Just the mention of eBikes is enough to get people raging. It’s cheating! It’s just not cycling! Get off the trails! Pedal harder, you slacker! Even with all this backlash, the past few years have seen an explosion in eBike sales. Sales of commuter eBikes, road eBikes and mountain eBikes all booming. There’s gotta be good reason for this, so while in New Zealand I went out and rode one to see what all the fuss was about!
I didn’t ride just any old eBike though. I went straight to the top and hired a Specialized Turbo Levo. That’s a full carbon fibre dual suspension trail dominating mountain eBike! Phwooaar!
Okay, so I actually hired it for my wife, April. She and I rode the cross country trails together for hours, her on the Specialized Levo eBike and me on a regular hardtail mtb. I mostly followed, giving her tips on how to tackle trail features and pick smooth lines. Without the pedal assistance there was no way she would have happily ridden with me for that long.
The ride was gentle, but every time the trail pointed upwards or we hit a more open section of fire road, she was away! She’d be the first to admit she’s no cyclist, but it was impossible to match her acceleration or uphill speed. Each time I’d be laughing out loud at the madness of her pulling away from me up the trail. Here’s a quick demonstration – a short rolling drag race on a slight incline.
That’s me counting down, then hammering as hard as I could (with phone in hand) racing April with her Specialized Levo in the lowest power “eco” mode! It’s a very one sided race.
Then it was my turn to ride it. I put the Levo in high power “boost” mode and pointed it down the trail. HOLY SMOKING ACES, BATMAN!
It was – quite literally – like having a motorbike on the trail. Bat. Sh!t. Cray. Cray. From the first pedal stroke the Levo accelerated away like a demon! Full gas trail slaying? No sweat. Steep rocky climb? Destroyed it. Power wheelies? Bring it! Face first into a tree at top speed? Yeah, almost…
Was it fun? Yes, but also a bit scary just how powerful it was. If you’re racing – then an eBike is MOST DEFINITELY cheating. If you’re sniping Strava KOMs with one – again cheating. With me piloting it – totally cheating myself. It was fun, but not for me in this circumstance. However, if an eBike enables you to enjoy your cycling more, to ride further or for longer with a smile on your face, then as far as I’m concerned it’s no harm no foul. For April, it enabled all those things.
April and I spent an entire morning mountain biking together, we returned the bikes having thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. April happy, me happy. This would not have been possible with her on a regular bike. The eBike made that a reality. At the end of the day, what more can you ask for? :-) #happywifehappylife
Enjoy the ride.