Do heavier bikes cause more trail damage?

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  • Do heavier bikes cause more trail damage?
  • Premier Icon tomhoward
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    Premier Icon Poopscoop
    Subscriber

    I world think total rider/ bike weight is more relevant.

    That said,I reckon riding style is just as important?

    We know where this thread is going to end up going though… ๐Ÿ™

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    I would think the extra power through a tyre into soft soil surface would cause more damage. I also think that damage through braking is still a bigger issue – and riding in the wet/ soft conditions is still a bigger issue again…

    bigyinn
    Member

    Putting aside the whole e-bike side of things, surely the answer is yes? I’d expect to leave deeper tyre marks than a 9st racing whippet on the same bike & tyres etc.
    More weight = more damage surely?

    breatheeasy
    Member

    Has to really. Plus, without being too patronising, I’d guess ebike owners to not be 9st racing whippets on top.

    Premier Icon geoffj
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    I followed (just about) my 13 year old racing whippet son up a forestry track last sunday. He was laying down so much power, you could see his rear wheel straggling for grip and the resultant marks. My biffer weight was cushioned by fat bike tyres – I hardly left a mark.

    Premier Icon theotherjonv
    Subscriber

    impossible to say…..

    35lb DH ‘rig’ suited for the terrain of a steep rocky downhill will skim the trails, whereas a 20lb carbon XC race hardtail will be locking wheels up, dragging brakes, skidding, and so on.

    uselesshippy
    Member

    I’d say the weight of the bike makes no difference, the combined weight maybe.
    With ebikes the way you can do more runs down something adds to the damage. My legs will only let me ride so much/so quickly, but the motor means more.

    Premier Icon jameso
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    Premier Icon andytherocketeer
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    Since the word “e-bike” was mentioned, I’d say no.
    Trail damage is caused by braking and getting roost. Not by a few extra pies and some pedalling assistance for the rider.

    Premier Icon nedrapier
    Subscriber

    Trail damage is caused by braking and getting roost. Not by a few extra pies and some pedalling assistance for the rider.

    more weight means more energy to slow down, more energy transferred to the ground = more damage.

    Roost is same thing, comes from change of velocity. greater combined weight means more energy to change direction, which must be transferred/resisted by the ground.

    Could be expressed more precisely by a physicist, or me with less work to do, but answer is yes.

    If you don’t think so, go on a trampoline with a small child in your arms and ask yourself if the increased weight makes your arms hurt more.

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    Or is it all down to total rider/bike weight?

    Looking at the e-bikes thing on the front page
    http://singletrackworld.com/2017/07/specialized-turbo-levo-carbon-fsr-expert-comp-fattie-emtb-ebike-2018/

    The new ‘lightweight’ carbon version weighs 52lb ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

    Given the equivalent non-e version is approx half that weight would the same rider on the e-bike cause more erosion on a vulnerable piece of singletrack than on the non-e version?

    nickfrog
    Member

    BPW seem to think so.

    chevychase
    Member

    All things being equal, yes. Heavier = more energy.

    But things aren’t all equal – riding style etc. etc.

    Certainly you’d expect to see more erosion in breaking zones and areas where you’d be expecting tyres to scrabble for traction, or where the surface is delicate/muddy.

    But meh.

    STATO
    Member

    BPW seem to think so.

    BPW also want to sell you a seat in their uplift.

    BPW seem to think so.

    Because a rider can do more laps with an ebike. Damage per mile is the same – less if the ebike has 3″ tyres and the normal bike has 2.3″.

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Subscriber

    To answer the OP – e-bikes are often sold on the premise of getting more riding done in a given period of time.

    So assuming we all cause trail damage to a certain degree, it stands to reason they’ll cause more of it.

    I’m not aware of any studies looking at any difference in damage caused by an e-bike and standard bike riding the same bit of trail. Maybe the industry should fund some, eh?

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Subscriber

    The new ‘lightweight’ carbon version weighs 52lb

    I did chuckle to myself when I saw the headline gain on the new carbon Levo was a 650g weight loss.

    ๐Ÿ˜†

    Junkyard
    Member

    given its heavier then yes

    However style and tyre size will also be factors but an equivalent heavy object will cause more damage than an identical lighter thing it impacts on it.

    philjunior
    Member

    given its heavier then yes

    However style and tyre size will also be factors but an equivalent heavy object will cause more damage than an identical lighter thing it impacts on it.

    This +1. So no, not bike weight alone really, but certainly combined mass.

    Just like me taking a horse for a walk would tear things up more than a puppy.

    Premier Icon tomhoward
    Subscriber

    Has to really. Plus, without being too patronising, I’d guess ebike owners to not be 9st racing whippets on top.

    *waves* (admittedly I’m 12st, but 6’+. i do have and use an ebike though, when I’m not doing enduro and xc endurance racing)

    stevextc
    Member

    surely in some circumstances a heavier bike will actually bed the trail in more…

    BPW also want to sell you a seat in their uplift.

    +1

    Premier Icon cookeaa
    Subscriber

    Just like me taking a horse for a walk would tear things up more than a puppy.

    I dunno some puppies are disproportionately destructive…

    But yeah I doubt the increased trail wear from an e-bike is easily measured…

    In reality BPWs decision is probably driven more by the knowledge that the majority of of customers riding e-bikes are probably more towards the affluent end of the scale, rather than some nefarious plan to victimise people with disabilities…

    It’s an extra couple of quid to make up for some lost uplift revenue now a significant proportion of the new golfists are on (near enough) self winching bikes…

    Depends on their ground pressure.

    In the context of light xc bike and heavy e-bike, I suspect the range is too narrow to make a noticeable difference, even with a rider on board.

    Riding style tyre size and ground condition will make a substantially larger difference IMO.

    I think there’s probably a greater link beteeen Shimano brakes causing more trail erosion than Hopes! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Premier Icon deadkenny
    Subscriber

    Does it matter? It’s horses you really need to kick up a fuss about ๐Ÿ˜‰ . They make way more damage than bikes, e or otherwise.

    While technically just affects bridleways, it’s an important point given they are our main off road right of way, but are near impossible to ride where horses use them. Hence we need decent off road paths that are more durable. Hmm, like footpaths ๐Ÿ˜‰

    oikeith
    Member

    I could go down my local trails on an ebike or my enduro bike, the amount of damage I’d do or wear I’d cause would depend on solely me. Am I braking late and hard kicking roost and causing braking bumps because Im going fast or am I modulating my brakes, managing my speed and then not kicking roost up or causing more braking bumps.

    The only benefit of an ebike is on the ups, so until 3inch ruts up all the hills appear on the fireroads at the local trail centre I’ll assume ebikes arent causing any more damage then your roost kicking vlogging – KOM taking hero…

    Premier Icon martymac
    Subscriber

    Id say yes, but maybe not as much as you may think.
    Yes an ebike is heavier, but when combined with the ‘average’ ebike rider (I weigh 20 stone) the difference is probably not that big a %.
    Also you would need to factor in that an ebike will add power, but it will do it smoothly, compared to a 20 stone salad dodger like me, who will have a spiky power delivery.

    stevextc
    Member

    I still think riding in most circumstances not involving wheel spin or hard braking the heavier bike will actually repair the trail where others have ripped it up…

    My FS is way heavier with me on it than my kids XC (85kg vs <35kg) with 2.1 XC tyres and he usually rips far more up on climbs than I do on wider and grippier tyres and less aggressive riding in fact I’m often bedding back in the stuff he ripped up as I ride over it…

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