An electric mountain bike by Specialized
An electric mountain bike that’s not just for cheats and layabouts
Yes, on the face of it, putting an electric motor on a mountain bike sounds like a gimmick. One’s inner sceptic might sensibly point out that isn’t the whole point to do it under your own steam? And aren’t you supposed to endure the physical and mental lows — those “why did I come here?” moments — to truly appreciate the highs?
Then you ride one — and realise this view completely misses the point. This is a different sport altogether. First, it’s hard not to have a slightly manic grin when you’re on one. With speed comes adrenaline, but also a sense that trails and routes that might otherwise pass you by are yours for the taking. You also cover more ground, which means more exploring in the time you have, and more to remember when the day is done. And isn’t that why you came?
Don’t think you’re not getting exercise, either. You’re still in control of how much you work. There’s also a view it reduces strain on your joints and given many “pure” mountain bikers often get a lift to the tops of trails, you could argue that e-bikers are spending more time pushing the pedals, assisted or otherwise. It’s just different.
It’s still early days for electric mountain bikes but this year is looking like a tech breakthrough, with manufacturers applying lessons from earlier models to launch lighter, slimmer and stiffer bikes capable of impressing even advanced downhillers. Of this new wave, this Specialized FSR S-Works Turbo Levo comes high up the pecking order, fresh from its Swiss workshop with a new chassis, motor, battery design and 40 per cent more range. It’s the right time to put the “gimmick” tag away for good. ○ specialized.com