electrical mountain bike The Southern Enduro Tour Affords a Glimpse of How Electrical Mountain Bikes May Slot in Racing
Up till now, we’ve heard plenty of discuss e-bikes amongst buddies and within the trade, and each advertising and gross sales look like on the rise.
Right here within the USA, a regional enduro sequence within the south started that includes an e-MTB class in 2020. Although the preliminary quantity of entries had been minimal, the quantity of buzz and chatter across the topic have been monumental. This new self-discipline might have a major influence on the way forward for racing.
Now in its sixth 12 months, the Southern Enduro Tour takes place throughout three states within the first 4 months of the 12 months. With a complete of six stops in Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma, there are many alternatives to hit some very various trails with buddies.
After the 2020 season opener, I had the chance to achieve out to a few of the riders (e-MTB and non-electric) in addition to the race organizer for some perception and to discover the place the way forward for electrical mountain bikes in racing might lie.
There wasn’t a greater place to start than with the mustache himself, Dustin Slaughter of Slaughter Trail Guides, race organizer for the Southern Enduro Tour. I pitched the query of the way it all went down. In different phrases, what had impressed him to supply the chance for these with electrical mountain bikes to compete on the identical trails as these with out batteries? Dustin had the next to say:
“The primary motive I used to be influenced so as to add it was as a result of I had a number of people ask me about doing it.”
As soon as the thought was prompt, Dustin handed on the query to the general public in a pre-season survey to assist gauge his viewers and enhance the sequence. With over 300 survey responses, Dustin noticed it as “a beneficial perception and really relatable” to obtain a lot enter from the riders themselves. Many of the responses supported the thought of bringing an eMTB class to the sequence. Because of this, each occasion within the sequence now has an eMTB class out there with each venue accommodating e-bikes with welcome arms.
“If it helps them take part and have enjoyable with us, then I’m in assist to assist develop the game in that path. The numbers haven’t been enormous within the class, however riders are exhibiting up and I guess it is going to develop!” says Slaughter, patiently encouraging the expansion of this new self-discipline.
One other particular person who has his toes dipped properly into the trade and commonly races enduros on his motorless bike is Matt Ricks. Ricks is definitely a market developer for Specialised Bicycle Parts, particularly the South Texas area.
I’ve unknowingly photographed Ricks since 2019, however this 12 months one thing caught my eye. He, too, was on an e-bike.
On the time of reaching out to him about his perspective on this subject, I had no concept he labored for a big bike model. To me, he was merely a rider who hung out on either side of the fence, on each saddles, you might say. Figuring out he had spent a good period of time racing on each bikes, I used to be eager on getting his enter.
After using e-bikes for 2 years, Ricks has appreciated the wonderful “progress and pleasure that comes from that class.” Sitting inside the trade, he’s consistently reminded of real-life situations the place e-bikes are providing a brand new way of life for these unable to trip as quick as their buddies/household and even trip in any respect.
“The electrical bicycle unlocks a brand new model of using. I can trip longer, quicker, and locations that I can’t trip on an analog bike.”
This can be a nice argument for e-bikes normally, however how is it racing one in a world that may typically be closed-minded?
Whereas most are supportive and wish to attempt it out themselves, some opponents do say racing e-bikes is for “cheaters and wimps.” To which Ricks shrugs it off.
“I’m having an excessive amount of enjoyable to be anxious about what others suppose. The actual fact of the matter is that anybody can trip an electrical bike and have simply as a lot enjoyable or extra enjoyable than the man on the analog bike.”
Whereas Ricks personally respects each viewpoints on e-bikes, he does see the thrill constructing exponentially in favor of electrical mountain bikes these days. Talking from a advertising standpoint, “We’ve seen a roughly 200% progress within the electrical bike class in Texas yearly for the final three years. The pattern isn’t going to decelerate and I can’t wait to have extra individuals to trip and race with sooner or later.”
Ricks says, “It’s only a matter of time earlier than extra electrical bikes come into the racing scene and begin to change how individuals view the game.”
I additionally obtained the possibility to speak with Cody Haverfield, one other participant within the eMTB class at Spherical 1 of the Southern Enduro Tour in 2020.
Masking it properly on the bike, Haverfield was really recovering from a horrific knee damage throughout this specific race. “I noticed it as a possibility to race with my buddies and never fully blow my physique up after little to no coaching previous to the race.”
These of you who’ve ever owned an e-bike can possible attest to Haverfield’s expertise at this race. Not solely was the racing enjoyable, however he additionally “obtained numerous questions, take a look at rides and naturally interacted with the occasional heckler or nay-sayer.” Most of which have by no means ridden an e-bike earlier than, he later found.
He additionally offered some perception as to why he enjoys racing e-bikes along with some attention-grabbing findings he noticed.
Comparatively talking, Haverfield famous that although the hassle was just like that of a standard, non-motorized race, he nonetheless achieved a better common pace but recorded the same coronary heart fee in each races. He did, nevertheless, expertise a shock throughout his first e-MTB race. “One factor I neglected was the 20mph cut-off…a lot of the course I used to be using a 51lb bike with no assist!”
Lastly, I spoke with one of many friendliest (one in all many) girls within the discipline, Angie Koppa. She’s a biking addict and frequent enduro racer out of Kansas Metropolis that may at all times offer you time of day, however you already know she gained’t BS you both. That is precisely why I reached out about her view on e-bikes racing enduro, as somebody who races common bikes.
“I actually don’t have something towards e-bikes in enduros. I’m positive it’s enjoyable, but it surely isn’t for me,” Koppa says, reinforcing her enjoyment of lengthy, sufferable rides.
Separated by class, however not separated on the paths, she remembers quite a few occasions being handed on transitions to levels by riders on e-bikes. “I can’t assist however really feel they’re lacking out in a roundabout way, however how would I do know, I’ve by no means raced on one.”
“I like the thought of getting extra individuals on bikes, however I can’t assist however surprise why anybody able-bodied and younger is enticed. However I’m at all times keen to grasp!”
If there’s one frequent theme amongst cyclists normally, it’s that all of us want to see extra individuals on bikes. Setting apart the traditional arguments for and towards e-bikes for a second, racing e-bikes permits people to trip their most popular bike and provides them the chance to be aggressive with themselves and others. Driving and racing towards buddies new and outdated is basically what competitors is all about and maybe one thing that ought to be inspired.