Issue #179: The great e-bike controversy

Originally posted on August 4, 2014 at 3:45 am


Issue #179 is available now. Within its pages, you’ll find a great El Paso, Texas and Juárez, Mexico travel story, a riveting Access Action piece that found the legendary Hugh Jass team today and examines how they’ve given back to their mountain biking community more than any “organized” team I can think of, and coverage of a collection of interesting 2015 bikes and products. That’s the kind of journalism we’re striving for at Dirt Rag. Honest stories you can sit back and absorb.

Because we’re not afraid of controversy, you’ll also find an expose’ on e-bikes, the elephant on the trail. In this feature we did not resort to knee-jerk reactions or hyperbole, we approached it as an examination of what’s coming. And they are coming.

Is Dirt Rag in favor of e-bikes on mountain bike trails? Absolutely not. We do not condone nor endorse their usage anywhere other than on legal OHV trails or roads—if you’d rather ride electric than gas powered go for it, just not on mountain bike trails. If you can’t ride a Suzuki RMZ 450 there, then don’t bring your e-bike. We will also not be testing nor showcasing e-bikes from this point on. We fully support IMBA’s position on e-bikes—which is not that anyone is against them per se, just that they don’t belong on singletrack.


What I hoped would happen from this news piece is to open a discussion about what’s currently happening in our world. Read the Letter to the Editor I received below—the author makes good points but fails to realize that covering the news does not necessarily mean we’re in favor of it—we reported on something that is not popular but it is necessary to do. And then let us know what you think, either in the comments or in a letter to the editor: [email protected].

Extremely disappointed to see your position on e-Bikes, which in fact are motorcycles.

Last month I encountered a joker on one of these monstrosities…a customized rig he was ripping around the trailhead parking lot. This thing spooled up so much torque, he was hitting about 40mph in under 4 seconds and could barely hold on to the thing. It was spitting rocks so hard they were ting tinging off of the parked cars and digging ruts in the hard pack gravel…AWESOME, BRUH! I confronted him and asked him if he had taken it out on the trail, which he had even though Fort Custer (Augusta, MI) clearly states “non-motorized vehicles only.” And this was a guy who had a regular bike and should have known better. I can’t wait until the weekend warrior class shows up on these things and have no clue of what it takes to get trail access, has zero interest in trail advocacy issues, let alone fitness. How can your magazine take such an insidious position? Oh, I think I know the answer: dollars.

Your magazine’s article is nothing less than a declaration of war! We didn’t fight the equestrians and hikers for decades just so our sport and trails could be destroyed within by a bunch of lazy morons too inept to pedal a damn bike and corporations only out to bolster their bottom line regardless of cost to the sport. E-Bikes belong on ORV trails: motor+cycle= motorcycle….that’s it, you’re all set.

That e-Bike this guy was ripping around on instantaneously produced enough torque to turn our Michigan trail soil to a sand pit. Now just imagine Walmart and the like selling these things for $300 a pop? These things turning the trails into wretched sand dunes polluted by the presence of cadres of low skill riders endangering cyclists on our trails that we fought and won access too. How could you guys be so stupid to endorse these electric rototillers!?

You can bet that I will be letting everyone know about the irresponsible and inane position your magazine has chosen regarding this issue. Please consider changing course before you aid to the destruction of our trails and sport.


Also in this issue

Inside Line: New bikes from Pivot, GT and Niner.

A guide to the trails in Bruce County, Ontario.

#tbt: The Inmates are Running the Asylum—How Team Hugh Jass created a mountain biking Mecca.

Product Reviews

  • Trek Fuel EX 9.8 27.5
  • Marin Mount Vision WFG XMB
  • Scott Genius 700 Contessa
  • Black Cat custom steel hardtail
  • 2015 Fox 36 Float 27.5 160 FIT RC2
  • Manitou Marvel Pro
  • SRAM Guide RSC brakes
  • Shimano XTR Race brakes
  • White Industries CLD hubs
  • Bionicon C-Guide
  • IXS Metis full-face helmet
  • One-Up 42t cog
  • Pacenti Cycles Design 1x chainrings
  • Bontrager and Club Ride apparel



Posted in In Print

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