13 Jul 16
Been thinking a lot about these recently and I have have definitely come out of the dark…
To be honest nobody likes change. For the last 30+ years riding mtbs I have heard mtbers moan with nearly every technological change: 6spd was fine and 7 was not needed; that suspension was heavy and not necessary or worse still it would take the fun out of riding; ever shorter stems & 750mm bars are too wide to more recently 650b and 29ers are just a fad. E-bikes are a bit like that.
Think of it, you’ve got a knee injury and cant ride anymore where do you turn? Or you have been off the bike and out of the gym for too long and the thought of getting back out there knowing it is going to hurt – e-bikes can give you that little bit of required incentive to get you off the couch and out the door.
Or how many drivers own a car because of that 17min commute to work in the morning? How many cars could e-bikes remove from the roads? How many more people on bikes as a result?
Why is it now that it is standard kit for a mtber to have to own a van and possibly even an extra driver so that you can get out and ride? Surely a bike with a motor is a better solution.
The rise of road bikes in the UK the last 10 years has been down to several things: success of Sky and Team GB in the Olympics to name a few but I think the main reason is the ease of it. You head out your front door and off you go. MTBing unless you have got tracks on your doorstep is a serious commitment of time and effort even to get to the tracks, then there’s the lovely cleaning afterwards. An e-bike would allow you to hit woods closer to the door without needing a car to get there or imagine if you have got to collect the kids at lunch and you only have a 3 hour window…
Perhaps think of all those times when you are sitting waiting for a mate to repair their puncture? With an e-bike you put it in high and head back up that sick bit of singletrack and hit it again. Or that technical climb that you cant quite make and end up pushing?
Here at Switchbacks, back in the good old days we used to climb up everything. It was what was expected and no one grumbled. Well MTBing has changed and with it riders perceptions of their holiday. For most now, they’re on holiday and they don’t want to climb. Bottom line thats great and you get in a lot more descending when you shuttle up but if it takes an e-bike to get everyone loving the climb again and a lot less time in the van then give me an e-bike any day.
But what about DHers? I hear time and time again that they don’t get to ride their DH bikes enough so have sold them – mostly due to there not being enough shuttle facilities. What if your DH rig had an e-motor…?
Or what about those uber epic days out across the moors or up a mountain that you want to hit but either can’t for lack of time or lack of energy in your legs or both?
Maybe I am getting older and lazier, actually there is no maybe in this, but the more I look at e-bikes the more they make sense to me. A year ago I was out training to get some dust off the legs after a long season of DHonly and zero, zero cardio for 6 months. As I huffed and puffed up the hill I saw in front of me my goal – another cyclist. I was going to catch that bugger no matter what. 3 kms later and only 100ms closer I realised to my dismay that said cyclist was also about 200 years old. Shit. Eventually he stopped and that is when I noticed (thankfully) he was on an e-bike. We had a small chat and he told me that he used to ride his bike everywhere but the years had caught up and for more than a decade he couldn’t ride bikes. But there he was climbing up into the mountains.
E-bikes are brilliant and are here to stay.