There are pros and cons to riding any type of bike. Sometimes the cons of riding a particular type of bike become part of the fun. A drop bar bike isn’t the ideal tool for tackling my local singletrack, but I still see people having a good time doing it.
Words: Will Shaw
Photos: TBS, Gerard Lagana, Dom Hook
Often buying an eMTB is put into a single usage category. A classic one for longer travel eMTBs is ‘this is a self-shuttle machine’. Another common situation is that someone in a group of riders buys an eMTB to help them keep up with faster riders in the pack. From my experience, one-by-one the riders in that group end up with an eMTB, and when there’s more eMTBs than ‘regular’ bikes, the reasoning turns to ‘my riding group all have eMTBs, therefore I need one.’
Regardless of how you ended up with an eMTB, or if you’re considering getting one but not sure where it’ll fit in your riding life, I can confirm they’re bloody good fun. Whilst common statements such as ‘eMTBs help you cover more distance’, and ‘eMTBs let you self-shuttle,’ are true,there are other benefits that aren't as commonly discussed.
1. It’s quicker to get to the trails
I reckon it’s a safe bet to say most riders would like more time to ride their bike. I’d also wager they want more time hitting the bangers in their trail network, not getting to and from the trails. Where I live, I’m about 15-20 minutes away from a couple of different trail networks on a regular bike. On my eMTB it’s more like 12 and a half minutes, or even closer to ten if I throw the kitchen sink at it. When you’ve only got an hour or so to ride, the extra 15 minutes hitting turns is appreciated!
My specific situation doesn’t involve much climbing (only around 100 vertical metres), but I used to live in Queenstown, and I could do a loop with nearly 1500 metres of climbing in an hour. On a regular bike this loop would take 2 hours at a decent clip, and more like 3 if you didn’t want a vomit inducing workout on a long travel bike.
Another benefit of the eMTB in terms of riding to the trails is when trails are far enough away that you’d consider driving to them. I find this is even more likely if you’re riding a longer travel bike on predominantly descending and climbing trails. There’s one downhill trail about 10km from where I live that fits this category perfectly, as it’s a bit of a mission to get to on a regular bike if you’re time crunched, but on an eMTB it takes the same amount of time as a car when you add in loading and unloading. More riding and less time in the car is a win-win in my books.