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  1. #1
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    IMBA now OK with Class 1 e-bikes

    Read all about it:

    imba-updates-emtb-position-statement

    It's interesting they make no mention of the amount of wattage permissible for a Class 1 e-bike.

    And they refer to their shaky Impact Study
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  2. #2
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    IMBA is confused about a lot of things.

  3. #3
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    I saw this. I haven't seen the study yet. Thanks for that link. I recently had a chance to play with an E-MTB at my LBS. After promptly trying to do a wheelie and discovering there's some sort of torque management system, I set out to figure out where the actual application peaked. In the alley behind the shop, I was able to accelerate hard enough to displace the grave/dirt mixture that had settled in the alley from runoff up the hill. Conclusion? It took me less than 5 minutes to figure out how to cause enough damage to equate, roughly, to a skid 3 feet long coming out of every turn if you really wanted to stand up and hammer on it. It may not have a twist throttle, but it can cause a heck of a lot more damage than a bike you JUST have to pedal.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cotharyus View Post
    I saw this. I haven't seen the study yet. Thanks for that link. I recently had a chance to play with an E-MTB at my LBS. After promptly trying to do a wheelie and discovering there's some sort of torque management system, I set out to figure out where the actual application peaked. In the alley behind the shop, I was able to accelerate hard enough to displace the grave/dirt mixture that had settled in the alley from runoff up the hill. Conclusion? It took me less than 5 minutes to figure out how to cause enough damage to equate, roughly, to a skid 3 feet long coming out of every turn if you really wanted to stand up and hammer on it. It may not have a twist throttle, but it can cause a heck of a lot more damage than a bike you JUST have to pedal.
    Their impact study is probably worthy of another thread; at first glance it seems to be comprehensive enough but there are several clues that it was set up to favor Class 1 and everything else are the bad guys.

    My main gripes:

    There is no disclosure on mfg/model/config of tested e-bikes other than stating "350 watt".

    No mention that an e-bike can likely double the amount of riding done by an average rider. The testing is based on the comparison of an equal number of laps.

    The addendum study to discredit Class 2 e-bikes presents results I know to be false.

    I'm glad my money's not going to IMBA anymore!
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  5. #5
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    The thing I noticed from the press release was they were going to accept them based on land manager decisions, kind of like the STC bill for bikes in Wilderness areas.

  6. #6
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    Our Coastal Sector Superintendent for CA State Parks just clarified this at our last Trails Committee Meeting last week. Here is a snip from the confirmation email:

    Class 1 and Class 2 ebikes ARE allowed on State Park trails that already allow bikes. Here’s an excerpt regarding the change in law “Since a bill passed the legislature last year, Class 1 and 2 e-bikes are now considered bicycles and are permitted to use any recreational trails.”

    The Supervising Ranger are now briefed on this issue.
    Here is the bill text for those who can wade through it without going cross eyed.
    https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/f...01520160AB1096

    And an easier to comprehend version:
    California governor signs law modernizing electric bike regulations | Bicycle Retailer and Industry News
    Class 1 and 2 bikes will be allowed to go wherever regular bikes are permitted.
    "The physician heals, Nature makes well" - real fortune cookie

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  7. #7
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    I wish they would have forced their sponsors to acknowledge that class 1 ebikes are not bicycles and that they should not be referred to as bicycles at any time, otherwise no go. The ebike industry trying to brainwash the public that ebikes are bicycles may sell more ebikes but it will be detrimental to real bicycles and those that ride them.
    There are two types of people in this world:
    1) Those who can extrapolate from incomplete data

  8. #8
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    umm, I can get my normal bike to kick loose/gravel dirt out when I stand and pedal hard too. In my opinion, there's a whole lot of fear mongering going on.

    For the record, I don't own or have desire to own an ebike. Just highly doubt there is as much evil in them as a lot of people on here I guess.

  9. #9
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    I have noticed that a very major distinction between mountain bike use and dirt bike use on a trail is that dirt bikes can ride on very wet soft trail surfaces. Mountain bikers tend to choose not to ride on wet and muddy surfaces. A lot of our trail damage is from motorized vehicles during or immediately after rain fall or snow melt. Large amounts of soft trail tread are moved around when motorized vehicles climb muddy trails. I wonder if E-biking will allow riders to access wet trails in the same way other motorized vehicles can access them.

  10. #10
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    wow! thanks to the posters above for providing such helpful feedback and review.

    2 years ago I got my first smartphone. prior to that flip-phone.

    i am going to take the same approach to mountain biking. i have about 15-18 years until I retire and then I’ll consider eBikes.

    my son, now 9, may get an ebike long before me, and that’s okay, too.

    I really appreciate some of the observations above on the study, e.g., equivalent laps, setup...




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  11. #11
    WillWorkForTrail
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtndude23 View Post
    umm, I can get my normal bike to kick loose/gravel dirt out when I stand and pedal hard too. In my opinion, there's a whole lot of fear mongering going on.

    For the record, I don't own or have desire to own an ebike. Just highly doubt there is as much evil in them as a lot of people on here I guess.
    Ok, standing up and pedaling hard? For what, 6 inches? I was sitting down. Three feet. I didn't even think about standing up and leaning forward, like you would to skid a fixie. Maybe I'll go back and try that. See if I can do a doughnut.

  12. #12
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    This whole shift in policy (IMBA, People for Bikes, Trek, etc) reeks of lobbying, not users requesting change. I think we will be powerless before long and we'll have to give in. Today's culture of inclusion makes it tough to fight against. I get it. I want equal rights and access as well, but sometimes some things are not possible or don't belong together.

    Now to go lobby Strava into making eKOMs and ePRs and eSegments. But first, I'll be training to run the NY Marathon on a Segway.
    Jason
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  13. #13
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    I'm so mad at IMBA right now...

    When Dave Wiens (yep, Prez of IMBA) was at Cuyuna I had a discussion with him and he basically swore on a stack of bibles that IMBA would never equate e-MTBs and human powered ones. Then along comes this.

  14. #14
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    Dave's palms got greased.
    Jason
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moe Ped View Post
    Their impact study is probably worthy of another thread; at first glance it seems to be comprehensive enough but there are several clues that it was set up to favor Class 1 and everything else are the bad guys.

    My main gripes:

    There is no disclosure on mfg/model/config of tested e-bikes other than stating "350 watt".

    No mention that an e-bike can likely double the amount of riding done by an average rider. The testing is based on the comparison of an equal number of laps.

    The addendum study to discredit Class 2 e-bikes presents results I know to be false.

    I'm glad my money's not going to IMBA anymore!
    Agreed, the IMBA study was a start, but by not using what's fully allowed by law, it's not worth much. We're in the early stages of working with a local engineering university on a legit new study using current 250w emtbs and 750w. Stay tuned.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by CycleKrieg View Post
    I'm so mad at IMBA right now...

    When Dave Wiens (yep, Prez of IMBA) was at Cuyuna I had a discussion with him and he basically swore on a stack of bibles that IMBA would never equate e-MTBs and human powered ones. Then along comes this.
    This is from the IMBA positing statement

    "IMBA recognizes eMTBs as motorized. Defining eMTBs as a new and distinct category of recreation will minimize impacts on access for mountain bikes and protect against an increase of motorized use on non-motorized trails."

    So IMBA is clearly stating e-bikes are motorized.

    They also stated

    "First and foremost, we advocate for access for traditional, non-motorized mountain bikes. IMBA does not advocate for access for eMTBs."

    So I seems like they said exactly what you wanted. I am confused on how anyone could read the statement and take away that IMBA is going to advocate for ebikes.

  17. #17
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    ^^^ The start of a very slippery slope.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by indytrekracer View Post
    So I seems like they said exactly what you wanted. I am confused on how anyone could read the statement and take away that IMBA is going to advocate for ebikes.
    Yes, they say that. Right after they say this: "IMBA is supportive of Class 1 eMTB access to non-motorized trails when the responsible land management agency, in consultation with local mountain bikers, deem such eMTB access is appropriate and will not cause any loss of access to non-motorized bikes."

    That paragraph is the problem. More specifically its the first part of that sentence that is the problem. For a lot of land managers, especially in MN and IN, non-motorized means just that. Look, when I visit my parents near Bargersville, IN and I ride Southwestway or Brown County, I don't and can't know all the land manager requirements for those properties. If I was riding an e-MTB, how would I know if it was OK on either of those properties? And even if I got there and there was 'no e-MTB' sign, how tempted would I be to poach? And that is real problem with IMBA's statements, even if they throw in a world salad of "yeah buts": they are advocating for a motorized use on properties that are defined as non-motorized.

    I do advocacy for urban mountain biking trails and let me tell you, the e-MTB issue is creating a mess for new and existing trails. Many cities have strict non-motorized rules on their parks. Anti-MTB people are seizing on e-MTBs as THE way to stop MTB access. We have 2 proposed NICA trails here in MSP that are meeting stiff opposition (and MN leads the nation in urban trails, so they haven't been controversial in the past) because of this very issue.

    The kicker here, is that with a few minor changes in wording, I think everything would be better. Here is how that should have been worded, bold for the sections that clear up the issues: "IMBA continues to believe that all classes of eMTBs should be managed as a motorized use on existing trails. IMBA does not support the addition of eMTBs on lands designated non-motorized. For some trails, land managers may have leeway in whether uses are considered motorized or not. If those land managers review policies and determine that Class I eMTBs would be acceptable on existing trails, IMBA has no opinion, pro or con, on the use of these trails by eMTBs. IMBA does believe, however, that new trails should consider future use of trails by Class I eMTBs and proactively develop policies around this possible use. IMBA is supportive of any land manager who, after reviewing policies, determines that eMTBs should not allowed in their property. IMBA is also supportive of eMTB manufacturers, dealers and trade publications working to educate users of eMTBs about where they are acceptable so as not to endanger access, existing or future." Way clearer, covers all the bases and doesn't need the word salad of "yeah buts".

  19. #19
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    We share trails with hikers and horses in Indiana. In other parts of the country we share with motorized as well. I am not sure that a stance that we refuse to share trails with other user groups is a good position. E-bikes are just like horses, hikers, atvs, motorcycles, etc... They are a separate user group that needs to advocate for themselves. Should IMBA take a stand against sharing trails with hikers too?

    There is some level of semantics involved. If trails are classified as non motorized, and ebikes are classed as motorized then it would, for most land managers take some heavy lifting to get e-bikes added.

    The key is that ebikes need to be viewed as a separate user group. If e-bikers get access to a trail and then there are issues, ebikes can be removed with out impacting mountain bike access.

    As to the legality on each trail. Its up to all trail users to know that they are legally using any trail.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by indytrekracer View Post
    There is some level of semantics involved. If trails are classified as non motorized, and ebikes are classed as motorized then it would, for most land managers take some heavy lifting to get e-bikes added.

    The key is that ebikes need to be viewed as a separate user group. If e-bikers get access to a trail and then there are issues, ebikes can be removed with out impacting mountain bike access.
    That is precisely the problem with IMBA's update: it doesn't do a lot of separating. If its got a motor, its motorized. Lets figure where that motorized thing should and shouldn't go, but lets not pretend it doesn't have a motor and put it into a non-motorized basket.

    We share trails here in MN. Its a little different than IN. Few, if any, motorized (ATV/snowmobile) sharing. Not much horse sharing. For hiking/biking sharing, most of our trails that allow MTB are directional and bike primary, so that changes the sharing dynamic. Cuyuna is like one of 3 places in the whole state that allows e-MTBs, so I have first hand knowledge of them and sharing trails with them. The real test will be when Cuyuna expands into lands that do not allow e-MTBs.

  21. #21
    middle ring single track
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    Quote Originally Posted by indytrekracer View Post
    So I seems like they said exactly what you wanted. I am confused on how anyone could read the statement and take away that IMBA is going to advocate for ebikes.
    IMBA's trying to play both sides here; from the same page this seems pretty pro e-bike:

    "IMBA believes that eMTB access to non-motorized trails that are open to bikes present both opportunity and challenge. If managed effectively, eMTBs may increase ridership and stewardship of trails, along with other benefits."

    Let us not forget that IMBA's blog categorically stated that RE the then-soon-to-be-passed California e-bike law (paraphrasing) "will not allow e-bike access on dirt single track".

    Ignorance or obfuscation? The effect was the latter.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by CycleKrieg View Post
    Cuyuna is like one of 3 places in the whole state that allows e-MTBs, so I have first hand knowledge of them and sharing trails with them. The real test will be when Cuyuna expands into lands that do not allow e-MTBs.
    This is where it gets ugly for the rest of us. Here in Moorhead, MN we do not allow eMTBs on our trails. I asked the land manager and they specifically stated non-motorized use only, and specifically no eBikes. Now one of the local bike shops has/had eMTBs on the sales floor. What does that mean for them? That hurts their sales and sticks them with product that will be harder to move. They'll end up debating with the land manager to allow access. Not because there's a need for them on the trails, but because there's money to be made off of them.

    That's not the ugly part though. Our group, all being fans of Cuyuna, tend to look at Cuyuna to set the standard for the greater MN. Cuyuna sets minimum tire widths for fatbikes on groomed trails. We do the same. We don't want to be the group that says 2" tires are fine, and have riders here go complain at other trails stating that Moorhead allows it. Then we get the reputation of having poor trail stewardship. So if Cuyuna allows eMTBs, its only a matter of time before we all have to give in and allow them too.
    Jason
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  23. #23
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  24. #24
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    I agree with indytrekracer that ebikes should be viewed as a separate user group. They should advocate for themselves and IMBA should stick to non-motorized mountain bikes. Class 1 eMTB's are easily modified to disable the governors/limiters and become dangerously fast. I have been reluctant to post this link but you can see for yourselves how easy it is. A modified eMTB rider could just say "but it's only a class 1".

    https://www.ebiketuning.com/comparis...ha-tuning.html

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by lml427 View Post
    I agree with indytrekracer that ebikes should be viewed as a separate user group. They should advocate for themselves and IMBA should stick to non-motorized mountain bikes. Class 1 eMTB's are easily modified to disable the governors/limiters and become dangerously fast. I have been reluctant to post this link but you can see for yourselves how easy it is. A modified eMTB rider could just say "but it's only a class 1".

    https://www.ebiketuning.com/comparis...ha-tuning.html
    "Psssst---wanna buy a dongle???"

    And a half dozen smartphone apps boosting top speed to 46~48 mph!

    Woo-hoooo...

    Harmless Class 1 e-bikes my a$$.
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  26. #26
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    All it takes is a few ebike batteries starting wildfires to really change the tone of all of this.
    Jason
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  27. #27
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    As a mountain bike advocate, if I could wave a magic wand and make e-bikes go away, I would. Its going to be a rough few years till things shake out.

    With Bosch behind the push for e-bikes, there isn't any thing IMBA can do or say to just make it go away.

    The most important thing that needs to be settled is whether any form of e-bike falls under the umbrella of mountain biking. This is very important.

    On the Federal level, if all e bikes are determined to be their own class (National Forests and Parks ultimately are the deciders). Then adding e-bikes (even class one) would require a NEPA review for each trail. This would definitely slow down access for e-bikes on the federal level.

    The key is that e-bike riders and dealers would all have to understand even Class 1 e-bikes do not have automatic access to mountain bike trails. That e-bikes are a separate class and there access to a trail is not related to mountain bike access.

    Then the Class 1, 2, or 3 debate and the ADA vs able body issues will be theirs to deal with.

    If E-Bikes cause issues, they can be removed. If E-bikes are an issue with new trail access, they can be restricted.

    While many pro e-bike advocates are happy about some of the nice things the IMBA position said about class 1 e-bikes, they are missing the key point, that IMBA is defining even Class 1 e-bikes as a separate user group. IMBA not being specifically against them isn't a big deal. The big deal is that there isn't a National Level e-mountain bike advocacy group and no clear direction from the e-bike community of where they want to go. If the end game access for ADA? Is it access for everyone with Class 1, or are they going to fight for Class 1, 2, 3 for everyone? These are big issues to work out.

    It is pretty likely that with IMBA defining Class 1 as not a mountain bike, that the Federal agencies will follow suit. This will then help on the State Level doing the same.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by slocaus View Post
    Our Coastal Sector Superintendent for CA State Parks just clarified this at our last Trails Committee Meeting last week. Here is a snip from the confirmation email:



    Here is the bill text for those who can wade through it without going cross eyed.
    https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/f...01520160AB1096

    And an easier to comprehend version:
    California governor signs law modernizing electric bike regulations | Bicycle Retailer and Industry News
    I was at that meeting and was the one that questioned about the topic. I never received a recap and I'm quite surprised to see Class 2 was mentioned as only 1 or 2 of us had the slightest clue regarding classification and as it was left the Class 1 designation was the ONLY one allowed, that coming from the Super. I brought up an interaction that I had on one of the trails only a week prior to the meeting, one of the reason I breached the subject. I was nearly taken out on a turn by an UPHILL eBike on a limited sight turn on Oat's Pk trail. He was on what clearly was not a Class 1. It had a throttle and was a rigid fat-tire. He had both brakes locked up and was skidding upill when he was caught off guard by my presence. The bike was lurching forward and he was unable to control it. Had it not been for my excellent M785 brakes and quick response, he would have been into and on top of me. His bike clearly had a throttle which I believe he failed to release. As soon as there was a spot to pass, he was gone! Jeans, t-shirt, no protective gear, and not giving a shit. Gone.

    The consensus of staff regarding my experience and complaint was that there was no way they would even consider attempting to identify the different classes and that they would not have the resources to do so. So, the Pandora's Box is open. Embrace motorcycles on your State Park trails. There will be no enforcement. Now, this is where we have the great potential as mtbr's to get bit in the ass. The other stakeholders at the meeting, hiker's, equestrians, etc, are now raising concern about speeds on the trails. Their perception of eBikes is already bad and they aren't really even here, yet. Their concern now included non-mtbs where before, not a f*** was given. Yep, Pandora's box is open.
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  29. #29
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    I tuned out as soon as I heard "IMBA says . . ."

    Any port in a storm for those guys.

  30. #30
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    Just follow the money and you'll get the answers

    Speaking of money, with the extra cash you have from not renewing your membership you can buy beer and piss on the old outdated card...
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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbmaddux View Post
    The thing I noticed from the press release was they were going to accept them based on land manager decisions, kind of like the STC bill for bikes in Wilderness areas.
    Right, yet out of the other side of their mouth they refuse to support those very same local land managers having the discretion to allow or not allow MTBs in Wilderness.

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