Posted by: Kenny
By heavens, where were all the people complaining as increased bike tech made it easier for people to get on the trails or 50plus gearing made it easier to climb?
Sure seems to be inviting the comparison, but ok, if you say you're not comparing, you aren't. So, let's also say that you are absolutely correct and none of the points listed in the thread about why ebikes should not be allowed have any merit.
So given we have now established that ebikes pose no use issues, I am curious about two things-
First: If you are good with e-bikes, do you feel there needs to be some limit imposed with respect to the speed/power that "approved for trail use" ebikes can have? Only electric motor, but not gas? Must have "pedals"? Speed limit? 5km/hr? 25km/hr? 90km/hr? Power limit? What if one of these folks with a physical issue is too heavy for a 750watt model (or whatever is "normal"? By not allowing 1000 watt, you are discriminating against them. What if he has bad ankles and can only use an ebike with a thumb throttle? Will you discriminate against that person? Where does it stop?
Second: Assuming the first point is given a clear definition, how is it enforced? Especially when, again, you can already buy a "chip" to run that shimano 8000 whateveritis up to 50km/hr and nobody can tell the difference.
I realized this sounds sarcastic but I'm genuinely asking.
I get what you'e saying, but it's not a direct comparison at least. Say in the same way that an ebike is not a dirt bike. And I don't think your post sounds sarcastic, you have legitimate queries in the scope of the discussion.
So to start I'm not saying that those points I listed don't have any merit as on some level they are all true. What I'm arguing is that saying those are facts that will get mtb'ing shut down or ruined would be similar to saying that people riding illegal trails are going to get all of mtb'ing shut down, or mtb'er conflicts with hikers are going to get the trails shut down, etc. In any issue regarding human behaviour and compliance with the rules you are never going to get 100% compliance. Murder is illegal, has been for a long time and in some places even results in a death sentence if found guilty. Pretty much everyone agrees that murder is wrong, but it still happens. Just like pretty much all mtb'ers know that riding closed trails is wrong, but some people still do it anyway. Now I'm not trying to equate illegal trail riding with murder, I simply use it to illustrate the point that not everyone pays attention to the rules. It's like we all drive the speed limit all the time right? But how many of us rip through schools zones at 60k or more? So I actually do recognize and believe that pedelecs will cause some problems, what's up for debate is the severity of those problems and whether that as yet unknown severity is justification for banning them.
Before I answer your questions I will preface them by saying that initially I was against ebikes, but after more consideration I changed my stance somewhat.
So first yes, I do feel there should be limits on ebikes and I believe I even stated that earlier in this thread. I would be totally fine with reducing the current top speed on mtb pedelecs to that of the Euro standard of 25kph or less - 20? I think the speed factor is more important than the power as hills, bike weight and people's bodyweight can all affect speed on a lower powered motored and vice versa. Yes only electric. Yes only pedal assist - no throttles. Bad ankles? If they're bad enough that someone can't pedal even a minimal amount to engage pedal assist they they're not going to be able to ride down hill with their feet on the pedals. I encourage questions but let's at least keep them reasonable and within the realm of what's practical.
Secondly, yes I agree enforcement is an issue. Right now the rules are lax to non-existant, so it's easy for the mfr's to build bikes that tiptoe on the edge of the line but don't break it as per the current regs. If the regs are tightened, ie tamper proof motors/electronics, then onus is put back on the mfr's to come up with something that can't be altered or is so difficult/expensive to alter that it becomes impractical for all but a select few. But what about those few you say? Well that's where I turn back to the idea that you will never get full compliance. Even if mtb pedelecs were banned from the trails tonight, you are still going to have a select few who will use them anyway just as some people will continue to ride closed/illegal trails on their pedal mtb's anyway.
There is a balance point though somewhere between an all out ban and a no rule, free for all. That point will have a level of use that minimizes the potential chaos while still allowing people who would ride mtb pedelecs in decent/respectful manner access to a good selection of trails (not necessarily all trails). Right now there seems to be far more people who are opposed so the call for an all out ban seems strongest. My guess is that will change, as will the sport to a certain degree whether ebikes are in our future or not.