Finally getting this website thing happening. I wanted to have a place to rant, talk about bikes and whatever.
It better than social media really. Facebook can be like pissing in the wind. And it seems somewhat inappropriate to rant and get on a soapbox there. Here I figure I can do whatever the fuck I want.. within reason.
I thought about what would be my first posting, so why not electric bikes? I have much to say about them, having it been apart of my work at Shimano for ten years at least. The last few years I’ve had a Karmic bike with a Bafang drive train for commuting that kicks ass.
As a means to rant and to have an opinion, this post is about my experience and about the social discourse. I started testing prototype full suspension bikes with Shimano around 2005, probably earlier. We bolted a motor to an Intense, cut and welded a motor unit into Turner and tested some other stuff way back before most anyone knew anything to bitch about how they would destroy the sport.
Since then as many now know, Shimano is in full-on competition with the very large German company Bosch to build the best mountain bike drive train. In Europe I’ve heard that electric bikes are half the sales of all bikes. That is saying something in a place where bikes are serious transportation. Europeans don’t think e-bikes are a problem. And it’s legal to ride an electric bike on most trails even.
Here in the good ol’ USofA, people are much more opinionated about electric mountain bikes in particular, even thought they have yet to really catch on. Commuter bikes are a different story, which I’ll get into some other time. I understand that there is concern about trail access and if hooligans start blasting on the local single track it could get National Forest and other land managers upset. So far that has not happened.
I’ll be the first to say that they are motorized and should not be ridden on non-motorized trails. Yet some think it’s just cheating which I call BS. Those who are the most opinionated seem to be who have never ridden an E-MTB. Yet once most people ride one they realize that they are damn fun. Some riders get pissed if someone passes them electrically enhanced and that is just ego crap. Yet what needs to happen is education and signage on the trails.
Another thing I hear is they are only for riders who have some injury, health issue and are just not strong enough. Again I call bullshjt on this. Yet they are great for those who can’t go as fast as those people that bikes are their lives and they work hard to stay in shape. Yet bikes are my life too. I work hard to stay strong and fast as I get into my 50’s, yet I can ride my full suspension long travel E-MTB hard and I come back home really worked unlike a ride on my push bike.
It’s a great recovery day tool as well. Sometimes it’s just hard to get an easy ride in when I just want to go spin and go easy. With the E-MTB I can go as hard or easy as I want on real trails. Spinning on the road, which I never do, or go ride some flatter smoother trails is not necessary and not as easy to get just the right workout level anyway. I think that racers could really benefit by using an E-MTB in their training.
I also have to mention those who simply think E-MTBs are not cool for whatever reason. Like here we have people driving to the trailhead in a gas burning car and that is perfectly OK. Then we have moto dirt bike riders ripping it up and that is cool to so many mountain bikers, yet ride an E-MTB and you are a cheater and and lazy. Double standard douchebaggery just to begin with.
My current E-MTB is a Pivot Shuttle prototype with Shimano E8000 drive unit.
Thanks to Chris Cocalis at Pivot for this bike. Having ridden some other E-MTBs, this bike still is one of the best. It’s somewhat heavier than the production carbon version. I also like that the battery is easy to swap out since I always carry a spare battery in my backpack. I have yet to ride the production Shuttle and check out the screw on cover that holds the battery in. They went for an internal battery system compared to my external mount battery
I have this bike set up to go up to about 30 MPH max, which is about the same as a Class 3 “S Pedalec” bike. Normally the power is supposed to cut off at 20MPH for the most common Class 1 bike. Legally, and it’s a bit of a grey area in most states, it’s not allowed to have an E-bike go faster than 20MPH under power on the road. Off-road is does not matter. Go as damn fast as you want! Just like a motorcycle.
I could continue to go on about how the bike rides and all that. And I could write a post just about that if anyone wants me to. The bottom line is this bike is awesome. It can be hard and challenging to ride since I can simply go farther, faster on trails, moto trails even.. than I can on a pedal only bike.
My next post will be about electric commuter bikes and how electrification is the future of all transportation on this planet. If we want to keep jamming around the planet we have to. Even then the future is uncertain, yet it’s about time we get off the fossil fool mindset addiction.
Jim Marzolf says
Just read your first rant! Loved it. Thx for your effort & hope you continue doin it. Auger
I’m with Marzolf! Keep ’em coming, Joe.
Elliot Ramada says
I’ve enjoyed your thoughtful and articulate rants on FB, well done getting your own platform launched! Hoping you will recommend some specific E-commuters at several price points in future article.