There’s a whole website set up to promote this, but here’s the jist: A couple guys set out to complete the 250+ mile route on Focus Project Y electric mountain bikes in under 36 hours. They ended up finishing in about 27 hours, despite 52,000+ feet of climbing and the fact that neither of them had ridden the route before. A recent press release proclaims, “Focus Bicycles Conquers Europe’s TransAlp Route in Record Time,” though it’s not clear how the “record” is being defined.
The actual TransAlp mountain bike race is a 7-day stage race, which isn’t the same as completing the course all at once. Still, last year’s winner had a cumulative time of 22 hours, 43 minutes which is more than four hours faster than the e-bike “record.” Sure, it’s sorta apples to oranges (stage racing vs. all-at-once) but that’s the best info I could find. The duo changed batteries 20 times which is about once every 12 miles, or once per hour of ride time.
I will say that I saw one of the Project Y mountain bikes at Interbike this year and it’s an interesting concept. While most ebike manufacturers are trying to cram bigger batteries and more powerful motors into their bikes, Project Y seeks to add a moderate amount of power while still keeping the “classic” mountain bike feel. The Project Y bikes used for this challenge were carbon fiber hardtail models that weighed just 28.7 pounds. Despite including a (smallish) battery and motor, the bikes weigh less than a lot of FS mountain bikes.
I was kind of excited when I first saw the press release because I’m a big fan of Focus and ride a Focus Raven 275R.
Then I read it a little more closely and saw it was on mountain bikes. Meh. I’m certain that one needs technical riding skills for the route, but fitness wise, it’s really not an accomplishment if you have pedal assist.
I like Focus too. The “classic” bikes I saw at Interbike–the O1E and Jam 29–look really good! Just check out the German engineering on the internal cable routing ports. Hoping they bring these bikes to Cyclofest next month so I can go for a test ride.
I have no doubt someone could do this under their own power faster than these e-bikes. I’d be mildly impressed if they were carrying all 20 batteries with them, but something tells me they had outside support.