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.
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……….
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.