E-Bikes As Utility Trail Work Vehicle- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    E-Bikes As Utility Trail Work Vehicle

    Anyone using E-Bikes as a trail work vehicle? I can see value as a tool hauler with a trailer attachment. What is the battery life in miles? Maybe Rokon should be working on an electric version?
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  2. #2
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    There's an ebike forum for that.

  3. #3
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    We've actually used an eFat to bring tools and equipment on remote, primitive trails where the Rokon is limited because of its size.

    We also used the eFat to maintain fatbike trails. Works great!
    I build trails for moose & beaver
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    We've used one for marking and inspecting race courses, among other things. For really remote work (which we don't have in my area), I imagine taking an ebike to the worksite leaves more energy to swing the tools. Anything that helps get more productivity out of the day's volunteers is a plus in my book.

    There's an ebike forum for that.
    It's a pretty focused trail building question. While I'm usually pretty against ebikes on non-motorized shared use trail due to access concerns, I think we'll all agree trail building and maintenance is another issue. It's a tool, just like anything else. Use it when your circumstances warrant. You might take a chainsaw on the trails to clear windfall, but no one then thinks you're encouraging riders to bring power tools to the trails.

  5. #5
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    Bump
    Can anyone chime in who is actually using an e-bike for trail work? How is it hitching up a Bob Trailer? Success stories of putting a rack on and strapping the chainsaw down?

    I was recently told that an e-bike wouldn't have enough torque to pull a Bob. Anyone care to disagree?

  6. #6
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    Whomever told you they don't have enough torque doesn't understand how electric motors work. Or bicycle gears, for that matter.

  7. #7
    zrm
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    Quote Originally Posted by lazarus2405 View Post
    We've used one for marking and inspecting race courses, among other things. For really remote work (which we don't have in my area), I imagine taking an ebike to the worksite leaves more energy to swing the tools. Anything that helps get more productivity out of the day's volunteers is a plus in my book.



    It's a pretty focused trail building question. While I'm usually pretty against ebikes on non-motorized shared use trail due to access concerns, I think we'll all agree trail building and maintenance is another issue. It's a tool, just like anything else. Use it when your circumstances warrant. You might take a chainsaw on the trails to clear windfall, but no one then thinks you're encouraging riders to bring power tools to the trails.
    I would think that it would be illegal to use Ebikes as tool transport on non motorized trails for the same reason it's illegal to use motos or ATVs as tool transport on non motorized trails.

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    Many land managers allow the use of not traditional vehicles for trail maintenance work and that can include ATV, Motors and now ebikes. Many have keys to drive trucks behind locked gates to get tools and workers in closer to the work site.


    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    I would think that it would be illegal to use Ebikes as tool transport on non motorized trails for the same reason it's illegal to use motos or ATVs as tool transport on non motorized trails.

  9. #9
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    I have a dirty fantasy about moving back to somewhere that trail building is less taboo, getting an e-MTB with either plus or fat tires, super low gearing, and a trailer to tote tools in the woods. And just tool around town and develop my reputation as "that kooky guy with the beard and all the gardening tools."

  10. #10
    zrm
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    Quote Originally Posted by lazarus2405 View Post
    Whomever told you they don't have enough torque doesn't understand how electric motors work. Or bicycle gears, for that matter.
    I would imagine they would be fine as far as torque goes, although the extra weight would drain the battery faster and then you have a heavy bike and a trailer.

  11. #11
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    forget electric utility bikes.... how about an electric mini-ex

    17VXE Electric Mini Excavator


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    Quote Originally Posted by cmc4130 View Post
    forget electric utility bikes.... how about an electric mini-ex

    17VXE Electric Mini Excavator
    I was excited to see that, then realized it is tethered, not battery powered.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by JustMtnB44 View Post
    I was excited to see that, then realized it is tethered, not battery powered.
    I don't think a battery would be all that more practical out in the woods.

  14. #14
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    I'm totally against e-bike recreational use on "muscle" trails but think they're great as motive power for trail building/maintenance. As mentioned previously, volunteers often have permission to operate ATVs, tracked transporters and 4x4s to access work sites. Many "human powered only" trails are patrolled by rangers/cops on motos.

    If you're a "muscle-only" purist; you'll be disappointed with the notion that often powered equipment has the lowest overall carbon footprint for back country work. (Fodder for another thread)

    I've used a "regular" e-bike to haul tools on my back; it's an advantage but only somewhat---I always worry about having a mechanical (electrical!) that I can't fix with regular bike tools. Yes, more time/energy left to do actual work if not spent getting to the job site.

    I think an e-fat or better still a cargo-style e-fatbike would be a good way to go; I might one day give this a try.

    Currently I'm using an "e-BOB" trailer (powered with a Golden Motor "Magic Pie" hub motor) pulled by a "Chiner". Only the thumb throttle is attached to the bike with the obvious advantage that I can drop the trailer and the bike reverts back to being a "regular" bicycle.

    It sounded pretty good in concept but in practice it doesn't work very well; the weight distribution is such that the drive wheel
    just doesn't have enough traction unless the trailer has 50+ pounds loaded in it. (The battery and motor already add 25 lbs or so) It's hard to launch without "burning rubber"! The choices of tread styles is limited by the wheel size and a "moto-style" knobby won't fit the swing arm. A custom trailer with the powered wheel more centered under the trailer might work pretty good; something else I might try someday.

    Photos:










    My next tool-hauler project is a BOB trailer pulled by a mid-drive 27.5 plus that carries the main battery on the trailer and a smaller battery on the bike.

    Stay tuned...
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  15. #15
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    Fuel truck and mower hauler

    The rack "holster" adaption was covered in http://forums.mtbr.com/trail-buildin...l#post13074177 and here's another way I'm putting my e-moto to good use. It may look like I've been mowing behind the bike but I'm only transporting the mower by towing it (to high spots on the trail so I can mow mostly in the downhill direction). Not that I didn't try; I can't ride the bike slowly enough in heavy weeds for it to mow effectively.

    E-Bikes As Utility Trail Work Vehicle-wp_20170426_006rs.jpg

    E-Bikes As Utility Trail Work Vehicle-wp_20170426_007rs.jpg

    E-Bikes As Utility Trail Work Vehicle-wp_20170426_024rs.jpg
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  16. #16
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    That mower mounted to the front ala cargo bike would be the shiz.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by tiretracks View Post
    That mower mounted to the front ala cargo bike would be the shiz.
    Something like this but with a mower instead?

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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moe Ped View Post
    Something like this but with a mower instead?



    Yes, suitably constructed for durability of course. Who knows, could be a thing?
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  19. #19
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    Paul after taking loads of gravel down U-Con a few weeks ago I'm ready for an e-wheelbarrow with regenerative braking and some uphill power assist!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by drew p View Post
    Paul after taking loads of gravel down U-Con a few weeks ago I'm ready for an e-wheelbarrow with regenerative braking and some uphill power assist!
    I thought you guys had a Canycom to use?

    I'd be lost without my Kipor:

    E-Bikes As Utility Trail Work Vehicle-2016-10-06-08.42.38rs.jpg
    Last edited by Moe Ped; 09-23-2017 at 10:46 AM.
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  21. #21
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    Bump. Cool thread. Use the juice to keep the trails juicy.
    Keep trying to do the awesomest thing you've ever done.

  22. #22
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    Working on a project scouting and developing a corridor for a 20 mile point to point trail in mixed FS/logging land. Roads are generally shitty and have log trucks coming down steep grades with 1 lane wide blind corners and I only have a Subaru which can get around a few of the roads but its not fast. Never been a big ebike fan but I got a Levo hardtail about 2 weeks ago and it has been great. In trail mode I can can get up and down the main road (1700' climb in about 5 miles) faster than I can in my Subaru. I hear the logging trucks coming either way with plenty of time to get out of the way. I can ride around in my heavy leather boots, full pack, and bushwacking clothes and not be completely soaked from sweat and exhausted. I can ride around on the old logging spurs that are pretty overgrown, steep skid trails, and even the rockcrawler jeep trails. Easy to hide in the bushes and it can be hike a biked or carried over logs much easier than even a small moto could. I've been able to cover way more ground with fewer long hikes in to where I need to go and can see a lot just from the bike cruising around on the old logging infrastruture. And I'm reducing my CO2 footprint just a little moving 50 efficient extra pounds around instead of 4000. Pretty stoked on it. Want to get a trailer or other rack setup to haul fuel! If I never hike with a 5 gallon can again I won't be sad.


    As an aside I've even done some riding on some ebike legal singletrack and its pretty fun. If the motor cut out at something like 12mph instead of 18-20 like it does now, I think that would be a huge help in reducing conflict. It is way too easy to haul ass on flatter/rolling type trails (which usually see the most 2-way traffic).

    So I do think they have utility for trail building and maintenance. So much time/money/energy in trailwork is spent in transportation/logistics, anything that can help make the work time longer and the transport time shorter is a win in my book.

  23. #23
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    I should have chimed in sooner, but our Levo and Bob trailer have let me get my maintenance routes done in a fraction of the time it used to take.

    Haters gonna hate, but I'm sold. Attachment 1159329
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by KSTARR; 09-24-2017 at 10:51 AM.

  24. #24
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    They main problem with the Levos is that they're so damned quiet; almost all of the e-bike complaints we've been hearing at Henry W Coe SP are from folks startled by e-bikes going uphill on single track trails. Even a 10 mph cutout might not be low enough; when I checked on Strava the trails where we're getting the e-bike comments the e-bike KOMs are in the mid-tens average speed. E-bike climbing averages in the mid sevens. (Average regular MTB climbing speed around 4 mph)

    The other thing is that e-bike riders seem to skid more DH; this could be a factor of the additional weight.


    My Levo killer:
    E-Bikes As Utility Trail Work Vehicle-rs2017-02-16-14.04.40.jpg
    Where's the kitchen sink?

    E-Bikes As Utility Trail Work Vehicle-rswp_20161226_009.jpg
    Sub-frame for attaching a standard BOB trailer; also the Motobecane frame did not have lower rack mount bosses.

    E-Bikes As Utility Trail Work Vehicle-rswp_20170703_017.jpg
    Carsonite sign day.

    E-Bikes As Utility Trail Work Vehicle-rswp_20170904_003.jpg
    40 volt weed whacker day. (Fire season)

    E-Bikes As Utility Trail Work Vehicle-rswp_20170910_010.jpg
    Don't sit back! (A little safety complacent this day!)

    I can get a helluva lot more trail work done traveling via e-bike; it comes down to the kWh in the battery.

    As I've mentioned before; if an e-bike displaces a gas-powered vehicle = good.

    If an e-bike displaces a regular bicycle = bad.
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  25. #25
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    Has anybody found a good kickstand for parking a bike and trailer in areas that don't have a convenient tree or rock? Any insight is much appreciated.
    Thanks,
    Kevin

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by KSTARR View Post
    Has anybody found a good kickstand for parking a bike and trailer in areas that don't have a convenient tree or rock? Any insight is much appreciated.
    Thanks,
    Kevin
    With a BOB trailer the combo can be jack-knifed and will stand up by itself (if not loaded too top heavy).
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodman View Post
    Many land managers allow the use of not traditional vehicles for trail maintenance work and that can include ATV, Motors and now ebikes. Many have keys to drive trucks behind locked gates to get tools and workers in closer to the work site.
    Yup. a few members of our local motorized Trail Riders Group have an agreement to go out on our non motorized system trails with their moto bikes and chainsaws to help keep our trails free of dead fall. It's a pretty cool arrangement imho.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by sick4surf View Post
    Anyone using E-Bikes as a trail work vehicle? I can see value as a tool hauler with a trailer attachment. What is the battery life in miles? Maybe Rokon should be working on an electric version?
    We don't even use chainsaws on our local trails [no joke] the no motor restriction applies to our tools as well. We carry in concrete blocks and wood for structures. Really not joking. So ya e-bikes? No.
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  29. #29
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    Hauling pipe

    I had about 900' of PVC pipe for a spring system at Henry W Coe SP that I needed to haul in a bit over a mile; I glued the pieces into 50' or 100' segments and then towed them with my e-bike/BOB trailer combo:

    E-Bikes As Utility Trail Work Vehicle-wp_20180823_001.jpg
    Gluing the pieces together.

    E-Bikes As Utility Trail Work Vehicle-wp_20180823_003.jpg
    Marshaling area.

    E-Bikes As Utility Trail Work Vehicle-wp_20180823_007.jpg
    Used some webbing strap with a cow hitch to tie the pipe strings to the BOB.

    E-Bikes As Utility Trail Work Vehicle-wp_20180823_009.jpg
    The pipe in general just snakes along following the trail.

    E-Bikes As Utility Trail Work Vehicle-wp_20180823_023.jpg
    Two 100' lengths of 1" schd. 40 was about the limit for a load; I had several 20% climbs to make where the motor alone wasn't enough---gosh dammit I had to pedal!

    One mile is about the limit considering the rocky surface of the trail; any further would result in too much damage to the pipe.
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  30. #30
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    awesome! This is a perfect use for an eBike on trails.
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