For the record they’re not. They’re actually pretty incredible machines, But it is quite a common misconception among a lot of seasoned cyclists. So why is it so many MTB manufacturers put out such poor Emtb promotional videos? Particularly where the most capable descending and playful bikes are concerned.
Take Norco as an example.
Bryn Atkinson Ex world cup top 20 professional downhiller and all round super stylish rider now retired from racing spends a lot of his time as a brand ambassador for Norco promoting their line of mountain bikes.. So when Norco announced the release of their Sight VLT Emtb. An Electric version of their more than capable Sight Enduro/trail bike and I heard Bryn was doing the promotional video for it’s release I was fairly excited to see the result.
Only here’s what Norco put out as the promo..
Now ok. Some of you might be thinking that looks like a pretty good rider making the most of an Ebike on some pretty nice trails. Norco even promoted that video with the slogan “Looks like a Sight, rides like a Sight but… yeah, we put a motor in it” Well how about putting a video of the rider riding it like a Sight then Norco!
For comparison here’s Bryn riding the non-Ebike version of the sight (ie. same bike. no motor) in the same area in a promotional video released today.
It’s like he’s a completely different rider. Looking at the Ebike video anyone who knew how Bryn used to ride could have been forgiven for thinking he’d had gotten old, settled down, become a dad or whatever and lost his speed and bike skills or possibly that the E bike just couldn’t be ridden in the same manner as he’s ridden countless other bikes from heavy DH bikes to 4X hardtails, enduro and trail bikes.
It’s obviously a marketing angle but in my opinion It’s’ ridiculous! And this is in no way a slight on just Norco. Kona (with Aggy). Canyon (Fabian Barel), Commencal (Remi Thirion), Devinci (Kenny Smith). They’ve all done it… same thing. Ridiculously good riders riding in for them what could be considered a mediocre manner in their sponsor’s flagship EMTB promo video. If you know who to follow instagram has plenty of short clips of high profile professional riders riding their sponsors Ebikes far closer to their potential and I’m fairly sure the tide is about to turn. In the next few months if rumours are to be believed I think we’re going to start seeing Cannondale Emtbs being ridden by the Fabric/50to01 riders… a bold move and for me it can’t come too soon.
Expect to see a lot more of this kind of thing in 2019
Donning my tinfoil hat for a moment. Do you think these companies are intentionally putting out less than exciting Ebike videos so that they don’t capture the imagination of the type of rider that’s going put a bike through a lot more stress in fear of a glut of warranty claims and internet scare stories of constantly snapping frames or broken motor bearings ? A lot of these companies will have learned from their mistakes in the past when they maybe did sell a few less than durable long travel freeride and downhill bikes ending in multiple breakages that gave quite a few companies a pretty bad rep for a few years. Anybody old enough to still remember the nicknames; Commonfail or Cracknfail?
Without ever even having swung a leg over one plenty experienced mountain bike riders still genuinely believe all electric mountain bikes are awful to ride. In the past many actually were but things have moved on fast. Many of the younger riders I meet just starting out in the world of mtb seem to have the notion they’re just for elderly, unfit or less than able riders. I on the other hand had been waiting eagerly until geometry and battery technology finally caught up to put us in the great position we are in today with many truly great E bikes to choose from and happen to think a lot of the riders who are today dismissing them will be kicking themselves in a few years when they finally do have a decent ride on a good example.
Some may find my views a bit outspoken and fair enough but if you’re an Emtb owner yourself just think back to all the nonsense you’ve heard from the anti-Ebike fraternity on certain other online mtb sites. If you’re not already in posession of a modern EMTB or unconvinced of their capability do yourself a favour beg, borrow or book yourself a few demos.