Home Forums Bike Forum These rides, full power or light eMTB ?

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  • These rides, full power or light eMTB ?
  • bikesandboots
    Full Member

    I’d like to hear the wisdom of STW experience. For rides like these, what type of eMTB would you have – a lighter lower power one, or full power full weight? Complex question I know with climbing/descending, practicalities etc. to consider.

    All and partial answers much appreciated!

    1. Flat ish trail centre e.g. Hamsterley i.e. not hard on a non-e bike

    2. Steep and high trail centre e.g. Glentress, other Tweed Valley and Scottish forests

    3. Yorkshire Dales tracks and moors

    4. Southern Scotland hills, i.e. usually steeper and higher than Dales

    5. Lakes passes

    6. Cairngorms and other big mountains you can ride most of the way up

    7. Ride 20km flat ish to local woods, do some evening laps, return home

    8. Ride up a 700m mountain that’s a 15 degree slope

    One of the current crop of full power, sub 20kg bikes that are filtering through.

    Turn the power down for the easy trails then you have it on tap for the tougher trails

    2
    DickBarton
    Full Member

    An ebike… won’t matter what kind. All of that stuff can be done on a normal bike, so adding a motor just makes it all easier. Entirely up to you how much easier you want to make it.
    Aware that doesn’t help much, I was going to say full power as you may as well make it as easier as possible – but that sounds like I’m slagging you off. I’m not but you may as well take the assistance and not worry about it running out.

    3
    iamtheresurrection
    Full Member

    The new crop of lightweight ebikes with 60NM motors are my preference, every time now for every ride you’ve said.

    I borrowed a bike with a Fazua motor yesterday, it weighed about 37-38lb I reckon, and it makes my full fat e-bike feel bloated, heavy and slow.

    I was faster up the trails, which was a surprise (both in trail) and faster down. It felt the same to ride as my normal bike. You mention Hamsterley, so in the off piste stuff yesterday like Beehives and Lumpy Mattress the lighter ebike was so, so much nicer to ride (and faster).

    The bigger factor for me than the motor is the range on the lighter bikes. 430wh battery gets me about 3500ft of climbing, 3 hour typical ride. I’d need a range extender for a big day out in the Tweed Valley for example if I wanted to do 5000ft or 4/5 hours.

    That said, when the battery dies, a lightweight e-bike reverts to being a bit of a heavy mechanical bike, where a 55lb full fat bike feels like an anchor.

    3
    BadlyWiredDog
    Full Member

    It depends what you’re trying to achieve. All the general stuff about the riding experience in the sense of how the bike feels in handling terms applies regardless of the terrain but to varying extents. If you just want to go as fast as possible, full power. If you want a more ‘normal’ riding experience, lightweight variant.

    My take, in very generalised terms, is that there are two extremes on the e-mtb spectrum: at one end you have people who just want as much power as possible and could arguably just ride a motorbike, at the other are those who want a more conventional riding experience, but with a little extra help for tired legs. If you fall at either end of the range, it’s easy. If you’re somewhere in the middle, you have to work out whether you’d prefer to compromise outright speed/power or weight/handling.

    What other people prefer is arguably only tangentially useful because everyone is different. Until you’ve ridden both types of bike, it’s really hard to know. My experience of a full power/full weight one is that I wouldn’t want one, but then I don’t really give a stuff about sticking it in turbo and blazing up every climb, I’m quite happy to potter along on hills and enjoy less mass on the descent. If I were about to buy an e-mtb, it’d be a light one that handled well.

    It’s mountain biking metaphysics really. You have to ask yourself what aspect of mountain biking you really enjoy and which e-mtb variant is likely to enhance that most. :scratch:

    I guess the exception is if you’ve turned to e-mtbs because of some sort of medical condition/impairment, in which case the parameters shift slightly.

    Bream
    Free Member

    Spot on reply, nothing to add there.

    But, I’ve just had the same type of self conversation and went the light direction, purely because of trying to keep as close as possible to the natural MTB feel going down but having the help up to get more altitude per hour than I’d get without a motor.

    chiefgrooveguru
    Full Member

    I haven’t ridden a light ebike, but when I got my heavy ebike I preferred the handling downhill, even on flatter trails, to the normal full-sus I had at the time (and they had similar geometry, just bigger wheels ok the ebike).

    Conversely I know some riders who tried both heavy and light e-bikes and they found the heavier bike made them feel like more of a passenger.

    But for most of those I’d rather ride my hardtail, unless I didn’t have the time to go without motorised fast-forward for the uphills and flat drags.

    rickmeister
    Full Member

    The DJI energy density issue is interesting as the batteries which add a lot of weight to an eeb can be lighter for a higher capacity. That has to be where the next weight savings come from and probably a major investment of r&d time over at DJI as their product with the batteries has to actually fly so energy density is very important.

    julians
    Free Member

    Given free choice with no monetary constraints, I’d probably go for one of the lighter, but full power e bikes that have recently started to appear , but they will be expensive.

    Given a choice between what I have , which is a full fat 2020 orbea wild fs that weighs 24kg, and a light trek fuel exe that weighs 19.5kg, I’d take the trek for everything – unless I was doing those rides with others on full fat ebikes. – in which case I’d take the orbea – unless it involved hike a bike , then Id take the trek again.

    intheborders
    Free Member

    9. Lift over stiles, gates etc

    A full-fat is fine, if there’s more than one of you…

    I do everything you’ve listed on both my normal FS and my lightweight FS – most of my riding is 2 & 4 as I live in the Tweed Valley.

    But, depends on fitness as no way could less fit pals who ride full-fats manage the same riding we do on a lightweight.

    b33k34
    Full Member

    @Chiefgrooveguru

    I haven’t ridden a light ebike, but when I got my heavy ebike I preferred the handling downhill, even on flatter trails, to the normal full-sus I had at the time (and they had similar geometry, just bigger wheels ok the ebike).

    I wonder.  K & me have Rise’s and 170/160 Enduro bikes.  Both of us still think the Enduro bikes handle better than the Rise despite Geometry very similar and *same* wheel size. But they are a step up in travel…

    Assuming you’re talking about 29″ wheels on the E-bike and 275 on the bike I’m not sure they’re comparable – the 29er is generally going to feel better downhill as it will be more stable – rollover, wheelbase, relationship of BB to axles.

    mrhoppy
    Full Member

    SL / FF decision is (as has been said before) more down to personal preference on ride feel than ride type. I don’t like the feel of a FF bike as much, to me they feel too “monster trucky” stuck to the ground but rolling over everything. My Kenevo SL I can still pick up and move around whilst I’m riding it despite the big travel. But equally I appreciate that the SL doesn’t have the pick up of a FF and it doesn’t have the ability to turn uphills into fun tech in the same way.

    The only issue would be if there is considerable HaB or lifting over obstacles when lightweight has it’s advantages but a normal bike is easier again.

    1
    ayjaydoubleyou
    Free Member

    From a quasi scientific point of view, how much effort are you willing and able to put in.
    most of the rides you describe will have most of the climbs and flat sections doable at the speed limiter with a relatively fit rider putting some effort in on a light emtb – so at these points a full power would be useless.

    there will be the occasional small section where a turbo blast would be beneficial, so you’ve got the decision of getting a full power for those, or enjoying the lighter bike for most of the ride… or a light weight full power £££££ machine. (There probably also a few bits of hike a bike, so remember this too)

    for the “self uplift crew” that just want to get to the top for minimal effort and time then the full power would be the better option and unless they are constraining themselves to very short rides they will need the big battery too. Also in this category I guess would be the e-enduro racers. Whether the race is real or in your head if you are going full pelt all the time you’ll want the biggest and most powerful thing you can buy.

    thegeneralist
    Free Member

     Ride up a 700m mountain that’s a 15 degree slope

    All of that stuff can be done on a normal bike,

    You what? No it can’t

    dyna-ti
    Full Member

    I’ve seen too many threads(on dedicated Ebike forums) where people have bought half fat bikes and are enquiring about fitting a range extender.

    Take from that what you will. But i think manufacturers are taking note and putting out bikes that are lighter, but arent completely full fat when it comes to battery range. So more kind of around about the 500wh size.

    1
    desperatebicycle
    Free Member

    I borrowed a bike with a Fazua motor yesterday, it weighed about 37-38lb I reckon, and it makes my full fat e-bike feel bloated, heavy and slow.

    HAd a lighter Fazua powered bike before my Moterra – Fazua range was pathetic compared to the Bosch… Cannondale is in the beefier weight category, but can’t say its ever felt bloated, slow, cumbersome, any of those things. Just a fab bike to ride.

    Get a full fatter.

    HoratioHufnagel
    Free Member

    Doesn’t this somewhat depend on the riders weight too?

    At 100kg i thought a full fat bike at 24kg would feel similar to someone at 80kg riding a 20kg bike, so I got the full fat one.

    I’m 76kgs and handle my 26kg ebike absolutely fine. Bit of a bugger to lift granted, but I cope. When riding it, it just feels like a typical big FS most of the time

    My mate (who happens to be very good on a bike) makes his same bike look like it weighs 15kgs

    1
    bikesandboots
    Full Member

    Cheers all!

    All of that stuff can be done on a normal bike, so adding a motor just makes it all easier.

    Not by me! Some of them mean a lot of pushing, or being so tired that I ride like crap on the descent.

    The bigger factor for me than the motor is the range on the lighter bikes. 430wh battery gets me about 3500ft of climbing, 3 hour typical ride. I’d need a range extender for a big day out in the Tweed Valley for example if I wanted to do 5000ft or 4/5 hours.

    Interesting. I do tend to make a good day of a ride, as I almost always travel to ride.

    It depends what you’re trying to achieve.

    In summary, not being so knackered from climbs, pushing less, and enabling evening rides for scenario 7 is a bonus.

    Until you’ve ridden both types of bike, it’s really hard to know.

    I was planning to demo only light and go for that if it felt enough, but this thread makes me think worth trying both.

    Doesn’t this somewhat depend on the riders weight too?

    At 100kg i thought a full fat bike at 24kg would feel similar to someone at 80kg riding a 20kg bike, so I got the full fat one.

    Partly I guess, the rider’s extra weight doesn’t necessarily mean extra upper body strength.

    26kg ebike absolutely fine. Bit of a bugger to lift granted,

    Yes this is a bit of a concern, having to turn back on a ride due to a locked gate or stile, and not being able to unweigh the front over things or off drops.

    dyna-ti
    Full Member

    Yes this is a bit of a concern, having to turn back on a ride due to a locked gate or stile, and not being able to unweigh the front over things or off drops.

    Ahh, but doesnt this fall in line with the over critical ebike haters constantly whining that you just need to increase fitness in the legs, but with the arms and upper body strength.

    So buy a full fat and get a complete body workout :yes:

    1

    Yes this is a bit of a concern, having to turn back on a ride due to a locked gate or stile, and not being able to unweigh the front over things or off drops.

    Obviously lifting over things depends on the individual. I’ve occasionally struggled, but never had to turn back

    Unweighting the front never seems an issue though tbh

    The extra bulk can be a little unnerving on really steep stuff in the wet it’s the biggest problem I’ve had

    julians
    Free Member

    not being able to unweigh the front over things or off drops.

    That’s not an issue in my experience, the motor power makes it easier to pop the front wheel up momentarily with half a pedal stroke, or you can just lift with a body movement like you would a normal bike.

    goslow
    Full Member

    I can’t make an e-mtb recommendation since I don’t have one. I do rides like those you mention on a mountain bike. I’m just a bit puzzled that you describe Hamsterley as flat ish. In a couple of hours riding I’d typically be close to 1000m vertical.

    bikesandboots
    Full Member

    Same, just a normal bike and I’ve done most of these. But some are type 2 fun.

    Hamsterley isn’t as steep as e.g. Tweed Valley. Climbs not as steep or sustained, and you get more descending miles/time for the climbing effort.

    zerocool
    Free Member

    Get whatever your mates are riding. If they’re on full fat then full fat, lightweight e-bikes , there’s your answer.

    or just get whichever you like and can pick up.

    didnthurt
    Full Member

    170mm full sus, full power eeb with it chipped to the max, obviously. It’s the only way.

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