SHOOTOUT AT E-MOUNTAIN

Interbike lets e-bike dealers get hot and dirty

Before the big Interbike show, the show promoters host two days of what’s called the Outdoor Demo, which is where dealers and other bike-industry folk can go and actually ride some of the latest bikes, often helping dealers find the best new bikes to carry and introducing them to new brands.

With the Interbike show in Las Vegas, the Outdoor Demo has been held in nearby Boulder City at a park with mountain bike trails and some paved paths, allowing for demo rides on both off-road and on-road bikes. Traditionally, the Outdoor Demo has been catered to traditional pedal bikes, but that changed in a big way. Care to guess what the big change was that took place? If you guessed something e-bike-related, you would be correct.

These Raleigh and Izip models were not part of the shootout. They were just display pieces at another part of the ODD.

THE E-BIKE SHOOTOUT

Months before the show actually took place, Interbike reached out to EBA to try something different, something e-bike-specific. We designed a course to test the climbing, cornering and overall handling of electric mountain bikes, with a great flowy section to highlight the suspension. There were two different courses of different lengths with the hope that dealers would try as many of the eight different brands that joined us in the corral.

To be eligible to demo bikes at the event, manufacturers had to have at least 10 bikes available. Some brought more. Cannondale brought both a hardtail and full-suspension bike, as did Haibike, while everyone else brought only full suspension. Those brands included Bulls, Fantic, Focus, Haro, Izip and Raleigh.

After each ride, dealers took a short survey to tell us what they thought of the bikes, and as an incentive, each time they took a survey, they were entered into a drawing for prizes. We shared the results with the participating brands.

The corral was busy enough that several brands were constantly out of bikes.

CHANGE IS INEVITABLE

Some of the dealers had ridden an e-bike before, and almost 80 percent said that riding the bikes here changed their minds about e-bikes and over three quarters planned on buying one. We spoke to many of them before and after their rides, and even the ones who were previously either against e-bikes or not sure of them were getting excited about them.

We’re hoping that with Interbike’s move to Reno, Nevada, next year we can once again help Interbike provide an e-bike-specific test track in addition to our annual nominating duties for Interbike’s best e-bikes and e-bike products award categories.

There were some great quotes on all the bikes, as the dealers seemed to have loved the course. Here’s a sampling of quotes on the different bikes surveyed:

On the Cannondale: “I could hear my riding partners giggling behind me as we rode—very impressive. I hope it will get more people on bikes.”

On the Bulls: “Honestly, the coolest thing I’ve done in a long time. I’m a new fan of e-bikes!”

On the Fantic: “Super fun bike. The 160mm option was a blast. It jumps well! It has a really slack geometry that makes the bike handle like a true downhill bike.”

On the Raleigh: “The e-mountain bike was a sport-changing experience for me! The 1:1 ratio for push and drive delivery was exciting!”

On the Haro: “With this bike I set the KOM for the course. It’s very fast.  The Shimano drivetrain is the best all-around setup and component group. It is not the outright most powerful, but all around the best. This bike was a lot of fun!!!”

On the Izip: “I love this bike! This was my second ride and now I’m hooked!”

On the Haibike: “The bike rode amazingly. The geometry was spot-on. I tested the bike in every assist mode, as well as without the assist, and the bike delivered at every bank and climb.”


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