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Thread: Invasion of the e-bikes

  1. #1

    Invasion of the e-bikes

    I think I saw 2 of these on the trail last year, but I rarely finish a ride this year where I don't see a few. They don't really bother me but it is slightly annoying to be grinding up a climb while some chubby dude on a moped is keeping up. Oh well, more power to companies making dough on the laziness of Americans.

    By the way, does anyone know how these are classified? Are they just considered mountain bikes or are they motorcycles?

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  3. #2
    They are classified as motorized vehicles by most land managers and are restricted to the same trails as motorcycles. It's just that law enforcement is currently lax with regards to E bikes.

  4. #3
    If they allow E-Bikes in Corner Canyon I'm going all in...........


  5. Likes REDFOX liked this post
  6. #4
    I don't think I've ever heard a straight answer for why the ebike hate. Personally I don't care if some of my larger buddies buy one of these so they can start riding with me.

    As to why they are banned from trails that don't allow motorized bikes, the answer is never clear for why the ebike should be banned in this same group.

    "Because they are motorized" will be the only answer given, not because they rip up the trails, cause deeper ruts, we hate fat people, it's unfair some people don't have to work that hard, yadda yadda.

    I don't have an ebike, but if given the chance I'd love to ride one. If it's all about the workout, then we can immediately dismiss any rider that uses a shuttle from time to time. If ebikes cause more damage because of the total weight, then I shouldn't be riding my big heavy bike with another 30 lbs of camera gear either. If it's about having mechanical devices on certain trails because of noise, then music should be banned, hootin' and hollerin' should be banned, bike bells should be banned, and drones should be banned (except if it's a cool guy that is getting paid to do it and he's a nice guy so he's cool and everybody should allow this one cool person because he is friends with somebody special)

    Here we are telling people how awesome it is to ride but unless there's some reason behind keeping ebikes off of the trails, I'm all for them. To the question "Why are ebikes bad for this trail?", the answer "because they are motorized" does not answer the question. What damage does the ebike cause?

    Motorcycles? Yes we know why they shouldn't be on certain trails, and the answer is NEVER because "They are motorized". There is a logical reason like "Crowded trail, speed can be a danger, noise, extra damage". But I haven't heard the actual "reason" behind keeping the ebikes off of certain trails. There's gotta be a reason why ebikes are bad for trails, I just haven't heard it yet.

    After 3 knee surgeries, both knees, the ebike may be in my future. But at the moment, these are some purely unbiased questions that I'd love to hear some informed answers.

    Mueller Park in Bountiful still allows motorcycles, something to think about.

  7. Likes moab mark, twotimer liked this post
  8. #5
    Excellent post, Beech. I was in Moab lately with a huge group of friends and this topic came up when a few of us were grinding up Amasa Back.

    Those bikes will allow us to do rides like that when we become old...otherwise we'll be denied those trails.
    I myself shall carry you through the Gates of Valhalla
    And you will ride eternal, all shiny and chrome.

  9. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by uintafly View Post
    Oh well, more power to companies making dough on the laziness of Americans.
    For some of us (maybe you some day) it won't be about laziness at all.
    I myself shall carry you through the Gates of Valhalla
    And you will ride eternal, all shiny and chrome.

  10. #7
    "Motorized" is an easy line to draw. If you watched the video I posted you will notice the difference between an E bike and a full throttle electric motorcycle are pretty blurry, and I expect will become more so in the near future.

    Something else to watch for, the tree huggers are trying to get the definition changed to "no mechanical vehicles", which means no MTB's. I think MTB riders need to make sure which side of the line we end up on.

  11. #8
    and as we live longer - we will still want access

  12. #9
    All I know is that when I was in Moab this spring, there were signs all over the brand trails saying that they were not welcome there.

  13. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Sombeech View Post
    I don't think I've ever heard a straight answer for why the ebike hate. Personally I don't care if some of my larger buddies buy one of these so they can start riding with me.

    As to why they are banned from trails that don't allow motorized bikes, the answer is never clear for why the ebike should be banned in this same group.

    "Because they are motorized" will be the only answer given, not because they rip up the trails, cause deeper ruts, we hate fat people, it's unfair some people don't have to work that hard, yadda yadda.

    I don't have an ebike, but if given the chance I'd love to ride one. If it's all about the workout, then we can immediately dismiss any rider that uses a shuttle from time to time. If ebikes cause more damage because of the total weight, then I shouldn't be riding my big heavy bike with another 30 lbs of camera gear either. If it's about having mechanical devices on certain trails because of noise, then music should be banned, hootin' and hollerin' should be banned, bike bells should be banned, and drones should be banned (except if it's a cool guy that is getting paid to do it and he's a nice guy so he's cool and everybody should allow this one cool person because he is friends with somebody special)

    Here we are telling people how awesome it is to ride but unless there's some reason behind keeping ebikes off of the trails, I'm all for them. To the question "Why are ebikes bad for this trail?", the answer "because they are motorized" does not answer the question. What damage does the ebike cause?

    Motorcycles? Yes we know why they shouldn't be on certain trails, and the answer is NEVER because "They are motorized". There is a logical reason like "Crowded trail, speed can be a danger, noise, extra damage". But I haven't heard the actual "reason" behind keeping the ebikes off of certain trails. There's gotta be a reason why ebikes are bad for trails, I just haven't heard it yet.

    After 3 knee surgeries, both knees, the ebike may be in my future. But at the moment, these are some purely unbiased questions that I'd love to hear some informed answers.

    Mueller Park in Bountiful still allows motorcycles, something to think about.
    All good points.

  14. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Iceaxe View Post
    "Motorized" is an easy line to draw. If you watched the video I posted you will notice the difference between an E bike and a full throttle electric motorcycle are pretty blurry, and I expect will become more so in the near future.
    OK so with the electric dirt bike, we can say they are too fast for these trails that have a lot of slower traffic, the singletrack trails are too skinny to pass other mountain bikers without causing contact, the torque on the back wheels can rip up the trail too easily, we could list some other reasons that would match a motorcycle all except the noise.

    But as for trail damage, noise, speed, and danger to other guests on the trail, I don't see it with the ebike. Even the bike size is the same. Most people on the trail wouldn't know it's an ebike just by looking at it.

    I could even argue that if the ebike prevents the rider from hopping off and pushing the bike uphill, it could cause less impact on the trail and wouldn't block the trail as much as the rider standing next to the bike.

  15. #12
    Actually from my motorcycle days I can tell you motorcycles or e bikes in this case actually smooth trails out when ridden at recreational speeds. I certainly would not say they tear trails up when ridden responsibly.

  16. #13
    And again, I believe motorized is simply an easy and distinctive line. Also as I mentioned "mechanical" is the line many tree huggers and forest faries are fighting to have established and it has been established in some areas. I believe the MTB crowd would be wise to band together and decide where they want the line established. I just believe trying to include some e bikes (motorcycles) will result in a major loss for all mountain bikes in the end.

  17. #14

  18. #15
    I saw a couple in corner canyon this morning. I told my son, "those guys must need training wheels" as we rode past. Lol


  19. #16
    LOL I'm going to mount a fake battery on my bike frame and just wait for the haters to approach me


    ...on video

    Hell I'll just bundle up an old laptop charging converter cord and box, I'll leave the prongs on the plug and everything just to see what happens.

    Stay tuned.

  20. Likes double moo, oldno7, tallsteve liked this post
  21. #17
    I am not an e-bike hater. I have one that I use to commute to work.

    However, I will say that continued e-bike use on popular multi-use trails will result in complete wheeled bans. The e-bike craze must have the Sierra Club and all mountain bike haters thanking their respective deitys. This strengthens their arguments to keep wheels off of "their" trails. Again, I'm not saying that it's right, but there has to be a line drawn somewhere. The motorized line is super easy to draw and, gasp, probably the correct one. A bicycle is a bicycle (for the most part). Once you start putting a motor on there the lines really get blurred. Enforcement agencies aren't going to check your wattage or max power output to ensure they meet some arbitrary standard. They are just going to lobby to remove all bikes from trails.

    In Cache Valley we are finally making some small inroads for the Forest Service with regards to working together for the good of all trail users. There is a lot of MTB hate inherent in the FS. The e-bike terrifies me in that much of this new found "good will" could be destroyed fairly quickly.

    I'm just rambling now. I agree that an e-bike is not more damaging to trails. I agree that they can be very beneficial to a large population. I don't agree that e-bikes should be currently allowed on all trails, simply because of future ramifications to said trails.

  22. #18
    To be clear, we are trying to get the moto crowd on board with our efforts with the FS (along with hikers and horsey peoples). The end goal is to attempt to get moto access restored to some trails in Cache Valley that have been shut down to their use. Those trails probably wouldn't exist in the first place if not for the motos, and it's a hell of a lot easier for motos to get people and equipment efficiently to trails to clear logs and deadfall and such.

    E-Bikes and motos don't need to be allowed on ALL trails. However, I do believe that we should work toward expanding their access to what they historically could use.

  23. Likes moab mark, accadacca liked this post
  24. #19
    Yeah that's the thing, it's just too easy to lump them into the motorized category once they've got the motor. It's that extra step of education showing they won't damage the trails like motorcycles, but that level of understanding just won't happen, it's too much effort to educate.

    I'm starting to look for a legit ebike though. On this Willard Peak and Ben Lomond ride, we had a friend start from the divide and ride up to meet us at the peak. He beat us up there as we drove up the Mantua, Willard Peak route. He was waiting for us so long that he took off after a while, and this was before we even reached the lot in my Toyota.

    If guys are into mountain biking for the exercise, there won't be much interest. I'm clearly only in it for the fun and the photography. I don't watch my overall bike weight, even though I ride a lot I wouldn't call myself a fanatic. I just enjoy getting out, and an ebike would help me get out even more with these old worn out knees.

    Hopefully over time, people will see ebikes don't damage the trails, they won't be spinning out any more than a regular bike, and the added weight of the battery wouldn't harm the trail anymore than me, a 200+ pound guy with a lot of camera gear. But at this time like you mentioned, some groups are looking for any excuse possible to ban bikes, and unfortunately these ebikes are in the cross hair.

  25. #20
    on an interesting side note; e-bikes are obviously faster uphill, but my buddy that manages a bike shop in town says they are actually SLOWER downhill. They are so much heavier and unwieldy that he is appreciably faster on his reg'lar old pedal bike-cycle. He was even riding a nice, dedicated e-bike to make this comparison. Not a cheap one. I find that little tidbit quite interesting. Perhaps that speed gap decreases as you get used to the different center of gravity and different feel.

    It's something that most people won't ever think about or understand though.

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