E-bikes remain a subject of controversy in mountain biking circles. You may not be able to take one on your favorite singletrack right now, as most non-motorized trails prohibit them. However, things have been tilting in a more permissive direction. Most recently, IMBA, the sport’s largest public advocacy group, shifted its stance to support allowing access for some pedal-assist e-bikes (those that top out at 20 mph) on some trails. With every major manufacturer making e-mountain bikes, more access is likely only a matter of time. “In a few years, people will realize that electric mountain bikes have no more trail impact than a regular mountain bike,” Benjamin says.
Introducing a fully integrated, electric-assist mountain bike that takes our Altitude’s legendary handling and ride quality and adds a compact, powerful drive system. The new Powerplay™ drive system was designed in parallel with the frame, delivering ultra-short chainstays, optimised suspension kinematics, super-low centre of gravity, and class-leading torque. The result is an e-MTB that actually rides like a proper mountain bike—perfect for everything from self-shuttling all mountain trails, finding flow between the descents, and squeezing in power lunch rides.
I used to mountain bike quite a lot. I was a fairly strong 17 stone (238lb) weightlifter and rode pretty fast but didn't go in for big air or jumps. Nevertheless I used to break bikes at a ridiculous rate. I broke the bottom bracket off a Marin titanium frame, I broke the bottom bracket off of a Roberts hand built mountain bike. I snapped 2 pairs of handlebars, broke cranks, pedals, chains, wheels, spokes and forks etc etc.
E-bikes use rechargeable batteries and the lighter ones can travel up to 25 to 32 km/h (16 to 20 mph), depending on local laws, while the more high-powered varieties can often do in excess of 45 km/h (28 mph). In some markets, such as Germany as of 2013, they are gaining in popularity and taking some market share away from conventional bicycles, while in others, such as China as of 2010, they are replacing fossil fuel-powered mopeds and small motorcycles.