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Home » Cycling » Do eBikes have a place on mountain bike trails? A funny take on a charged question (pun intended).

Do eBikes have a place on mountain bike trails? A funny take on a charged question (pun intended).


September 2022

Now, it should also be fairly stated that when we get to this level of purist silliness, the level I’m about to write about, we’re only talking about the wonky end of the spectrum. Mountain bikers are a finicky bunch. They just are. Disagree? Show up in your road kit and sit back on your folding chair at the trailhead… and watch how you’re looked at.

Better, there’s a question brewing amongst mountain biking organizations where it’s being murmured that e-mountain bikes shouldn’t be allowed on mountain bike trails… because they’re too fast.

They are that. However…

Let’s go with the notion that eBikes shouldn’t be on trails because they’re “too fast”. Never mind that, should you ask your average roadie if an eBike should be allowed in a group for someone past their prime but who still wants to hang with the group you’ll get quite a lot of enthusiasm about it… I’ve seen it. Let’s just forget that for a minute, though.

So here’s what I want to know; are we going to ban fast mountain bikers next? How’s about lightweight mountain bikes? Ooh, better yet, maybe we should have trails designated by class! Yeah! Then we don’t have to worry about fast mountain bikers overtaking slower folks on the trails… because they won’t be there! Then, maybe we could put some form of enforcement out there to hit people with a taser if they don’t comply to the class structure designated for that particular trail! Yeah, that’s the ticket! Then, for those who slip through the cracks, maybe we could have mountain bikers informing the authorities on other mountain bikers. That’d be great!

Oh, wait… where was that tried before? Let me think now… Oh yeah! The Nazi Socialists did that. So did the Marxist Soviet Communists and Italian Socialists… and Chinese Communists. (Never you mind that pattern, it’s all in your head!)

On second thought, maybe we can just let the older folks who still want to ride their mountain bikes have a little bit of an e-assist up the hills, no?

Just sayin’.


  1. unironedman says:

    A few mates of mine do the trails, and they reckon the e-bikes are great for getting back UP the mountain, so they have more time to enjoy the downhill. Seems fair to me.

  2. We could power the tasters off their eBike batteries… 😁

  3. crustytuna says:

    I’m all for them allowing folks to get back out riding if they otherwise wouldn’t. In our neck of the woods, it’s not the speed that’s the problem, it’s the fact that there are a lot of perfectly able bodied riders who don’t like climbing who get them, which means each time they go out for a ride, they can do more laps up and down the trails in the same time frame. When you consider that these are 50 lb bikes (and a non-electric mountain bike is usually 30 lbs), the wear and tear this causes on the trail networks is significant, especially since they can do multiple laps, when the rest of us would do just one. I have plenty of friends who have ebikes, but because they climb so quickly, they essentially only ride with other ebikers, which causes another weird social divide. In our town, trails that are considered more delicate ecosystems ban ebikes, but everything else is fair game. I don’t think the animosity is quite so bad anymore where I am, but it certainly was for a while…

  4. If a person is healthy, there is absolutely no good reason for them to be riding an e mountain bike.

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