Traditionalists may choke on their energy bars, but electric mountain bikes are fast winning devotees in the world of cycling.
Until now, e-bikes have probably been seen as a bit of a “soft” option for those unwilling to challenge themselves on the roads and off the beaten track.
But that view is being seriously undermined by the latest generation of e-bikes, so E-Bikes Direct asked two experienced downhill riders to try out a couple of Haibike models to get their expert opinions.
Riding the Haibike Allmtn was Riley Jenner, who is sponsored by O’Neal and races national events in the British Downhill Series (BDS). Riley, 17, is completely new to the world of electric bikes and his recent interest in e-bikes is such that he has now started a temporary position in the workshop of Ebikes Direct, with this being his first venture out on an eMTB. He was partnered by step-dad Ben Landreth on the Haibike FullSeven. Both men are passionate about their sport, but had not ridden an electric bike before and were keen to see how a Haibike would shape up.
What about the appearance and feel? Both loved the designs of their bikes and said there was nothing off-putting about the small electric motors and batteries.
Riley commented: “I wasn’t bothered by the motor or the battery in the overall look of the frame. The design has everything a standard mountain bike offers, including all accessories.”
Ben agreed, adding: “I thought weight might be an issue as these bikes are 20% heavier but it wasn’t a problem in any way. It was slightly noticeable in the air but we soon got used to it.”
But of course the big question is performance, so Riley and Ben hit the course at Hurtwood Mountain Bike Trails to put the bikes through their paces. And it’s safe to say the Haibikes not only put on good performance, they surprised our riders at how much fun they could have with them.
The biggest bonus proved to be how much more the pair could do on the bikes before running out of energy, an experience familiar to all cycle riders of every age and ability.
Ben said: “It was great. You can do two sections of the course compared to the one section that people on standard bikes can do. Because we felt far less tired we were able to spend far longer on the course. Fifteen miles would normally tire me, but I can do 30 miles for the same level of tiredness. Exercise is the point and there is no sacrifice here.”
So tapping into that electric supply makes for a longer experience. But it also has other benefits.
Riley explained: “ You can go MUCH faster on all tracks, which is a real plus. That extra speed is really important because it increases risk and adds adrenaline – a real boasting point to the doubters out there.”
Both men said the bikes handled other issues well, saying they were “no problem in the air” and the “excellent brakes were a good match for the heavier frame” while the another key factor was that “stability was not an issue; both bikes performed well on that front.”
Summing up his enjoyment of the Haibike, Riley confirmed: “You can get far more enjoyment when out with friends for a day. If mates on standard bikes take the mick you can laugh at them when you’re eating the last pie in the fish and chip shop by the time they arrive.”
Pondering the potential downside, the pair noted that: “Not all races allow electric bikes to take part at the moment” but they could see this changing “as e-bikes become more mainstream.”
The test bikes were supplied by Ebikes Direct.