turns, all of which added to his speed.
On the flat course (mostly flat with only one hill) he completed a lap in 8 minutes, 36 seconds on the Haibike and 8 minutes,
13 seconds on his own bike.
IN THE END
The reality is that electric mountain bikes offer such similar
performance between overall time and price to a non-assisted
mountain bike that there’s no advantage to the electric motor
for a fit rider. Where the advantage comes in is if the rider needs
the assistance due to injury or disability, including older riders.
There’s also always the point that climbs are faster and easier
with electric assist, thereby offering an advantage of getting in
multiple runs without the need of a shuttle vehicle as well.
IS IT CHEATING?
The electric bike has a slight advantage in
accelerating out of turns and over obstacles—
slight, we say, because of the weight difference.
Spencer said the descents were easier on the
electric mountain bike partly because of the weight.
You should have heard Spencer breathing
as he hammered up this section.
Slight climbs were a draw.
There’s no advantage on price, as many avid mountain bikers spend a similar amount on a traditional
mountain bike versus an electric one. And there are
many different price ranges as well. You can always
spend less, but when it comes to riding off-road, you’ll
usually get a bike that’s not as well setup. On dirt roads
the less expensive bikes are fine, but for riding on more
technical terrain, you’ll want a really good, dependable
bike to ride.
Again, when we hear the complaint, we always ask to
see in what rule book and on what page does it say that
enjoying an e-bike is cheating. The bottom line remains
a philosophical one: is riding an e-bike cheating? For us,
the answer is simple: not now, not ever. ■