Improving Mountain Biking One Design at a Time - Sunday Comics with Taj Mihelich

Jun 30, 2019
by Taj Mihelich  


La-Z-Boy® X Bosch® colab

"I swear this was more exciting back in the old days."



70 Comments

  • 111 46
 Call me too optomistic but I am willing to bet that in 10 years, we will look back at electrically powered mountain bikes (and road bikes for that mater) and be puzzled that they were even a thing.
Hold on...hang on... I am not talking about commuters, dayli driver bikes, i am talking about; dual suspension mountain bikes equiped with electrical motors. The ones that gives us (now after a couple of years) the feeling that "they fit in"...they don't.
Mountain biking is a sport, not a motor sport.
I respect every one's views and interests. I know that many feel like I do.
Cheers,
  • 77 9
 That may be correct. I will say this though - When we were in Germany 2 years ago my wife and I were in a small mountain town with a ton of single track. I kid you not that +80% of the dual suspension mountain bikes were e-bikes. With that in mind I highly doubt they are going away. They are still the minority here in CO, but I am starting to see more. When I get older if that's what keeps me biking I'd "swallow my pride" and get one...I'd rather ride than not. Smile
  • 26 13
 Considering 25% of Giants revenue is currently ebikes.....doubt it.

Americans are lazy...they'll keep them relevant.
  • 20 13
 E-bikes are always going to have a lot of appeal to casual or weekend warrior type cyclists. Even for the bros who want to use it as basically a self shuttle.

E-bikes are going to take over, what will remain will be the lower cost alternative, race bikes, and a niche for the guys who enjoy the fitness side of the sport but don't race. If you don't like fitness, and training, and don't race--why not have an E-bike?
  • 50 16
 @litany: they’re going to get lighter and even more efficient. We can hide behind the fitness side of things but honestly e-bikes are going to take over. If my normal weekend 3 hour ride can jump from 2k of vert to 4K plus in the same amount of time. Why not?? Bring on the downvotes
  • 9 2
 I think they'll be niche for those that aren't able to pedal without some kind of assistance (like the elderly, physically incapacitated, etc) but as soon as the e-motorbikes are optimized I don't see why you wouldn't grab one of those instead of something that's a compromised bicycle and compromised motorcycle.
  • 15 13
 The conversation about electric mopeds will change when one loses battery containment and burns down a forest. One question will determine their future: "who is accountable?"
  • 9 4
 Optimistic*...but really you are in full denial.
  • 17 2
 @cartoon: I know.
But I see a lot of talking about riding and that is just one single aspect of my view.
My point is: the sport of mountain biking.

Down the line, there will have to be a clear split between the cyclig sport that is mountain biking and riding electrically powered mountain bikes.
Since the begining of the sport of mountain biking it always was one community, riders and racers sharing the same appreciation of the sport.
I cannot see any future for that if electrically powered mountain bikes continue to be popular.
Cheers,
  • 12 7
 I'm sure canoeists and rowboaters felt the same about motors...even sailers, who to this day, have a good sized snobby core that looks down upon the ...motorboaters. MTB will become the same.
  • 4 8
flag wittereus (Jun 30, 2019 at 14:41) (Below Threshold)
 I vote you down because your not open for the pausibilities that ly before is.
  • 10 1
 @loopie: too right, and remember when shoes didn't have solar-powered caterpillar tracks? Quaint times they were. Folk putting one foot in front of the other, sometimes actually walking up steps. The mind boggles.
  • 6 3
 @Mtmw: Not a fan of ebikes but I mean Dirt bikes catch fire. Pedal strikes make Sparks. Light packs are filled with lithium ion batteries fires probably the least relevant factor.
  • 26 1
 I've never ridden an ebike, but i wonder: Does it really make it easier, or do you just go faster? Yes, for some its a lazy way to mountain bike. But if you're still looking for a good workout, won't you just be going faster while using the same energy? A full gas 2 hour ride, is still a full gas 2 hour ride, but on an ebike you'd just be going farther.
  • 7 9
 @blk91: that's why dirt bikes aren't allowed on most trails
  • 5 1
 @lognar: For long climbs, it does really make it easier. On the downhill, no real difference.
  • 16 3
 @lognar: ...and when you are over fifty, hurting in every joint, a few that are smashed to bits, one that keeps telling you that you probably shouldn't ride at all, but you've spent years building a trail network that you still want to ride. Colour me me an ebiker - and as long as it is pedal assist with limiter - a pedal assist is about the only way I get a 2hr ride in and I love it.
  • 1 0
 sorry, double post
  • 4 0
 @loopie: Exactly my point. Before electrically powered mountain bikes, i would not have ever imagined that. And I hate my limitations as a person but right now, unfortunately I tend to be on with the canoeists and sailors.

Oh well, anchor up and row, row, row.
Cheers,
  • 4 1
 @litany: I don't know.... I don't race, barely train, my main rides are only on weekends, and still think e-bikes are wrong. Maybe because we love suffering? Among my riding buddies, only one of them has an e-bike. Even when he out-climbs all of us, in the end he has to wait for the group, it must be boring.
  • 7 2
 Nah, there will just be another discipline. MTB riders don't take their MTBs out with serous roadies on road rides. Roadies don't bring their road bikes to a MTB track. MX riders don't bring MX bikes to a MTB ride. EMTB wont replace pedal power, its just another thing.
  • 2 1
 @matadorCE: This. After my one and only ride on an e-bike (a Specialized Turbo Levo) I found myself not wishing for a lighter bike, but a heavier, faster, stronger, e-dirtbike. Whether or not you have to pedal, a 75lb 10-inch travel sled that can go fast all day would be something I'd be very into (not on proper bike trails, obviously.)
  • 2 1
 Look at the evolution of mountainbikes, what do we see? There has been a lot of improvements and a lot of stuff that arguably made riding "easier", but it rarely meant the "old" way went away. At some point we had gearing. There are still purist who choose to ride singlespeed. We got front suspension, there still are loads riding fully rigid. We got rear suspension, still hardtails got better and better over the years. Sure the better version of the same thing replaces the unreliable or useless old version. Even low end suspension forks got viscous damping and perform just fine. No more elastomers with 1" travel. But basically, people have always exercised their freedom to either adopt new tech or stick with the old stuff. We'll see the same here too. Sure there will be e-bikes and for sure by no means everyone will be on them. Just like loads are on modern proper hardtails. Because affordability, reliability and maintainability are also huge factors when choosing for the one or the other. Fun is another big one, but it is so different for different people that I'm not going into that. Either way, the replacement costs of the battery and the fact that development goes this quick these days (so resale value is low) could be a massive reason to get an e-bike. Add to that the number of people who simply don't want one, don't feel the need for one or even have something against them and it should be clear that there will always be more than enough unassisted bikes out there. Only if you're 26"4life and you hate boost, the e-bike market will probably not serve you well Wink .
  • 5 3
 @jwa9681: Americans are not lazy they are stressed out of their minds with our countries obsession with money.. ive lived in Utah, Colorado, Texas, and Arkansas.. Real mountain bikers don’t use ebikes.. it’s the loaded sob’s that want to get into the sport that buy them.. however they rarely have the time to ride them because of their commitment to their jobs..
  • 8 0
 I think it'd be hilarious if an E-bike Trail Advocacy group was formed. They'd build e-bike specific trails that you're not allowed to take normal bikes on.
  • 2 0
 @slovenian6474: I think it will take a while for that to happen. Back when mountainbiking started, they rode hiking trails. Which lead to conflicts when the sport became bigger. Advocacy groups were formed and they built their own mtb specific trails. By now the sport has become so big that just like hiking and horse back riding groups, they feel entitled and don't allow others on "their" trails. Then the newcomers (e-bike) comes around and, just like when mountainbiking started, they ride whatever is available. If there would be anything e-bike specific, it would be steeper and rougher climbs that would be too hard for the average mid-travel unassisted trailbike riding mountainbiker. Because mellow fireroad climbs are boring. If it then gets to the point that someone like Chris Akrigg gets kicked off those climbs for attempting to ride them unassisted then yes, we have arrived. Every little niche sport claims its own territory and acts like a complete arse against other users who dare to venture on "their" trail. It would be beautiful if this weren't needed but it seems like some societies on here need to have their shit regulated like that.
  • 6 0
 @vinay: I'm fine with whatever as long we all agree to ban horses. Their SHIT does need to be regulated.
  • 2 1
 @jwa9681: E-bikes are more popular in Europe and caught on earlier in Europe
  • 2 4
 See, I take the completely opposite view, in 10 years people will look at current mtn bikes, and wonder why anyone would ever want to grind up a fire road or climbing trail, instead of turning laps. Or maybe take that commuter bike out for a quick 2K' descent on the way home from work...PS if you use gears smaller than your wheel size, you're enjoying a different kind of assist, just one youre so comfortable with, you don't realize its the same style of cheat, just not as efficient.
  • 4 2
 they open up some doors to doing things that just are not palatable on a pedal bike. I rode miles of techy, rocky, boulder-strewn creekbed the other day on my moto, deep in the mountains. Real fun stuff. However, unless you slow to trials speed, many sections just wouldn't be fun on an mtb. However, I think that kind of riding could be real fun on an ebike. Actually, I know it. I have gone out on ebikes or with guys on ebikes (who shred motos and pedal bikes) and seen the type of terrain that they make "fun". It's just another toy; it closes the gap between moto and mtb. You can ride through super tech stuff thats uphill or flat that would be a full-on trials line if you only had a pedal bike, while cruising and popping off stuff on the way down (something that wouldn't be as fun on a moto.) To me, complaining about ebikes is like a BMX talking shit about mtb because there's suspension and disk brakes. It's just different.
  • 4 1
 @matadorCE: kind of like how motos are a niche for guys who can't pedal? lol. I see what you are saying, but I think theres a definite in-between. Ridng an ebike downhill is basically like riding an mtb (a little heavier, but not much.) Going uphill is definitely not like riding a moto, but it makes you want to go up shit that is just not fun/worth while on an mtb. Maybe some people don't have terrain like that around them, but for all the people who do, ebikes are pretty cool. My only issue with ebikes is they are still just as "fragile" as an mtb - so you put twice as much vert on them (or more) as your pedal bike, but they aren't "burly" like a moto. You just wear out parts way faster than you do on an mtb
  • 2 1
 @trialsracer: Yes, you've got the point of what they're here for. The minimum advantage they give you is that they give you just another option for uplift (instead of the chairlift or having a 1500kg car shuttle you). The best though is that to you can develop some skill on a steep technical climb instead of having to take the boring fireroad. So yeah, as I kind of mentioned, that's the best part even for me. Even though I don't see myself on an e-bike anytime soon (simply because I don't have the terrain nor the money) I do hope for the positive effects it will have on trail development. I do love to see more technical climbing trails. Even though I'll probably by no means be able to ride the whole climb on my unassisted steel hardtail, I'd love to just session some sections just to work on that skill. I feel nowadays it seems like too many climbing sections are built for seated smashing of your 50/51t cassette. Boring as shit, doesn't teach you anything. Leave it steep, keep the roots and rocks in place. Much less erosion. E-bikes will be able grind up it, I probably will never make it but at least I'll enjoy the challenge. And at least it is a safer challenge than finding your limits on the descends Wink !

@graniteandrew : Maybe, but probably not. In snow sports indeed it is rare to get up the hill under your own steam simply because it is just a slug and it doesn't really teach you much skill (unless you get into the really scary stuff). On bikes climbing can actually be a fun and/or rewarding challenge. I understand modulation got better on the latest e-bike motors which seems essential for technical climbing (if you're going to do it with assistance) but of course there is nothing wrong with doing it unassisted (and probably essential for those who are after the "reward" bit of it). So yeah as mentioned before, I sure expect e-bikes to become better and cheaper and all that, but they'll never make unassited bikes obsolete. Just like hardtails never went away no matter what Chris Porter is going to tell you from his purposeful motocross-tinted goggles. The search for fun never follows reason like that. Hitting a corner properly or catching a bit of air gets you giggles, no matter what bike you're on. That's the bit that matters. Technological progress comes way futher down the line. Tell the kid catching some air off his one foot kicker that his rims are too narrow, tires outdated and cantilever brakes are a no go by modern standards. He/she doesn't give a shit and is damn right about that.
  • 1 1
 @vinay: When they become indistinguishable, it will be over. While I love my single-speed hardtail, and it provides a wildly different ride than my Ebike, I can't ever think someone who is just getting into this sport will turn down a whip that will, almost, but not quite, shuttle you to the top of the hill. So sure, they'll be holdouts and haters, but it's just a better product. In 10 years, the group dynamic will be inverse, everyone will show up on Bikes and trash-talk whomever is on a standard.
  • 2 0
 @OllyR: ^this comment is underrated. I concur, sir.
  • 2 1
 @cartoon: I am over 50, I am fat, I planted trees for so long that my back and knees are totally degraded. I still think e-bikes are like mopeds - you ought to be embarrassed if your friends see you riding one. I could see a real e -dirtbike being fun but I will skip the ebike and take my time on the climbs. I know here on pinkbike this is blasphemy, but I actually enjoy climbing some of the time.
  • 1 1
 @acrowe: that’s the thing, pedal assist doesn’t remove your pedaling on the climb. It increases your efficiency! You can control it as well. Feel like beginning it out go ahead, need to get in a quick lap.... Put it in turbo!
  • 2 0
 @dynamatt: I don't think anyone is equipped to determine whether ebikes are good or evil. But of course we try and protect our opinion by forming a force field of hostility around us that keeps the doubts at bay.
@WAKIdesigns dictated this to me when he was baked.
  • 1 0
 @jwa9681: E-bike trail access is WAY more in Europe while American terrain is far more restricting to e-biking. I'm not sure this is a purely lazy American drive.
  • 20 2
 Beer dangler a viable product for those lacking climbing technique or trendy 78 degree seat tube angles.
  • 3 24
flag blackthorne (Jun 30, 2019 at 14:01) (Below Threshold)
 Good try with the beer one but if I had to provide constructive feedback it would be the old carrot on a stick trope is not very original. How about a beer can in a locked canister that can only be opened after a certain altitude is reached? Or how about chasing a drone instead of a stick?
  • 14 0
 Imagine casing a Laz-e-bike...
  • 13 0
 Agreed, it needs a dropper.
  • 16 0
 No water bottle holder ... that's a deal breaker for me
  • 3 0
 Stool Tube Angle - looks real aggressive! Might be shreddy....
  • 4 0
 Just did. Didn’t feel anything.
  • 4 0
 It would be sofa-king sore
  • 7 0
 Once again..brilliant! Smile
  • 5 0
 will vibrators take over for the manual method is like asking will e-bikes take over for the non artificially powered ones!!!
  • 5 2
 Nice!! Smile

Surely that will be the final outcome of e-bikes. (But when I get "really" old, I'm not sure I'm gonna be able to day NO to that Lazy-E-Boy bike.... Smile
  • 5 0
 We laugh now...
  • 5 4
 Who cares!? We all die alone. Do what makes you 100% happy. Struggle to be the best version of yourself and love others. High fives to Taj and to all the haters! Love everything on two wheels.
  • 3 0
 2025: shift with your I phone, there's an app for that
  • 3 0
 Can I get the beer dangler image on a T-shirt?
  • 3 1
 LAZeBIKE kinda makes me think of Reverend Horton Heat's "Beer Holder".
  • 2 0
 You forgot virtual reality racing...
  • 1 0
 VR racing is so 2018 (proof: zwift.com/news/10822-kiss-super-league)
  • 2 0
 @pasales: sorry, I meant to say augmented reality racing. Would be like mario cart on bikes.
  • 5 3
 E-bikes are not environmentally friendly! Suck on that one Eboys.
  • 5 1
 I cant imagine that e bikers are particularly concerned about the environment. I came across one of these things in the Redwoods at Rotorua last week
www.ubcobikes.com
  • 3 1
 @wblh: can't wait for those to become commonplace and affordable. For work. Just keep them off the singletrack. The day something like that costs less than about $3k I'll be bugging my boss for one to keep in the truck so I don't have to trailer the 6x6 all over just in case I need it...
  • 4 3
 The Laz-E-Bike-? We're already there: day6bikes.com/behemoth-electric
  • 1 1
 You’re going to get sued by “Cart N Pony”-TM Livestock Motivational Tools.
  • 2 0
 so good
  • 5 5
 Their comics, why so serious? Cue waki.
  • 1 0
 funny as fuck
  • 1 0
 Taj rules.
  • 1 1
 Dentist in new era.
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