5 reasons to thank e-MTBs

I started experimenting with e-MTBs in 2014, but it was only the following year, in 2015, that I realized the great potential of these bikes.
In 8 years, many things have changed not only for Mtb, but also for Mtb in general.

The electric motor has allowed many people to continue riding Mtb or start riding Mtb and this is undoubtedly one of the great advantages of e-Mtb.

Since we are still talking about off-road, the risks associated with the use of these vehicles are not eliminated, keep in mind, but I want to focus on the technical aspects, which is the subject of this article.
That is, list the five reasons to say thank you to e-MTBs.

1 – Center of gravity, not weight

If we go back to 2014 for a moment, the concept of center of gravity on Mtb has never been a topic of discussion.
We were talking about gross weight, frame weight, fork weight, etc.
By introducing the extra weight of the motor and battery and a more massive overall structure, e-MTBs have led to the consideration of a new critical factor: Where should that extra weight be placed?
Can it be concentrated in a specific position so that it affects the driving dynamics as little as possible?

This means that the concept of the center of gravity, a theme that has always been very dear to those who produce cars and motorcycles, has certainly also reached the bicycle sector.

First on e-MTB and then also on Mtb.
Do you remember the first electric seasoning?
Remember the headache of solving how to steer the engine to lower the center of gravity?
How high is the bottom of the tube to place the battery?
Besides, Plus tires also appeared on e-MTBs in the first hour, that is, with treads up to 3.0 inches (76.2 mm) wide.

5 Reasons Why We Say Thank You to E-MTBs
The first Specialized Turbo Levo (introduced in 2015) had 3.0-inch wheels. As well as other technical details that are out of fashion today. Such as the 100mm telescopic travel seat…

Fortunately, they did not last long, because in the meantime people began to think about rims in a new way and especially about the inner width of the rim.

2 – rims and tires, what a revolution

The scenario is this: Fat tires provide great comfort and shock absorption, but compromise the bike’s dynamics.
They weigh a lot and do not allow the driver to receive important information from the ground, as is the case with classic tires.
We need to change direction.

On the one hand, the tire section gradually decreases in size, completely abandoning the Plus Rubber definition (today we’re at a maximum of 2.6 inches), while on the other hand, a lot of work is done on the rims.

5 Reasons Why We Say Thank You to E-MTBs
2014 Mavic Crossmax Xl: It’s built for trail riding and has a 23mm wide rim

and in particular on the rim’s internal width (which rises from 21-23mm to 30-35mm currently), on the rim profile design (which is lowered and lowered to increase the absorption of vertical impacts) and on the hookless design (which makes the rim more Impact resistant with hard surfaces).

The Santa Cruz Reserve wheels, presented at Nomad 2017, were a landmark in the field of carbon fiber rims: they were the first to guarantee extremely high reliability.

In the past eight years, wheels and tires have been revolutionized to meet the needs of e-MTB users and of course also MTB risers.
Furthermore, in the last eight years, puncture-resistant kits, sausages, and mousses have appeared, which I will confine myself to mentioning to be rigorous in this historical and technical account.

3 – Larger and more precise prongs

Admit it: When Fox and RockShox introduced their 38mm forks, I initially thought they were a useless injection of dope into forks like the 36 and Lyrik that were already working so well.

However I was wrong.

5 Reasons Why We Say Thank You to E-MTBs
RockShox field, or Zeb in a cheaper version

Fox and RockShox both think this increase in size is particular in the e-MTB segment: A stiffer fork thanks to a 1.8-inch-diameter head tube (which requires a compatible frame) is such a nice feature on an e-MTB that the ride precision is completely skewed.
I remember very well when I first tried the Fox 38: I could easily do all those steps that required a little more effort than even the last time.

Everything has become easier.

Then I tried the RockShox Zeb on an Enduro Mtb and even there I realized the fork weighed more and even the bike in question wasn’t quite as light (it was a 2021 Trek Slash 9.9, photo below), but the proof was great.


Mtb was changing and a big advantage was, yes, the diameter of the stems, but above all the sophistication achieved by the suspensions.
From Xc models to Dh models.

4 – Fun above all

You might think it obvious, but in fact, the e-MTB’s disruptive arrival changed the competitive, soulful fun link in the MTB field.
Follow my thinking.

Enduro, when Enduro e-MTBs appear, is the competitive discipline that suffers the most and while it tries to suggest the “electrified” version of the aforementioned racing, consensus remains low.
Below the entry numbers Enduro used to do.
And above all, well below the total number of electronic Enduro MTBs sold.

5 Reasons Why We Say Thank You to E-MTBs
Varazze stage of the 2018 E-Enduro, remember?

Electric MTBs make thousands of enthusiasts discover or rediscover the joy of going out in groups or alone to discover new routes, new locations and above all the joy of being together.
Challenge each other and also engage each other.
But without a competitive context.

Then Covid19 gives the final blow.
There are still Mtb races, but it is above all Granfondo, a few Xc and a few enduro.
Blame the “electric”?
Not really: Let’s say that “electric” bikes embody a basic and crucial concept for the biker, i.e. to get into nature, adventure, discover and enjoy the trails in a way that was not possible before.
And above all, to return home with an effort that does not interfere with daily life.

5 – More ways to be a biker

What is the prototype of the modern biker?
Is he an “electric” biker?
Is it the biker who is going to become increasingly “electric”?
I am convinced of this: today you can become a cyclist with two types of bikes.
The e-Mtb and Mtb.

Plus, if desired, light e-MTBs are designed as a (temporary?) watershed between “muscle” traction and “battery” traction.

Which of these three types one chooses is completely indifferent, because each of these, sooner or later, puts you in front of yourself and your relationship with fatigue and the desire to get out of your comfort zone.
Let’s say, in short, the desire for adventure.

Which MTB do I start with, then?

Untitled 6 Styles 2501
The perfect scenario for Enduro e-MTBs such as Trek Powerfly LT9

I can start with an e-mtb, go hard and realize I need something without the battery limits, i.e. a non-electric MTB.
Or, starting with Mtb and realizing that if it has a drive, I can get the most out of the minimum amount of training I can do during the week.
Or even go electric and realize that when the battery runs out, so does my desire to stay in the saddle.
So, perfect match.

Figure 7727
But Mtb, the ‘muscle’, still has the same magic to me as always

Well, these are three emblematic examples that confirm that today, as never before, there is an MTB for every type of motorcyclist.
That is, for every level of adventurousness.

The five reasons why I say thanks to e-MTBs have me delving into technical and human issues, but know of another vehicle that connects man and machine better than a bike?
My appetite for adventure remains high and my limits are always set at the same level: pushing myself too far, but not too far to stop me from listing my adventures.

And what is your level?

That’s it Our articles on the evolution of Mtb

Phil Schwartz

"Food expert. Unapologetic bacon maven. Beer enthusiast. Pop cultureaholic. General travel scholar. Total internet buff."

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