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  • Are e bikes going to dominate the market and the future of mountain biking?
  • Premier Icon Sanny
    Free Member

    Just back from a trip to Chamonix and genuinely astonished / impressed by the number of e bikes being used. Talking to a few folk including some guides, there seems to have been a major shift to e bikes. The logic is hard to refute. “Why spend all your time riding up for just one descent when you can get up the same trails considerably quicker and cram in more descending time?” was an oft quoted reason.

    In Europe, the tipping point has clearly been reached some time ago so the question is will the UK follow? E bike sales are on the rise in the UK but we don’t appear to have reached the same level of acceptance, not yet at least.

    So I guess my question is where does the hive mind see the market going? Will we reach the point where e bikes are the norm and normal bikes are in the minority?

    Cheers

    Sanny

    Premier Icon singlespeedstu
    Full Member

    Yes/No/Maybe.
    Biscuits anyone?

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Full Member

    Will we reach the point where e bikes are the norm and normal bikes are in the minority?

    Not in our lifetimes.

    Premier Icon DezB
    Full Member

    Premier Icon Sanny
    Free Member

    Groundhog day? Nah!

    Genuine question. Here in the UK, we are clearly lagging behind our european cousins. Are we really so different from them though? I suspect probably not as from speaking to a few of my local shops, e bike sales are rising and normal bike sales falling.

    Is it just a fad? I’m not convinced it is. I reckon they are here to stay. The only difference appears to be that we have been slower to accept them.

    Premier Icon MaryHinge
    Free Member

    Bike parks and trail centres.

    I think they make most sense there.

    Was at Llandegka last week and there were a few out. It means that less fit folk can smash round a loop without dying in a heap, maximizing the fun descending bits. No navigation across scary mountains, and a cafe at the end.

    A bit like fishing went a few years ago. It’s now all self contained featureless carp lakes stuffed with fish that you cant fail to catch.

    I still like puffing and grunting up a big climb!!

    Premier Icon scotroutes
    Full Member

    If they help the fat, unfit and infirm to enjoy the outdoors, I’m all in favour.

    Premier Icon MrPottatoHead
    Free Member

    Not sure a mountain resort is fully representative of ‘Europe’. I can absolutely see an appeal for that type of terrain and why you might see a lot in that particular location.

    Also – minority of what? If you mean all bike types sold at all price points, then I doubt ebikes (or even a half decent MTB) will be in the mix. If you mean proportion of high-end MTB’s, then I think they’ll factor more highly.

    Premier Icon handybar
    Free Member

    ebikes aren’t just going to transform mountain biking, they will transform transportation in general. lots of focus on self-driving cars and scooters, but ebikes will be the first major shift to electric power in terms of mass transportation.

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Full Member

    Let’s hope so handybar

    Premier Icon Daffy
    Full Member

    It seems that hire places are stocking more and more of them which might explain why you see soo many of them in the alps and at trail centres.

    Premier Icon Sanny
    Free Member

    Ok. So a bit of digging reveals that e bike sales to adults in the Netherlands now exceeds normal bikes (Source: Forbes 2019, Carlton Reid). Genuinely gobsmacked by that.

    Just for unfit and out of shape folk? Apparently not and not just limited to my non representative sample of Chamonix.

    I suspect that handybar may have hit the nail on the head.

    Premier Icon jam-bo
    Full Member

    My next big bike purchase will most likely be an e-bike.

    Run for fitness, ride for fun.

    Premier Icon DezB
    Full Member

    Groundhog day? Nah!

    Yes it **** is.

    Premier Icon DezB
    Full Member

    EBikes are the future of Ebikes.

    Premier Icon LAT
    Full Member

    Ebikes make sense where the climbs are huge a the descents a lot of fun so you want to go as many as you can in a day.

    In the UK I’m not sure many folk will take up ebike commuting in the in favour of driving, unless driving is banned. Though I do think many cycle commuters will adopt ebikes.

    edit: that said, people who cycle for fun at the weekend may be drawn to ebikes for their journey to work in favour of their cars.

    A lot of folk I know live a long way from where they work, they work long hours and the weather is pretty grim.

    Premier Icon hardtailonly
    Full Member

    If I think about my own shifting perspectives, then Yes, I think they will become pretty dominant. I started off being a ‘mocker’, then to accepting that, for some people, they have a role, to now, partly wanting to own one. That’s despite me not being at all a ‘gravity junkie’, only living for the downs, and very much enjoying and appreciating the technical and physical challenge of climbing and riding just on my own strength, skill and fitness.

    I’ve recently returned from a weekend in the Lakes which me and a few mates do anually, and we come together from all over the country. I’ve always been one of the 2 or 3 fittest when it comes to riding/climbing (and one of the last 2 or 3 slowest down again), so over the course of a big day ride out in the mountains, it all evens out. This year, three of the group had e-bikes; I thought they’d be really disadvantaged on the long hike-a-bike sections. Firstly I was bowled over by what could actually be ridden up on an ebike, way after the rest of us were off and walking. Then, 90% of the sections we were all walking / hike-a-biking, the ‘walk assist’ function got their bikes up sections with ease, and were still functional after the rest of us were shouldering our bikes. The only times they struggled was lifting the bikes over gates/walls or the very few sections they had to shoulder their bikes. I was pretty impressed at how capable they were in that kind of environment, away from the bike parks, local downhills and trail centres. So, yeah, think they will become the dominant type of MTB over the next few years, especially as the batteries/motors become lighter, more efficient, run time increases and costs come down.

    I’m still not actively planning how to get one (can’t afford it) but can see this changing over the coming years …

    Premier Icon LAT
    Full Member

    But to answer the question, I believe that e bikes will become dominant in the leisure bike market.

    Premier Icon cbike
    Free Member

    Yes. The number one Christmas gift in Sweden last year was an electric bike. The bike shop I went into there was 60 percent ebike, and their utility bikes are awesome.

    They equalize everyone and make it much more social rather than pure exercise. Those who want to push themselves all the time can continue.

    Premier Icon kimbers
    Full Member

    If I lived in the alps,.Wales or Scotland id get one, here in bucks not so worth it, but where the trails hills are big enough

    That new kona remote 160 looks mint

    Premier Icon chiefgrooveguru
    Free Member

    These last few weeks I’ve mostly been on my gnarly hardtail (for both commuting and MTBing), but for the preceding 9 months I’ve ridden my e-full-sus for everything.

    As I was riding home yesterday I realised that I don’t pedal any harder or get any more out of breath on the normal bike, it just takes longer to get home. If anything I work a bit harder on the e-bike because journeys and climbs take less time and it just has this urgent feeling (when on turbo mode).

    I also noticed the group ride was quite a bit easier on the hardtail because I turn the power off on the Levo unless I’m knackered and need a break or I’m having a moment of full turbo silliness.

    Ebike downsides – they’re not cheap, they’re heavy (I like that in a full-sus but I’m not small and am fairly strong), I’m not sure how that weight would behave in a hardtail off-road (not well is my suspicion), they’re more complex.

    I’ve yet to take the Levo to a trail centre or a bike park, it’s all been messing about on cheeky singletrack, unofficial DH stuff, XC rides and commuting (on and off-road). It’s bloody brilliant, especially as a time poor business owner and father of two (soon to be three) smalls.

    I think they will become more and more popular. They’re so much fun. I do feel puzzled when friends spend as much money on a less fun unpowered bike…

    Premier Icon DickBarton
    Full Member

    I don’t think they will but I do think they’ll join the mainstream…26 is still here but small, 27.5 is here and 29 is flavour of the marketing team’s year but these will all remain and people will add/change what they like.
    We lag behind our European cousins more out of stubborn laziness than anything else.

    Premier Icon winston
    Free Member

    Ebike sales in the Netherlands are through the roof  but they are almost exclusively being sold to ‘non cyclists’ you will struggle to find an emtb or eroadbike.  It’s all about transport and weekend pootlers using the amazing infrastructure. They are currently building ehighways exclusively for ebike commuting.

    Same for other countries like Denmark.

    Emtbs and trailcentres will always be a small part of the industry compared to this.

    Premier Icon colp
    Full Member

    I’ve yet to take the Levo to a trail centre or a bike park

    Used mine all summer in Leogang after my lad stole the shock off my Tues to put on his. Maybe it was the 2.8 tyres being kinder to my arthritic shoulder but I preferred the ebike to my DH bike. Hit all the same stuff.

    Premier Icon jblewi
    Free Member

    Ebike sales are on the rise and normal bike sales are declining but I would say the two are not related.

    Bike sales went up hugely in 2012 with the olympics in the summer and have been dropping back to their regular levels since. Ebike sales have been increasing over the last few years. There will be a percentage of people who bought an Ebike over a regular bike but only a small one.

    In my experience working in the industry anyway.

    Premier Icon fatbikeandcoffee
    Full Member

    I am pretty sure ebikes will outstrip traditional sales in the UK and not that far away either.

    Why? Because many will chose what they perceive as an easier, lazier and more expensive route to commute or think they are riding a bike (like a traditional bike) for fitness etc.

    As a few have said I can completely get an ebike as a transport solution for commute but I’m with Scotroutes on the audience in my own biased perception but I still think the first two points above and a bucket of marketing cash will kill of the traditional market.

    I think the bikes without e assist will be the equivalent of singlespeeding is now, niche and weird and if I had to guess it could be in as little as 3 to 5 years :/

    I am very happy to be weirdo pedalling without e assist on that basis for a while but as as soon as I can’t pedal then I may think differently, right now, not a chance.

    James

    Premier Icon nicko74
    Free Member

    Depends on the market you’re looking at.
    The market that stw readers/ users are in: no. We’re too niche, hairshirt/ big beard types who enjoy the trail more because we’ve had to ride uphill for an hour to get to it.

    The mass market: perhaps. If they could hit the £500 mark, then they could edge out the 40lb hunks of welded metal that are laughingly sold as mountain bikes that make up the volume end of the market

    Premier Icon B.A.Nana
    Free Member

    Only last week I may have ridiculed you over your presumption, but on Sunday I pulled out of my road (heading up to the Dales), 2 blokes on e-bikes rolled past probably starting the Bingley Bash as it starts near my house. We did an easy mtb ride in the Dales, every bike doing a ride in the opposite direction was couples on e-bikes and there were quite a few. Great to see people out on bikes doing mtb, it was all good. We didn’t cross paths with anyone else on standard bikes that day, it was all pretty uneventful..

    Premier Icon epicyclo
    Full Member

    I’m convinced all DH type bikes will be eBikes soon.

    With improvements in suspension etc, trails are going to have to get steeper and faster to provide a challenge, and an eBike is a way to avoid having to get an uplift or a long uphill push.

    For XC type stuff I hope not. 🙂

    Premier Icon andypaul
    Free Member

    After grinding up a 10km climb last weekend on my gravel bike only to be overtaken by three pensioners , one of which was wearing sandals has convinced me that e-bikes, for a majority of the population are indeed the future.
    But seriously the way that battery tech is improving and the motors getting smaller and lighter it will very soon get to a point where e-bikes will be indistinguishable from their non powered counterparts…

    Premier Icon tails
    Full Member

    The entry levo is £4k even the trek commuter I looked at was £2k. My car was only £6k iirc, I can’t afford £4K on a hobby as there is no frame only option and until locks improve I’ll not spend £2k on a commuter.

    Do see the majority of leisure cyclist in them though, then they’ll go home to watch “freaks” ride the tour or a WC fort William

    Premier Icon villageidiotdan
    Free Member

    I was at Afan last weekend, I’d say half the bikes there were ebikes, at least on y Wal. Surely that’s the tipping point reached or is that not enough?

    Premier Icon funkybaj
    Free Member

    There’s a new Rutland Cycles store opened near me, when I popped in the other week it was quite remarkable that every bike on display was an ebike of some sort. Surely reflective of customer demand.

    I’m waiting delivery of one myself. Purchased with the intention of making my 20km (each way) commute an easier and more frequent task.

    Premier Icon BigDummy
    Free Member

    I don’t have a prognostication and I’m not in the UK. But the fact that this is even being talked about as a possibility makes me realise quite how… weird my approach to the point of recreational mountain biking apparently is.

    Premier Icon boxelder
    Full Member

    Chamonix is a fairly restricted sample. Across the rest of France/Europe the proportion is much, much lower. With Alpine winch, pedal, grovel, push, plummet type trails they make more sense. Where climbs are less extended, and descents are les MotoX, less so perhaps. I suspect there were a lot more DH type bikes around too, so riders already set on pedalling less? There’s no doubt they’ll take off here. Having ridden one a fair bit as you have Sanny, what’s descending on them like. Only used one once and it spoiled the descent for me.

    Premier Icon handybar
    Free Member

    My local bike shop had an ebike weekend, they clearly think it is the future of the industry. I think it is all good, it will bring more people into cycling especially older people, get cars off roads, I’m hoping once my knee problems are resolved I will get back on my local trails on my pedal power bike, but if the worse comes to the worse I would get an e-bike to reignite my love affair with the trails.
    But this would be a sad affair personally because I’m at heart a rider who likes all aspects of riding including climbing – I love climbing short technical sections it gives me as big a buzz as descending, having to control the bike whilst pushed to your physical limit. It wouldn’t be the same for me if that was taken away.
    However, if my first ever bike was an ebike – which is what will happen for alot of youngsters in the future – I’m not sure I would ever use a pedal bike, it would just seem odd in the same way someone who learns in an automatic car wouldn’t change to a manual.
    I really do think it is a massive game changer in terms of mass transportation (self driving cars will revolutionise longer distance travel; scooters I’m not too sure about) and the governments/councils have to look at building the cycling infrastructure as they are already doing as mentioned above in places like the netherlands.

    Premier Icon yourguitarhero
    Full Member

    Yes.
    Hopefully they get cheaper.

    Premier Icon chiefgrooveguru
    Free Member

    “But this would be a sad affair personally because I’m at heart a rider who likes all aspects of riding including climbing – I love climbing short technical sections it gives me as big a buzz as descending, having to control the bike whilst pushed to your physical limit.”

    This might sound strange but you can still get that on a ebike – both by using no assistance (so it’s like climbing on a normal bike with a weight penalty) or by using some or lots of electric power so you can climb up things that are impossible on normal bikes.

    Premier Icon Poopscoop
    Full Member

    I am absolutely pro ebike for many reasons, most mentioned above. I’d actually like one to replace car duties actually.

    For mountain biking it’s just not for me. At this time in my life, perhaps never. I have zero problems with other people loving them for mtb riding though.

    It’s hard for me to rationalise to be honest. It’s not about “cheating” or whatever. It’s just an ingrained, inherent concept in my noggin that all I want to get me around the hills here, off-road anyway, is the bike and my legs. Walking if necessary, of I can’t pedal up it.

    I’m not an adrenalin type rider. I’m just not good enough and I’ve got some of my best memories over the years from the actual “struggle” of the ride on many occasions. I’m an odd bloke I suppose.lol For me I do feel this need to pay, in full (in my own mind!!), for the privilege of getting to the places I love. By love, the countryside basically. By the same odd rationality I’ve never ever wanted to ride at a trail centre, it’s just not for me.

    Like I said,I find it hard to rationalise but if there ever comes a day when you have *no choice* but to buy an e mtb I would feel pretty upset by that to be honest. It would have lost it’s soul for me.

    I’ll make one prediction though. I suspect there will be a movement to convert obsolete/ too costly to repair e mtbs back to lighter conventional bikes by removing all the ebike gubbings. Just like it’s a thing to fit kits to convert normal bikes to ebike.

    Not meaning to be contentious, just my take on the matter. It’s all good.

    Premier Icon bikenski
    Free Member

    I love climbing short technical sections it gives me as big a buzz as descending, having to control the bike whilst pushed to your physical limit. It wouldn’t be the same for me if that was taken away.

    But e bikes allow even more of that – I do way more techy climbs on my e bike than is possible on a non e bike (and at my physical limit). You can ride stuff where others are walking (or taking the fireroad/tarmac option). Ok – you do have to pick the right terrain to do so. I live in the French Alps, so I’m not sure if the options would be the same in less mountainous areas of the UK. But here there are so many more technical rides that are now possible and overall my rides are more of a technical challenge on an e bike than a non e-bike.

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