2021.03.05 E-Bike Babbling

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So, way back before the pandemic, I rode some e-bikes. I've been curious about electric motor assisted mountain bikes for a while. That interest, to be clear, is because I spend most of my time riding with people who are both more skilled than I am and in better physical condition. There had been a running joke that I was "allowed" to get an e-bike when I turned 50 - or if I had some permanent ride-impairing injury.

The concept of it being allowable itself come from some stigma that e-bikes have in the mountain biking community. And I myself had some doubts about whether I should give up the level of effort typically required, for fitness sake. The way in which I too-often was over-tired grinding up the hill so that I was unable to ride down technical trails cleanly, at least not without an extended period of gasping and draped limply against a tree. So, the allure, while obvious, has for a while been greater for me than many of my decades-younger-than-I riding crew.

The first test ride was an eye-opening revelation full of giggling, and deeply planted seeds of desire.

A second test ride was a more focussed investigation of capabilities, and a goddamn handful of nails in the coffin of my reluctance.

Part of the confluence of capability and desire is my riding style, which I sometimes refer to as "aggressively mediocre" and "old man fast". My riding lacks much finesse, so I have gradually leaned towards the full-enduro end of the bike spectrum in order to get enough plushness and stability to accommodate my need for speed and inability to avoid rocks. So not only does the thrust assist help my increasingly feeble ability to climb, but the extra heft of e-bikes doesn't significantly impair any light poppy skillful line choices.

As a tangent - I have a wee rant about the Specialized Level SL. It's a low-power small-battery e-bike that is an attempt to be as much like an acoustic trail bike as possible. It's awful. If you really want to have a light, playful bike to float down trails... yeah, no. It's still has a motor and batteries. But that motor and battery are incapable of creating the same quality of giggles, and of annoying less quantity.

Bada-bing bada-boom - I became the proud owner of the Commencal Meta Power pictured above. More, and more specific, riding impressions to come. Hopefully soonish.