January 23, 2017 at 8:02 am #205770
Busy Lives Call for Faster Bikes… that was literally the subject line in an email from Specialized talking about their Levo eMTBs. I threw up in my mouth a little when I read that.
I get that there might be some arguments for electric mountain bikes–like they could help older or injured riders–but I have to draw the line at just enabling people to be lazy. Oh sorry, not lazy, busy. Everyone is busy, but saying you’re too busy to do something (like making time for an epic ride or even staying in shape) is really just saying you don’t prioritize that thing.
Mountain bikers are a tribe and I guess it’s a little frustrating to see new tribe members who might not share the same passion as I do…
January 23, 2017 at 8:52 am #205787
Yeah I am really torn on this issue, don’t want ebike’s to threaten the tenuous grasp we have on trails right now. But do see a place for them for the disabled, injured, and older riders. Just wish we could get some common sense rules applied to them PRIOR to the inevitable backlash that will come from their use on trails and streets which will probably affect all riders. Pretty stupid slogan / ad campaign for Specialized to use for these.
January 23, 2017 at 9:11 am #205791
I feel like real bikes would strengthen older or moderately injured riders whereas e-bikes would just eliminate the incentive to better oneself. If you were injured to the point where you couldn’t ride at all, you still wouldn’t be able to ride an e-bike anyway. I also feel the potential dangers associated with e-bikes would outweigh any benefits. Personally, I think e-bikes are just a way for manufacturers to increase profits. What I like most about mountain biking is that it is exercise that is also tons of fun. If you’re getting on an e-bike why not just stay at home and watch MTB videos on Youtube, it’s cheaper anyway. Mountain biking is fine the way it is!
January 23, 2017 at 9:54 am #205793
I don’t think you are too busy to ride “normal” bikes, its just a matter of finding an appropriate trail for the time you got. I agree though, that maybe if you’re nursing an injury, really old, or even riding to work, it could be a valid excuse for an e-bike. Just my personal opinion.
If I’m too busy, I always go to my “short-n-sweet” trail. Better to have a short ride, it will add up anyway 🙂
January 23, 2017 at 10:15 am #205803
This is ridiculous! Jeff, I totally think you’re on point–here’s a quote on this same topic from a book I’m reading:
“Being busy is a form of laziness–lazy thinking and indiscriminate action. Being busy is often used as a guise for avoiding the few critically important but uncomfortable actions.” –Tools of Titans
Within the context of ebikes, saying that your life is too busy to ride a “classic” mountain bike and you “have to” ride an ebike because you don’t “have enough time,” that just means that you’re not properly prioritizing the important things in life, like being fit, getting out doors, and pushing yourself to do hard things.
January 23, 2017 at 10:21 am #205807
Another funny note: the tagline they use, “Ride Smarter, Go Farther” is just a riff on the more familiar saying, “Work smarter, not harder.” Again, they are clearly just marketing this option to lazy people.
This whole tack by Specialized seems like it could really alienate core mountain bikers. So if I’m not riding “smarter,” does that mean I’m dumb for riding a “classic” bike? Am I a fool for riding harder instead of smarter?
January 23, 2017 at 10:26 am #205811
January 23, 2017 at 10:27 am #205812
I am not, by any definition, an e-bike fan. Personally, if you ride an e-bike, you are in my opinion lazy or trying to make up for a lack of fitness. On that Specialized bike you showed Jeff, did you notice how easy it would be to not notice it is an e-bike?
However, if you are old or disabled in some way, by all means you can have one and I won’t think bad about you.
Are they real mountain bikes? Yes. If the bike is capable of traversing a trail on a mountain, its a mountain bike. are e you a real mountain biker if you ride one? Again, yes. If you are riding a mountain bike on a weekly basis on real MTB trails than yeah you are real MTBer.
Never gonna own one. Ever. Never.
January 23, 2017 at 10:29 am #205814
I don’t want E-bikes banned because at 60 I may need one, someday not that far off, to continue riding. But I do understand there needs to be severe limits. I think any e-assistance on MTBs should be limited to 12 to 15 mph, no reason to ever go faster than that by power on a singletrack. Pedal assist only, no throttle button. Anything that goes faster than 15 mph, or has a throttle or drive button should be considered a motorcycle.
January 24, 2017 at 6:32 am #205954
I would feel like i cheated if i rode one up the trail. Part of the impetus for me to get my arse up the hill is the payoff on the down …
I think E-Bikes would loose that for me.
January 24, 2017 at 7:52 am #205958
I can see the benefits for the elderly or injured, I really can but, I also feel like with many places already giving mountain bikers grief over trails, adding a motor will just give them further leverage to get us off the trails. In my local parks, we finally have the equestrians and mountain bikers living peaceably and I could see the e bikes further complicating things in state and national parks. I could see it being a good angle for bike parks to market though…
I’m torn. Do I want to share local trails with them while riding my bike or my horse? No, not really. Do I see an honest use for them? Yes, if elderly or injured.
January 24, 2017 at 2:53 pm #206023
I guess I’m the only one that sees the counter-point. I get 1 hour for lunch and my closest trail is 3 very ordinary miles from work. With an ebike I could zip to the trail, crush 2-3 laps and be back, on my bike it’s 1-2 laps and I’m usually a few minutes late. So I usually ride road bikes at lunch instead. In many ways ebikes are no more cheating on a ride than a chairlift at a bike park or a shuttle (and look at many of the top rides on here…they recommend/require shuttles).
Not saying I’m for ebikes, I can’t see owning one with all the drawbacks especially regarding legality and trail access and cost and weight and all of that. But man, the thought of being able to self-shuttle without relying on others/money in places that aren’t MTB destination towns would be pretty cool!
January 24, 2017 at 3:15 pm #206025
Yeah, sorry to see them go this way. It’s not like they need this market share to be successful. But, on the other hand, it does take A LOT of money to sponsor all those top pros while ignoring all the people who actually pay for their gear.
January 24, 2017 at 5:23 pm #206031
Please continue to call out Specialized on this. They are selling out the sport, and will seriously hurt trail access in the US. These are motorcycles, pure and simple.
F**K Specialized. I own one, but never again.
January 24, 2017 at 8:35 pm #206036
Last fall I rode an OAB on Surveyors Ridge (Oregon). On the way back I met a thirty something rider who told me his family was behind him on the trail. A short time later I came upon his 6-8 year old son riding a pedal assisted bike, followed by his mom. Through gritted teeth I thought “No!”. As I continued my ride the trail did not turn to hot lava, nor did the surrounding forest catch on fire. A young family got to spend a beautiful day on a fantastic trail and I was left to ponder my conviction.
January 25, 2017 at 2:19 am #206038
Are they “assisted” or do they move on their own by power provided by the battery and electric motor?? “Assisted” would be more easily accepted. If in fact they roll under their own power then its no longer a bicycle, it’s either a moped or a motorcycle. I could see “assisted” but otherwise they might as well let me run my MotoX’er on the trails as well.
January 25, 2017 at 7:06 am #206043
Are they “assisted” or do they move on their own by power provided by the battery and electric motor??
Yes, most mainstream eMTBs, including those from Specialized, are pedal assist. It won’t go anywhere unless you pedal.
January 25, 2017 at 8:12 am #206052
As a big fan DH, this thing would be a lot of fun to get up the mountain quick and get a bunch of DH runs in. If this bike was cheap I’d get one and add it to my stable of bikes. It’s not going to replace my everyday bike but it would be fun for some places. I’d wouldn’t pay for Levo, but who know in 5 years as the prices will fall and I could see there be a lot more of these.
January 25, 2017 at 4:11 pm #206121
Is the a place of e-bikes, sure. I share trails with trail runners, horses, and dirt bikes on occasion; being passed doesn’t hurt my ego. In my opinion, the only person being impacted by riding an e-bike is the person riding it. If they aren’t sweating the climb, the have lost some of the essence of the sport and have become more removed from nature. Maybe it is where I live and the lack of smooth beginner trails, but I just don’t see this being a big problem on the trails I ride, pedal assist or not. They simply are not going to appeal to someone without endurance and skill. My big concern is from a marketing/future technology standpoint the logical goal is more assist and less pedal, and at what point do you stop claiming it is a bike. I just saw an ad for the Rungu Juggernaut. Yeah they don’t claim it is bike, since it has throttle and weighs 80#, but to most people it is a mutant bike, but still a bike, and since mountain bikers have already been stereotyped as a bunch of Red Bull addled Go Pro wearing bros, the last thing we need are more reasons to stereotype us as “mechanized.”
January 26, 2017 at 8:28 am #206136
@firstname.lastname@example.org doesn’t the fact that California made rules/laws classifying certain categories of ebikes only prove my point that they are fundamentally different than a “classic” bike? 😉
I still don’t see ebikes bringing in a new crop of riders. You even seem to concede this by saying the people you see are adding motor to bikes that they already own.
Cheaper ebikes would be great, but even better would be cheaper mountain bikes! A “cheap” ebike is still gonna run a couple grand. Just look at the site you linked to for proof: https://lunacycle.com/gravity-ebike-fsx-275LTD-complete-electric-bike/ Not to sound elitist here, but that bike barely clears the bar for being trail worthy. Unless you’re riding exclusively buff trails – which we don’t have around here – you’d be lucky to make it through a season on that bike.
And again, I personally don’t think ebikes are cheating and I don’t care if anyone rides one. Honestly, I would love to own an ebike. For commuting and grocery-getting though.
January 26, 2017 at 9:11 am #206138
Since this thread has completely departed the initial discussion of the “business” of our lives and how that affects our trail time and become an all-out ebike brawl, I’m-a just gonna leave this right here…
January 26, 2017 at 10:11 am #206153
To each their own. I am a fatty fatterson so I need all the exercise i can get. No E-bikes for me.
January 27, 2017 at 7:44 am #206224
Fair enough kawazoomer. I’m honestly pretty conflicted about the whole eMTB thing. Like I said, I don’t have a problem with a lot of the arguments for e-bikes, but this one just kinda rubbed me the wrong way, especially coming from a brand like Specialized that has such a heritage in MTB racing and competition.
I do stand by my assertion that saying one is too busy to do something–anything–is just an excuse for not prioritizing that thing. Maybe using the word lazy is a bit harsh.
January 27, 2017 at 7:57 am #206226
Mountain bikes never had a soul, and it would appear that you don’t either.
Yes, your arguments are so well-reasoned and grounded in logic that you don’t have to resort to name calling or personal attacks. Oh wait a minute, you just called me a soulless bastard. Never mind.
January 27, 2017 at 8:19 am #206229
To be fair, I did start the name calling when I said some e-bike riders are lazy.
January 27, 2017 at 9:47 am #206240
Specialized makes crappy overpriced e-bikes. Brose blows!
January 29, 2017 at 7:49 am #206311
I haven’t been on my bike in going on two years due to health reasons. Outwardly I’m a fairly fit 37 year old and you wouldn’t know I had an issue that keeps me off my bike by passing me on the street. I would be lying if I said I was not SERIOUSLY considering swapping my Trance out for an E-bike to get me back on the trails at this point. Is it cheating? Not if I’m not racing (never been a racer, I’m an explorer). And a pedal assist bike has still got to be pedaled, and it still has to be maneuvered up over and around things. Thats going to use your core just as much if not more (due to the slower speeds and extra weight) than a regular bike, and spinning pedals is spinning pedals to a degree, it’s good for lubricity and keeping your knees in good shape, and will be an aerobic workout for your cardio-pulmonary system, just one thats a bit more mild and controllable. If all that can be done while enjoying nature and the outdoors without hurting anybody, why would I not do it?
From my stance, an e-MTB will let me, my brain, and my pleasure center ride on the trails, but my engine will feel like I’m riding on the road. Being a roadie has no appeal to me, but my body can take it. Riding MTB is much more intense and I just can’t output the power anymore. 🙁
February 21, 2017 at 1:04 pm #208598
My wife calls me an elitist because I tend to sneer at technology I don’t use. I suppose she’s right – Otherwise I’d be riding a penny-farthing. On the flip side, a friend of mine with an e-road-bike says, “It’s just like riding a bike, but without the exercise.” So there’s that, which kind of galls me, but then again, he doesn’t have any pretensions of riding the way I try to. And then there are people like musikron above, who completely blow my snobbery away.
Guess e-bikes are like life – There isn’t just one way.
February 21, 2017 at 2:32 pm #208628
February 22, 2017 at 4:06 am #208641
I think E-bikes are great. But we need to be firm that they’re a new category of two-wheeled vehicle and trail user.
I got to have a brief ride on a stranger’s Levo at the trailhead the other week. I’d read so much about how “there’s no throttle, it’s a subtle assistance, it’s just like you’re having an awesome day with really strong legs”. But after a few cranks, I absolutely had the sense that a motor was driving the wheels, and that the cranks were the throttle. I worked out that I could “blip” the throttle with a quick crank, and the bike would accelerate by itself with the motor on for a second or so. I commuted to work on a cheap dinky 125cc motorscooter for a bit over a year, and it really reminded me of that kind of power/acceleration.
And yes these things are extremely expensive for casual and beginner users. That 125cc motor scooter I mentioned? I sold it for $250. My current motorbike is a 2010 Honda 250cc and it’s worth about $3.5K – australian dollars, which is approximately three US quarters (seriously, about $US 2.5k).
February 22, 2017 at 8:00 am #208666
Not interested in them now, but gotta admit I am intrigued by them extending my riding well into my “golden years” or god forbid I get a knee injury that prevents riding. Just hope there isn’t a huge backlash from forest and park services that hurts trail riding advocates.
February 22, 2017 at 4:12 pm #208744
Sorry I’m from the E-Bikes are the “Spawn of Satan” crowd. Martyn Ashton doesn’t ride one. Stacy Kouhat doesn’t ride one and those guys are friggin paralyzed. Keep those damn things off our trails!!! There’s too many folks that’ll abuse them by “chipping” the governing circuits, making them even faster. They’re motorcycles regardless of what nomenclature you use.
And who are they for??? An experienced mountain biker that possesses the skill set to competently handle one isn’t going to be the main customer of these things. An experienced MTB knows about the handling deficit of the extra weight, and the trail access issues that “motorized transport” will cause on multi use trails and the general negative political ramifications these things have within the MTB community. So that leaves the primary client for an Ebike an inexperienced rider in late middle age that fits the income demographic. That person is going to more than likely be out of shape and have no idea how to handle a Mtb. So let’s hand them a really capable, yet heavy full suspension mini motorcycle and tell em to ” Let er rip!” out on the trails that we fight so hard to have access to??? NO F@*king way! This is nothing but the bike companies trying to go after a wealthy demographic that is so riddled with ennui that they can’t think of what to do next to alleviate their exquisite boredom. Stay the f*ck off of my trails.
Was that too harsh?
February 26, 2017 at 5:33 am #209005
Why does one need to go farther, faster?
I have a “busy” life and I like the fact that when I’m on my bike I can dictate the speed I want to go, metaphorically or otherwise.
People shouldn’t need to go farther to feel accomplished.
February 28, 2017 at 11:33 pm #209142
Just another way for bike companies to sell their product. I know for sure that if I’m busy to ride my regular bike then I’ll be busy to ride e-bike as well.
Pretty much same as “busy” people willing to workout at home, buying a treadmills and other equipment and not using it because they’re busy.
March 1, 2017 at 8:42 am #209170
Hey Kawazoomer, thanks for continuing the conversation. I checked out the motor you were referring to and in the pictures it shows a throttle. Some feel there’s some grey area with pedal-assist e-bikes, but if you’re adding a motor that has a throttle, that seems to be well outside that grey area.
Does your bike now have a throttle? If so, how can you rationalize that it’s fundamentally a bicycle? Using the example of the Luna motor with a throttle is not helping your argument. If you no longer have to pedal to be propelled forward, how is that a bicycle? At that point your pedals have become de facto footpegs – a place to rest your feet while you twist the throttle.
I understand, but don’t agree, with your logic here:
When I add a BBSHD electric motor to your Zen Trail, it does not magically stop becoming a bicycle. When the motor is turned off, it is a bicycle. You still have to pedal it. Without the battery, your Zen Trail is a bicycle loaded down with 13 extra pounds. It never stops becoming a bicycle. No motorcycle has pedals.
Sure, with the motor off it’s just a heavier bicycle, but with the motor on, it’s… not a bicycle exactly. It’s not a full-blown motorcycle either, so it’s somewhere in between.
March 1, 2017 at 10:37 am #209209
Fair enough. Honestly I haven’t read the existing laws on motorized vehicles, so for all I know they could be written either way: no motorized use allowed, or no motorized vehicles allowed. In the first case, it would seem to be legal to push a dirt bike along a trail. In the second, you couldn’t even have one in the area. But I agree, it totally depends on how laws are written.
March 1, 2017 at 8:41 pm #209285
Jeff would really not like one of these. Even one that has an electric engine. https://motoped.com/pro/
For me me I don’t mind E bikes as long as people are respectful of the trails on which they are riding
March 2, 2017 at 1:04 pm #209402
Greg Lemond mentioned E bikes a few years ago. He said it will help people get into or stay in cycling even with health issues that may prevent most from being able to ride.
Not everyone can ride a mountain bike 15 or 20 miles.
E bikes expand the cycling community and that is a good thing.
same with trails and obstacles. Good trails have cut outs around obstacles that some cannot ride. That allows more people to enjoy the sport
March 2, 2017 at 8:49 pm #209430
Looks pretty fun to me
March 3, 2017 at 7:01 am #209441
Motoped has pedals. This rider chose to use the motor on trails. He could have easily just used the pedals and no engine.
Interesting concept and not far off from E bikes (you can also get an E engine for a Motoped)
just expanding bicycling in unique ways
March 3, 2017 at 7:05 am #209442
id rather have one with electric motor but I just wanted to point out that this type of machine is out there
March 3, 2017 at 10:59 am #209478
motoped is just another example of the future in my opinion
it’s far more mountain bike like than motocross type bike
electric engine is an option for the Motoped. Obviously they are trying to market this to both motocross people and mountain bike people. In betweener
bottom line: E bike is great for those who need it. I still choose to pedal when I’m on a bicycle
good thread topic Mr. barber (as always)
September 27, 2017 at 1:57 pm #225932
Just a curiosity, if these are defended/promoted as mountain bikes for the disabled or physically challenged to be able to ride MTB trails, how long before the MTB trails will have to be neutered to allow for more access to the disabled? I’m basing this on the assumption that those who “require” an ebike to be able to mountain bike probably aren’t in the condition to handle mtb terrain/singletrack. Just basing that on the way seems to go……hope that came out and is interpreted the way I meant it and not to offend anyone. Just a speculation I guess.
January 25, 2017 at 2:41 pm #206120
I definitely hear you on the mountain bikes being elitist point. But you’ll find that in any hobby from golf to wakeboarding, and even in ball sports.
As to your point about ebikes getting more people on the trail, I think that’s a bull shit argument. And I’m not calling you out, as you’re certainly not the first to bring this up. Ebikes are expensive! The Levo hardtail is $4000 and the full suspension Levo starts at $4500 and goes to $9500. What beginner rider is going to drop that on their first bike. No one.
These companies can say that ebikes will get more riders on the trail, but I happen to think it will be people who rode in the past, not people who are entirely new to the sport. These people would include riders who have an injury or medical condition that prevents them from riding like they used to. And companies claim this line all the time, crying their crocodile tears for the throngs of folks who could get back out and ride if they just had a little help… But then look at their marketing. Their ads. The videos. The photo in the email that Jeff referenced at the top of this thread. These are clearly able-bodied riders many of whom have skill levels that surpass my own.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again here: I don’t give a shit if you ride an ebike or not, I can share the trails with anyone. What concerns me is access. Ebike, pedal assist, whatever you want to call it, the fact is, adding a motor to a bicycle makes it FUNDAMENTALLY different. It’s no longer a bike. That brings up major problems on the access side of our sport. Problems that these companies seem willing to ignore for the time being.
February 23, 2017 at 10:21 am #208874
Hey @kawazoomer, sorry I didn’t reply earlier. I didn’t intend to be contradictory. My point was that the Luna ebike is being sold as an e-mountain bike, but if you tried to actually ride that on a trail, you would be disappointed.
I’m not following your logic here:
So a street bicycle because it does not clear the bar for being trail worthy is not a bicycle? Street bike, mountain bike, electric bike. Do you see a pattern here. If a person takes a trek mountain bicycle and adds a motor to it. I then some how magically stops becoming a bike.
A “street bike” (I’m guessing you mean road bike, here) is a indeed a bicycle. A mountain bike is indeed a bicycle. An electric bike is fundamentally different. It has a motor that is not 100% human. It’s a bike in the sense that it looks approximately like a bike and it has two wheels and similar components, but that’s about it.
Put it this way, let’s say you have a soap box racer. It’s got four wheels and a steering wheel along with a seat for the driver. It’s powered by gravity so you need a hill for it to go. A friend shows up one day with his soap box racer, but his has a Ford Boss 302 v8 in it. Sure, they may look the same, but are they now not fundamentally different?
March 1, 2017 at 10:14 am #209201
Just because you have a phone in your car that texts does not mean it is illegal
This argument doesn’t always work. In fact, we don’t even have to look beyond mountain bikes to see an example of this in action…
Riding mountain bikes is illegal in US National Parks. Not only that, anyone caught with a mountain bike on a trail where bikes are not allowed in a National Park is subject to a fine. Some have found that if their bike is broken down (that is, both wheels removed, the frame + wheels strapped onto one’s back) they are able to get around the rule. But the point is, it’s too easy to just hop off a bike and say, I wasn’t riding it!
Getting back to your car example, there are plenty of states where even having a radar detector in your vehicle is illegal. Doesn’t matter if you were actually using it or not.
March 1, 2017 at 7:43 pm #209276
“Still a bicycle, just someone or something helping you pedal with a pedal assist type ebike.”
The flaw in that logic is inherent right in that sentence–it’s not “someone or something.” It is most definitely something, definitely not someone; two entirely different cases.
March 2, 2017 at 7:49 am #209300
“A ski lift or a truck is something. If you use a ski lift to help get you up the hill, does your bicycle magically become something that is not a bicycle? If you grab a truck tailgate and have it drag you up the hill, or use a rope, does that make your bike not a bike?”
This actually helps make my point perfectly. Of course placing the item on a ski lift or in the bed of my pickup truck does not change that item one iota; it is what it is.
But what exactly is it? It is either something which is exclusively human powered or it is something which gains at least some part of its locomotion from an artificial power source. That distinction remains and will always remain. Whether the motorized assist is engaged all the time or only part of the time is irrelevant–the fact is the e-bike powers the user as opposed to the traditional bike which gets all its power from the user.
This is an absolutely fundamental, inviolate distinction. The most unfortunate aspect of this debate is that those who seek to blur this crucial distinction are doing tremendous harm to those who work tirelessly to gain, or at least preserve, existing bicycle access, especially in backcountry areas where the ethos requires human power–no artificial motors. As far as bike haters are concerned, the e-bike is the greatest thing since sliced bread and much of the industry is playing right into their hands. Just as we’re really starting to pick up momentum in the fight to restore rational argument to the access debate, the e-bike comes along; the timing couldn’t be worse and arguments like yours only help drive the wedge deeper.
March 2, 2017 at 12:33 pm #209395
Logic still failing: adding a fork or rear suspension is not adding something that makes the bike go under its own power. Adding a motor is. Motor + bike = motorbike.
If you still want to call it a bicycle, that’s okay, so long as you are honest about the fact that it is a motorized bicycle rather than a purely human powered bicycle (much like a moped which is also a bike sometimes and a motorbike sometimes). A horseless carriage is still a carriage, but just one that has had an artificial power source added. You must admit that, while both are types of “carriages,” there’s a significant difference between a horse drawn carriage and an automobile. While you may not think of it as a significant difference in bikes, it most certainly is as evidenced by all the people who are getting e-bikes because they allow them to cover ground they couldn’t otherwise cover–just as a car can cover a lot more ground than a horse drawn carriage. The difference is huge. This is not elitism, it is fact.
You would do well to go back and reread my posts and try to find anything I said that indicates an anti-e-bike position on my part with regard to most trail usage. I make no proclamations regarding the morality of riding an e-bike. Please don’t assume I have some selfish desire to “keep trails to myself.” I have never been offended by encountering an e-bike on the trail.
If you honestly think e-bikes haven’t become a lightning rod for controversy and serious ammunition for the anti-bike crowd, you are woefully mistaken. As someone who has been in the trenches of cycling advocacy both on a local and national level, I have seen firsthand the e-bike hysteria brought forth by bike haters to public policy makers who don’t know any better.
While I don’t mind sharing any of my frontcountry trails with e-bikes, the argument definitely changes when the discussion moves to attempts to regain access to designated Wilderness, which has become my main advocacy focus. The original intent of the Wilderness Act was two-fold: 1. to prevent the development and infrastructure required for motor vehicles (thus retaining true “wilderness character” for future generations) and 2. to get Americans to enjoy their wild places under their own power. There is no e-bike conflict with the former, but there definitely is with the latter. Any attempt to universally shoehorn artificially powered bicycles in with human powered bicycles will do severe damage to this most important mountain biking advocacy effort, which faces an uphill battle, even without the e-bike threat (real or perceived makes no difference: perceptions are reality for anti bike forces and the politicians they support). Call ’em both “bicycles” if you like, but the distinction between human- and artificially-powered must be maintained, at least with regard to backcountry access.
March 2, 2017 at 2:54 pm #209410
Your argument with regard to horses is solid. I have always maintained that, from a purely functional/logical point of view, horses are less in keeping with the original intent than a bike since they do not encourage people to explore their wild places under their own power. That whole self reliance thing is completely out the window with a horse. In terms of impact, you are also correct, as horses have by far the most impact on the land of any nonmotorized user.
However, horses are specifically allowed in spite of this–therefore nobody need fight for them. That’s why S.3205 does not address it.
While federal law may not designate a “low speed bicycle” as a motor vehicle, the Wilderness Act of 1964 does not rely on Federal Law H.R. 727 as its point of reference.
With regard to the Wilderness Act, it appears the intent was that travel by powered by some organic means–so be it a human pedaling, or a horse, either way it works.
March 2, 2017 at 2:58 pm #209411
“Aarons’ Zen Trail is still a Zen Trail and is not redesigned, the primary means of locomotion (pedals) are still there and still function only an electric assist motor has been added and when not turned on, it still operates. Your example just does not fit.”
But “primary means” is not the same thing as “only means.” Once the electric motor engages, the bike is operating as a motor vehicle. Regardless of the legal definition of “motor vehicle,” it is clear that the vehicle is being powered by a motor. That it is only powered by a motor some of the time and not at other times is irrelevant–it is still being powered as a motor vehicle.
And some redesign was required to integrate that motor into the bike. It may not have been as extensive as that required to add a motor to a carriage, but there was redesign nonetheless.
March 2, 2017 at 6:39 pm #209414
So if you lived 5 miles by road from singletrack and you used power assist on the road to the trail but then only used man power while on the trail some of you would still say you should not be allowed to do that because the bike has an electric motor?
Again I’m going to say I have no problem with it as long as the rider takes care of the trails he or she is using.
And if if someone is handicapped in some manner by all means use the motor and have a good time!!
We need to be inclusive and not exclusive
March 4, 2017 at 9:30 am #209506
Riding mountain bikes is illegal in US National Parks. Not only that, anyone caught with a mountain bike on a trail where bikes are not allowed in a National Park is subject to a fine.
Not entirely true. Purpose built mountain bike trails were, and continue to be, constructed in Cuyahoga National Park.
Personally, I have no problem with pedal-assist ebikes on mountain bike trails, as long as the park operators (board of directors, etc) approve of it. If it was a legal option, I could see myself renting one if I was vacationing in an area where I wanted to cover a lot of ground in a limited amount of time. For example, I’ve done some long rides in the past out west on my dual-sport motorcycle that are no longer open to motos such as Teocalli Ridge and Doctor Park in Crested Butte, where an e-bike would allow me to see a lot more scenery without the impact of a moto, and without wiping me out for a whole week. I really have no use for one on my relatively short (10-25 mile) local mountain bike loops.
March 4, 2017 at 11:34 am #209507
there are some legit reasons for E bikes
again let’s be inclusive and not exclusive to ideas and technology
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