Do heavier bikes cause more trail damage?
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.Posted 7 months agonedrapierSubscriber
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.Posted 7 months agowwaswasSubscriber
Or is it all down to total rider/bike weight?
Looking at the e-bikes thing on the front page
The new ‘lightweight’ carbon version weighs 52lb 😯
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?Posted 7 months agochevychaseMember
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.Posted 7 months agochakapingSubscriber
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?Posted 7 months agophiljuniorMember
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.Posted 7 months agocookeaaSubscriber
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…Posted 7 months agoScienceofficerMember
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.Posted 7 months agodeadkennySubscriber
Does it matter? It’s horses you really need to kick up a fuss about 😉 . 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 😉Posted 7 months agooikeithMember
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…Posted 7 months agomartymacSubscriber
Id say yes, but maybe not as much as you may think.Posted 7 months ago
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.stevextcMember
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…Posted 7 months ago
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