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Author Topic: Electric assist  (Read 10831 times)


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Re: Electric assist
« Reply #15 on: September 12, 2014, 01:51:11 PM »
I think most bikers are sympathetic to your situation.  Understand that those manufacturing these ebikes aren't really making them for you, nor out of the goodness of their heart.  They are after the bigger market,  and universal access.  I think nearly everyone recognizes that universal access is a horrible idea that will hurt future mountain bike access everywhere. 

We are only allowed many places specifically BECAUSE we are non motorized.  What you see as a minor technicality is a huge fundamental change that arguably invalidates our right to be there AND our reasoning for discriminating against other forms of motorized transport. 

There was a recent article on pinkbike about a rider with a spinal injury.    He rides now on a 4 wheeled contraption.  I think it's great, but it's not going to fit down a lot of singletrack.  We aren't going to rebuild our trails to accommodate him, so he'll have discriminate between riding locations for appropriate options.  There are lots of people with degenerative conditions that cannot ride at all.  There will always be a cutoff line between those who can and can't, even if ebikes gain access.  Maybe you can make it with pedal assist, and the next guy needs full on electric drive.  Is his access less valid than yours?  You can't seriously expect a bike advocate to take a stance that would benefit a relative few, but jeopardize access for everyone.

If climbing is your hangup, you can:

1.  Ride lift or shuttle access.

2.  Limit your access to steeps and long climbs through trail selection.  Run an ultra low gear ratio and climb at a slow pace, while breaking as necessary. 

3.  Find an alternative.  There are other great sports that let you get out in nature. 

4.  Ebike where it's allowed, and get creative.

I'm not trying to be a dick.  If I were in your shoes, I'd road trip weekends to ride lift access, and do a lot of kayaking during the week.  I'd ride a fatbike on the beach.  I'd ride urban or DJ.  Any style of riding that can be done at a sustainable pace.  In a broad sense, the riding you can't do may be but a sliver of what you still can.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2014, 01:54:29 PM by allmountin »


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Re: Electric assist
« Reply #16 on: September 12, 2014, 04:44:23 PM »
I've ridden a pedal-assist E-mountain bike off road, and with that experience, I think there are a lot of misconceptions about them. 

For one, you're not going to be roosting it and tearing up trail.  They just don't have that kind of power.  Second, you're not really going to be riding much faster, or slower, than you normally would.  Pretty much all of the ebikes I've seen are governed to stop putting out power once you reach a certain speed.  Third and lastly, you still have to pedal the thing!  When someone says "motorized vehicle", I think twist a throttle to go, not turn pedals and get a little boost.  They're not electric motorcycles!  You're still going to sweat.

Like it or not, they're coming.  Throwing up our hands and saying "No way, not on my trail.  Not now.  Not ever." doesn't make us any better than the folks that objected to mountain bikes riding on their trails back when mountain biking was in it's infancy.  Before making rash, knee-jerk decisions, I encourage people to become educated.  Reach out to the makers of these things.  Talk to people who use them.  Find out what they can and cannot do.  Then make some educated choices on how to regulate them.  In the end, I think you'd find out that they're really not that big of a deal.

That's just my 2 cents....   


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Re: Electric assist
« Reply #17 on: September 12, 2014, 06:02:16 PM »
This is obviously a touchy subject and not one that we (Hoosiers) are alone in discussing, http://mmba.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=124818  I feel, with all of my heart, for the people that struggle with issues that keep them off of the trails and wouldn't mind exceptions for them.  I'm also certain that this is a true Pandoras Box that's about to be opened, or already is, that is going to lead to all sorts of issues for our sport. 
The problem as I see it is that even though some people could really benefit from this technology, a large portion will be abusing it once they gain access.  Look at the example in the above link, the guy had already souped up his motor and was getting twice the normal power.  That's human nature and that IS what will happen.  Slippery slope for sure. 
Tony, I have seen and ridden these and I can assure you that making it to the top of the biggest climb can and will be done without breaking a sweat, some of the makers even market them as so.  I've also seen first hand people that have tweaked their E's in order to make them faster and are damn proud of them.  It happens.
I'm not saying "No way, not on my trail", but I am saying that both sides need to understand the reality of the situation and understand that this very well could kill a portion of our trail systems.


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Re: Electric assist
« Reply #18 on: September 12, 2014, 06:22:40 PM »
I discussed e-bikes with State Parks today.  Their stance is that e-bikes have a motor and are not allowed on non-motorized trails such as mountain bike trails on IDNR properties (State Parks, State Forests, etc...).  If individuals would like to change that policy, they would have to work with the IDNR to get access for e-bikes.

I understand the argument that an e-assist bikes, used by someone who is respectful of trails and other users could have little impact on some trails.  But as consumers, those buying e-bikes would pick the e-bike that has the most power they can get.  So the majority of consumers will want to buy e-powered bikes with throttles and lots of horse power instead of pedal assist bikes. 

If you want to have e-bike access, the burden would have to be on you to have a plan for ensuring that only e assist bikes would have access and have a way to enforce that (seems like a difficult task to me).  You would also have to convince the IDNR to allow them.  They are likely going to have a lot of concerns.

While many pushing e-bikes are saying that we shouldn't knock them with out trying them.  I would point out that those pushing e-bikes should spend some time in the advocacy trenches to understand the challenges e-bikes present to trail access before pushing for e-bike access on trails built by mtb volunteers.

I fight lots of battles both for mountain bikers, but sometime with mountain bikers.  When we build a beginner trail, I get called names by riders who are upset that we are building trails that encourage beginner riders.  That we (HMBA or IMBA) should just be building trails for hard core riders.  [size=78%]http://www.pinkbike.com/news/opinion-it-should-be-hard-shouldnt-it-2014.html?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=mobile&utm_campaign=news[/size]

And when we build advanced trails, I get complaints form riders that we are building trails too hard for the general public to ride. 

I feel that we should try to provide a wide range of trails, to provide a very diverse set of trails.  But we will never be able to make everyone happy with every trail. 

There are places that you can ride an e-assist bike or likely even an e-powered bike in Indiana.  If you feel that you should be able to ride every trail, then keep in mind there would be someone right behind you who would say that they need to access to our trails but the rocks and logs prevent them from riding them.  Soon all our trails would be smooth, 3 feet wide, and packed with gravel packed.

I look at it this way.  I can't dunk a basketball, but I never asked for the rims to be lowered. 

I have been in the position of being injured and unable to ride.  I still got out and hiked.  I personally am quite content that if I can not longer mountain bike that I will accept it and recreate in a way that I am capable of. 

If all this makes me a "non people advocate" to some folks, that's fine with me. I  have been called much worse. 

But I just want everyone to be clear that e-bikes are not currently legal on IDNR mountain bike trails and use of them will be reported to park staff.

HMBA: Director of Trail Development / Secretary


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