Mountain bike purists shouldn't be so quick to dismiss the electric mountain bike.
If you mountain bike, you likely fall into one of two camps: those who have ridden an electric mountain bike and loved it, or those who haven’t.
I borrowed a Moustache Race 4 for a month and rode it a lot. It was painful to give back.
I was curious, dismissive and a little fearful. Curious because I’ve seen a lot of eMTBs on my local trails (and the riders look like they’re having fun). Dismissive because I couldn’t shake the sense motor-power was cheating. And fearful because I might like it – most of those eMTB riders are older than me, and I’m not ready to become old just yet.
I was sold. Over the month I rode a 50km route in filthy weather in less than five hours (it’d take close to seven on my “analogue” mountain bike). I commuted to work three or four days each week via challenging off-road trails and didn’t feel exhausted at the end of the week. I rode further on my rides, adding an extra climb and descent because this magic bike created energy and time. And I rode climbs I wouldn’t usually touch – climbing became fun! I went looking for steep, rough trails.
The Moustache would complement current unpowered mountain biking brilliantly. Living in Wellington, with a great network of trails around the city, it’d be my daily ride (as I can commute while barely touching a road). I could see my current bike gathering dust in my garage. While the Race 4 would bomb in our e-bike test, as its tyres are a drag on roads and it lacks the practical features of a good city bike, when a ride is this much fun, who needs practical?
This bike was loaned to the writer by eBike Studio. He trialled the 2019 model, but a 2020 bike is now available.