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  1. #1
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    Electric Bikes on MTB Trails

    Saw another electric mountain bike on the trail the other day. It got me thinking, do I care about this? Am I going to start seeing a bunch of fat rich dudes (no offense to large or wealthy riders who pedal) who don't pedal ripping down our trails? Can someone give me some perspective here? Do I call the ranger 'cause the trail clearly states no motorized vehicles?

  2. #2
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    If he was talking on his cell while sipping a latte, throwing the wrapper from his deluxe triple bypass lardburger on the trail, and/or being a regular ******, then I definately would call him in. If he was just out enjoying the trail, prolly wouldn't worry about it.

  3. #3
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    Do you have any local/state/whatever statutes that define what is a motorized vehicle and what is a bicycle?

    Where I live, bicycles with low powered electric motors count as bicycles, as long as they only power you while you pedal and stop helping you by the time you hit about 15 mph.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  4. #4
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    tell me more about these electrobikes. i've heard of electric shifting (is it really THAT hard to shift on your own?) but are they like those commuters that help you forward?
    fap

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleB28 View Post
    tell me more about these electrobikes. i've heard of electric shifting (is it really THAT hard to shift on your own?) but are they like those commuters that help you forward?
    It was making him haul butt. I looked them up and found them on eBay for about $6k. They have a 5000 watt motor. That's seriuos.

  6. #6
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    well... what about handicapped people who want to ride around in the trails? i've seen a few of those chinese motored mountain bikes in the trails around here. i think the man problem with dirt bikes and atvs is that they ruin the trail due to their weight, big tires, and high amount of torque. but if they're not spinning out ruining the trail, i really don't care. its not a pleasant sound to hear, a motor, but electric is silent so that's even better. i say live and let live.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by RIVER29 View Post
    It was making him haul butt. I looked them up and found them on eBay for about $6k. They have a 5000 watt motor. That's seriuos.
    Sounds motorized to me. Way more power than I had when I was 15 or 16

    (not my photo: just found one that looks just like what I had)


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  8. #8
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    Does it have enough tear up the trail? If not then no harm no foul.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ou2mame View Post
    well... what about handicapped people who want to ride around in the trails? i've seen a few of those chinese motored mountain bikes in the trails around here. i think the man problem with dirt bikes and atvs is that they ruin the trail due to their weight, big tires, and high amount of torque. but if they're not spinning out ruining the trail, i really don't care. its not a pleasant sound to hear, a motor, but electric is silent so that's even better. i say live and let live.
    There are lots of ways for handicapped people to MTB without a motor.

    It was hardly silent but quieter than a gas engine.

    A 4000 or 5000 watt motor is plenty of power to pill out and I would add that the extra weight and speed could result in a lot of skidding. These would be controllable by the rider. I could ride my motorcycle down lots of trails and not do any damage if that was my only concern. It doesn't mean cautious motorcyclers should be on the trail either.

  10. #10
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    When one comes up from behind while I'm climbing and starts wanting by I will probably have a problem with it. May lead to trail courtesy issues...maybe others too. When the batteries die about 10 miles out it won't be so much fun as they beg human powered mtb'ers to save them.

    How long until they have a 32inch wheel version at Walmart?.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by RIVER29 View Post
    Saw another electric mountain bike on the trail the other day. It got me thinking, do I care about this? Am I going to start seeing a bunch of fat rich dudes (no offense to large or wealthy riders who pedal) who don't pedal ripping down our trails? Can someone give me some perspective here? Do I call the ranger 'cause the trail clearly states no motorized vehicles?
    This was argues at length on the electric bike board.

    I think they should be considered motorized for purposes of trail use.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by RIVER29 View Post
    There are lots of ways for handicapped people to MTB without a motor.

    It was hardly silent but quieter than a gas engine.

    A 4000 or 5000 watt motor is plenty of power to pill out and I would add that the extra weight and speed could result in a lot of skidding. These would be controllable by the rider. I could ride my motorcycle down lots of trails and not do any damage if that was my only concern. It doesn't mean cautious motorcyclers should be on the trail either.
    thats true, but having dirt bikes and mtbs next to each other is dangerous for many reasons. weight is an issue, people can get injured if somebody loses control of a dirt bike, and things like that. plus the speed issue. if the bike only goes 15mph, that's not terribly fast. my average pace is like 10 according to my gps at one of my trails, so if something was going slightly faster than me, i don't think i'd mind.

    if your biggest concern is people needing help with dead batteries......that can be an excuse to not do anything there at all lol.. there's so many reasons i've seen people need help in the trails, whether its broken collar bones or flat tires.

    i dunno... i'm on the fence about motorized bikes. as long as they don't do any damage, and don't hurt anyone else, i say whatever. if a motor's pushing a bike, or if you're pedaling it, its still a bike.

  13. #13
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    I saw video posted a few months back of one of these things getting clocked going up hill on asphalt at 45mph. There is a 10,000 watt version that will do 55 and was supposed to be released in march. Do a youtube serach and you will find a lot of videos.

  14. #14
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    This could be a non-issue, it could become something down the road. Either way I'm going to call the County that manages that trail and see what there stance is.

  15. #15
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    Wheeled vehicles are funny things. Any clown can get on a bike and do 25 mph. I takes a skilled rider to manage what happens when things go awry. That said, a rider who pedals out 5-10 miles and a rider who motors electrically out 5-10 miles may be very different riders.
    I don't rattle.

  16. #16
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    Do we want to go after the fat lazy shuttlers as well

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by 006_007 View Post
    Do we want to go after the fat lazy shuttlers as well
    I don't want to "go after" anyone, just have a dialogue.

  18. #18
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    I would think that shame and ridicule would keep most of them off of the trails.

  19. #19
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    Personally, I'd never use them. The human body is way more reliable than an electric bike motor, and who would want to spend that much $? To me, it seems like a foolish and rather lazy alternative to human pedal power. Electric motors are wonderful for cars and other large vehicles, though (assuming you can afford the high electric bill).
    Noise would be a concern for me and the wildlife. And yeah, it could certainly lead to trail courtesy issues.
    I would call the ranger because it technically counts as a motorized vehicle.
    Around here, it's illegal to ride ANY motorized vehicle on the trails (you could wind up paying a nasty fine or getting sued). And because there are horseback riders that also use the trails, an electric motor would probably scare the daylights out of the poor horses.
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  20. #20
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    It'd surely change the experience but can't see why one would mind them. As long as they're not tearing stuff up badly. Guess it depends on how much power and added weight but could even be fun. I see electric assist is getting pretty popular in some places on commuters and whatnot.
    Round and round we go

  21. #21
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    I just saw a guy on a bike with electric motors this past weekend. I was going one way, he the other on a rocky piece of New England single track. When we crossed, I saw these crazy hubs on his bike and immediately turned around asked him to hold up a sec. I had to know what on earth I was looking at!

    He was a heavy set, older gentleman. A nice enough guy who happily told me about his bike. Dual motors, front and back with the power button mounted up by the gear change. He rode it like a regular bike until he got to hills which he couldn't climb, at which point he'd hit the button for assistance. He claimed what was once a 10 mile limit for him he can now stretch out to 20 or 30. He certainly seemed pretty stoked to be out there.

    From what I saw, this guy's riding wouldn't be a problem for anybody. He was traveling at normal bike speed. In fact, I would have never known it he was electrically assisted unless the motors had caught my eye.

    Maybe that's a best case scenario for electric bikes out on the trails, but I was impressed with the guy's enthusiasm for "riding". Even though he claimed he could do 10 miles by himself, I'm not real sure he would be out there at all if it weren't for the motors.

  22. #22
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    Live and let live...if its not effecting you, let it go. I wouldn't call the Ranger unless it started to cause some sort of real problem impacting other trail users. My $0.02.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by huffster View Post
    Live and let live...if its not effecting you, let it go. I wouldn't call the Ranger unless it started to cause some sort of real problem impacting other trail users. My $0.02.
    I think this is the way I'm leaning here too. Just took some time to think it through.

  24. #24
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    Land managers need a policy regarding these things, like the one mentioned earlier in this thread.

    At which point does the electricity cease to be a simple assist feature and become the main power of the thing? When does it simply become an electric motorcycle?

    The overpowered ones that can hit 50mph without pedal input are obviously excessive for use on singletrack trails but what is okay? Land managers need to consider these things and say yay or nay and set some boundaries.

    I doubt they will become enormously popular anytime soon but if gasoline prices get too excessive for the moto crowd, electric mountain bikes will start getting more popular and it may become an issue that gets out of control where there are no boundaries in place for these things.

    I can see a relatively low powered electricity assist being labeled as a mobility assistive device under the ADA. But a high powered motor being considered an electric motorcycle. How hard would that be for land managers to enforce?

  25. #25
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    This is brilliant, how lazy do people get !

  26. #26
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    I actually talked to a ranger at the trail head this morning, not making a stink, just asking what the county's rules are. He told me that nothing with a motor is allowed. It's doesn't matter if it's assist only.

    I don't see my self messing with someone riding one responsibly, and I don't mind talking to people on the trail about responsible use. I do wonder if these could gain popularity with people that just want to go faster... cross that bridge when I get there.

  27. #27
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    <iframe width="640" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/U7IkFRaGJ28" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  28. #28
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    i want one lol

  29. #29
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    I think as long as the motor is 100% electric and doesn't tear up the trails then sure. It seems to me a little dangerous to just hop on a mountain trail on a motor, but hey I guess it's kind of dangerous anyway.

    There are plenty of cement trails in Denver/Aurora that seems like a more appropriate place for an electric bicycle, imo.
    Ride long, ride safe...

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by RIVER29 View Post
    I actually talked to a ranger at the trail head this morning, not making a stink, just asking what the county's rules are. He told me that nothing with a motor is allowed. It's doesn't matter if it's assist only.

    I don't see my self messing with someone riding one responsibly, and I don't mind talking to people on the trail about responsible use. I do wonder if these could gain popularity with people that just want to go faster... cross that bridge when I get there.
    I think that's a reasonable position to take. it keeps the rules clear so managers don't have to check motor power or anything at the TH. But still the motors are getting smaller and such a bicycle is going to be much less obvious to a land manager. I could see some places engaging in a crackdown and potentially banning all bicycles if too many idiots get out there with the high powered machines and start causing trouble. Guys like the one mentioned in the OP will be unlikely to be noticed by most.

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    I just hope this doesn't get out of hand and we start seeing trail "cops" a lot more....
    Ride long, ride safe...

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    EDIT: Shoulda read through the thread first. Weight/crashing/bad gotcha.

    So educate me a little on the harm here?

    I understand a motorised bike is prohibited because of the emissions.

    An electronic assist motor however?

    If it's because these riders don't "earn" their spot on the trail by being lazy and taking advantage of progresses in technology hand me the tar bucket and sack of feathers right now.

  33. #33
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    The Erosion argument is so silly

    I mean really, THIS is erosion.Name:  erosion.jpg
Views: 749
Size:  29.2 KB




    if someone wants to ride an electric bike instead of peddling good for them, nature is a wonderful thing, what is wrong with allowing others to love in a way of heir choosing?

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    This topic came up on my regional forum and got a bit messy. Bottom line they are not legal @ least on our local trails. Our local trails are already stressed due to multi use. Mountain bikers don't need anymore negative attention and it seems we would be lumped in w/ electric bikes in a bad situation.

  35. #35
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    some old guy, no big deal. some stupid kids, now i can see them locking the front brake, hitting the throttle, and doing "burnouts", leaving a giant hole in the trail.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill in Houston View Post
    some old guy, no big deal. some stupid kids, now i can see them locking the front brake, hitting the throttle, and doing "burnouts", leaving a giant hole in the trail.
    Yea we wouldnt want kids to have fun now would we.

  37. #37
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    An electric assist bicycle is a motorized vehicle.

    If you think public and forest lands should change their access regulations then that is an entirely different debate. I for one am thankful for the relatively small amount of open country left that is not fouled with motorized contraptions. Let your legs and lungs determine how far you can go.

    I don't hate those unfortunate enough to be physically handicapped in some way, and perhaps exceptions could be made.

  38. #38
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    If it doesn't reck the trail and doesn't go that fast and it is assisting the person I'm okay with it but if they start allowing them to be raced, there will be a huge protest against it.

  39. #39
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    an electric motor on a bike to assist up a hill is fine but a bike that is run completely on a motor, whether gas or electric, is still a motorized bike and should have their own eingine. Last thing I want is when climbing a single track hill is a motor bike going by. Their are a lot of people, both teenager and adult alike, that would start to abuse the trails with these bikes given a chance.

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    Apropos nothing....I am not a luddite and have embraced advancing mountain bike technology but I have to draw the line at electric-powered anything on a mountain bike. At the very least and by definition a mountain bike is completely man-powered...otherwise it's a motorcycle.

    I include electronic shifting as something I will never touch. Man-powered or nothing.

    Why, for that matter, do I want help climbing hills? Mountain biking is not my job and I'm not trying to make it easier or more efficient.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ailuropoda View Post
    Mountain biking is not my job and I'm not trying to make it easier or more efficient.
    So you ride a Walmart bike then? Didn't think so.

    You probably have a nice, easy-rolling bike that's got all sorts of techology from wheels to driveline that make it easier or more efficient.

    We all have our line of what we consider fun verses work. Not a bit bothered by people who want to go have fun on an electric bike. I think they're neat, honestly. Light, easy on the trails, zero emissions, quiet....what's not to like?

    When I ride my motorcycle on the trails it's just for fun, I don't even think about the Amish aspect of having it do the work...because that's mostly a flawed argument anyway when we're talking about true offroad.

    If you think you're not working your body to do ride a motorized offroad bike (electric or gas), I got news for ya....it's work. You go further and it takes more time to get the same workout, but there's a reason fat guys don't ride Supercross. It kicks your butt.
    "Wait, this thing doesn't have a motor?" - Socrates

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by RIVER29 View Post
    Saw another electric mountain bike on the trail the other day. It got me thinking, do I care about this? Am I going to start seeing a bunch of fat rich dudes (no offense to large or wealthy riders who pedal) who don't pedal ripping down our trails? Can someone give me some perspective here? Do I call the ranger 'cause the trail clearly states no motorized vehicles?
    Yes. Unless it is a rider who is disabled in some way (fat slob who never met a buffet they could say "no" to is not a disability) and this helps them to be out and participating in the sport.

    Did he come up behind you yelling STRAAAAAAAAVA!!!!!!!?
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  43. #43
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    In California, a bicycle is defined as anything that powered by human power. If you live in CA I would absolutely call and complain. It's only a matter of time before there's electric style dirt bikes. Do those count too even though they can rip up and down but aren't operated with a combustion engine?

    I actually saw 2 guys riding electric "assisted" bikes up the steepest mountain in my area the other day. Sadly, I started after them and still beat them to the summit by quite a few minutes. They applauded me and told me I was insane and I responded "No, you guys are just lazy". I proceeded to rip down the mountain because their beach cruiser electric assisted bikes were no match for 160mm of terror.

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    Quote Originally Posted by swingset View Post
    So you ride a Walmart bike then? Didn't think so.

    You probably have a nice, easy-rolling bike that's got all sorts of techology from wheels to driveline that make it easier or more efficient.

    We all have our line of what we consider fun verses work. Not a bit bothered by people who want to go have fun on an electric bike. I think they're neat, honestly. Light, easy on the trails, zero emissions, quiet....what's not to like?

    When I ride my motorcycle on the trails it's just for fun, I don't even think about the Amish aspect of having it do the work...because that's mostly a flawed argument anyway when we're talking about true offroad.

    If you think you're not working your body to do ride a motorized offroad bike (electric or gas), I got news for ya....it's work. You go further and it takes more time to get the same workout, but there's a reason fat guys don't ride Supercross. It kicks your butt.
    But it's not a "bicycle" if it has a motor. It's a moped. Or a motorcycle. I repeat, I love technology and embrace it but electric motorized mountain bikes are not "bikes" per se.

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    A lot of mis-information here. I work at a shop that sells electric assist bikes. The largest watt they have in the US is 500. In the US, by Fed law, they cannot go over 20 mph. In know way do they produce enough power to be spinning out or hurting the trail.

    At first I was completely against them, but after seeing the people that buy these and their limitations, I am for them. Last month we sold 2 to guys in there late 70's that could not get up most hills anymore. It has changed their outlook and now they are riding everyday again. The large crowd still do not want them, still too much work.

    Now outside the US that is a different story, they do have electrics doing well over 20mph.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spinning Lizard View Post
    A lot of mis-information here. I work at a shop that sells electric assist bikes. The largest watt they have in the US is 500. In the US, by Fed law, they cannot go over 20 mph. In know way do they produce enough power to be spinning out or hurting the trail.

    At first I was completely against them, but after seeing the people that buy these and their limitations, I am for them. Last month we sold 2 to guys in there late 70's that could not get up most hills anymore. It has changed their outlook and now they are riding everyday again. The large crowd still do not want them, still too much work.

    Now outside the US that is a different story, they do have electrics doing well over 20mph.
    Great concept for public roads, paved bike paths etc. Pedal when you can and get a bit of a boost when you need it.
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  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by STT GUY View Post
    Great concept for public roads, paved bike paths etc. Pedal when you can and get a bit of a boost when you need it.
    Exactly. If you want to enjoy nature and you are not fit for a bike, you can always hike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blurr View Post
    Yea we wouldnt want kids to have fun now would we.
    Do you let your kids destroy public trails?

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spinning Lizard View Post
    A lot of mis-information here. I work at a shop that sells electric assist bikes. The largest watt they have in the US is 500. In the US, by Fed law, they cannot go over 20 mph. In know way do they produce enough power to be spinning out or hurting the trail.
    So you are telling me this bike, which looks like the one I saw on the trail is impossible to get in the States (its available for pick up in Denver and ships to the lower 48 for $100) and that it's 4000 watt motor is intended to go only 20mph?

    HPC XC-4 EXTREME ELECTRIC 26" BIKE BICYCLE - 4000W POWER SYSTEM & 21" FRAME | eBay

    Someone is misinformed.

    Edit: In the description it says: "Keep in mind, this type of power is way beyond the legal definition of an electric bike by federal standards. Legal top speed in most states for electric bikes is 20MPH. For this reason, this bike is considered for off-road use only!" "Top Speed: 50+ MPH"
    Last edited by RIVER29; 08-28-2012 at 10:04 AM.

  50. #50
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    Sounds like another case of trail police.


    Electric bikes on MY trail?



    NOT ON MY WATCH!

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