While electric bikes may still be trying to find their place in the American marketplace, with newer technology like the Bosch Centerdrive motor, the bikes themselves are as ready as they’ve ever been. The debate over e-bikes, especially on trails has a lot of valid points on both sides (something we hope to address in a later article), but like most anything that is controversial, first hand experience is important when it comes to E-understanding. When viewed in a negative light, e-bikes are typically viewed as electrified monsters with a throttle that miscreants will use to terrify pedestrians and thrash trails. Actually riding the bikes on hand from Currie Technologies changes that view a bit.
Thanks to the pedal assist nature of most of the bikes, you actually have to work to get it to move, and yes it is possible to get a workout on an e-bike even at full boost. Most of the bikes’ motors cut out at 20 mph – which is completely possible on a non-motorized bike. Only the Haibike Superrace has a faster top speed of 28mph, but you won’t be seeing it on any trails. Depending on the mode, the e-bikes provide 50-250% additional power which does make for pretty rapid acceleration. But even with all of that extra power available, out on the trail in the right hands you won’t even notice someone is on the juice as was the case when Mike from Currie Technologies came along with us on a mountain bike ride. Other than not breathing as hard as the rest of us at the top of the climbs, Mike proved that it was completely possible to use an e-bike in a group ride setting.
It may be a while before e-bikes are fully understood or even accepted on local trails, but there are also a number of commuter bikes and cruisers to consider after the jump.