Years ago, I participated in introducing the world to freeride mountain biking through the release of the movie “Kranked-Live to Ride.” At the time we were pushing the limits of how a mountain bike could be ridden and having a lot of fun. We were stoked and wanted to share this experience. Our motives were pure. Lots of people got it right away and were inspired. But most, particularly bike industry people, let us know that we were doing wrong, that trails would be closed, that this was not mountain biking…
Screen grab of Wade Simmons from Kranked-Live to Ride, Utah, 1997
Now, I hear the same sentiments about e-bikes. Like freeriding, 29 inch wheels, carbon frames, 1by11 drivetrains, electric assist bikes are a paradigm shift. Electric assist is different and unknown. So I understand why on the surface it is easy to have a negative reaction, I mean come on, a bike with a motor is a motor bike right? Motorbikes chew up trails, are loud and generally are not welcomed by mountain bikers.
The Future is Now - Kranked
Moto vs ebike – one is built around the motor the other around the bike.
News flash: electric assist mountain bikes are not motorbikes. I consider my electric assist bikes extreme performance mountain bikes. They allow me to ride further and faster than before. I can ride to the top of the mountain from my house at a level I have dreamed about for years. I’m like a pro XC racer times 2. I am riding 100km+ a week off road these days. This technology allows me to ride with state of the art DH suspension everywhere. So I am getting DH suspension performance at pro XC ride speeds. I am moving out on the trails, shredding from start to finish, in a manner that is sustainable day in, day out. I’m riding like a super hero, or at least I think I am!
39km backcountry route, 2 hours and 39 minutes ride time.
E-bikes are an amazing fusion of advanced technologies. Today’s mountain bikes are incredible. The emerging electric assist technology allows today’s mountain bike to perform at its peak up, across and down. This is what this fusion achieves. The paradigm shift is huge, the performance gain massive. The mindset to understand this performance gain is just as great, until you experience it.
As mountain bikers we need to stick together and embrace change in a positive way. Freeriding inspired the youth of the world to mountain bike. The predicted apocalypse did not materialize. The naysayers eventually started publishing freeride cover shots on their magazines and investing in free ride factory teams. We got to know Brett Tippie, Wade Simmons and Richie Schley!
Riding a bike is a really positive experience. So is riding an ebike. There are way more positives than negatives so why not focus on those and not get hung up on possible negatives and fear of change. The world needs green transportation in an indisputable way. Biking and E-biking are a viable solution.
And what if your friend wants to ride an e-bike? Go for the ride! That’s the most important part. Try the thing, form an opinion based on knowledge, not speculation. I have a firm conviction that this technology is going to revolutionize the sport again! It’s just that rad. I’ve witnessed rad, and this is it. Ride responsibly and with respect and most of all enjoy your friends, no matter what they choose to ride.
Ride Hard, Ride Free
View Mike Kazimer's original e-bike opinion piece here.