FIRST RIDE: ELECTRIC MOTION EPURE TRIALS BIKE
FIRST RIDE: ELECTRIC MOTION EPURE TRIALS BIKE
A majority of two-wheeled competition for bicycles and motorcycles revolves around getting to a finish line or around a specific course faster than the other riders. One of the exceptions is observed trails. Trials riding is almost like gymnastics on a motorcycle, and it requires a specific skill set to get over obstacles. In general, sheer speed is not one of the required skills. The idea is to always keep your feet on the pegs. Dabbing a foot on the ground will result in scoring a point. Lowest score wins, so ideally you want no points.
Electric motion gave us their base model electric trials bike to test. We immediately called in our expert trials bike friend Lane Leavitt. Lane is a former multi-time national observed trials champion. He’s been testing the bike at his personal trials compound, so naturally we stopped by to get some seat time and pick his brain. We were able to get a legitimate trials session in, which after all is what it was designed for.
We found the bike to be plenty capable but especially with some adjustment to our technique. The obstacles in the sport of trials can be very intimidating at times. This bike however doesn’t have to be limited to just trials riding to enjoy. In addition to Lane we have an intermediate trials rider on our staff. He’s experienced competitions and has a feel for what is needed in a machine to be competitive.
We were immediately briefed from Lane and his son Daniel who had been getting to know the bike for a few weeks. So, already we had an idea of how it worked but as it turns out we were in for a unique experience. Its one thing to ride an electric motor on the road or even an e-mountain bike, but this felt like we were experiencing the beginning of a new era.
The throttle response was more smooth and immediate than anything we’ve ridden and it’s almost completely silent. We’re inclined to think that it would benefit your concentration without the noise or smell of a gas motor. Traditional trials bike are known for being quiet but with the Epure there’s no chance anyone will hear you even if they are standing next to the bike. Plus you’re not spending anytime trying to keep it idling. Another benefit is that you’ll never have to worry about what gear you’re in.
The motor comes with three power modes and switching between them came in handy even for some technical things we tried. You’ll get 600Nm of torque and the delivery of power is obscenely smooth. Most people won’t even need to use the clutch because the power delivery is so good. Particularly if you get good at switching power modes for certain situations.
The way the clutch works will fall a little short in some ways for many advanced riders. Finding the sweet spot of drive engagement was a challenge. In trials riding it’s almost essential that you use the clutch to rev up the engine which builds up a massive amount of rotational momentum inside the engine. When the clutch is strategically released the stored up momentum is applied to the rear wheel and gives the acceleration needed to clear obstacles more cleanly.
It was possible to get the clutch to help and the more we practiced the better we got but still we felt something missing in terms of practicality. You can’t really control wheel spin like you need to when you’re up on a long or big rock. Again the race model is said to be a little better in the clutch department. That said, with enough practice the Epure would be very capable even for advanced riders.
HOW IT FELT
If you thought the seat was missing at first glance you were right but not to worry its normal for trials bikes. No seat allows riders a wider range of movement on the bike but they have comparable models with a seat. The seat models are extremely capable and maybe even just as good for the average rider wanting nothing more than an easy trail ride.
A dedicated trials course gave us the opportunity to try the same obstacles we would try on a gas powered bike. The first thing we noticed was that ergonomically the bike felt very similar to a standard trials bike. At a 162 pounds it’s just a smidge heavier than the average 300cc two stroke bike.
Basic trials maneuvers like static balance and tight turning felt as good as the gas bikes we’ve tested. Slow balanced wheelies are almost easier than traditional bikes because you don’t need the clutch at all. There is more than enough power if you can control it with a talented throttle hand.
Lane’s son Daniel is an exceptional rider and it was beneficial to have him show us some of the things he had learned about adapting his technique for the electric power. Between all of us standing around talking about the bike we all came to the conclusion that the bike is still missing a couple things in the way the power was delivered. The kicker is that what little characteristics it was missing wasn’t enough for us to write it off.
UNIQUE BENEFITS OF ELECTRIC POWER
The left hand lever generally known as a the clutch lever also enables the regenerative power. It works progressively more the further the lever is pulled in and also slows the wheel down. Daniel told us that it actually save him from go over backwards when he jumped onto a log. Not something traditional bikes have and maybe it has potential to be used as an advantage as riders learn how to use it.
Electric motion has a 15A charger that gets a fully depleted battery to full capacity in three and a half hours. You can purchase a 25A charger that EM claims will get you fully charged in just over two hours. We were all impressed that after a solid hour riding session we were only down about 15 percent. At that rate it would be more than the average guy would even want to ride in one shot. You will need to keep the battery in the bike at all times which means the charger will need to be in a spot that is convenient to park the bike.
Minimum maintenance is required for electric bikes in comparison to combustion engines. No more getting oil or gas on your hands and best of all no one will hear you riding. Backyard sessions in thick neighborhood settings could help more people get the practice they’ve been wanting. Not having to shift or use the clutch are inviting features that are inclusive to wider range of folks. Advanced products like the Epure could elevate the sport of trials and if history is any indication, it will.
Motor: Electric Motion 600Nm of torque
Battery: 1875 Wh
Charge time: 3hrs 20 mins
Top speed: 43mph
Range: 43.5 miles
Brakes: Bracktec caliper 182mm disc front/ 150mm disc rear
Fork: TECH steel, 6.9” travel
Rear shock: R16V, 6.7” travel
Tires: Michelin X11 trials, 2.75×21” front/ 4.00×18” rear
Color choice: Blue