- Ebikes for search and rescue. Should we?
I volunteer with the Canadian version of Mountain Rescue. We’ve recently implemented a mountain bike team for access to areas that 4X4s and quads can’t access. One of our members suggested adding ebikes. Apparently our search and rescue team might have some funding available for up to four bikes.Posted 2 years ago
So, what’s your thoughts on ebikes for mountain rescue?
And, if you’re in favour, which bike and why?mikewsmithMember
So, what’s your thoughts on ebikes for mountain rescue?
And, if you’re in favour, which bike and why?
For rescue I’ll go with the team being able to access faster and carry more kit more easily so go for it.Posted 2 years agoyourguitarheroMember
Something with plus tyresPosted 2 years ago
I think it would depend WHERE ….and accessibility
If you go past battery life then your left with a very heavy bike.
I can think of places they would be really good (e.g. from the top of a lift) but also places you’d run out of batteryPosted 2 years agothegreatapeSubscriber
Why not motorbikes?Posted 2 years agotowzerMember
Dumb question, but where is drone technology now ? Can they be programmed to scan an area, what are the control ranges etc
Trials bike (motor) with dog box etc strikes me as a lot more useful than an ePosted 2 years agomattsccmMember
There are a few places that an ebike can go where a trials bike cannot due to the weight. You can carry an ebike up a climb where a trails bike cannot go. Battery life would put me off though. Better off having team members fit enough to ride or push a normal bike up hill. After all a few minutes is rarely an issue.(can be I know)Posted 2 years agoleffeboySubscriber
I would imagine ‘it dpends’. If you know exactly where the person is then brilliant, go for it. If you are going to be out for hours searching then possible not. However, if you are only using them to get to the start point then the rest is on foot then why not? Seems to me like there probably isn’t a killer reason not toPosted 2 years agoMalvern RiderMember
After all a few minutes is rarely an issue.(can be I know)
+1 on trials bike. Only real issue I can foresee there is the engine noise muffling distress calls.
Electric trials bike for the win? Obviously range could an issue. Second battery maybe? Case by case there could be arguments made for ebikes, electric motorbikes and combustion-engined motorbikes. A one-for-all solution IMO would be a long range electric moto/trials setup or a Batman-grade pedelecPosted 2 years agoP-JaySubscriber
If you’re already currently successfully using MTBs then E-Bikes seem like a no-brainer.
I assume Motocross style bikes were considered and rejected when you got the MTBs.
Range is a consideration, but, then it’s not like you’ve got unlimited range on a bike either, I suspect all but the very fit will go further on a MTB than they will on an E-Bike and of course it’s not like they die with the battery, you can still pedal them about.Posted 2 years agophiljuniorMember
I’d say get one or two on demo, and go and do a practice rescue for which you’d normally use MTBs. Factor in some loss of battery life in cold weather/after a few charges, and see if it’s worthwhile against the other equipment you could spend the money on.
i.e. without knowing exactly how you intend to use them, I don’t know if they’ll be worthwhile.Posted 2 years agothisisnotaspoonSubscriber
+1 for motorbike
Although I suppose the issue would be that with greater speed you pay less attention to the surroundings. On foot you’d scan every inch of the ditches either side, on a mountainbike you’d keep an eye on them, on a motorbike you’d mostly ignore them as the trail takes all your focus.
There are a few places that an ebike can go where a trials bike cannot due to the weight. You can carry an ebike up a climb where a trails bike cannot go.
A combination of rider skill/fitness, bikes capability and the trail though. If it’s genuinely that steep then why bother with a bike, it’s actually slowing you down looking of the casualty. And I don’t believe you could carry an e-bike up a steeper slope than a trials bike could ride.
Drone with an IR camera seems the much better thing to spend money on though if you don’t know where the casualty is.
Going faster on the ground only really works if you’re looking for someone on a trail and you know where to find them.Posted 2 years agodamascusMember
I’m no expert on ebikes but what’s the battery degrading like these days? Would using an ebikes to go up a mountain several times a week affect it?
They would need a 2nd battery or maybe a few batteries left in key locations to pick up if required.
When they go wrong they can be expensive to fix.
I guess it all depends on the budget.
As ebikes are new have you tried to get some free/trade price bikes? I’m sure you would be able to find a company willing to do a deal on some ebikes being used for mountain rescue.
Good luckPosted 2 years agonwmlargeSubscriber
The battery issue is minor, if you regularly exceed the range stick a rack on the back with a spare battery on it.
E Bikes are a great idea, at the very least they ensure that the first responder is able to cover ground without needing a ten minute sit down when they arrive.Posted 2 years agoSir HCSubscriber
Moto trials bike, greater range, covers ground quicker. If the noise is a problem, extra silencing would be an option as the power loss isn’t an issue for your applicationPosted 2 years ago
Sticking a trials bike on a ski-lift is likely not easy… I’m also unsure of the engine performance at >10,000′ ???
The closest I (well friend I was with) came to needing rescue in Canada was probably abut 10k … Top of the chair/gondolas then another 1000′ or so at 45 degrees on a drag lift (“Top of the World”)… then another hours hike to the highest point… and he skied into a rock hidden in the powder in the first 100’…. I sacrificed a ski pole and scarf and he got down to where the patrol go on one leg before shock took over.
I doubt you could get a trials bike from the bottom to bottom of the the last lift anywhere near as fast as the lifts… I suppose they could be left there over summer???Posted 2 years agobenp1Subscriber
2 things –
1 – trials bike would need a lot more skill than an e bike – former requires much more skill (e.g. clutch control), latter just needs bike riding skills (generalising here).
2 – what happens when you need to carry them back down? leave the bikes there?Posted 2 years ago
Wow, thanks for the input.Posted 2 years ago
Still looking for suggestions for bikes, but to answer a few questions . . . .
Motorbikes were rejected as the noise could muffle distress calls and radio communications.
SAR tasks are “usually” four hours (sometimes six) before another team takes over, so battery life would need to be optimized for this time period.
Drones are great in certain situations, but terrain dependent. In heavy forest, they’re no good, and in warm temperature with thicker foliage, they’re not very good either.
And after the missing party is located, assessed and stabilized, the transportation phase would be via helo, UTV or perhaps stretcher team.
The UBCO bikes are interesting; any other suggestions?
Papawheelie – where in Canada are you?
I’ve been on the fringe of a few rescues near Calgary through either meeting them or calling them. The Conservation officers / Park Rangers / Kananakasis rescue all seem to use MX / Quad / helo for rescue.Posted 2 years agolukeMember
In the U.K. the SAR team I’m a member of use standard MTB’s easy to transport, light enough to carry over obstacles such as stiles etc.Posted 2 years ago
No worries about battery use in terms of duration and also someone not charging before use.
But you will have different terrain and different needs than us.
But the bikes are great for knocking out route and paths with speed and less man power, also enable you to get equipment out to teams quickly when needed when getting a 4×4 out to them might not be practical.
sweaman2 — we’re in the okanagan. Trails here seem to all be on hillsides, so there’s usually an hour’s slog uphill to the top. We figure ebikes could reduce that to 15 minutes. Some trails are too skinny for quads . . .Posted 2 years ago
Interesting. From what I’ve seen locally “too skinny” isn’t really a consideration. Once met a rescue ranger and if a small tree was in the way then out came the chainsaw.Posted 2 years agohofnarMember
so there’s usually an hour’s slog uphill to the top. We figure ebikes could reduce that to 15 minutes
I hope that’s a typo else you are a bit optimistic E bikes give assistance but not 1000 watt and if that was possible you would drain the battery rather quickly. 15 min gain on a 1 hour climb or if the track is good halving the time don’t hope for more.
Look for battery capaciy and live though thing have improved a lot the last years and the modern stuff can go a long way.
I assume you will use the assitance quite strongly in the climb fase and once up high tone the level of assistance down or be stationary or n foot regularly without battery consumption.
One of my buddy’s has one he says it makes hime go up normally impossible stuff and get up out of the valley rather quickly he lives at 1000m out of the valley means ofthen easyly doubling that.
Anothe big mention for 27.5 plus tyresPosted 2 years agojamj1974Subscriber
I think it is a great thing myself. Can’t suggest a particular model, but going for one with a Bosch or Shimano motor (Are there any others…?), should mean spares are readily available.Posted 2 years agosinglespeedstuSubscriber
If the only thing stopping you using an MX bike is noise how about an Alta electric MX bike.Posted 2 years ago
You can even switch the mapping on it to suit your needs.
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