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ebike for access, utilitarian use

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  • ebike for access, utilitarian use

    I used to live in Tahoe, now I live in Washington, central cascades. The access here can be a challenge, distance wise, on flat roads w/w/o some type of snow. Has anyone used an ebike,dual v single drive for access ,on a regular basis? Bolton ( makes one and I think this is a better option for access than a M/C or snow machine. I used to pedal bike these roads but as more people go into the b/c I am searching for less desirable areas, longer approach, locally.
    Keep in mind
    1 i only use it for access not laps. sometimes the approach could be 10 miles uphill with a loaded pack on mixed terrain.
    2) I am solo 70 percent of the time
    3) ease of use
    4) easily transportable and storable
    5) cost

    Thanks for input.


  • #2
    Been thinkin' the same thing. Perhaps even convert the front tire to a ski for snow covered roads and make sure the rear is fat and knobby.

    ain't no turn like tele!


    • #3
      If the question is "Is taking an ebike against the spirit of earning your turns?", I say hell no.

      To paraphrase what Lou Dawson says when people question the ethics of using a snowmobile: The "trailhead" is just a construct. You drive 30mi in your car, then argue about using a motor for the next 5 or 10. Do ethics dictate that we should really home on pedal bike? Is it cheating if you don't start at sea level? No. Get where you want however you want.

      That bike you linked, however, I suspect would be underpowered for your intended use. For reference, my 500w commuter ebike is pretty light, and I still need to pedal with some effort to go up big long hills. A fat bike, loaded with ski gear, driving two wheels, going uphill, in cold temperatures... I think 600W might not be enough. I'd shoot for something in the 1000-1500w range. Luna Cycles seems to offer a lot of watts for the buck.


      • #4
        Our local shop has been selling e-bikes and has had a few demo days. Holy sh't, they're pretty sick and the mountain bike ones rip up the hill. I personally wouldn't buy one for mountain biking, but they would seem pretty brilliant for gaining access.

        ETA: On the down side, and I'm sure you know this, but they're heavy as f'ck - at least the ones at our shop.
        Last edited by dschane; 21 September 2020, 12:03 AM.


        • #5
          It would be cool to could rig up an attachment for the ski you're already carrying to connect to the front tire while riding the bike in snow. But if not, apparently this exists:


          • #6
            We Ebike trail riding only and they are amazingly capable, not only up but down too. So, I know a fair amount about Ebikes, the off road ones and nothing about the strictly street ones. First, Ebikes are heavy even the high end ones but generally you don't feel the weight when riding, however, the ones you are looking at in the link are at the high end of heavy to a point that you would probably need a trailer to haul it or some kind of ramp to load it. These bikes do come with strong motors but almost impossible to pedal if the motor is not working. If you get deep in the BC, with no support and the bike quits you may no be able to peddle out. Lastly, Ebikes generally don't like very cold and very hot. In your case the very cold aspect is a big concern. Cheaper Ebikes will have lesser batteries, motors and parts, all this will add to the reliability factor.

            If it were me, I would get a ultra simple Ebike for what you want to do, so, hardtail, no suspension rigid FAT bike with great tires and wheels and the best motor/battery combo. This would be the safest and most reliable way to go. IMO
            "Just say no to groomed snow"


            • #7
              eBikes are becoming the norm and as the population ages, I hope the R&D into them continues.

              In town, they seem great for everything from avoiding parking hassles, to bringing kids to pre-school, to hauling groceries and other purchases.

              For remote BC adventures they seem like a perfect tool, but for the concern about the batteries in cold. You certainly would not want to get done with earning a bunch of vert to find your bike battery dead (anymore than finding your truck battery dead). Unfortunately the smaller and rechargeable nature of a bike battery means it's going to drain more quickly and more regularly than your truck's.


              • #8
                In Washington, there is a distinction between motorized and non motorized access areas in most cases. An Ebike might be different enough to be an exception to the banned motorized vehicles, much like lakes that don't allow gas powered engines on boats, will allow electric trolling motors. To the OP, you should make a call to the appropriate regulating agencies and find out if they have a policy regarding Ebike travel in the locations you wish to use it.

                I get annoyed here in Washington because there's federal and state trailheads with different parking permits. (so you pay for 2 parking permits) and there's some crazy rule differences too.

                Needless to say, nobody in their right mind would E bike into a motorized recreational area, where guys are high marking their snow machines because they cut the snow to ribbons in the first hour, so we're probably talking about E biking up trails to non-motorized areas. You should do the homework and find out if it's permitted...

                Where exactly did you want to go? I've walked the inter glacier trail from the white river campground. I think it's 3 miles each way to get from the parking lot to the snow and back. An E bike would work well there once the trail melts out in the spring.

                the fall line is your friend.... resistance is futile


                • #9
                  Here is an old article about eBike backcountry ski access from Lou's site. Lots of discussion in the comments. The article is 4 years old, and eBikes are far more commonplace now than they were back then, so I imagine folks have become more accepting.

                  (FWIW, I believe that within 5 years, eBikes will be the norm on US mountain bike trails. Only the crusty old diehards will be pedaling fully under their own power. I don't really care one way or another, but there's too much money to be made by shops & manufacturers for this not to be the case.)


                  • #10
                    Studded tires on a "fat tire e-bike" sounds tempting and like the ticket. Those tires are pricey. With out the fat and studs, your option will be reduced compared to the traction over snow and ice of a regular MTB. I did a ton of riding over ice and snow with unstudded fat tires and they still work pretty good and way better than MTB. Still have to deal with all your gear weight which will put a drain on a battery, more so in cold, uphill conditions. Pulliing a sled with gear is an idea I've done along with not wearing ski boots while cycling. Bike/skiing has alway been complicated but nice to do on certain routes. As far as the ethics, I'm anxious for e-skins.


                    • #11
                      It’s nice to see a few handles from the old telemark tips sight, here.
                      Ethics aside, in Wa, late winter, early spring there are lots of closed gates that access skiable terrain, Vesper, Gothic, snow king , areas off hwy 20. Smithbrook road.
                      Walking to interglacier is easy from the CG, getting to the CG from a closed gate makes this an overnight trip for me. I’m talking the 10 mile approach over tarmac and packed snow to Sahale arm tH or Boston Basin Parking. Is the consensus that this PARTICULAR bike has merit or is underpowered to handle the workload? Telehead? BTW I have Done most bike approaches on an old Salsa touring bike, not Mtb, because of ease of carrying a lighter bike over down trees, etc
                      I second e skins.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by undermyownpower View Post
                        Is the consensus that this PARTICULAR bike has merit or is underpowered to handle the workload?
                        Underpowered. If you're gonna use an eBike, might as well use one that leaves your legs fresh for the skiing. 600W with all that weight is gonna leave you to do a lot of the propulsion yourself.

                        Originally posted by undermyownpower View Post
                        I second e skins.
                        The knuckledraggers are already a step ahead.


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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Quadzilla View Post
                          If it were me, I would get a ultra simple Ebike for what you want to do, so, hardtail, no suspension rigid FAT bike with great tires and wheels and the best motor/battery combo. This would be the safest and most reliable way to go. IMO
                          This is spot on. One other thing to consider might be a mid-drive motor and and internally-geared hub. A lot fewer parts exposed to the conditions.


                          • #14
                            I just went for my daily exercise and the sheriff who is assigned to the parks department happened to be at the trailhead near my house, so I stopped and talked to him. I asked him about the Ebikes and if they were legal on bike trails in Washington. He said that there are currently 3 classes of Ebikes, and the rules are in the works to make 2 of the 3 types of Ebike legal anywhere a pedal bike can go. They well be subject to laws like speed limits and some of the other pedal bike laws in effect where they share trails with foot travelers...

                            He gave me his card,... which in New York is like a get out of jail free card... Some of the new yorkers might know how that goes...

                            this looked better than the twin screw.

                            Last edited by tele.skier; 21 September 2020, 08:00 PM.
                            the fall line is your friend.... resistance is futile


                            • #15
                              Look at It is worth it to build up your own system starting with a bike you already like. My 52v bike with eZee front hub motor is capable of 1500 watts though I rarely use all the power. Pedal assist is the baseline but also have a throttle and wouldn't build a bike now without it.