Reply To: A suggestion for coexisting with E-bikes: cheap, simple traction control


I have seen this happen in many many motorcycle scenarios, from local areas that have signs that politely ask “Please do not ride when the trails are wet.” …to sections of a racecourse(through the pits, in transfers at enduros, part of a course that crosses private land) where speed and aggression are asked to be limited – it never works, there is always a contingent who disregards it, and then the rest is history.  Almost all current pedal-only-established MTB trails consititute places that need to be treated with stewardship – especially backcountry ones – and e-bikes will eventually turn them into very different trails even in their current state of “detune” and present natural limitations.

All due respect, but you’re way off about the CR80 – even a dying one that needs rings has 18+hp on the pipe; a healthy on has 25+.  You are correct in that it’s the delivery(peaky torque curve) of the power(and torque) that promotes wheelspin, but it can be ridden pretty fast without wheelspin.  The “problem” is that it’s just too much fun to light the tire up and let ‘er rip.  Most riders would never have the throttle control to “tread lightly” as it’s easier just to deal with the wheelspin, trail damage be damned, than to try and control it.  And besides, it’s fun to just scream the thing and drift around on the rear wheel if you’ve got the skill.

An XR80 has about 7-9hp(hence my comparison), equivalent torque and a much smoother delivery, but with some clutching and a lot of revs it can be made to do plenty of what would be considered “severe” trail damage in the eyes of the MTB world.

Regardless, it is human nature to want “more,” and eventually that will creep in and be doing far more damage to trails than “enough” will.  Hence my reccomendation that some sort of traction control – implemented as standard across the industry, NOW, instead of later, would be a wise move for everyone invovled and in the end, will not have much effect ont he fun factor.

IME, with a mid-drive e-bike and 500 watts, properly shifted to keep the torque of the motor high, you can induce plenty of “fun” wheelspin where you could not have on a pedal-only bike.  Fun = trail “damage” IME.