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Why I don’t want an ebike (but I don’t hate them)

Oct. 22, 2018, 1:03 p.m.
Posts: 1630
Joined: Feb. 26, 2015

Posted by: Ddean

Check out Gully's IG and youll see how these ebikes are being presented to the masses as being not different than MTBs. Tons of vids of him shredding Fromme and other known local trails on one. And Ive heard of use on unmapped local fragile trails too. Remi's too. 

I love Gully a little bit less when he's on one of these things. A little bit. If hypercapable riders like him are using them all over social media (he is not alone, they are all pushing these), its just a matter of time before they're considered MTBs.

Have to say I'm a bit disappointed in the big bike companies approach to all this. Pushing their shills to jam these down the mtb community's throat has me not wanting to buy a bike from them.

Oct. 22, 2018, 1:50 p.m.
Posts: 1588
Joined: July 11, 2014

Posted by: Hepcat

For your second point I would say it's not realistic that an e-mtb rider will embrace the same ideals the pedals folks have. Spend 8 grand on a motorzed powerhouse and then embrace the ideals of carefully plodding uphill watching for hikers around every blind corner? Bench cut the climbs so they're not too steep and prevent erosion? Chit chat with hikers climbing with you?

Or roost uphill at 30k/hr and rip out multiple laps. 🤘

Waiting until the disease is terminal to form an opinion is not a real option. And every trail is susceptible to access issues.

This is my biggest issue with ebikes, they are simply not compatible with bicycles, hikers and horses on the climbing aspect of multi-use trails, the speed delta is way too big. Especially crowded areas like the shore, Squamish etc. Increased wear and tear is a concern too, but whether someone is on an ebike or mtb while descending probably makes no difference with a skilled rider in terms of risk of conflicts or damage (while ability to do multiple laps aka increased use may or may not). It's climbing that's the problem to me.

Oct. 22, 2018, 4:26 p.m.
Posts: 577
Joined: Nov. 23, 2002

Posted by: Hepcat

SUP at crowded spots want what they want and that's that. Tow-in surfers would be an even better analogy. Rich guys with sleds show up and shut down the spot for all the locals.

Syncro, kudos for having such an even keel. 🍻 I think if motorized bikes and bikes are considered basically the same though, then there's no logic to stand on to go from there. 

The difference between the vehicles really is as stark as a tow-in surfer with a jetski and somebody paddling in.

Oh, and the commuting to the trail head topic was covered a bit on pg.2. Basically, I think it's just another marketing angle. Get some fitness, lighten up the rotating mass instead.

There is a great vid on GCN in which one of the presenters revisits a climb he PR'd back in his pro road cycling days. This time he hits it on an e-bike...and comes in minutes slower.

thanks. 

I'm not on the same page with the tow-in surfing example but that should come as no surprise.  I see the commuting to the trail as a real issue tho, and not just a marketing angle. I am on the same page with you about getting fitter, but like I said before not everyone wants to work that hard. There's a big ethical/moral question here of whether one group gets to decide how another group recreates.

Oct. 22, 2018, 4:35 p.m.
Posts: 577
Joined: Nov. 23, 2002

Posted by: grambo

This is my biggest issue with ebikes, they are simply not compatible with bicycles, hikers and horses on the climbing aspect of multi-use trails, the speed delta is way too big. Especially crowded areas like the shore, Squamish etc. Increased wear and tear is a concern too, but whether someone is on an ebike or mtb while descending probably makes no difference with a skilled rider in terms of risk of conflicts or damage (while ability to do multiple laps aka increased use may or may not). It's climbing that's the problem to me.

This is where I also see the greatest chance of conflict, but I don't assume that just because someone is on a ebike that they will act like a ass. That's why I think it's so important to have this discussion in a relatively friendly environment to see if it's possible to come up with a set of rules that works for most people. So far the discussion seems to focus on an all or none trajectory and I don't think that's an effective way to look at it. My fear is that turning a blind eye to the issue in the hopes ebikes get banned will leave a lot of people without any knowledge on how to use these things who in turn just go out and cause chaos. 

The longer this gets left to fester the harder it's going to be to deal with. If the uptake of ebikes grows exponentially there may come a point where people on ebikes outnumber those on pedal bikes and if there are no clear rules by that point then it may be the people on ebikes who have a greater say in forming the regulations.

Oct. 22, 2018, 5:22 p.m.
Posts: 1630
Joined: Feb. 26, 2015

Posted by: syncro

Posted by: Hepcat

SUP at crowded spots want what they want and that's that. Tow-in surfers would be an even better analogy. Rich guys with sleds show up and shut down the spot for all the locals.

Syncro, kudos for having such an even keel. 🍻 I think if motorized bikes and bikes are considered basically the same though, then there's no logic to stand on to go from there. 

The difference between the vehicles really is as stark as a tow-in surfer with a jetski and somebody paddling in.

Oh, and the commuting to the trail head topic was covered a bit on pg.2. Basically, I think it's just another marketing angle. Get some fitness, lighten up the rotating mass instead.

There is a great vid on GCN in which one of the presenters revisits a climb he PR'd back in his pro road cycling days. This time he hits it on an e-bike...and comes in minutes slower.

thanks. 

I'm not on the same page with the tow-in surfing example but that should come as no surprise.  I see the commuting to the trail as a real issue tho, and not just a marketing angle. I am on the same page with you about getting fitter, but like I said before not everyone wants to work that hard. There's a big ethical/moral question here of whether one group gets to decide how another group recreates.

I think the real question is, is it a motorized vehicle?  If so then it is a different class of vehicle is it not?  and this "group" you speak of is not part of my group. You sound like the bike industry trying to lump ebikes and mtb together which they are not.  I see your point and appreciate your view but this is the conflict we face. You can't use a E-sled on Hollyburn in winter even if its has a magical E in front of it. So why are bikes exempt from these motorized rules? That is the question....

Oct. 22, 2018, 5:58 p.m.
Posts: 577
Joined: Nov. 23, 2002

Posted by: Brocklanders

I think the real question is, is it a motorized vehicle? If so then it is a different class of vehicle is it not? and this "group" you speak of is not part of my group. You sound like the bike industry trying to lump ebikes and mtb together which they are not. I see your point and appreciate your view but this is the conflict we face. You can't use a E-sled on Hollyburn in winter even if its has a magical E in front of it. So why are bikes exempt from these motorized rules? That is the question....

Is it motorized - yes, of course it is. Is it a different class of vehicle? Yes. However, is it different enough that it needs to be banned? I'm not so sure when I look at the usage. I'm even less sure of that when I analyze the arguments for banning them as most of those arguments are fallible. As for groups they're not part of my group either, but I am friends with a couple of people who do ride them, we just don't ride together. I'm just using the word group to identify that there are people out there who want to and do used pedelecs. As you ask, why are pedelecs exempt from motorized rules? Not sure as my interpretation of what I've read leads me to believe they are not. I have heard from some officials tho that they are and there is no official policy on their use.

Using the esled vs gas sled comparison against pedelec vs pedal bike is not a level comparison imo. I draw a distinction between pedal assist plus speed limited pedelecs vs throttle control and unlimited speed motorcycles. The biggest thing I can offer is that it comes down to the user and their level of responsibility and I don't think it's fair to say transportation method B can't be used because some people are going to abuse their abilities. I honestly feel that if someone is out riding a pedelec in a responsible manner then their impact on the trail system and other trail users is no different than you or I out pedaling our bikes and there is no strong enough justification to ban their use. I think it makes far more sense to have a conversation about how and where they could be used than to have a conversation about whether they can be used at all.

edit - Want to add that I agree with you and others that they are not the same thing, the opinions differ on how different they are. I am more concerned about their intended usage and the responsibility of the person using it.


 Last edited by: syncro on Oct. 22, 2018, 6:03 p.m., edited 2 times in total.
Oct. 23, 2018, 7:44 a.m.
Posts: 1630
Joined: Feb. 26, 2015

Posted by: syncro

Posted by: Brocklanders

I think the real question is, is it a motorized vehicle? If so then it is a different class of vehicle is it not? and this "group" you speak of is not part of my group. You sound like the bike industry trying to lump ebikes and mtb together which they are not. I see your point and appreciate your view but this is the conflict we face. You can't use a E-sled on Hollyburn in winter even if its has a magical E in front of it. So why are bikes exempt from these motorized rules? That is the question....

Is it motorized - yes, of course it is. Is it a different class of vehicle? Yes. However, is it different enough that it needs to be banned? I'm not so sure when I look at the usage. I'm even less sure of that when I analyze the arguments for banning them as most of those arguments are fallible. As for groups they're not part of my group either, but I am friends with a couple of people who do ride them, we just don't ride together. I'm just using the word group to identify that there are people out there who want to and do used pedelecs. As you ask, why are pedelecs exempt from motorized rules? Not sure as my interpretation of what I've read leads me to believe they are not. I have heard from some officials tho that they are and there is no official policy on their use.

Using the esled vs gas sled comparison against pedelec vs pedal bike is not a level comparison imo. I draw a distinction between pedal assist plus speed limited pedelecs vs throttle control and unlimited speed motorcycles. The biggest thing I can offer is that it comes down to the user and their level of responsibility and I don't think it's fair to say transportation method B can't be used because some people are going to abuse their abilities. I honestly feel that if someone is out riding a pedelec in a responsible manner then their impact on the trail system and other trail users is no different than you or I out pedaling our bikes and there is no strong enough justification to ban their use. I think it makes far more sense to have a conversation about how and where they could be used than to have a conversation about whether they can be used at all.

edit - Want to add that I agree with you and others that they are not the same thing, the opinions differ on how different they are. I am more concerned about their intended usage and the responsibility of the person using it.

Good points.

I was trying to compare using a motorized vehicle in a non motorized area. Not electric vs gas.....

I guess my fear is that this is the wedge in the door. Is the bike industry going to regulate even faster, lighter e-mtbs in years to come? I doubt it.

I have stated before that I have ridden one of these things and they are not for me. This "pendelec" thing the bike companies are pushing is such a load of shit. The one I rode in Boost mode- The Divinci version, was a motorbike. I spun my legs like I was doing a warm down on a spin bike, and the thing was full speed, no effort required.

So I guess we roll over and say whatever, then the next conflict will be throttle e-bikes vs pendelec on the trails? The line in the sand gets smeared and will be a free for all, you can bet on that.

I think that's how the BLM in Moab, Utah see's it too. Kinda hard to wear down the trails there. So why did they say no? Because they deemed them motorized.

Oct. 23, 2018, 9:57 a.m.
Posts: 7
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

The forward thinking approach would be to just determine that there are trails where they are suitable (official trails shuttle trails, downhill specific trails, motocycle trails, multi-use trails that have been taken over by bikes), and unsuitable (climb trails, 2-way trails with poor sight lines, busy multi-use where user conflicts are already occurring, anything unsanctioned/illegal), and develop a policy and let the e-bikers form their own association and beg to the hikers, horse riders and mountain bikers for expanded access. Maybe the riders will get bored of the few options then buy a real bike?

The problem is these things are being marketed as a "playing field leveler" so you can keep up with those friends and family that are such jerks that they won't even spin a couple of chill laps around the local adaptive loop with you or wait for you on the climb.

Oct. 23, 2018, 11:14 a.m.
Posts: 1543
Joined: April 25, 2003

I fail to see how the commuting to the trail has any relevance - we’re playing with our expensive toys here, the planet won’t notice if we drive or ride to our ride. We in the west are so far beyond sustainable that presenting a bike commute to your playtime as an environmental good deed is laughable.  This is like saying that the Mayans would still be around if only they switched to silver jewelry instead of that evil gold stuff. 

There’s no moral problem with telling people what type of toy that can play with on what trail. That’s just  management and is basically required any time there are enough users. Not allowing mopeds on non-motorized trails isn’t denying moped riders the ability to ride - they just have to do it somewhere else. Kinda like how when we wanted official trails we had to build em ourselves.  

Now that we have official trails, yes, we’re attempting to control access the “same way” that hikers did to us.  They were worried about our impacts so in order to manage those impacts they fought us, and in some places they kept us out.  Fair enough, and it only makes sense that we’d do the same.  Our trail experience and access are on the line.

These things aren’t bicycles, they’ll have some impacts that bicycles don’t have and some impacts that will happen to a larger degree due to their motor. Management means drawing a line somewhere and I for one support drawing the line at the presence/absence of a motor. It’s pretty clear that both the land managers and many of the other trail user groups agree. It’s the industry and folks that feel they’re entitled to ride whatever they want wherever they want that’s not on board.

Oct. 23, 2018, noon
Posts: 4868
Joined: Nov. 25, 2002

Posted by: Brocklanders

I guess my fear is that this is the wedge in the door. Is the bike industry going to regulate even faster, lighter e-mtbs in years to come? I doubt it.

this would be one of my biggest concerns as well. if a land manager agrees that the restricted ebike in its current form would be acceptable, how does one police all the other fast hardware that has the same form factor? and as ebike tech becomes more refined, battery packs smaller & better integrated (ie, the new turbo levo), differentiating motorized bikes from pedally ones also becomes increasingly difficult. if user conflicts arise, banning all wheeled devices becomes the easier solution.

random: looks like you can already buy speed limit overriding plug-ins for most platforms: https://www.ebiketuning.com/

Oct. 23, 2018, 1:28 p.m.
Posts: 2121
Joined: Nov. 6, 2005

Posted by: xy9ine

Posted by: Brocklanders

I guess my fear is that this is the wedge in the door. Is the bike industry going to regulate even faster, lighter e-mtbs in years to come? I doubt it.

this would be one of my biggest concerns as well. if a land manager agrees that the restricted ebike in its current form would be acceptable, how does one police all the other fast hardware that has the same form factor? and as ebike tech becomes more refined, battery packs smaller & better integrated (ie, the new turbo levo), differentiating motorized bikes from pedally ones also becomes increasingly difficult. if user conflicts arise, banning all wheeled devices becomes the easier solution.

random: looks like you can already buy speed limit overriding plug-ins for most platforms: https://www.ebiketuning.com/

This site doesn't ship to North America... but others will emerge I am sure:

"Due to statutory regulations it is not allowed to use E Bike Tuning Tools on public roads. They are for off road (private land) use only.

We ship to all countries in the world except to the USA and Canada."

Oct. 23, 2018, 1:33 p.m.
Posts: 1588
Joined: July 11, 2014

Posted by: syncro

Using the esled vs gas sled comparison against pedelec vs pedal bike is not a level comparison imo. I draw a distinction between pedal assist plus speed limited pedelecs vs throttle control and unlimited speed motorcycles. The biggest thing I can offer is that it comes down to the user and their level of responsibility and I don't think it's fair to say transportation method B can't be used because some people are going to abuse their abilities. I honestly feel that if someone is out riding a pedelec in a responsible manner then their impact on the trail system and other trail users is no different than you or I out pedaling our bikes and there is no strong enough justification to ban their use. I think it makes far more sense to have a conversation about how and where they could be used than to have a conversation about whether they can be used at all.

edit - Want to add that I agree with you and others that they are not the same thing, the opinions differ on how different they are. I am more concerned about their intended usage and the responsibility of the person using it.

And now we are into slippery slope territory... so because some models of pedal assist ebikes are speed/torque limited then they should be permitted where mountain bikes are because they aren't that dissimilar? This is somewhat equivalent to allowing low power snowmobiles to access non-motorized areas where people ski tour/snowshoe because "Hey these specific sleds can only go 2-4x as fast as an average person can skin! It's fine! Disabled/old/fat people can ski tour now which is good for the sport!" 

Motorized vs non-motorized is simple, easy to understand and somewhat enforceable and that's the reason people point to it as the line in the sand. Asking land managers/park rangers etc. to somehow distinguish if an ebike has a certain top speed, has been chip tuned etc. is just not feasible. There's already essentially no enforcement as it is, at least with snowmobiling they ticket people in no-go zones around Whistler and I believe the Coquihala as well.

Add me as another person to the list who doesn't like how there seems to be no grassroots e-bike advocacy taking place and just industry shilling trying to normalize it to sell more of the things. It's funny because I'm likely their target market: late 30's officer worker dad with very limited time to ride, questionable fitness and high disposable income.

Oct. 23, 2018, 1:36 p.m.
Posts: 4868
Joined: Nov. 25, 2002

Posted by: GladePlayboy

This site doesn't ship to North America... but others will emerge I am sure:

"Due to statutory regulations it is not allowed to use E Bike Tuning Tools on public roads. They are for off road (private land) use only.

We ship to all countries in the world except to the USA and Canada."

appears these are readily available on ebay (with no regional restrictions) as well.

Oct. 23, 2018, 1:38 p.m.
Posts: 829
Joined: Nov. 18, 2015

I was thinking about all of this on the Eagle Bluffs hike the other day. I have a kwired finger (DONT GOOGLE IT, you cant unsee some things) and am casted up so I cant ride my bike (or motorbike!).

Anyways, that's an amazing and spectacular hike. It started with a viscious(ish) climb but once that was past, I couldn't help thinking that I would absolutely love to take my father on this hike; he would love it. The views are spectacular as you pass through various different types of forests and even some places that look like alpine meadows. But that climb would be too much for him with his bad heart; as much as he would love to, he could not do it.

I guess sometimes that's just the way it is.


 Last edited by: Ddean on Oct. 23, 2018, 1:41 p.m., edited 1 time in total.
Oct. 23, 2018, 2:03 p.m.
Posts: 1543
Joined: April 25, 2003

Exactly. 

I’ve broken my back, And I didn’t know for a couple years if I’d be able to make it back on the mountain bike and ride as hard as I did pre-break. Never did it cross my mind to make mountain biking easier - I did spend some time coming to terms with the idea that I’d only ride easy terrain for the rest of my life. 

This a hobby, one that has certain physical demands. No one’s entitled to it.

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