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E-Bikes, they just do all the work for you

It's cheating, right?

Well, that is what people who have never ridden them think. The reality is quite different though as you find out as soon as you start riding E-MTB. The truth is that you can make it as easy or as hard as you like, just like a normal pedaling ride. You can sit and spin, chatting away, or you can grind it out, testing the limits of your grit as your heart rate soars.

Cruising around on the Mondraker Level RR as my regular E-Bike

My name is Ben Plenge and I run The Strength Factory . I have been coaching mountain bike racers professionally for the last 5 years, from World Cup pro downhillers and Enduro racing machines to every day trail riders like you. I also love riding E-Bikes.

I want to tell you about why I think training can improve your riding as an E-Biker and why it needs to be a bit different to normal mountain bike training……….

  1. You still need to pedal.  The fittest riders will still go fastest and furthest on an E-MTB just like on a standard MTB. This means that strong legs, and a well developed aerobic system will enhance your riding, no matter what type you do.
  2. Short sharp climbs. What used to be a 20 minute climb is now a 5 minute climb, except you are doing it two or three times instead of once, and with descents in between. This means that the demands of your sport have changed and that you need to be better at shorter, sharper efforts instead of the longer grinds of a normal bike.
  3. More descents. As I mentioned, we get to enjoy more downhills on an E-MTB. This means that we need to be stronger throughout the whole body to maintain our riding position over repeated DH trails. Whole body strength lets you hold your position, riding with confidence and safety.
  4. Heavy bikes. There is no denying that an E-MTB is a heavy bit of kit compared to a 14kg mountain bike and that is why upper body strength is such a critical part of E-MTB training. Try manualing or man-handling your electric bike around tech trail features and you will quickly realise that strength is the perfect partner to skill and timing.
  5. Power modes.  Depending on the brand specifics you basically have low, medium and high power modes to choose from and these give you plenty of options to tailor your rides and your training to get what you want out of it. On a mountain bike you simply have a 12 speed cassette and your cadence to play with. Sometimes an E-MTB ride simply means hitting laps and having fun. Sometimes it’s a recovery ride, spinning the legs and sometimes it means sprinting the full weight of the bike as you exceed the speed limiter under your own steam. 

Check out the video above where Rob and I discuss training and go into a little bit more detail around E-Bike specific training. Coming soon we will have a video on training drills that you can practice on your own E-Bike so make sure you’re subscribed to the channel!

Hopefully you can see that in fact there are some differences between training for an E-Biker and a normal mountain biker. They each have their own demands and if you want to get the most out of your bike then being fitter and stronger will help you do that.

If you want to save 50% on the first month of my Complete MTB Fitness programme, head over to The Strength Factory and use code EMTBFORUMS.

Stay Strong

Ben


  1. So true!
    Ben is a cool guy, i’m very looking forward to your oncoming trainings and your races Rob! Not to mention you have to be a bit crazy to do the megavalanche, but it will definitely be awesome! o_O:cool:
  2. So true!
    Ben is a cool guy, i’m very looking forward to your oncoming trainings and your races Rob! Not to mention you have to be a bit crazy to do the megavalanche, but it will definitely be awesome! o_O:cool:

    He’s awesome and just the right person to help! And quick on his bike too!

    @Jonny2 and @ChilternsMTB will also be doing the Mega with me 👍👍

  3. I was going to write the same thing!!! I sure wish my 300cc two stroke would ride itself during hours of practice and then again at the races! :):):)

    It’s the same with everything that has a motor (F1, Nascar, Drag-Queen-Racing, Trials, whatever… ). A motor without a skilled rider is just a motor. And with or without motor, you can ride or you can RIDE!:)

  4. Glad my e-bike did all the work for me today!!!

    View attachment 13071

    This is Garmin data from my near daily run, 80% single-track through the pines and SOFT sugar sand in the SE USA. This isn’t a manicured bike trail, these are mostly lightly used animal trails and single-file walking paths with roots, rocks and large fields of foot deep craters dug out by the local wild hog population. I even had to stop today to hit the asthma inhaler, my allergies are going berserk during this pollen filled spring season!!!

    The more I get to ride my Fezzari Wire Peak Pro, the more convinced I am it was money spent wisely. The bike gets me my adrenalin fix and keeps me working towards better health. Win-Win.

  5. Glad my e-bike did all the work for me today!!!

    View attachment 13071

    This is Garmin data from my near daily run, 80% single-track through the pines and SOFT sugar sand in the SE USA. This isn’t a manicured bike trail, these are mostly lightly used animal trails and single-file walking paths with roots, rocks and large fields of foot deep craters dug out by the local wild hog population. I even had to stop today to hit the asthma inhaler, my allergies are going berserk during this pollen filled spring season!!!

    The more I get to ride my Fezzari Wire Peak Pro, the more convinced I am it was money spent wisely. The bike gets me my adrenalin fix and keeps me working towards better health. Win-Win.

    Blimey, that’s slightly better than the average speed I achieve on my gravel bike on 28mm tyres on the road! Impressive. I guess your assistance cutout must be higher than the EU (25kmh) limit though.

  6. Blimey, that’s slightly better than the average speed I achieve on my gravel bike on 28mm tyres on the road! Impressive. I guess your assistance cutout must be higher than the EU (25kmh) limit though.

    Thank you, just trying to show you do get a workout on an eMTB . FWIW, gearing and wind resistance are the limiting factors on top speed but my cutout is a smidgen higher than the EU limit. :censored:

  7. Great article, and look forward to watching the video – great that this sort of article and subject is popping up here, rather than just the usual ‘which tyre’ –
    After a good ride on the Quantocks on the Levo it is my shoulders and arms that ache the most – as a result of the riding I am able to do with the e-bike, as opposed to the ‘e-bike’ doing the work – if that makes sense!
  8. Nice article, thanks.

    Also note that some of us have no choice. I was a lifelong bike rider (in fact long destination bike rides were often how my wife and I would spend anniversaries and other special occasions), until my doctor told me I had to sell it – I have a degenerative joint disease, and pressing hard was making my joints worse. After a good ride, sometimes I couldn’t walk for a week.

    So I stopped riding for a few years. But now I have an e-bike, and I’m back out riding – and it is fantastic! I know how hard I can pedal, and I pedal that hard…if I’m on a big hill that needs more, I have the bike do the rest.

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