I’ve had the assist bike two months now and I thought its time for some thoughts on the Powerfly. I had other posts with thoughts but now that I’ve had some time on it my opinion is complete.
Here’s the post when I first got it.
Here’s another post on that bike.
Since those posts I’ve had it at out on local trails a bunch of times. Rode it up in Marquette and last week in the Hayward area. But I’ll start from the beginning.
When I got the thing I was not sure of what I was getting into. I am very much aware that these bikes are controversial. Banned here and not allowed there. But I was intrigued with the thought of being able to ride with my friends and not make then have to wait for me. Either just dropped or having to stop and walk a hill. You know the senario.
My first few rides were alone at our local trails. Of course I felt the power of the assist right away but I did not know how that was going to translate to my riding. On those first few rides I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was cleaning hills I had to walk before in the lowest (eco) setting of assist. A lap that I had to get off the bike and walk at least three times I now can ride without stopping. My MTB experience was just a lot more fun. And really, isn’t that the reason we (most of us) do it?
Let’s talk assist levels. I’ve said so many times that I ride in the lowest setting. But there are 3 more. The highest is called Turbo and thats the level I use when Im commuting home on the bike. It pulls you right up to 20mph and abruptly stops there. Several times I rode with the areas fastest guys and gals. I can tell you that even on the highest level of assist I could not keep up. This is not a motorcycle. It will not automatically make you the fastest on the trail. At least not me. But what it does is at least puts you back in the game.
In fact pretty much all the people I ride with are still faster than me if they want to be. I still pretty much head up the local rides with the theory that the slowest guy leads. But now they are much happeir with the pace I can ride. So not only are the rides more fun for me they are also more fun for the people I ride with.
I never could have rode up to this point in Marquette before. And if I tried it would ruin me for the rest of the day.
So now we (I) know that this bike can take me more places and ride comfortably with more people. Let’s talk about something that really bothered me…
Mentally I struggled with the bike. You hear that these bikes are great for the elderly and disabled. There’s no way I put myself in those categories. But I am almost 60 years old, weight 270 pounds ( and shrinking?) with two bad knees and a crappy hip. I still ride other bikes. In fact as soon as the snow flies I’ll be on my fat bike with no assist. But in the back of my mind my ego took a hit. Its like you are giving up. I can’t ride a regular bike anymore? Fact is I can so why am I on a ebike? Is this what Im reduced to? I struggled with that for a long time and only recently have accepted it. In fact it was after my Marquette trip that I knew this was a good thing. In fact an amazing thing.
Now when Im riding with others I dont even notice the bike anymore. I just ride. It’s not a ebike to me its just my MTB. The only time I do notice is when I’ve cleaned a good sized hill without stopping and puking. Taking that equation out of my MTB rides makes these rides so much more enjoyable. Im on a eMTB for good.
And how many more of me are out there? How many people who are off the trails due to age or loss of fitness or whatever. Getting these people back on the trails is huge. More people on bikes in never a bad thing.
Is this bike for everyone? Absolutely not. If I could accomplish all these feats on a regular bike I would not be on a ebike. But I can’t, so I am. What bothers me a bit is the bike companies and the way they market the bikes. They all show very capable, young and fast riders just ripping it up. Doing the same thing they can do with a regular bike but much faster. This is the scenario that deters the trail systems to say keep out and I dont blame them. But trust me guys, that scenario is far and few between. I think the majority of ebike riders will be guys and gals like me.
Now let’s talk trail systems. I have found this fall that there are systems that say no problem, some that say absolutely not and some that say probably not but kinda look the other way when they see an old fat guy trying to get up a hill. Most systems seem to be the latter. I will say that I’ve rode two days on the NTN trails in Marquette and three days on the CAMBA trails in the Hayward area. Never once did anyone I talked to say anything negative about the bike. Especially since they were passing me. In fact if the bike was mentioned it was all positive.
This is a whole new type of riders to sleep in the local hotels, eat at the local restaurants and donate to the local trail system. Another bike rental option. Its for sure a win\win. But will take time. The trail systems to openly declare open to ebikes will benefit the most.
Im glad I got the ebike, no longer feel weird about it and know of a few others who could benefit from one like I do. More butts on bikes.