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  • Writer's pictureRodney Alkins

Pedal or Pedal Assist- Which Mountain Bike do you Prefer?

According to Bosch there are Three Classes of Ebikes

  • Class 1: eBikes that are pedal-assist only, with no throttle, and have a maximum assisted speed of 20 mph.

  • Class 2: eBikes that also have a maximum speed of 20 mph, but are throttle-assisted.

  • Class 3: eBikes that are pedal-assist only, with no throttle, and a maximum assisted speed of 28 mph.

Since the Covid Pandemic there has been multiple impacts on economies and societies globally. There has been reduced activity which has impacted employment, leisure and our overall lifestyles. We are still in the coping stage as Covid continues to be resillient in the face vaccine development.

The World is Riding More

However, there has been an unusual trend of demand for bicycles. Not just the usual manual ride but the ebike. The Electric Bike is nothing new, they have been around for some time in various forms, in well known brands such as Trek, Giant, Raleigh, and Haro. But the significant demand for electric bikes is interesting to say the least . Why all of a sudden this huge demand to ride everywhere? Is it because bicycles are cheaper to operate than cars, or is it because of global warming and we are attempting to reduce our Co2 footprint or could it be we have become unfit due to being indoors for so long? Well whatever the reason bicycles are in high demand.

Bike Scarcity

I would say, I am a fairly competent cross country rider and I love riding but I am not these days due to my country Barbados being hit severely by bicycle scarcity all thanks to Covid19. You cannot find a proper mountain bike anywhere through local distributors to purchase far less ride. It really has been depressing to be honest. Essentially, if you want a bike you have to import, void the warranty and incur enormous duty of 60% plus VAT of 17.5%. The same import duty applies to bicycle parts. Certainly not encouraging anyone to ride even if you can afford it.

Lone Ranger or Posse?

If you have a mountain bike the fact remains that although you can ride alone, it is not as much fun as when you ride together and that is what mountain bikers do when they are on a trail. We ride, regroup and then go again. Well at least in Barbados. However, with Covid19 restrictions riding groups have been reduced significantly, plus there have been shutdowns and we may be in for another shut if we don't manage this current spike which emerged around July 10th 2021. Riding is the group is usually safer than riding alone especially if you are riding in the backwoods and the Hills have Eyes. For instance if you fall and are hurt then easily someone can help. If you are alone there may be some time before someone finds you or realise that you are missing. In addition, if you ride in the group and you are feeling fatigue, you can easily receive support and encouragement from other riders, you may also be chided too, but just know that this is just MTB love.

The MTB Purist

Purist mountain bikers were initially resistant to electrification of the crank. They believe that it should always be by the sweat of your brow you shall shred that trail. I guess when they first heard about the ebike they probably felt all the challenge would be removed and it wouldn't just be as much fun calling the incline all types of nasty names as ou cranked to the top. However, the ebike is not about being pure it is about going longer and harder and there are benefits to going longer and harder. Check this video from EMBN:

The MTB purist is the type of rider that will spend money on that bike that is so special that makes them faster on the single track, hit bigger jumps and just all round trickster on the trails. When you become a purist your pockets better be stacked because the prices can get dizzzingly heady.

The Suburban Rider

Quite a few people fall into this category. These are the everyday people who ride to get to work, or just for leisure. they just want a bike that is reliable, with a comfortable saddle that they can have a little exercise and some fun. May be a race along the pavement for bragging rights. These riders are not necessarily about big brand name bikes although the brand does feature in their assessment of which bike to buy. But it is more about utility and knowing that their bike will last them without too much special care. Usually, this rider will want a bike that is not too heavy and not too specialised; essentially an all rounder type model would be good. Now there are some bike manufacturers that are very good at making those type of bikes that anyone can without breaking your bank account.

What Type of Bike should I Buy?

Well this questions depends on you. Are you a hardcore rider or just a leisurely rider? Do you prefer trail, pavement, gravel or simulated bike parks which can provide all types of terrain. What is your fitness level and your level of riding skill? Finally, what is your spending budget? All of these questions can be easily answered and will definitely inform you on what type of bike you buy. In most cases a pedal assist bike will cost more than a standard pedal bike unless it is a performance bike with tonnes of carbon and other advanced light weight parts. In the case of Ebikes over all there are so many different iterations of what people call Ebikes. There are even motorised bicycles where people DIY the upgrade of their pedal bike by installing a two or four cycle motor (weed trimmer gasoline engine) onto the bicycle. Some others use a battery and motor. One of the most popular batteries I have seen is one from Toyota Racing Development which is part of an Ebike conversion kit. However, if you are not a DIYer then you can also check out this neat piece of technology by Swytch.

Final Ride Away

Riding should be safe, fun and it is also a good way to exercise. So whether you pedal up hill all by yourself or whether you receive a little assistance from your ebike it is all good. The point is to get riding.

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