Opinion: eMTBs are Going to Change Mountain Bike Racing Forever

Feb 12, 2021
by Matt Wragg  
Header for Matt s Op Ed pieces.


Words: Matt Wragg
Illustrations: Taj Mihelich



Racing runs on money. Sure, many racers would still race even if there wasn’t a cent in it, but sooner rather than later things around them would crash and burn. Sometimes I get the feeling that people forget this, that they see racing as some higher, purer thing and lose the connection to the bottom line. I remember a friend telling me that towards the end of his racing career Nico Vouilloz couldn’t find a bike sponsor. The problem was that he had already won everything there was to win and had little interest in the marketing side of the sport, his incredible focus was trained solely on winning. As my friend put it to me, there was no upside for the bike manufacturers. If Nico won, well that was expected, and if he didn’t win then your bike must be a turd.

I don’t know how true this story is but the truth isn’t the point here. The story perfectly illustrates a dynamic that does ring true - that if you’re not selling bikes, even the greatest downhill racer the sport has ever seen could find themselves in a tight spot.



Participation vs Spectator Sports


We need to get to grips with the difference between a participation sport and a spectacle sport. Motorbikes offer the best example as Supercross is one of the best spectacle sports anywhere in the world. They found a way to package a sport that usually needs copious space and terrain into an arena. It was ten years ago that I went to see it live in Seattle and the thing that still stands out is that I could walk from the centre of the city to the arena to watch it. The other advantage is that the infrastructure to offer total coverage of the racing is as simple as it could possibly be - in that contained environment they can use a few static camera positions and the riders are never out of sight or signal.

Of course, as a rider, just being able to ride a supercross track is no small feat. What most people are more likely to do is ride enduro, where they can head out their door into the hills and forests. And when they come to race they are likely to compete in that discipline too, but as with MTB enduro, the media coverage of those races is limited because of the logistical problems of getting cameras all over the countryside.

The result of this split is that supercross is an effective tool for promoting the brand as a whole, bringing motorcycle racing to casual fans who like the racing but will never care enough to trek cross-country to stand in a muddy field and will not tolerate gaps in the action because the camera crew couldn’t get there in time. Enduro is more direct, primarily talking to people who ride and race enduro, and the impact across the brand as a whole is far smaller. To seek refuge in another easy motorsport parallel, Lewis Hamilton lifts Mercedes as a whole, while Colin McRae only really helped Subaru shift those blue and gold Imprezas.


Sports marketers have determined the cost of every millimeter of the Team Ineos jersey


To cut the cheap analogies and get into the dirty business of mountain bike racing, specifically the gravity disciplines, downhill is our spectacle and enduro the participation discipline (there is an good argument that you see a similar dynamic in cross-country with XCO vs marathon). While many of us may bemoan the camera placement at World Cup downhill, these days they do a pretty good job of covering most of the course with the resources available - a top 20 rider on the live feed should get a decent minute or two of screen time in front of an ever-growing audience. At an EWS, even the race winner is unlikely to get more than a handful of clips on the event recap video.

Maybe the simplest way to think of this is to imagine showing the racing to a friend who has little interest in the sport. Show them the DH live feed and it is clear what is going on, while despite a heroic effort on the part of the EWS team, that is not possible in enduro, and likely never will be. If you can accept that the spectacle sport helps the whole brand, while the participation discipline is much more closely tied to the people who ride and race the discipline, then the question follows: what happens to the participation racing when what a bike company is selling changes?

Enter the eMTB. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, you cannot deny that they are wildly outselling regular bikes in Europe, especially in the mid-travel bracket (ie. enduro). Sure, North America is still arguing with itself about whether they are good fun or here to destroy everything we hold sacred and turn us all into puny, chicken-legged weaklings, but even there they are beginning to emerge as a force in the marketplace. I remember a very senior salesman from one of Europe’s largest bike brands telling me a couple of years ago that many of their consumers were going into the bike shop intending to buy a mid-travel mountain bike and walking out with an eMTB. Here in the South of France it is even more dramatic and the percentage of riders on regular bikes is ever-diminishing.

At the same time, racing for eMTBs currently ranges from “so embarrassing someone should have their thumbs lopped off” to “a good idea that needs a little more polishing”. The attention and resources are going to regular racing, while sales are starting to lean strongly towards e-bikes and that is beginning to create a disconnect between enduro racing and the money needed to keep it going on its current scale.



Why it matters who is buying eMTBs


Then there is a question of market, too. EMTBs are opening up the sport to new people, people who just want to ride a bike rather than become committed mountain bikers (hint: if you’re reading a several-thousand word screed on the economics of racing then you’re in the hardcore few percent). They won’t care about your moral stance on assisted vs. unassisted riding, will never worry about what pedals Sam Hill runs and think your chest-beating about “type 2 fun” sounds thoroughly f*cking miserable. As a very experienced sports marketing specialist put it to me, “maybe it’s a middle-aged guy who just wants his kids to think he’s cool because he’s riding the same brand bike they saw on TV.” These are the people the industry is courting, people who will walk into a dealership and leave with whatever happens to be in stock. At full retail price. And that ‘seen on TV’ thing is a huge deal for this demographic - they are a prime audience for the spectacle sport. Even if ebike racing gets its shit together this year, is it the right way to try and sell bikes to these people? It could well be that the biggest boost to downhill is ebikes as brands refocus to try and reach this market.

Has Cube pulled a masterstroke?

The tension point probably won’t be in 2021, if for no more pressing reason than the industry is so occupied with trying to get bikes to market that they don’t need to worry about selling more of them for the time being. Cube may well be the canary in the coalmine for things to come. Yes, they have a reputation as this geeky German brand, but they were fielding a factory-supported enduro team way before the bigger players on the global scene and spend a lot of their energy trying to reach outside the core mountain bike market.

For next year they have invested heavily in their DH team, with Danny Hart hopefully offering them visibility and credibility at the sharp end of racing, while at the same time they are pulling out from the full EWS calendar in favour of more consumer-focused events and select races, primarily in Europe. Gusti Wildhaber is still on the Action Team programme as he is practically part of the family there and happy to turn his hand to whatever they want. Zakarias Johansen and Sofia Wiedenroth were let go to chase their racing ambitions. Cube then offered public applications to the revamped programme to bring in more ambassador-like riders. The new team will rarely, if ever, travel outside Europe, which is far more feasible in our pandemic-stricken world, cutting expensive international travel for a brand who have most of their sales here in Europe, getting rid of the staff and logistic overheads that come with a professional race team and allowing them to focus on events where Cube know they can talk directly to their customers. They will still race in some events, which will include enduro and ebike racing, but with a much more limited focus.




Don’t get me wrong, I have a huge emotional attachment to enduro racing and this isn't an article about what should happen so much as what is likely to happen. I followed the enduro race circuit because I think it is the most fun form of mountain bike racing and I'm not suggesting that it will go away. I believe that for as long as mountain bikes exist people will continue to ride and race enduro, but I wonder if in a few years we will look back on today in much the same way we think of the Grundig days of downhill. In that time money flowed into the sport and many look back on those times a some sort of heyday, but the truth is that it was a bubble and when it popped it set the sport of downhill back by at least a decade. The brands that had poured money in realised they weren't getting value and we still don't see names like Diesel and Volvo on the title sponsors list, but at least today the growth has been steady and real, and the value created by the racing is solid.

Maybe this comparison is not fair to the people who run enduro races or invested in the discipline, its growth was not irrational in the same way, and the bubble is one that the market created later. But, the sales of ebikes are creating a bubble and that is unsustainable. In my time on the enduro circuit I got to know a lot of the riders, staff and organisers, even call a few friends, and I want to see them do well. But… If I put myself in the shoes of a sports marketing manager trying to get best value for money in a market that is marginalising the commercial importance of the enduro bike, I’m not sure I could bet against the Cube strategy. Would you?


280 Comments

  • 96 9
 eMTBs are going to make enduro be less relevant because DH racing is what everyone watches? This is a strange argument.

Also, can someone please share some actual statistics about e-bike vs. regular mountain bike sales in europe? Is it actually true that more emtbs are sold than regular mountain bikes? I find that hard to believe.

Sure, ebikes are (perhaps unfortunately for some) here to stay, but I don't think they will spell the demise of Enduro racing. Enduro has always had a coverage issue... but it has continued to grow and is incredibly popular.

I also think that in a few years technology will be good enough to bring us near-live coverage of certain enduro stages. If Elon gets his way, there will be 3,000 satelites ready to beam up a signal from wherever You're go-pro will be able to livestream to youtube and a drone will be programed to follow riders down the courses.
  • 41 7
 Enduro is only becoming more relivant..... I'd argue 95% of e bikes don't look like dh bikes but do look like enduro bikes.. 99% of e bike riders won't send a road gap but will ride a bike up and down a hill..... Sounds like e bikes make enduro more relivant not less.....
  • 27 1
 Sorry forgot to add.... Depends if you compare apples to apples... I work in an independent lbs... Sure we sell alot more £600 mountain bikes than e bikes... But if you ask me the proportion of bikes with sticker prices over £3000.... It's over 90% electric
  • 36 0
 no data to back this up, but the impact of bike racing in general feels overstated, at least for the US. i doubt the "middle-aged guy who just wants his kids to think he’s cool" saw a bike in a race on television, more likely a non-race video on youtube or instagram or pinkbike, etc.

i think racing pushes R&D and bike nerds, but i'd say a lot more factors into the "cool" that influences dad-bros.
  • 21 2
 @netracer-enduro: It's also often easy to get someone with 3K burinng his pocket who enter a shop with the intention of getting a nice new bike to show off the 3 times it's taken outside over the summer to burn another 1K and feel like Superman each time the crank is turned. Most humans are lazy and if you can give them the oportunity to make their life easier they will take that chance right away. Btw, I don't blame them.
  • 22 0
 I understood it less as eMTBs pushing enduro racing into obscurity and more that they require a slightly different marketing strategy (one the prioritizes visibility/coverage) due to the people likely to buy them. Because a huge portion of eMTB sales go to people who are less interested in the details of the sport (i.e. sufferfests, backcountry rides with huge climbs, super in depth tech articles, etc.) in order to target this new audience brands need to make sure that they prioritize easily consumable media - like a DH race.

Enduro won't be less relevant to the people riding it, but it may become less of a priority for bike companies because the people watching and paying close attention to enduro races are a more niche, hardcore group of MTB fans (aka, not the market for eMTBs). In order to reach the growing eMTB market, brands need to be seen in whatever venue reaches the masses. And unfortunately, enduro racing has not yet been able to achieve the coverage needed to reach the masses in the same way a DH race (like supercross) already does.

That said, your last point definitely provides some hope! I look forward to the day when I can watch live POVs of Jesse and the other guys/gals tearing it up at EWS events.
  • 10 2
 yes it is, i work in the industry and at least here is wales regular high end bike sales are almost non existent, whereas e-bike sales are outstripping supply by quite a margin.
  • 16 1
 The high percentage of eMTB sales could be misleading though. The next bike I buy will be an eMTB, because it does something different to my other mountain bikes, but I'll still own and ride those other bikes too.

Anyone who bought an MTB in the last three years has already got the benefits of slacker/lower/longer, so when it comes to spending the money they haven't been able to spend during the pandemic it probably made sense to by an eMTB rather than just get marginal gains from switching to a new enduro rig.

That's my theory on the high eMTB adoption rate anyway!
  • 12 3
 @netracer-enduro: Have mankind become lazy?
  • 11 1
 DH and Rampage has made enduro less relevant because we live in the age of internet fame. Revlon was founded in 1932 and is worth 3 billion, Kylie cosmetics was founded in 2017 and is worth 900 million. Kylie Jenner isn't a chemist. The most famous and successful mountain bike riders are DH or freeriders because of youtube and social media. In the US, kids are not riding as often as they used to. Most guys riding ebikes are older experienced Mountain bikers who can't climb like they used to or don't have the time to spend 3 hours exploring. While ebike brands may be helped by podium wins, I don't think ebike racers will ever achieve any great fame unless they are jumping off of cliffs. Ebikes are growing in popularity and will continue to grow. In fact, Ebikes may support the racing industry because as more people get into ebikes, they will start paying more attention to the biking industry.
  • 57 37
 There are 3 types of E-bikers. Older folks still hanging on, people needed assistance due to injury / disease, and finally new riders who skipped over learning basics and bought the E-bike cause they don't care to earn their rides.

The first two I'm totally cool with hats off to them, the last one however ruins the sport. Several times now I've been riding some local trails and been passed on the climb by a new rider on the E-bike, and then find them moments later on a decent completely out of their comfort zone, zero understanding of trail etiquette.

Personal experience here, but just feel E-bikes are used as a short cut for new riders who want all the pros of riding without earning it, its been the common stereotype several occurrences now.
  • 10 4
 Obiously not representative data, just an anecdote:

In between university semesters I sometimes work in a big multi-brand bike store. Here, MTBs outsell E-MTBs by about 4 to 1.

But the sales with a sticker price above 5.000€ are mainly E-MTBs. Although that in turn could be because E-MTBs are generally more expensive and the shop doesn't have that many regular bikes costing more than 5k.
  • 24 12
 @BoneDog: No offence and i actually agree, But you're kind of gate-keeping riding a bike. "earning" to ride. yeah.... i dunno about that. If i wanted to throw my bro with zero mtb experience on a bike and go rip any trail, That's is non of your concern how much he earned to be out there. if he happened to be on a e bike it the same thing. I would never ride an e bike, but thats life.
  • 1 1
 @snicholas11: Thank you. I didn't really understand what Matt was saying until reading your succinct explanation. This is not a dig at Matt, but rather commendation of your response. I agree with you both. Thank you.
  • 55 7
 @BoneDog: I would say that categorizing who would ride an eMTb is subjective at best and arrogant at worst. I have been biking for 20+ years, still race the odd enduro, am fit, but would def rather own an eMTB to "shuttle" places I have ridden where I might gas out after only 5 laps up the mountain. I guess chugging up the hill with an old beat up Tacoma is somehow more credible?...And as far as a rider holding you up on the trail and passing you on the climb, well that is more of your issue than theirs. We all started somewhere, and I guarantee you and I were both that dude at some point, regardless of how you got up the hill and the bike you rode up there. Perspective man, perspective..We are not the gatekeepers of MTB because we have done it longer...
  • 17 30
flag BoneDog (Feb 12, 2021 at 13:40) (Below Threshold)
 @ridingofthebikes: why note gate keep? every sport has rules.
  • 17 1
 @BoneDog: Every new generation of the sport will skip over some previously required basics. I learned on a full ridged bike and didn't get front suspension for 5 years. It was still light years ahead of the first generation of mountain bikes though. It's all relative to some degree and will work it self out.
  • 17 3
 @BoneDog: because biking is also an activity aside from a sport.
  • 37 11
 @squampton: you 100% get it. and quite frankly you are the clearest voice I have read here. I too have a full quiver ; gravel bike, Enduro rig, hard tail and my Trek Rail that I mulleted and run 170mm up front. I'm fit , I train, go to the local jump park and do the long exploration rides. Raced Enduro on the Slash last year and have a full race schedule planned on the EMTB this year. You get what you put in. The Ebike rides I go on we are not chillin in eco mode, we are anarobic and pushing the pace on the trail. At the park we are getting 2:1 runs in while others are waiting for the shuttle. I give zero f*cks what others think and the right of passage argument, which is funny cause like you I "payed my dues" on BMX bikes, hard tails and shitty heavy bikes. Its just another tool to pursue the passion and shred. If that ain't punk rock, than I don't know what is.
  • 8 3
 @ShowMe357: dirt bikes. dirt bikes are punk rock.
  • 5 20
flag BoneDog (Feb 12, 2021 at 14:44) (Below Threshold)
 @teenwolf: cool you are the 1%
  • 14 3
 @BoneDog: and clearly you doesn’t read too goods
  • 3 3
 @Woody25: There are so many bikes I want to ride before I try a motorized bike. I'm spending my money on a new all-mountain hardtail. Should be a nice complement to my full-suspension 29er.
  • 6 1
 @Skooks: exactly....I have my little quiver, but if I could afford it I would add a burly eMTB in a second...and still ride my other bikes for their intended purposes!
  • 4 0
 @ShowMe357: too much logic....how can you make so much sense while commenting on PB? Madness, I say, madness...
  • 15 1
 @BoneDog: disagree, I know plenty of extremely high level riders that love the eMTB, mainly because you can get more down in a given amount of time.
  • 4 1
 @teenwolf: good point on the shuttle aspect. Also it's hard to ride a dual crown up a hill
  • 2 0
 @ridingofthebikes: touché ????????
  • 2 1
 @ShowMe357: This kind of sums it up though, the reason Ebikes are outselling regular bikes in europe is that most people who can afford regular bikes, and mostly only 1 regular bike buy a bike every 3-4 years and run it until it dies, with fatbikes + bikes, Ebikes etc the industry is playing more in to the hands of well of guys who have multiple bikes and appeasing them with more toys, and actually making regular riding more inaccessable for a lot of folks.
  • 1 0
 @ShowMe357: Yeah! and you only need one question mark bud.
  • 13 1
 @BoneDog: What about me? I'm in my 40s have been riding since I was a kid, and just want another way to have fun. That's all I care about, riding bikes is fun. E-bike or not.
  • 4 1
 Your Ebike customers are going to be mostly non cyclist and not on PB . The E bike is growing at such a bigger % than all other sectors of the bike industry. Growing pains for sure, but a good thing; Yes!
  • 13 27
flag 5afety3rd (Feb 12, 2021 at 17:50) (Below Threshold)
 Ebikes are pushing me out of mountain biking and back to bmx personally. Something about simplicity and no I’ll never be one of those SS 29er guys (ever again) mountain biking gets more lame everyone year because it’s just meant for rich white people at this point. Like skiing. Gone are the outcast punk misfit origins.
  • 5 5
 Go watch the vid of Danny MacAskill doing laps on an eMTB. They are a tool for getting easy vert. People said (and still say) the same thing about shuttling. Get used to them, because they are here to stay and will dominate zones where they are allowed.
  • 10 1
 @BoneDog: and what rules are those? The ones you made up?
  • 5 4
 @BoneDog: You’re actually more of a scolder, which is way worse.
  • 2 2
 @ShowMe357: And the resident scolders downvote you.
  • 7 2
 @BoneDog: why not gate keep? Because nobody gives a crap what some fake internet tough guys think hahahaha
  • 17 5
 @5afety3rd:
Not rich people, just rich white people? What a stupid ignorant statement.
  • 1 2
 True that@ShowMe357:
  • 8 3
 @BoneDog: in my neck of the woods I see a fair amount of established riders on ebikes who seem like they use them to assist in trail maintenance or as a training tool to increase more effective "time" on the bike
  • 8 12
flag 5afety3rd (Feb 12, 2021 at 22:08) (Below Threshold)
 @endoguru: it's not stupid nor ignorant. it's a statement of observation of the american mountain town demographics. go look in any ski resort lift like in the country, go to any mountain bike oriented bike shop no in an urban area, obverse, record your findings and get back to me.
  • 10 0
 @netracer-enduro: 99% of MTB-ers won't send a road gap.
  • 3 0
 @BoneDog: yeah there's also the fast-ish guys that ride their ebike so they can climb at XC race speed on a bike with nice tires and suspension to make the lunch lap fun and slightly less sweaty with a funner DH
and then ride the regular bike on weekends.

that's without counting the commuters.

that said you are correct that many newer riders need more clinics/classes lol
  • 7 0
 @5afety3rd: ?? you're going back to bmx but hating on singlespeed mtb?

(PS have singlespeed, bmx and ebike, ride all Wink )
  • 3 6
 @dontcoast: not hating, but I’m sure you know the stereotypical SS person lol
  • 2 1
 @mexicant: Another point: How many people watch Formula 1 and how many even know about Formula E?
  • 8 0
 @ShowMe357:

Punk is not consumer culture
  • 2 0
 I actually can see that. I see so many old folks on emtbs casually strolling around not even using them as ebikes.
  • 4 5
 @5afety3rd: I agree mate and feel the same. Aesthetics and simplicity with just you as the motor is the thing for me, I get where the moped zealots are coming from and see their reasoning but it’s making me want to pack it in.
  • 12 8
 @5afety3rd: Based on the nutty narratives you have running in your head, I'd say it's you who's lame, and super delicate. Probably best you exit the arena, MTB is just far too triggering for you. Watch out for that doorknob on your way out.
  • 6 14
flag 5afety3rd (Feb 13, 2021 at 13:17) (Below Threshold)
 @Chuckolicious: go f*ck yourself boomer
  • 7 6
 @5afety3rd: what you're describing is a feeling of oppression. Who is making you feel that way?
  • 6 7
 @BenPea: not oppression. Annoyance of the idiots on ebikes.
  • 6 4
 @5afety3rd: any way of avoiding being in their presence?
  • 4 6
 @5afety3rd: Oh man, can't do mathz either. The hits just keep coming!
  • 6 7
 @5afety3rd: watching you lose your shit over this is hilarious
  • 3 8
flag 5afety3rd (Feb 13, 2021 at 17:58) (Below Threshold)
 @cuban-b: lol I’m over here laughing at you assclowns. Go check your entitlement elsewhere. Haha like I really give a f*ck. I’m trolling you and you’re taking the bait hahaha
  • 7 8
 @5afety3rd: haha ok snowflake
  • 6 8
 @cuban-b: f*ck off magat
  • 6 7
 @5afety3rd: #triggered
  • 4 7
 @cuban-b: shouldn’t you be domestically terrorizing someone while riding your emtb in a national park or something?
  • 6 5
 @Chuckolicious: based on his unhinged responses, your assessment is accurate. If children’s toys cause this much triggering for such a sensitive softy, probably best to avoid the hobby. Laughable, and super entertaining though!
  • 5 1
 A friend works in a bike shop and about 80% of their sale in the south of France are ebikes.
  • 4 1
 Hello from Italy, in the middle of the best of the Alps. There are at least two shops that sell only ebikes and they sell incredibly high. Incredibly now here if you search an ebike that is not on stock you have to wait incredibly long time,as we all know due to covid, but if you're searching for a classic MTB or road bike of any kind or brand... well you have not to wait all that long. For examples you find new stumpy in medium size of about any level in stock. Sad but true. And a lot of fat old man on the trails waisting them.
  • 4 1
 For statistics and forecasting have a look there. It's from December 2019 so it didn't take into consideration 2020...
www2.deloitte.com/us/en/insights/industry/technology/technology-media-and-telecom-predictions/2020/bike-technology-transformation.html
  • 5 0
 @BoneDog: One more type. Riders who want to go fast. Either because they only have an hour after work or they have the skill and want to. I would argue that ebikes are really not that good for beginners because of that speed.
  • 1 0
 @BoneDog: id recommend spending some time at the bmx track learning how to push them out of the way.

Its pretty easy and really fun with people who cant ride well.

Just setup on the inside, drop your outside elbow low enough to get under theres, slide under and drift out raising your elbow. Then try to control your laughter enough to stay in control.

Its also fun with friends in tech jank singletrack or on high speed bikepark berms next to huge cliffs.

If I ever start to do clinics this is definitely part of the curriculum.
  • 4 2
 @BoneDog: why must we put everyone in a box? There are all sorts of people riding ebikes, new, old, and I’m seeing a ton of young healthy/ experienced riders charging on ebikes. If it gets more people out riding then great, but so many people here on pb “believe” that ebikes are just for pansy’s/ old/ new bikers that can’t handle a “real” bike. You all need to get over yourselves.
  • 2 1
 @BoneDog: Couldn't agree more but accidentally downvoted Frown sorry
  • 51 1
 Article confuses me not sure what point is being made.....I'll blame it on it being Friday.
  • 14 2
 Remember the guy who was crying "leave Britney alone" years back? The article is kind of like that, but for ebikes.
  • 20 1
 Agree. I'm both intrigued and confused by it. 10/10 worth the read. I learned nothing.
  • 10 0
 The point is that bike companies are going to be focusing on ebikes. The target customer for an ebike is not a hardcore mountain biker. Thus the companies are going to spend less on enduro racing, which only hardcore mountain bikers pay attention too, and shift it to DH, which they see as more of a "spectator sport" which is more likely to be seen by the non hardcore biker who is most likely to buy and ebike.
  • 4 1
 Yeah, I had a hard time following it as well.
  • 4 1
 Possibly because I just didn’t care enough.
  • 2 0
 @sino428: Agreed, DH isn't going to lose popularity as a spectator sport because it's so spectacular. But it seems likely that e ews racing is going to make major inroads on regular ews racing. If companies don't have the financial justification to support regular ews racing, more racers will switch over to e ews racing. Once some of the big name racers switch over I could see it seriously diminishing the value of regular ews racing.

I find the e ews racing a little more interesting in part because of the climbing stage. This also will lead to more versatile e bikes that have to be able to climb as well as they descend, which is a good thing. It might also be a little more spectator friendly because fans can see the racers for a longer period of time on the technical climbs.
  • 9 4
 The article basically says, that money is not spend on racing but it is invested in racing. And it will be invested in a sport that fosters profit of the company. E.g. My wife an I, we watch DH live and on screen. But when I showed her enduro, she said it is boring because it's the same turn all over again. So, when we buy a new bike for her, it will be electric of course. And for sure she favors a brand that she can relate to. That's the point!
  • 7 1
 @WoS: why electric “of course”? Legit curious.
  • 4 5
 @DoubleCrownAddict: most eBikes are already incredibly capable climbers because of the geo. Long stays and front centers give them the ability to go up almost anything. For grins we climb up some of the steeper DH trails we have built and it is awesome.
  • 3 2
 @mariomtblt: well, for her the joy of biking isnt in competition or sweat and pain. With an emtb, riding is more fun for her and subsequently for me.
  • 2 0
 @salespunk: I'd like to see what you consider a steep DH trail as around here it would be impossible to climb any steep trail on any e-bike.
  • 2 0
 @salespunk: I agree but think there will eventually be adjustable angles for the climbing stages because the time you can make up is crucial. I did that once when I knew nobody was on the trail coming down.
  • 1 0
 @Mattwendling: it's wasn't close to the steepest trails we ride, but has some 25% pitches mixed into it. Beyond 30% incline it is close to impossible to keep the front wheel on the ground.
  • 37 3
 Couldn't the same arguments be made for the Road Racing side of the sport? Not sure I see a future any time soon where the Tour De France, the biggest money bike spectacle in the world, is being run on eBikes. I think more than likely the “naturally aspirated” side of the sport stays niche as it mostly has always been.

Possibly one day eBike racing becomes its own popular thing, but when average people ditched dirt bikes for more consumer friendly quads & Side x Side ATVs, neither of those had forms of racing that took off despite the popularity of the products. The average Joe’s that bought those vehicles never cultivated a deeper racing culture and couldn't care less if Polaris or Can Am won some random race. I see eBike buyers screwing around after work and wanting fun transportation as largely the same demographic.

To the statement about packaging like arena cross- the packaging and spectacle of eBike racing is no more consumer friendly than it is with regular bike racing.
  • 13 0
 I’m fairly sure the point of this article is that money bike brands have previously spent on enduro racing, which is great fun and closest to how most of us ride (the participation sport) will/is migrating into Downhill Racing (the spectator sport). This is because your average prospective ebike buyer is much more likely to watch a few clips of full race runs in glorious RedBullovision of Danny Hart and friends tearing down a track at Mach chicken than they are of trying to figure out what is going on in an EWS highlights package.

It’s not saying that ebikes “blasting” around stadiums is about to become the next big thing in MTB racing.
  • 5 0
 "Not sure I see a future any time soon where the Tour De France, the biggest money bike spectacle in the world, is being run on eBikes."
well they are already "charged" in their own way on the Tour de France, it is not thanks to electrical power though..
  • 1 0
 I dont think that argument applies to road racing bc of the spectator/participation premise laid out. From an access standpoint to see all the live action road racing is the spectator sport as its raced on road ways where spectators can easily access a viewpoint and motorbikes can follow along and record every moment of action. These logistical challenges is what makes enduro a participation sport.

DH has the benefit of some cameras but even then as the article points out we still only see a few mins of each run, better than nothing of course but at least good enough for the average to new viewer to get some baseline on course difficultly and drama. Add to this society's general short attention span and you have a discipline thats more viewer friendly and thus the "spectator" sport of MTB.
  • 2 0
 Off roader here, Side by side racing is HUGE, youtube it, Dirt bike sales peaked last year. sold more than ever. AMA supercross going strong. Lots of wrong info BUT i see what you are saying and actually agree. just dose not apply to off road sports. We are talking about adding power to previously un powered device.
  • 2 0
 sorry, just adding this. Round 3 at x games in fricken 2017!!!! www.youtube.com/watch?v=pn3cAS5GYy0&ab_channel=XGames
  • 3 0
 @ridingofthebikes: Not saying that it doesn’t exist, but I would need to ask for your definition of “HUGE”. Who are the mainstream names that people who don’t follow it would know? It’s a niche sport that I’m sure is a big deal to those who are into it, but I have never walked into a sports bar and seen it playing on any TV, nor seen race champions landing on mainstream media like Rachael Atherton, Carmichael, etc. I have seen plenty of motocross and even some DH bike racing played in large sports bars, though, and certainly lots of road cycling.
  • 1 1
 @ninjatarian: well. it's X games in 2017, so. not small, or niche. I believe NASCAR is the biggest spectator sport in the world. MUCH bigger than downhill racing. that is for sure. so your kinda a victim of your own logic. MTB racing is big deal to those who are into it. but my dad literally thought they stopped racing downhill bikes and was stoked to hear they still do it. I put my hand flat on my face.! so yeah I would actually think side by side racing is near as big as all forms of MTB racing minus XC. One thing that is for sure and am sure we can both agree on, E bike racing and side by side racing have got to be one of the most head scratching forms of racing to watch lol.
  • 3 1
 @ridingofthebikes: Aaron Gwin was featured in Rolling Stone magazine, not even a sports publication.

At any rate, I don’t see eBikes having any significant impact on racing in the near future, DH, enduro, or otherwise. I don’t think 35 year old software engineers buying eBikes (who don’t live on this site) watch DH or enduro, and normcore yuppies who don’t ride bikes that are enamored with the occasional spectacle of humans flying through the French Alps under their own power would probably lose all interest if the bikes had motors all of a sudden.

I just don’t see eBikes relating in any way to the type of marketing the traditional racing is all about.
  • 2 0
 @ninjatarian: K. Except rolling stones magazine will feature anyone interesting enough, Hardly a representation to how big a sport is... Not sure if that's where you were going with that but yeah. not exactly big news.
  • 1 2
 The Tour is a significantly different value prop than Enduro. Every minute of every stage is televised world wide and is a spectacle similar to Supercross. It doesn't require participation to understand how the riders are turning themselves inside out.
  • 27 5
 What is this? Ebikes are going to take over the world and bring an end to Enduro racing? Nonsense. I like real bicycles
  • 2 1
 Pardon my ignorance (about Enduro) but isn't it overwhelmingly a skill-based sport rather than power? The climbs are not even timed. And e-bikes don't assist you in terms of handling skills as far as I know. (Genuine question, not trying to start a gravity vs XC fight here.)
  • 3 0
 @agul29: If you’ve never enduro raced before you might not realize how many small climbs and heavy pedaling/sprinting sections there are in an average enduro stage. It’s not very exciting and so those sections aren’t show very often. If you watch some of the full POV runs you’ll see how much pedaling there can be. And obviously some have more than others. And it’s in these sections where quite a bit of time can be made or lost depending on your fitness and how hard (or not) you’re able to giv’r.

Even in my local series, I tend to be able to descend as fast as most of the top 10 guys (in my category), but I lack fitness and lose a lot of time on the climbs and pedaling sections.
  • 2 0
 @islandforlife: I've watched a bunch of enduro POV videos but I didn't realize how much pedaling was going on. I will watch them with a different perspective now. Thank you for explaining.
  • 17 1
 If every rider in the EWS was equipped with a decent camera for on-board footage, coupled with a handful of decent course-feature based footage there is able scope for decent footage - it can be done if the will is there.
  • 7 0
 There has got to be a will and it must have a ROI $$
  • 13 0
 Jesse's footage being implemented in to official event coverage was amazing, and we need more of it. All top riders should be asked to wear gopros and submit all their footage after the race. It can only be good for the sport to have those kinds of perspectives.
  • 4 0
 @jayacheess: unfortunately to the layperson it will still not look exciting enough. The Go Pro effect is real so what appears kinda flat to dad-bro isn’t going to sell the sport. Drone footage may though.
  • 1 0
 @whitebirdfeathers: I don't believe that's necessarily the case. I think it really depends on camera position, setup, and how the footage is used and spliced in to highlights.

But yes, more drone footage, as well.
  • 3 0
 @jayacheess: I really enjoyed the races that Pinkbike was covering this summer where the riders were wearing GoPros and a few cameras were scattered throughout the race. The coverage was delayed by a day or so while someone editted it together but its the first time I felt like an Enduro race was packaged in a way that I would want to watch.
  • 14 0
 EWS needs to put together a proposal to create a much better packaged show. They need to court some bigger sponsors in order to fund better coverage. There is a perfect comparison with WRC and it's coverage.

Standard EWS GoPro mounts on athletes helmets, top 10 or 20 riders given EWS GoPros, more drones used where possible and a few static camera positions at interesting points of the stages. Hell... maybe even a few follow cam riders??

SD cards could be swapped out at the end of stages so editors can begin the process of creating a 30 min to an hour long show. Again a lot of this is done for WRC's coverage and it works so well. But there is obviously a lot more money in something that sells cars than bikes... but still, it doesn't have to be to the level of WRC.

More money = more cameras, more editors, more experienced editors and producers, and more production value, all packaged up into a highly entertaining and drama filled event.

But all of the above takes cash... so you'd need a substantial sponsor willing to bet on it working, take the shot and fund the first season. Red Bull, GoPro and Pinkbike seem like good options.

Look how well the Pink Bike Academy worked. I'm not saying turn EWS into reality tv... but using some of what they did to create a compelling show that advertisers and sponsors would invest in would go a long way to turning EWS into a well supported and marketable event.
  • 4 0
 Totally agree that ews has failed in marketing to maximize its potential. It's basically something you read about rather than watch. But the problem is that ews waited too long and still haven't done it. Now if they finally do, e ews racing will do it just as well, if not better, since that is where the money is trending towards because of the increase in e bike sales. Don't know if pinkbike academy is a good comparison, but can't say for sure since I never really gave it a chance.
  • 2 1
 I don’t think that is fair to the EWS, they have done a great job with the discipline, the issue is with the nature of discipline itself. WRC is actually a great parallel, but maybe not in the way you intended. When I was growing up there was a moment when it was huge, my parents (who aren’t big on motorsport) would follow it and we went to watch it a couple of times, when Colin McRae and Richard Burns were at the top of the sport, but at some point it just kinda vanished from the mainstream. It was no longer on the BBC, it seemed like most of the manufacturers pulled back and what I see today is a greatly reduced sport. To put the scale of the automotive industry into scale with a semi-indirect comparison, Bosch are a minor component supplier in that world (yes, they cover other business, hence “semi-indirect”), yet Trek, the largest bicycle company on the planet, have an annual turnover somewhere in the region of 30x smaller than Bosch. So if an industry on that scale cannot make this sort of discipline work for a mainstream audience, to think the cycling industry could is unrealistic. Again, I think the EWS do a great job, but I have been telling people for the best part of a decade that hopes of turning enduro into an all-singing, all-dancing media extravaganza isn’t going to happen - and for the sake of the sport, maybe shouldn’t...
  • 1 0
 @mattwragg: yep, I used to follow it religiously during that time as well. I’m not exactly sure why it fell out of popularity. But I think it was two things. Manufactures pulling out and they made the show much worse. For me, at its height Speedvision used to give 20 mins end of day highlight shows then after the weekend and full 1.5 hour recap... it was so so good. Then they slowly degraded that, used less cameras and reduced the show. So I don’t know if making the show worse reduced the following which then made it less attractive and valuable to manufacturers or if manufacturers pulled out so there was less money to put on a great show and people stopped following.

But I never thought that the EWS needed to go to the same level of production as the WRC... but using some of the simple cheaper best practices and modifying them to work for the EWS could make the show just so much better.
  • 3 0
 @mattwragg: I think @islandforlife has a very valid point that the EWS coverage could be improved to a point, particularly editing together GoPro footage from the key riders - instead of just showing all the riders tackling the same couple of bits of track with a bombastic voiceover.
There'll never be live coverage on par with DH, obvs, but they could absolutely evolve and improve the content they are putting out at the moment to engage more committed and casual fans.
I must say this is a very well-written article, and I hope @brianpark commissions you to do more in a similar vein.
If some readers are suggesting they don't follow the argument, I'd suggest it might be due to the elephant in the room - how could eMTB racing actually work as a format? Are the credibility hurdles too high? Will viewers perceive it as fundamentally unfair?
Or perhaps the point of the article is that eMTBs don't need to be raced to sell, like Mercedes don't race the SUVs and saloons that they sell off the back of Lewis Hamilton's sucess. So is the logical conclusion that eeb manufacturers need to sponsor DH? Or do more grassroots events where people can try them?
  • 12 1
 Out of shape dad who has more money than time here. I get to ride about twice a week sometimes more. I only reach for my ebike when I’m sick or just to tired from life. But I’m still glad it’s there. On my local laps I get passed by fit people and ebikes fairly often( on the way up at least). I would have to say it’s probably 60/40 ebikes/regular mtbs now, and I get the feeling that it’s going to be 80/20 sooner rather than later, at least in the Bay Area CA where there is a lot of money. Even though I have a gorgeous DH bike, I almost never get to ride it. Day trips are brutal with work and two kids. I have a trail bike, and that gets most of the riding time as I enjoy really sweating two days a week most of the time, plus the Dh experience is still superior to my ebike. Gone are the days of shuttling my DH bike as most of my friends have kids to( and I’m not sure I really push the DH bike that hard anymore). Point of all this? Not sure, but I’m glad I have an ebike. It would be nice if they required trail etiquette classes for purchase of an ebike thoughWink
  • 5 2
 Where in the Bay Area are you seeing that many eBikes? Other than the Philipino crew I see at Joaquin Miller I've never seen more than 3 of them at once and at most they are only 5-10% of the riders I see.

Also, they are banned on some of the best trails, like in Soquel (although you see a few and I'm not gonna fight anyone over it), which makes it seem kinda pointless to me around here.
  • 2 0
 @mtb-thetown: South Marin is ebikes and gravel riders mostly now. Sooo many folks on the upper ridges now.
  • 2 0
 @mtb-thetown: There's quite a few in the south bay at Santa Teresa and Calero these days as well.
  • 3 0
 @mtb-thetown: demo forest in Aptos where they aren’t allowed, and UC trails in SC.
  • 12 1
 Owned a vitus e sommet for 1 year and sold it to buy a normal mtb. I’ll never go back on an electric bike, takes away so much of the experience
  • 16 7
 I have had an e-mountain bike for three seasons now. I never ride it anymore because it just does't get me stoked like my acoustic bike does. I would rather do a shorter loop on my acoustic bike rather than a bigger lap on my ebike.
  • 13 2
 "Hmm, the comments sections are a bit quiet at the moment, I know, lets post an ebike story"
  • 12 0
 I'm just here for the Taj comics
  • 1 0
 They are hilarious, I've never seen anything which portrays bike racing as marketing prostitution so blatantly and over-the-top.
  • 28 20
 Riding a e-bike is like going to a brothel for a hug... Just do it properly and get a real bike and stop being a lazy lump of prius driving shllt... How crap and sissy will enduro racing look if every sponsor demands their riders ride a crappy e-bike.
  • 7 7
 They already use a lift for half the stages, or more, at some races, so it's already pretty pathetic looking.
  • 9 3
 @LeDuke: So downhillers are completely pathetic then? We know your xc preferences no need to continue harping on them at a gravity focused site. Some lift access in an enduro race is okay with me. I peg my heart rate way more descending than climbing so to try and declare that climbing is the only test of fitness is ridiculous.
  • 6 8
 @heatproofgenie: Nah, at least the DH guys aren't trying to pretend it's something other than what it is.
  • 7 3
 @LeDuke: Ha. Well even the DH guys have said the EWS courses are just as or often more gnarly then DH. You do you though.
  • 7 12
flag Blownoutrides (Feb 12, 2021 at 23:51) (Below Threshold)
 On my acoustic bike today I put in 3 1000’ vert laps in 2hrs on a local downhill trail. On an ebike I could do 5-6 laps and likely get just as much exercise. That alone settles it, but here’s another thing: if folks spend just as much time on their ebike as the would have on an acoustic bike, their skills are going to progress at least twice as fast. Read that again.
  • 5 3
 @Blownoutrides: ok keep saying that to yourself
  • 12 4
 Not quite sure why this subject is on a mountain biking website. It must just be about the $$. Fact is - ebikes and ebike racing are sports unto themselves. They are no more relevant to mountain bike racing than mountain bikes are to dirt bike racing. Apples and oranges - as I've said before.
  • 7 0
 it's a sensitive topic. For some the bike is a getaway, bliss, a break from the world, and people never feel more relaxed when they are out riding, It is always a bit of a reality check when you see that this is an industry, money is highly involved, and the marketing is real, All of which feel like personal attacks on our beloved hobby/sport. So I get the hate. I get it.
  • 7 1
 Solid work dude. The reality of sports is that the vast majority of companies will (for obvious reasons) actively exploit every opportunity to pull in high-budget buyers. This demographic values prestige, a name, an association with a brand that is either already elite or aspirational, and they can be as catty and/or loyal as the rest of us. As companies veer towards these niches and aggrandize them, so will consumer attitudes veer, with consumer attitudes goes the media, with the media goes potential new consumers, and that's how you shift a market. I don't think the original sport of mountain biking is going anywhere but up, but we're going to have to prepare for a shift where we might be viewed as either out of touch with "the new normal", or as even more masochistic, luddite diehards.
I'm not saying that you have to give a crap about what anyone else thinks, we just need to be prepared to welcome, educate, and get these new folks focused on keeping mountain biking accessible and fun for everyone, from the dad cranking out laps with his kids on a E-DH bike to the dudes who ride ride BMX bikes on the tightest single track they can find, which you should totally try sometime, it's rad. We need people who can afford to donate $1000 a month to a trail advocacy group as much as you need people who maintain their local spot through their own blood, sweat, tears, shovels, picks and beers. You need someone to pay full markup on bikes AND accessories so your local shop can afford to give someone a bro discount without going out of business. Most of all- and I'm going ten-ply here- you need people who do more than open their wallets, but open their hearts to the idea of getting out in the wild and having fun.
Anyway, thanks again for the article, great work.
  • 6 0
 On the Supercross analogy, it would be great if MTB had a discipline that incorporates aspects DJ, DH, Dual Salom, enduro and packed it into a short course format race. Say 4 riders racing at the same time down a track in view of all spectators. This event could even run along side WC and at Crankworx, have it own world series to. Hey a good name would be 4cross.
  • 11 2
 To all the people that say moto and ebikes can't be compared.
  • 6 1
 Because it appeals to a broader spectrum of riders (not niche like DH, dual, etc) I'm not sure that it would be considered to be in a bubble. It's more like "regular old mountain biking" than any other discipline. Manufacturers have been striving for decades to make bikes like enduro bikes (climb well enough and fully capable downhill). That's why we like watching the EWS. We are watching the pros do what we do, but way faster/better.
  • 5 0
 Thousands of words to say basically nothing.
Anyway, most Ebikers are interested in having a good time with friends, a good lunch, a smooth ride. They don't care about racing, EWS, DH or XC.
Don't mix up your way of looking at cycling, Wragg (enduro or bust), and reality.
  • 6 1
 Speaking as a former sponsored pro (20 years ago, yikes) mountain biking has always, in all disciplines, been a participation sport. The goal of the sponsored rider is to sell bikes, whether by winning races/being personable, or by doing media promotion of whatever type. It's also to encourage amateur riders to pay an entry fee and do the race.

There are not casual mountain bike fans who do not also ride, right? I enjoy watching basketball and will occasionally pay money to go to an actual game, but I can't remember the last time I actually laced 'em up at the Y. But if you ask the average person to sit down and watch a DH (or enduro, or XC) race, they'll get up and leave after a few minutes. It's not supercross.

I think e-bikes will allow a lot of casual riders to, with minimal suffering, do enduro races on the same courses (or similar, at least) as the pros. That will never, ever be true of DH.

DH isn't supercross. It's not exciting enough to draw non-riding fans. The future (and past) for mountain bike racing, like triathalon, is as a participation sport exclusively.

-Walt
  • 5 0
 The pressure to sell bikes should not fall on athletes. The fact that marketing managers couldn't sell Vouilloz says more about those managers and their ineptitude than it says about Nico. These same managers may chase the easy money of the superficial, novice mountain biker but they do so at their peril. Thats just another bubble and its one that endangers the entire sport.

Foster the core culture, cover the best races and make bikes targeting life long riders and reap the rewards of your investment.

Why the f*ck does anyone think its so popular now??
  • 4 0
 Totally agree. Think of people who knew/know what Metal Mulisha was but had no idea who David Knight or any 3rd place or worse outdoor MX guys are? Freestyle MX being a much easier to watch/film than hard enduro. But especially at that early 2000's not near as difficult as Hard Enduro. Even as a racer we made a lot of fun of kids trying to be a FMX guy. Now look at that sport! l

Maybe if we could get brands to focus on the ability to put DH as the spectacle but perhaps treat the Enduro team as the minor league affiliate or in the states are Arenacross and WORCS racing? The place where some pros can grow up then move to elite DH then go back down to retire?

Thoughts?
  • 5 1
 I get pretty bored trying to watch a whole DH televised event. It only hots up in the last dozen runs or so. I really enjoy the EWS coverage and think the team do a great job - could be better - but on the whole really good. I worry for bike racing as a whole with the rise of ebikes. I used to help out in the pits for a friend of mine when he used to race Karts (250cc moto cross 2 strokes capable of 150mph +). This was about as cheap as motor sport got. Whilst the top guys had talent - money can't fully replace that - it was also painfully evident that the top guys had TONS of cash. Of course then there's the question of scruteneering, how many engines allowed etc. If ebike racing does take off then it will become far more about the technology than the athlete which, to my mind, would be such a shame. Maybe I'm off the point of the article I don't know. I'm 56 and only started mountain biking about 5 years ago. I don't love suffering and generally ride for the down hill stuff and enter the occasional enduro. I've tried ebikes and know what they're capable of but I'm going to hold the day off buying one for as long as possible. I can't afford it for one thing!! Old man rant over.
  • 4 0
 Cube have hardly shown a strong marketing strategy, especially in the US.

Using that brand as an example of future campaigns for highly established brands is a bit of a stretch, don't you think?
  • 3 0
 I dont think it's a stretch- when you aren't trek or santa cruz focusing your business strategy to a specific market where you know you can play ball seems like a good idea.
  • 1 0
 Yes It's a stretch to consider that US=EU when it comes to cycling in general but also e-bikes brands strategy.

At least this article doesn't do the usual stretch : ebikes=emtb="emtb that are used for actual mtbiking"
  • 1 0
 Seeing as Cube don't sell bikes in the US, that would be about right that they don't have a strong marketing strategy there. There aren't many brands bigger than Cube, we're talking Specialized, Giant, Trek...
  • 4 1
 I get the marketing strategy stuff, and agree on the whole enduro is fun to do but shit to watch.
But how are ebikes related? Unless we will be seeing artificial stadium courses the ebike bit seems a bit shoehorned in to an otherwise well thought out and interesting article.
  • 3 0
 Its not about marketing ebikes themselves. Its about marketing the brands. Take the motocross example. Not many people are riding supercross, but people seeing Kawasaki or Suzuki do well there creates brand recognition. So when people go looking to buy a dirtbike, even if its for something more tame like enduro or touring, they may be drawn to those brands. Same goes for auto racing. Regular people aren't racing cars, but that doesn't stop the big auto companies from sponsoring high performance teams does it? They do it because even though its not directly related, it Ford, Honda, Mercedes, etc are winning races, its creates a positive perception of the brand, even to a guy who's just going to local dealer to buy a 4 door sedan for his family.

The same dynamic may be at play for mountain bikes. Ebike racing is never going to be any good. But the brands can gain overall recognition for their products through something like DH racing (spectator sport) more so than they can through enduro.
  • 4 1
 I know ebike racers have maximum power output standards for an level playing field but i curious if those standards can’t be beat with a little programming. Similar to the VW emissions scandal where the output was changed for the testing the reverted back.
  • 2 2
 You can mod them to your hearts content but once you do, any kind of warranty evaporates and all liability fall on you.
  • 4 0
 @JPones: I imagine someone cheating a race cares little for a warranty
  • 4 2
 @iantmcg: yeah missed that part. I dont care what happens in ebike races....at all.
  • 7 1
 people geting int mtb should just start on bmx, all the skills, none of the cost
  • 5 0
 Or DJ. Cool to see dj bikes selling well again.
  • 1 0
 @grldm3: its like twice the cost, but yea, dj bikes are cool. "pumptrack bikes" arent tho
  • 3 0
 Some good points made here. I think the overall value of athletes and sponsorships has less to do with particular disciplines and more to do with their overall reach. I sort of see the hierarchy of value for sponsored athletes as follows (in very simplified terms):

1. Decorated competitors who frequently engage with their audience, oblige their sponsors, and have strong followings.
2. "Decent" competitors and "lifestyle" (ugh, hate that word) athletes who frequently engage with their audience, oblige their sponsors, and have strong followings.
3. "Content creators" who frequently engage with their audience, oblige their sponsors, and have strong followings.
4. Decorated competitors who have strong followings, but are less proactive with engagement and content.
5. "Decent" competitors and "lifestyle" athletes who are less proactive with engagement and content.

The bigger the budget you have, the more 1s and 2s you can get. You can nearly the same effect with with more volume of 2s and 3s, however. You pretty much want to avoid 4s and 5s, and they struggle to get contracts and much of anything other than product support.

In any case, "win on Sunday, sell on Monday" is definitely a limited effect.
  • 7 4
 Not so hot take: e-bike racing will never be a thing. It will never be a thing because there is already the endgame of an e-bike which is a motorcycle. Why watch gokarts when you can watch actually race cars go around a track?

Any event or series that requires extensive travel will continue to suffer post covid, so I don't think Enduro is alone in that one. I do agree that normal bikes (and hence normal bike racing) will suffer because of the e-bike bubble.
  • 8 3
 No, they are not. Not XC racing anyways. We will continue to use real bikes, because e-bikes are the exact opposite of what XCO and XCM are about.
  • 3 0
 Author uses "mountain bike racing" and "enduro mountain bike racing" interchangeably. It's funny considering enduro is not even comparable to XC in terms of money, popularity, spectacle and history, AFAIK.
  • 1 1
 @agul29: Author should maybe also get out of the endemic mtb bubble. Then he might realize that practically no one outside of the endemic mtb crowd even knows that there are other mtb racing disciplines. Most people know XCO from watchin the olympics and thats usually it.
  • 1 0
 long travel eebs make sense, but 130mm eebs are just dumb
  • 3 0
 Living in Nelson, NZ we have alot of steep, difficult trails and a few easier trails. Generally I notice when I go to the easier trails area - tons of ebikers. The difficult trials with big climbs - pretty much all regular bikes still. (We also have good shuttle providers). E-bikes to me are generally their own category, bringing in new people to the sport that wouldn't have been into it before (I don't work in a bike shop so can only comment on what I see). Enduro will stick around because it's the most fun form of racing that appeals to how most people ride their bikes anyway.
  • 3 0
 You have freedom of choice to become a cyborg or be replaced by cyborgs unless we replace corporate profits as the sine qua non of our economy and society. The upside is that our current path is going to so devastate the natural world that you won't want to be out there pedaling anyway.
  • 4 1
 E bikes will never change racing - be it XC, Downhill or Enduro. Anyone who thinks they will are over analyzing the fact that E bikes have a motor attached. There may be classes and events geared towards E-bikes, but in the way that Enduro racing has spurred the evolution of the all mountain bike, and Downhill racing has pushed the limits of the Downhill bike.. E-bike events will only push the design envelope of the E-bike. The E-bike in itself isn't the devil. The wife and I are in the category where we have busy lives. We used to ride once a week at absolute best. The E-bike has given us the ability to enjoy an entire day of riding without being gassed half way through. 3 laps instead of 1, more KM, more Elevation, no shuttle vehicle, etc. We're still tired by the end, but the result was more riding. Her technical ability and confidence is up 10 fold, we ride places we had never dreamed previously. Ultimately that's what we're all in it for - the ride. The motorcycle didn't kill the bicycle, The snowmobile didn't kill the cross country ski. E-bikes are here to stay, and i'm positive that Enduro, XC and Downhill will remain alive and well.
  • 3 0
 Well now in California, Newsom just signed an executive order to phase out motocross bikes, side-by-sides and ATVs by the year 2035. E-motocross bikes, and ATVs will be the new future. Not sure that is going to go over well with the California pro motocross riders and motocross riders in general.
  • 5 2
 I had the opportunity to ride/borrow an ebike for a few months. My first ride was amazing, I was convinced it was a game changer. After my 10th - 15th ride, the luster started wearing off. The ebike excitement comes from that initial feeling of going fast on the climbs, plowing through technical terrain with ease, and feeling a sense of security with how heavy/stable the bike feels. That excitement turns into boredom and unchallenging extremely fast. I also soon began to realize the lack of physical demand the ebike provided vs my standard bike. I would have to ride 3-4 times longer in order to feel any type of work out which took way too much time out of my day. I think an ebike makes a lot of sense if your local trails are extremely long and challenging, you're only goal for mountain biking is sessioning / riding flow and or park without a lift service, or you've reached a point in life where you're physically unable to exert yourself and need assistance. I'm by no means a mountain biking bad ass so if I felt this way I would assume many hardcore mountain bikers would share the same sentiment. Therefore, I do not think ebikes will ever take over. I think it will be more of an acoustic guitar vs electric guitar situation.

I also feel like outdoor mountain sports are supposed to be a leader in environmental awareness and advocating for more natural resources. Pushing this battery narrative in the name of sales seems awfully hypocritical. We can paint pretty pictures, such as people will use them as a commuting alternative to cars. However, our over consuming society will prove this is simply another way to make our lives easier and to get our latest/greatest fix.
  • 10 7
 We embrace all kinds of MTB racing and in our opinion that would include Ebikes. We are adding a Class 1 Motorex USA Ebike Enduro Series class in 2021 after offering a few stand alone events over the past couple seasons.
  • 2 1
 How do you monitor or regulate derestricted or "hacked" bikes? Honor system?
  • 9 3
 Time to make www.PinkieBike.com
  • 3 1
 I don't get how the Emtb part of this article is relevant to the larger topic of racing's return on investment? Plenty of people will buy a new Intense because they see Aaron Gwin riding one. But whether they end up with a Tazer Emtb, or an M16/M29 or Carbine, etc. it doesn't matter. The point is they see him racing an Intense and are thinking of that the next time they buy a bike. Done.

And though I do agree that a lot of mountain bike race coverage could use improvement, again I don't see some kind of direct tie in with Emtbs? It's just the return on investment finding it's natural place. They have no problem covering every aspect of Survivor, or the Amazing Race, or all kinds of various "reality TV shows". It's just called putting cameras EVERYWHERE. But back to the ROI of mountain bike racing there just isn't enough money spilling out to do that for every race.

And then I kind of get your point of Supercross showing how to package something to make it easy to provide camera coverage. AND "maybe" this is where your going with Emtb's? That we should throw Emtb racers in arena's in a city center near you and let them fly??? HOWEVER, I don't see the need of mountain bike racing to be in city arena's. At that point it's no longer mountain bike racing and who gives a shit? Emtbs in an arena aren't going to be any fun unless you get rid of the pedal assist and make them electric dirt bikes. AND if I'm gonna watch dirt bikes race I'd rather hear the BRRRAAAPPPPP....

AND there are/have been any number of formats created to make mountain biking more easily packaged for spectators and great TV coverage. Dual Slalom, short track, "biker cross", etc. It's not that those formats don't already exist.
  • 4 2
 From an endurance perspective, eMTB racing doesn't really make sense. Since endurance is all about your cardio/strength to weight ratio, those with smaller body types will have a huge advantage over those who are larger due to the ratio between the human power output and the bike power output power.
  • 2 0
 Personally I dont see eMTB enduro racing becoming a thing for the same logistical reasons facing enduro racing today. But i can totally see eMTB sales growth leading to increased viewership of DH racing bc most of us (myself included) really only care about the downs. Sure our weekend rides are more emblematic of enduro racing but in my own head each downhill section is its own DH race and time permitting to try to have as many of those in a ride as the quoted ride time to my wife will allow lol.

All of this said, if i were to make my OWN PREDICTION: I can totally see eMTB DH sales blowing up and that will for sure be correlated to increased DH coverage and cash inflows. As technology continues to make strides, I would absolutely be on board w/ riding a 200-170mm travel rig that can spin me up to the top of the mountain so I could ride the gnarliest lines as many times as possible BUT give it to me at sub 40lbs! I didnt buy an eMTB this last year bc 1. still lots to be sorted in Washington state on trail access 2. most importantly i dont think the tech is there yet (e.g. weight) and 3. Evil hasnt made an ebike (nor will they ever maybe...). In 5 years maybe given recent strides in battery tech, in which time ill be 40 and will likely not be too interested in 5k ft of climbing for a bunch of DH trail laps.

Like i said above, I have a riding window thanks to a wife and kids, I want to get in as many laps as possible, I want to take the biggest gun possible to the fight, and I want it to FEEL like it doesn't weigh like a tank on the descents. Do that bike industry and Ill give you a pile of money!
  • 2 0
 WRC as I see it is the closest equivalent to Enduro.
How have they maintained there interest levels over the years ? Maybe it’s more about following that model for EWS if they are seeing drop in demand. EWS are also looking at ways to bring ebikes into the series aren’t they.
  • 3 1
 Interesting comments. I ride road, XC and Enduro on an EMTB. I also commute on all my bikes as well. One of the areas where all manufacturers and the majority of shops fail to realise EMTB potential is that you can have one bike that does almost everything - except road racing. Commuting on a dual sus EMTB is the most fun ever. Tearing up and down stairs jumping around everything and keeping up with traffic (once you've delimited the motor) and then you also have a bike to go XC and enduro riding on. Also rather than drive to the trail you just ride there, shred and then ride home - perfect
  • 4 2
 Interesting comments. I ride road, XC and Enduro on an EMTB. I also commute on all my bikes as well. One of the areas where all manufacturers and the majority of shops fail to realise EMTB potential is that you can have one bike that does almost everything - except road racing. Commuting on a dual sus EMTB is the most fun ever. Tearing up and down stairs jumping around everything and keeping up with traffic (once you've delimited the motor) and then you also have a bike to go XC and enduro riding on. Also rather than drive to the trail you just ride there, shred and then ride home - perfect

Manufacturers quit with all the friggin gears - just run a 10 speed 11-42/46. Mid drive motors wear skinny 12 speed chains out so quick. TBH a good range on an 8 speed would be perfect...
  • 3 2
 Bro what are you smoking, you delimited your mopeds and are suggesting the rest of us get fewer gears? Lmao
  • 1 0
 You can get 8spd 11/42 cassettes from AliExpress.
  • 4 2
 I don't know that I agree that e-mtbs are going to take over bicycling in general. Not sure why e-bikes are reportedly so popular in Europe where-as many Americans seem to prefer traditional bikes. I've only spotted a handful of them on my local trails. Always ridden illegally and poorly by beginners near hiking dogs/ people & children.

Watching an e-bike climb rough terrain at 5mph is still just as boring as watching a bike climb it at 2.5mph. And bikes are considerably faster going down than an e-bike. That is not a marketable racing strategy even though it would be great for e-bike development.

Lots of people get on e-bikes and after the initial novelty wears off seem to go back to just a bike. E-bikes are going to continue to break down constantly rendering a lot of them useless after 3-4 seasons.

My personal opinion is that limiting our local trails to NON-motorized only (which is the current law btw) creates a reasonable line in the sand that protects other user groups from excess speed primarily from inexperienced riders, but also even heavier trail traffic and more user conficts.

If I lived and rode in wide desert expanses I'd likely feel differently about e-bikes and as a lifelong motorcyclists, of course it's very appealing to have a motor on my local trails. But I don't think it's the right fit.
  • 2 0
 While I'm hoping to avoid emtbs until at least 60, I'm pretty chill about other people on them. I just haven't seen gobs of clueless gomers clogging up the good trails where I live. Got my daughter an emtb so we could go on longer and technically more challenging rides together, keeping her away from Pinterest and the like. But, just DON'T get me started about bloody families clogging up bike parks just so they can say Tiny Tim rode down a trail with training wheels. I don't know how many times I've seen children throwing tantrums on the downhill side of a gap jump.
  • 3 1
 Have not even finished reading the article, I had to stop at the first paragraph. You begin the whole article basis on a rumor, the nico rumor, which is pure fantasy and not truth. Nico didn't necessarily have a 'hard time finding a bike sponsor', Nico the GOAT of the era was frustrated with the lack of innovation and development in full suspension/Downhill race bikes. He wanted to take it to another level of development, testing, innovation-most bike brands were beginning their pull out of DH racing and DH development. Nico could have signed with a big team, easy, he had offers, but, the issues he struggled with that I mentioned above, PLUS Nico had a big entourage of technicians with him, it wasn't as easy as just signing a Cedric, or a Peaty, etc....Nico was always full on F1, he brought the sport to new heights when it came to tuning your equipment to be it's best, squeezing every single ounce of speed out of your equipment through analysis, testing, data, etc...Nico was pure race horse-there wasn't the antics of Palmer, Peaty, Warner, Voreis or for the women the domination of an ACC, the chaos of a Missy, the winningness and sex appeal of a Leigh Donovan-with Nico, you got a group that wanted to make your product faster-thats it and most brands were looking for more. I guess there is more to it than how your rumor mill vibe first paragraph starts out.
  • 4 3
 @stikmanglaspell If you had bothered to get to the second paragraph you maybe could have saved yourself the effort of all that typing.
  • 2 0
 @mattwragg: I did read you said "I dont know how much of this story is true"....well, its none of it. So why even begin an article on baseless rumor? You are the journalist writer here, not me, just seems odd to base a whole premise of an article with a lie.
  • 1 0
 Oooaaakay...
Clearly there's beef between you guys.
But come on as 2 professionals let's stick to the point here.
Is there really a shift of sponsoring budgets because of the eBike-Boom and who's gonna be affected by it? If there is, shouldn't there be more mone generally? I mean people have been throwing money at the industry last year. The cube example is surprising, but after a little research they are the biggest eBike supplier in Germany, where the eBike share of new bikes sold is somewhere between 30-40% of all bikes, and 50-60% of MTBs. Also they consider themselves a top 5 brand worldwide by volume, but I didn't find any data on that. Interestingly they were almost unexistend in DH, before Atwill and now Hart and practically don't see them around like you do a specialized, trek or giant for that matter. On the flip side giant seems to do the opposite.
So I can see a strategy change with cube, andgiven that the eBike boom is a fact, what will that do with the industries marketing budgets?
  • 1 0
 I wouldn't underestimate our ability to consume content and influence. DH race? yes. Enduro clips? absolutely. Shredits? always. I think smart brands should create visibility in all of it, and the overall market is getting bigger and hopefully so are the rider marketing budgets.
  • 3 2
 What's the actual prediction? That things will change? No shit. How do e-bikes change what it take to get better coverage of races? How does Cube cutting international travel and leaving EWS have anything to do with e-bikes? Sounds more like just a general prediction of new, more easily marketable, more accessible to the general public, race/contest forms popping up. Are you implying that some form of e-bike racing is going to be the dominant (from a marketing budget stance) race format? The hypothetical middle-aged guy of your dreams doesn't need to explicitly see an e-bike in your story, just a certain brand doing the winning. "That demographic" buys a mix of the Chevys on the lot because they saw the brand win at NASCAR, they're not holding out for an actual race car. Since thehypothetical middle-aged guy doesn't give a shit about biking besides being on the cool brand, it doesn't matter if Danny Hart wins on an e-bike or not, so long as the guy can get a Cube of some sort at the dealer.
  • 1 1
 That's kind of how I see it too. Pointing out Cube leaving EWS is just reading way too far into things. Maybe it's not a sign of enduro dying but rather a sign that Cube figured out they spent a ton of money by being in EWS for a long time, yet they were never really relevant.
  • 5 4
 E bikes are here to stay. The racing will become short loops with extra technical climbing and the public can be seeing it all.
The XC became Olympic in 96’, and that s when XC courses went from 2 or 3 country side loop, 3h ish of racing, to 6-8 short loop and barely 1h30 and mechanical stations.

Ebike can take that format to the next level with more technical, and likely battery stations of some sort.
The problem I see is that it will be very difficult to control the cheating for batteries or motors. Specially at a lower level of racing. It s already happening.
Also money will make you faster, like a lot of mechanical sports.
  • 8 7
 It's all fun and games until a battery fire burns down a national forest. It won't matter if it's a production model or someone's jury rigged 2000 watt hot-rod. Nuance disappears when homes burn down. Ebike == bike == illegal. It was legal to fly model airplanes in the US since they were invented in 1932, right up until you could buy a premade one with a Lithium-Polymer battery in it from Amazon. Then it became illegal overnight. Now is the time to buy a rocking chair, get out on the porch, and practice shaking your fist at the sky while yelling "I remember when bikes were legal".
  • 6 3
 Exactly. I have nothing against the idea of pedal assist. But lithium batteries are so harmful to manufacture and difficult to recycle, it's sad to see them on bicycles, of all things...
  • 5 3
 @Spamlight: They aren't bicycles, they are offroad mopeds. E-bikes are a subset of motos.
  • 1 0
 I think the reason enduro racing doesn't have the same following viewer wise as dh racing is it would be really hard to cover enduro racing in the same way as dh racing and have it be entertaining.
Dh racing is one after another then that's it. You can watch a dh race start to finish on race day and never be bored.
Enduro racing say you are a Richie Rude fan, you watch a race run, then what? Spend the next 45 minutes watching him on the transfer stage? Then watch another run. Ok, now come back tomorrow. From a viewer coverage an enduro event is a lot more drawn out affair than a dh event.
From a racing/following standpoint I would say enduro racing has pretty close to the same following as dh. From a sales standpoint I think enduro racing drives sales far more than dh does. That's why when EWS really blew up a few years go there was a significant shift of riders from DHWC to the EWS.
I think them pointing out ebike usage in Europe is kind of misleading. 1) decent ebikes are new. New stuff sells better because it is selling in a vacuum. Sales need to settle in before they can look at those numbers and actually figure out ebike vs regular bike. 2) we are coming off of 2020 with it's major supply chain issues. You can't compare sales figures when people were trying to buy bikes and being told there were none to buy. Hopefully someone within the industry is smart enough to figure that out before they look at the numbers that they screwed up and use that to determine where their resources should be.
  • 2 1
 On the topic of Supercross being the most viewed form of off-road motorcycle racing I've often wondered if Ebike racing could take a similar approach. I remember watching the release video for the Cannondale Moterra where a short track is built with a steep uphill followed by a descent with multiple line options. I could see a track like this being used for head to head racing similar to Supercross. The track can be small so fans get a good view of all the action and it would be much easier to have good camera coverage for a live feed of the race.

Here's the video link for reference.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEgzwNPRm_Y
  • 2 1
 Thx for the article - interesting thoughts.

I dont known if the main argument of Matts article holds true - that ebike buyers are motivated by the ability to watch and enjoy DH easier rather then enduro. But the participator vs spectator argument is 100% accurate. So consequently enduro racing must die. It's also 100% true that ebike sales, even in mtb especially 3000+, outnumber the classic ones.
Not sure where that leads, but I can tell you that I, as a dad of soon 3 kids, but also a passionate bike rider, former enduro race organizer, mtb-club representative, local Trail advocate and...
... will soon be owner of an EMTB too (or later, I orderd a Forrestal).
After questioning the hatred I had towards emtbs previously (ai was furious, even towards good friends), I tried to understand the motive of the buyers and asking myself what it could be good for. I found some reason it could work for me, and once I have it I will try to also cater to ebikers with our club.
Why i will do this, is to reach a greater group of people to share my passion and promote bicycle riding and the need for trail access. I am confident that the majority of ebike buyers - just like me - are well aged, wealthy and of influential status with limited time. BUT I want them to share what I love so that they can promote bike riding too, within their peer groups.

From a marketing perspective I can also tell, that I found no reason to replace my 2014 12 kg 160mm 26" enduro bike with something slacker, beefier just to plough (?) through rough stuff better, and spent 5k+ if I want to come not sure if close to the same weight.
I think that is the very reason that gives eBikes all the momentum, and therefore more leverage on future sponsorship Budgets. I just hope ebike racing never gets a thing sponsorship wise, and all that money goes to DH and XC as the pinnacle of our sports.

As much as this sucks for Pro-Enduro-athletes (whom I admire) - but I think Matt is right.
  • 2 1
 THE CHANGE IS HERE FELLAS, and BIG COMPANIES DONT CARE A DAMN ABOUT WHAT WE THINK. ITS ALL BENJAMINS AND BITCOIN FROM HERE ON OUT. WE WILL LOOK AT BICYCLES LIKE MEN DID TO HORSES WHEN CARS CAME INTO EXISTANCE. CHEERS PINKBIKERS !
  • 3 0
 I'd agree if you dropped the all caps and defined bicycle.
  • 6 2
 At least Analog only riders are here to remind us, it's not the bike/ebike that's an a*shole, it's the rider.
  • 2 1
 Matt, thanks, this is a very well written piece.
I really think you have a point regarding the bike manufacturer marketing point of view.
There is another big player in the game that is often forgotten, it is the mountain resorts.
They are trying to get a piece of the cake, and should/will certainly play a role in the race business.
Thos with skilifts slowly realize that they can grow their business with summer operations,
here in Switzerland it is very visible. Those without lifts count on e-bikes to bring tourists in.
  • 2 1
 Personally, I don't like e-bikes. In my opinion, it is against the idea of a bike, a simple, human-powered vehicle.
I hope I will never have to ride an e-bike.
But, I don't care if someone else does. I am a lone wolf and I don't care much about other users of trails as long as they know trail manners.
But, in my opinion, e-bikes could be potentially dangerous. Let me elaborate a bit. 7-8 years ago, I was very unfit and I was 30 kgs over my regular weight. At one point, I have decided to get back in shape. My local hill is 6-7 km away and I have to climb two short but steep hills to come to the trails. There is a short loop there, when I am fit, it is 5-6 minutes of hard effort uphill and 4-5 minutes of downhill. When I was out of shape, I could ride that loop twice and still have enough in the legs to come back home. That would be ~20 km and ~1:20.
As I was getting fitter and lighter, I was increasing the number of laps. Usually, I am on 4-6.
Last year I had a bad crash. I was going 40 km/h and I hit a stump with my left pedal. I went over the bars and landed on my shoulder and my head. Luckily, I ended up only with a scapula fracture. My MD told me that is a good thing that I am working out and that I am very fit. He told me that if he had fallen like that, he would be injured much much worse. His fitness level and weight are like mine 7-8 years ago. I thought it is a good thing he could ride so fast.
Then I realized, that he could if he would have an e-bike.
I think e-bikes give an opportunity to the people that are not so fit and potentially overweight, to ride downhill part of the trail more times than they would be able with a regular bike and even flat(ish) parts of the trail at a higher speed. This simply increases the probability of crashing. And if they fall, they are heavier than they would be if they would be riding a regular bike, and their bike (e-bike) is heavier than a regular bike.
This could lead to more serious injuries.
Basically, they give me from 7-8 years ago an opportunity to ride the same number of loops as I could ride now, and at a higher speed, and my body from 7-8 years ago would suffer much more in the case of a crash.
  • 3 2
 Don’t know if this comment will get downvotes or upvotes, but here’s my take. I’m 56 yo and didn’t start seriously getting into the sport until I was 47. Considering the learning curve of learning how to ride I’ve done my fair share of suffering. Broken ribs, permanently separated AC shoulder joint, Pneumathorax, and most recently complete and double rotator cuff tear on my right shoulder. (I’m making a full recovery) I have zero intention of buying an Ebike. I’m willing to put in the work pain and suffering that comes with the sport. My guess is the Ebikes to the general riding public will cause way more injuries to beginning riders. For it to be valid Ebike racing needs to be harder than enduro to reflect the enhanced capabilities in the power output dept. it needs very very technical climbs followed by gnarly descents over multiple stages non stop. That’s a test of human and machine. Anything that allows for a decreased level in fitness yet still lets you succeed is nothing more than a sport for cubicle rats.
  • 2 1
 “Then there is a question of market, too. EMTBs are opening up the sport to new people, people who just want to ride a bike rather than become committed mountain bikers” - I sorry, but if you are a new rider and choose to spunk out £3000 for a cheap ebike (or more) to see if you fancy out a new hobbie I don’t think you’re the person I would want in the sport I love. Stick to golf where you can boast about how good your new carbon bats used by lion forest are. I like that mbt has a low dickhead ratio
  • 1 0
 Mountain biking will always be niche. All you need for football is a pair of boots, which is why it's mainstream as fk. Not access to trails and a few k for a bike in comparison. SX, motorsport, motogp etc attracts an audience because it's more of an obvious spectacle. I dont think anyone outside can appreciate the skills. Then you have the social media people who are getting more attention then racing to further dilute the pool. Stop worrying about it being popular and enjoy it
  • 1 0
 AI driven autonomous drones following each EWS rider. Loris Vergier makes sound effects to accompany the action. Mondays then for best drone fails after trying to keep up with Sam Hill and Richie Rude through the forest. Problem solved.
  • 1 0
 In SA bikes are hugely expensive as a proportion of cost vs income. EBikes are even pricier which prevents most people buying them. That said eBike sales are growing hugely. Thanks to the Cape Epic and similar races, there will always be a market for marathon bikes but we've always had a problem here with low availability of trail and enduro bikes. eBikes are becoming the trail and enduro bikes of SA.
  • 1 0
 E bikes won't make for popular racing in XC or EWS. I was never interested in watching XC racing until I watched the world champs from Cairns a few years ago. The crazy Mofos had a sprint start! Then they rode up and down technical trails flat out for the next 90 minutes. Seeing them ride trails I knew to be very hard at that pace, made me appreciate what machines these athletes really are. Put them on a powered machine and I'd be completely unimpressed.
  • 4 0
 EWS Race with bad camera footage > Ebike race with bad camera footage
  • 9 5
 E bike racing is only worth the watch because it’s hilarious.
  • 5 1
 E bikes have changed everything forever!
  • 2 1
 I don't like this argument but I'm too lazy to put a counter-argument other than - the same logistical problems will hinder e-mtb racing as is the case in enduro, so it won't matter.
  • 1 1
 Emtbs are exciting for mtbrs bc they can now climb up things reg bikes cannot. Whilst exciting for us core guys, that's not going to make for an exciting spectator event.
Youd6 basically need a n hard enduro arena for emtb... but it would just come off as kinda lame to the masses.
Full E moto /trials the next big thing.
Basically, all mt bikers and dirtbikers want to be able to hard enduro/trail ride near home-which will be allowed bc they're quiet and no emissions.
  • 11 10
 I work in rentals and e-bikes are almost solely ridden by hosers who smoke too much, and boomers whose gunt is so large they cant pedal out of the saddle. Either way get a mobility scooter.
  • 8 4
 Really edgy stuff
  • 5 5
 @cuban-b: pffffft
  • 7 2
 @JPones: no, for real, you should have your own show or something.
  • 4 3
 @cuban-b: HobNob (9 hours ago)
Triggered Americans in 3,2,1....
  • 6 4
 @JPones: Starting a nationality hatred contest over your hatred of e bikes? That's mature.
  • 4 5
 @DoubleCrownAddict: No, seeing the world in terms of love and hate is mature, as is trolling PB comments - super mature. Also I didnt start it, as you can see, it was posted by HobNob 7 hours prior. Get back in your hole little man....
  • 3 4
 @JPones: why so triggered? i complimented your post and said you should have your own show. I'm a fan!
  • 4 2
 @cuban-b: Its PB comments bro - everyone's triggered... Smile
  • 2 2
 I think @cuban-b might actually be serious lol
  • 4 4
 @JPones: says the guy losing his shit over a children’s toy hahahaha
  • 3 3
 @cuban-b: I dont get it and I cbf trying to get it. Explain.
  • 2 0
 @JPones: Canada is in North America you twit.
  • 1 1
 Also I’ve got an ebike so I can do 10 DH laps in an afternoon with no uplift instead of a couple. Racing emtb doesn’t seem that appealing so my normal bikes still there to race when I want it.

This articles pretty convoluted but essentially yea DH is easier to watch, riding bikes in woods which turned into enduro is more accessible. I don’t watch either I’d rather go ride but if they put all this marketing into more local ambassadors and better training and help for shop staff they would make way more money.
  • 3 1
 Just learned that the USA will have a 1,500 tax deduction on ebikes. So if a newbie has to choose, the one with the motor is the same price.
  • 2 1
 The E-Mtb vs. Mtb discussion reminds me of the Vinyl vs CD vs MP3 and so on.

Each to their own as long as it is fair (no, MP3 piracy isn‘t) and does not harm anyone = who cares.
  • 1 1
 Thank you for that article @mattwragg

the funny thing is that when i met Ash and Greg 1001 in 2011, i actually said the same thing...
not about ebikes offcourse, but about the enduro sport.

They didnt like it at that moment & I doubt they would like it now,but coming from the motocross/offroad industry, I knew it would go the same way in the mountainbike industry...
  • 2 2
 I guess eMTBs will be changing races and events with replacement of shuttles or long transfer rides along the time. As long as there are eMTB category on races, more riders can be hosted without too much issues on transfers.

Best benefit for me; after I have returned to TR, I moved on a skirt of a mountain where is close to single tracks and forest roads. So I can ride unplugged some days for fitness, I can handle more laps on singletrack on eMTB. Simple calculation; our local best technical single track's trailhead is a non-stop climb of 6.2kms with %10 slope which takes for me 50mins at least for the current fitness level. Riding down the single tracks takes more than 20mins (not an easy one) with %17 slope. 2nd lap I'm completely exhausted. Total = 2hrs 20mins - 2 laps - completely fatigue...

But if I take my eMTB; 6 laps non-stop with 504wh battery. Total = 4hrs 10mins - 6 laps - still have power for next day. 300% efficient!

Somedays, I just want to ride my enduro bike; light - agile - playful on track. Means, I will never turn into eMTB completely.
  • 2 3
 If anything, I could see ebikes helping enduro. Local orgs are starting to get ebike categories, so your stereotypical unfit middle aged dad can actually go out have a hand at racing without needing to be super fit. And once the hook is sunk, he's going to pay more attention to big boy enduro racing, etc.
  • 2 0
 "While many of us may bemoan the camera placement at World Cup downhill"
-yup.
  • 3 2
 I mean what about like experienced riders who want to get hot laps on a race track but cant shuttle with vehicles ?(WAY more green btw) - There are other users besides newbs.
  • 4 2
 Explain to me how it is more "green" to dig lithium out of a km deep mine ship it from Bolivia to China. Then ship the battery to Taiwan. While simultaneously shipping a motor made of more silver valdium cobalt ect to Taiwan. To ship it back to Germany. We know ship it again back to Germany. Now it gets shipped again to the USA or Canada. That's more green than a 1994-2010 tacoma how? The carbon assorted with its manufacturing is paid off through the service life.

Have we learned jack shit from how our phones have battery systems that fail on purpose. Planned obsolescence is allready a problem with bikes.

Now your axle standard or wheel size will not be the only thing that makes your bike a paper weight.

Some firmware update will brick your elite.
  • 2 0
 @spinzillathespacelizard: so i think the lithium thing is a good argument but its just not true : the costs assoc. with producing a small battery, and a mtb are far lower than the cost to produce even the most affordable gas powered vehicle on the market. Ebikes are simply the most green future for transportation in general.
  • 1 0
 @spinzillathespacelizard: Phone batteries don’t fail on purpose. Where did you hear that from?
  • 2 0
 E bikes need more power, you should be able to clear all the jumps on A line backwards on one.
  • 2 1
 " we still don't see names like Diesel and Volvo on the title sponsors list" yeah stuck with shitty ol' Mercedes now for DH sponsor
  • 2 0
 i remember watching an enduro event in Colombia with live coverage. So... what was the problem?
  • 1 0
 Super cross was made to be a great spectacle? So is 4x when you get it out of UCI hands, way more spectator friendly than DH or enduro...
  • 3 0
 slow news day? just create an ebike article & watch the fireworks
  • 3 2
 Ebikes are leaning into the e Moto side imo ...... we will all be gravel riders after the trail access loss to private ground trails imo.
  • 23 21
 Triggered Americans in 3,2,1....
  • 8 4
 Nah, smug Brits beat us to the punch. Wink
  • 8 1
 @bman33: as a Canadian, I demand you guy's apologize.
  • 1 0
 Good old days when the likes of Volvo were about. "nothing as exciting as a Volvo eh".... I know Shaun Palmer and all that.
  • 1 3
 I normally enjoy your articles Mr Wragg, and it's good to muse on things and provoke thought, which you're great at. But! In these circumstances with regular negative news, I think it's simply too early to be speculating as the industry tries to recover. As you said, not in 2021; I wish to park these thoughts. Let's kick back and enjoy bicycle riding instead, in all its disciplines, even if it is an Ebike!
There's my musings!
See you in 2022 in a Ebike race
  • 5 1
 I'd also like to point out I do not condone Ebike racing ????
  • 1 3
 So, I've already said for awhile DH salaries are currently paid for by Enduro bike sales. The only transition I see here is DH salaries being paid for by E-bike sales. So really what we may see is a diminish in Analog racers, and an increase in E-bike racers at local level Enduro racing. Someone will buy a Cube because of Danny Hart, but it will be an Enduro, Trail, or E-bike 95% of the time.
  • 2 0
 Taj knocking it out the park again with his art work.
  • 6 8
 I can see ebike catching on... in 10 years when the likes Ritchie and Hill are too old to pedal up... until then racing an ebike is about the lamest thing in the MTB world today. Good luck pretending to yourself its anything else.
  • 3 3
 The arguments in this article are so confused that after reading it twice I'm not sure if a single coherent point is being made.
  • 7 5
 I would rather spend 6k on an ebike over 6k on a none assist bike.
  • 3 3
 A 6k ebike has NX/SX, Select/ Performance and a 6k real bike has X0/XTR, Ultimate/ Factory but go ahead.
  • 2 2
 @Jcolis1904: yes, true for performance but I doesn't matter weight wise. In my case I thought about buying a new bike the last 4 years. But if I wanted to replace my lightweight 26er enduro, 6k is the minimum If I go trailbike 29er with approximately the same weight. If I go eBike now I can have an 18kg light emtb for 6-8k. My old bike might be outdated for endurotrails nowadays, which are the Dh trails of yesterday, but any new e-enduro is build for that. So I'll keep my old "enduro" as Trail and Hikeabike, my DHsled for parkriding (wich I haven't done any in 4 years duee to family and kids) and a lightweight enduro for quick afterwork riding and my for ma wife if we rise together.
Would I still be 20, I'd have that 6k regular enduro for sore. But perspective changes with your point of view - bro.
  • 2 1
 ALSO the popularity of enduro is relative to THE REVENUE OF BIKE SHOPS?? How the fk m8??
  • 3 2
 Ebikes will drive down the price of regular bikes, so everyone benefits. Am I right or am I right?
  • 2 2
 Oh and forgot to add - MAnufacturers quit with all the friggin gears - just run a 10 speed 11-42/46. Mid drive motors wear skinny 12 speed chains out so quick
  • 1 3
 E bikes are still too heavy and they face severe limitations plus they are too expensive. Outside of price there are few techno advancements that will change those soon. It's like predicting everyone will have a smartwatch or an Ipad. Wait and see but I see EMTB becoming more popular but not a new normal or a total game changer.
  • 1 0
 I can't imagine the BCBR or other multi-day XC races being cancelled if it went electric. It would only defeat the purpose.
  • 3 1
 Wait... what?
  • 5 3
 Ya its called moto
  • 14 12
 Ebikes are pathetic.
  • 5 3
 What's an ebike?
  • 5 6
 eMTB are the gap fill between MTB and Moto, eMTB are for people want little more speed then a MTB offers, but not the speed that a Moto offers.
  • 2 1
 moto > mtb change my mind...
  • 1 0
 Anyone remember "Sponsor Me" videos back in the day? Good times Smile
  • 1 1
 Oh boy, this is going to be a war zone
  • 1 1
 Lots of long winded replies. I wonder what theyre trying to twist?
  • 1 0
 #uphilling
  • 1 0
 E-bikes suck
  • 4 5
 e-bikes are just alright me with e-bikes are just alright, oh yeah
  • 1 0
 A Doobie Brothers reference on PB?! Gotta be a first.
  • 1 0
 @EricHarger: Just realized I didn't even type it out right. Sheesh, what a disgrace. I'm not even dyslexic! I deserve those downvotes.
  • 2 4
 Just had my facial slicing open the Jiffy Pop. Commence teh flamz!
  • 6 8
 E-BIKES SSUUUUCCCKKK !!! only benders ride them.
  • 5 4
 LOFL Another young punk ass B that has zero idea of what awaits you . As my now dead farther use to say about old age , " It doesn't Get Better "
There will come a time that no matter how much training you do ,,,it WONT work. Yeah i know , you will be the exception. Guess again fool .
When that day comes and it WILL , send us some pics of your shiny new e bike . LOL !!
  • 2 0
 E-bikes might suck for you ....... the world was waiting for another king telling the rest of the world what the rules are, what to like, wear, think.... Well done!
  • 5 6
 fuck ebikes
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