If you need further proof that ebikes are continuing to gain acceptance among riders and the general public as a whole, look no further than the recent announcement from Mammoth Bike Park in California. When the park’s website was updated to announce its May 25 opening date it was also revealed that electric bikes would be allowed on the trails for the very first time. This is a major win for mountain ebike owners in particular, as Mammoth is considered one of the premiere bike parks in the entire country.
The news of ebikes coming to Mammoth is big for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it signals the continued growth in interest in electric bikes. But perhaps more importantly, Mammoth actually sits on about 3,500 acres of U.S. Forest Service lands. Until now, the USFS has been reluctant to allow ebikes on any of its trails, but it is granting permission for riders to use them at Mammoth on a trial basis to help further study the impact of these bikes on the environment there. The other Forest Service lands that surround Mammoth are still strictly off limits.
Opponents to ebikes say that they can cause excess damage to the trails compared to their human-powered counterparts. The argument being that because these bikes are equipped with electrical motors that allow riders to go faster while putting in less effort, they could create more wear and tear on and around the trails themselves. Some also feel that because ebikes make it easier to ride the trails they’ll cause overcrowding issues as riders who wouldn’t normally venture off pavement now feel emboldened to take on bigger challenges.
There is no question that the pedal-assist modes on ebikes make them easier to ride. This is one of the reasons they are becoming so much more popular as they do increase accessibility for older riders or those with disabilities to trails they wouldn’t normally be able to ride. That level of accessibility is at the heart of the decision to open Mammoth Bike Park to ebikes for the first time, however, as they’ll open up the park to a whole new customer base who may not have normally had the opportunity to visit.
There are some caveats to the use of ebikes at Mammoth. While electric bikes will be allowed on the trails there this summer, all of those bikes must fall into the Class 1 category. That means that the bikes must all have a pedal assist mode only and not an electric throttle, which does all of the work for the rider. The bikes must also have a top speed of no more than 20 miles per hour. This will help provide a bit of extra safety for all of the riders while limiting the impact of ebikes on Mammoth’s environment.
As you can probably imagine, the ebike industry has been quick to react to the news. Claudia Wasko, General Manager of Bosch eBike Systems Americas tells Digital Trends “We are thrilled to learn that Class 1 pedal-assist eBikes will soon be allowed to roam and adventure in Mammoth Mountain Bike Park’s vast trail network.” She went on to add, “Mammoth has always been on the forefront of embracing the new, since way back in the 80s when they helped popularize downhill mountain biking at the Kamikaze Bike Games. I expect more resorts around America will take note and realize that Class 1 eMTBs allow more people to access and appreciate the outdoors in a healthy, sustainable way.”
You can start riding your ebike at Mammoth on May 25, although you’ll need to purchase a pass to gain access to the trails first. And if you don’t have a bike – electric or otherwise – the staff at the park will be happy to rent you one for use during your visit.