It’s been more than two years since we dedicated an entire show to the topic of electric mountain bikes, and a lot has changed since then. In this episode, we talk about how electric mountain bikes have evolved, where current regulations regarding eMTBs stand, and how mountain bikers opinions are slowly shifting.

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# Comments

  • Super Slow

    Motor = motorized vehicle. E-bikes may make up a very small percentage of buyers and users, but will end up hurting trail access for many. Yes, I joined singletracks just to complain about e-bikes.

    • Jeff Barber

      Haha, welcome!

    • Aaron Blankenship

      How is it going to hurt access? Making mtb’ing accessible to a MUCH larger group would improve access. Get off your entitlements and realize emtb demos at kindergartens for student/parents would change the world. Are you guys seeing what is happening in Europe with e-mtb’s? Are you so blind to not realize the boon in riders, supporters and dollars for support you would get by opening up trails for class I pedelecs?

      Stubborn, blind and entitled is a poor choice for advocacy.

    • Super Slow

      Trail access is not the same as opening the accessibility of the sport.

  • mtnryder

    Admittedly, I didn’t listen to the podcast. I don’t have the patience to listen to 44 minutes of talk about e-bikes when the topic can be summed up in less than 5. As Super Slow eluded to, e-bikes have a motor which makes them motorized. Nothing motorized should be on MTB trails….period. As far as Mr Jackson’s comments above regarding the disabled having better access with e-bikes, life is hard sometimes and while it sucks, everybody can’t have everything they want. Should we put an escalator or elevator up to Half Dome & El Capitan so that the disabled can get up there? How about paving Captain Ahab in Moab so my 80+ year old uncle can get up to the top?

    • Jeff Barber

      You guys should listen, because we talk about how lately, some land managers and even MTB clubs have decided that, despite the fact that “e-bikes have a motor which makes them motorized,” their use is compatible with non-motorized usage on certain trails. What is seemingly an obvious fact (motor = motorized vehicle) is not holding e-bikes back from gaining access to non-motorized trails around the USA.

      Again, if you listen, we don’t have an agenda here, other than to report where the tech, access issues, and adoption stand right now.

    • Plusbike Nerd

      Nothing is keeping e-mopeds(e-bikes) from riding anywhere where motorized travel is allowed. Disabled people on e-mopeds could certainly ride there and are therefore not being excluded. The argument that e-mopeds on non-motorized trails could provide access to the disabled doesn’t hold water anymore than wheelchair bound person is going to roll to the top of Mt. Everest. If you are disabled, there are somethings you might not be able to do. What concerns me greatly is that when bikes come to be associated with e-mopeds then that will give those that wish to exclude bikes from public lands even more ammunition. I want to keep bikes on the human powered side of the equation with hikers and equestrians. While keeping e-mopeds on the motorized side with motorcycles, ATVs, and jeeps. If mountain bikers embrace e-mopeds we are going to put ourselves into the motorized side and increase the chances that wilderness organizations exclude cyclist.

  • mtnryder

    For starters, if you’re going to allow one version of a motor, it’s a slippery slope that leads to the next motorized users wanting access and the obvious concern is that will eventually lead to trail closures. Besides, anybody that thinks they can limit access to “e-bikes with X amount of wattage” is not very bright. First off, the BLM & Forest Service don’t have the manpower to enforce such rules and even if they did, they’d have to train everybody to be able to recognize the difference between an e-bike that can travel 20 mph vs one that can go 60….and yes, 60 mph e-bikes already exist. Once e-bikes are allowed, every manner of e-bikes will be on the trails. I ran across a guy the other day on the Palm Canyon Epic that had a modified e-bike.

  • Jay671Smallen

    It’s always going to be an awkward mess somewhat.

    These are just thoughts. I do like how ebikes will help handicapped, or people that just need a bit of help accessing trails. I also like the idea of even myself being able to do longer rides, or cary more gear for trail work, camping etc.. I took one for a test ride and it did put a smile on my face, but ultimately I feel like I’m cheating.

    Batteries, range and ultimately reliability will keep me away from them. As we do get out there a bit.

    The topic does need to get out there for discussion, to help us all understand the pros and cons. I think regulation is going to be the main issue. And that’s going to, more than likely, be self regulatory due to cost.

    There’s not many days I go out and don’t see at least one ebike.

    Strava I’m sure is having issues with the complaints of times. I’m hearing stories of that in our area. “Friggin ebikers are screwing up all the times!!” Very common conversation when looking at trail times with friends. Literally every time lol..

    They’re coming, we just need to all try to get along and get some respected rules in place.

    When the conversation comes up out on the trail with riders we meet out riding. It’s normally a fun conversation, that’s mostly positive and curious. But it’s always an unspoken thing, that everybody seems a bit leery of them too.

    Ultimately though… I’m against them, until I see and hear some solid solutions to get them on the trails in a more positively seen light by all.

    Enough random babble from me!

  • bill.cornelison

    The ADA calls for reasonable accommodation. An elevator to the top of Half Dome & El Capitan is not reasonable (just like a 4th floor brownstone walkup does not have to install an elevator, not reasonable). However, access to a trail that can be negotiated by a disabled rider on an ebike is reasonable. If we, as members of this community, don’t address and accept the need for reasonable accommodation it will be imposed by the courts.

  • Sea Loam

    I am so tired of trying to talk common sense into people that should be fellow mountain bikers. The only place this would be safe is on the road. Not on singletrack. They had a chance if they limited speed on these things to like 8 mph for climbing. But they can literally climb at 20mph. That’s freaking crazy. It’s going to hurt people. And when people start getting hurt than that will kill trail access. Trust me I have seen it on a small scale already. We are ready though. A group of us plan to go to the town and warn them of this growing threat. And that is motor bikes disguised as mountain bikes! We also are going to set up an advocacy club and push for a boycott on any company making these things. I hope it works and I hope these motorized bikes do not destroy something so cool like mountain biking.

    • wbike54az

      I am not sure where you are getting your information. Did you see someone riding uphill at 20 mph? They do have a top speed of 20 mph when the motor stops producing power.

  • wbike54az

    Full disclosure- I only listened to 6 minutes of the podcast. I am 62 in good physical shape and I own a Specialized Turbo Levo along with a Specialized Camber 29er. I use my Camber about 4-5 times as much as my Levo. Yes it makes it easier to go up hills. Is that a crime? The biggest negative factors to the growth of the ebikes are the high cost, the weight of the bikes and of course trail access. Demographics alone will make it a nitch market at best. Why would anyone in the 20’s, 30’s or 40’s even consider purchasing an ebike? I dont think that may riders are willing to spend $4K or more on an ebike when they could buy a high end non pedal assisted bike.
    As far as the ebike haters are concerned- ride one sometime and you will see they are not a threat to the sport. The only time I have ever seen an ebike on the trail is during a demo day. Go to a bike shop and you will see 1 ebike to every 20-30 mountain bikes.

    • Bitingmosaurus

      Lol… I had a fatass who was in his mid 30s blow by me on an uphill the other day. 275 lbs easy. The only thing I could think was “you tool.” His uphill speed was unreal.

  • geezer on a bike


    Whoa. He was a tool because he was a fat ass in his mid 30 or he was on an e-bike? Not clear on that?
    I had a guy in tights on a 19lb carbon cross country race bike pass me while I was on my e-bike, he remarked under his breath, ” oh that’s why I had a hard time catching you… it’s an old guy on a e-bike”. Probably made his personal best Strava time ever unknowingly chasing an old guy on an e-bike. A cosmic joke on him. It is most likely that at 67 years old I could ride circles around 90% of the riders out there, up or down on my 3 year old Kona Process dickhead. That might be more a reflection of the overall competency and fitness of the current average demographic…or maybe my 30 years on a moutain bike and my overall fitness level? Hahaha!

    The mob mentality on this topic is off the chart. Pink bike is the worst for cultivating it.They should be ashamed. No body even talks about the danger to trail access that comes from the really fast guys on 6″+ trail and enduro sleds hauling ass, ripping up the trails and scaring the crap out of Sierra club hikers and equestrians. Riding bikes by the way, that just so happen to be the advertising and technical focus of most of the on and offline “Mountain bike” rags. Your bike is a technological wonder get over it. Your a gear head get over it. Maybe you could carve one from the tree you fell with your flint ax you chipped out while squatting on your haunches and then you would be so pure at heart.

    The real issue underlying this whole bullshit discussion is a territorial, front runner, “we were first” sort of local-ism. I went thru this crap with surfing in the 70’s, it has a familiar smell to it. The mainstreaming of surfing by the magazines are what ruined surfing for the hardcore soul surfers, showing the way for so many kooks.The magazines want to grow the sport too increase advertising revenue …I want the sport to shrink and the kooks to stay home. I personally am glad all this shit is so expensive, barrier to entry is high, which can be a good thing in my opinion.

    When you encounter me on the trail or in town I might be on my full squish, my slacked out plus tired hardtail, my e-bike or my old Schwinn High Sierra converted townie. You can be sure I will not give a flying you know what about what you think about me.

    Never cry wolf

    • Sea Loam

      Glad I saw this, because it’s full garbage. And yes you will kill the sport meanwhile attempting to compare someone on a real MTB that’s in incredible cardio shape to you on on your E-motorbike. And to bring surfing into this in some kind of weird way, Iam cool with anyone out in the line up just as long they don’t get a motorized surfboard in the future. And you were talking about “hardcore soul” ? ” Yeah I want hardcore soul , so give me my motorized lazy man special E- motor bike ” Come on now you don’t sound ridiculous to yourself? Iam doing my best to get fines issued to all you guys trying to pass these things off as real mountain bikes on the trails. The greed and money that is trying to push this on us is unreal. Getting you guys on fire trails only is way to stop this craziness. If it was up to you there would be battery chargers at every trail head. Ugh… Disgusting. #trypedaling

    • craige

      Amen, brother.

  • Tinfang

    So, in the interest of reporting where the “tech” is….

    Are you planning to report on how you can achieve consistent BPM zones with Class I emtb’s rather than the peaks and valleys using acoustic bikes? I know it’s hard to fathom and it took me a solid month of data but less assist gave me peaks and valleys, more assist gave me close to consistent levels of tempo. Turning cranks or the excitement of rocking those trails I don’t know lol…

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