problems mountain biking inflicts on the environment, including - and a lot of people want to ignore this fact - good ol' fashioned mountain bikes.  No matter what we all ride, we're hyper-privileged people with free time and good health, so to think of our sport as anything other than a luxurious pastime reserved for people in the top 10 or so percentile in global wealth would be naïve. From thirty thousand feet up, the difference between a $3,000 mtn bike and a $16,000 one is almost irrelevant. We accept these facts, but that doesn't have to mean we like them. When we can, we call attention to them, even better if we can shine a light on something to try to effect some positive impact. Ignoring e-bikes or pretending they don't exist won't help any of those issues, perceived or real. We're not here to tell you that you need one, or that they're the future of the sport, just like we're not here to tell you that you need wireless shifting or suspension controlled by computers - or a frame made out of carbon fiber. Those things are all, however, part of our sport, and therefore part of our mandate to report on. Of course we could choose not to review e-bikes, but the fact is that many of us quite like them and can see that there are a lot of positives associated with e-bikes. Mostly, they're really fucking fun to ride, and fun is what got us into mtb and therefore NSMB in the first place. After all that, though, I totally get where you're coming from and I don't blame you a bit. I'm just glad you're going to stick around and keep reading. And please always feel welcome to comment and provide feedback. These discussions are important to have (I promise I'm about to put down the mic so someone else can speak). My reply to you became a bit of a manifesto, sorry for the length and I hope it doesn't read like a rant. But I figured some of our readers may want to know a bit more about our perspectives and how we reach them. Pete

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