Take a look at Paul van der Ploeg's Shimano XTR M9100 equipped Giant Trance E+.
The town of Derby is buzzing with mountain bikers as the second round of the 2019 Enduro World Series is about to kick off. And while there are no eMTBs racing in the EWS most photographers and plenty of spectators are getting about on eMTBs, enjoying the pedal-assistance to take the sting out of the climbs.
One rider we would have expected to see with a number plate on is Paul van der Ploeg. But given he broke his leg (in two places!) 6 weeks ago Paul is on crutches, on his Giant Trance eMTB and on the microphone this weekend instead.
"I broke my leg about six and half weeks ago," said Paul when we spotted his new bike in the pits. Paul broke his leg over in New Zealand, and has been going through extensive rehab. It's totally changed his season, and in the past couple of weeks he has been getting around on an eMTB to help with his recovery. That's lead to building a pretty sweet Giant Trance E+, custom specced with Shimano XTR M9100.
As someone who has been a cross-country eliminator world champion, and national champion in cyclocross and cross-country, who has raced road internationally and now races the EWS - an eMTB was actually something new for Paul.
"I've never really ridden an e-bike before. I had been planning on it, so breaking my leg has been a good catalyst to spec one out."
Paul has the bike built up using components from his sponsors. From the Shimano XTR group set, to Fox suspension and dropper post, and the new Schwalbe Eddy Current eMTB tyres. We have a set on test ourselves. They super stiff sidewalls and deep tread should solve the woes that some eMTBers have.
The suspension is one of the items on long travel eMTBs that need a bit of extra heft. The Float 36 is eMTB specific, with stronger legs.
"I'm pretty excited to ride it but at the moment I'm just using it as a mobility scooter really" adds Paul. "I'm just pedalling with my non-injured left leg and letting my right leg to go through the motions."
Most eMTBs run shorter cranks for pedal clearance when staying on the gas. And the shorter Praxis eMTB cranks on the Giant Trance E+ would be perfect for Paul, keeping the range of motion small enough to have a positive impact on his rehab.
"With the city e-bike I have been riding it has been pain free, and I can use my leg in a range of motion that creates circulation so it's uncharted territory as to whether it's a good way of rehab for a broken leg. But I honestly believe it has been beneficial for my recovery."
"At 6 weeks the bones have started to heal really well. The femur has metal work in there, and there's a mini-bionic bone implant in there. I'll be taking it pretty easy for the next 6 weeks and then I'll use the eMTB for a bit of freedom and escape."
So - will we see Paul taking more rides on his Giant Trance E+ even when he's back in one piece and no longer a bionic man?
"I've been motivated to use them so I can get more time on the downhills. If you're time poor or trying to punch out laps you can jump on something like this. There are places close to Melbourne like Red Hill where if I go out for two hours I'll only get a few runs in, but on an eMTB you'll be able to get twice as many runs in. It's self shuttling, as people say."
Paul is sidelined for a bit longer, but you're still likely to see him rolling around on his Giant Trance E+ this weekend in Derby. But we suspect you'll be seeing him on it a whole lot more as the year and his rehab progresses.