By 1898 a rear-wheel drive electric bicycle, which used a driving belt along the outside edge of the wheel, was patented by Mathew J. Steffens. Also, the 1899 U.S. Patent 627,066 by John Schnepf depicted a rear-wheel friction “roller-wheel” style drive electric bicycle. Schnepf's invention was later re-examined and expanded in 1969 by G.A. Wood Jr. with his U.S. Patent 3,431,994. Wood’s device used 4 fractional horsepower motors; connected through a series of gears.
As a household name, Specialized is to be trusted in this world without a doubt. That’s because, in addition to their inventory of pedal-powered machinery, they’ve gone ahead and introduced us to their S-Works Turbo. Here, in conjunction with their custom Trail-tuned motor for off-road use, the Levo FSR frame is constructed entirely of FACT 11m carbon fiber allowing for both a lightweight and stiff ride through the local wilderness. Additional features include instant engagement, heat management, and a silent output for good measure. Not bad Specialized. Not bad at all.
When riding a normal bike through creek crossings, and rock gardens, I typically stop pedaling often to avoid pedal strikes, and to maneuver the bike. This approach is not compatible with the Turbo Levo’s weight. On it, continual pedaling was necessary, but the big tires and well-damped suspension enabled me to roll over obstacles I’d typically try to avoid, with the motor helping me power over them smoothly. To make this constant pedaling possible without pedal strikes, the bottom bracket is moved higher and Specialized has spec’d 170mm cranks that are a tad shorter than normal.
Government agencies like the USDA National Forests and the Bureau of Land Management should distinguish between electric pedal-assist eBikes (Type 1) and self-propelled eBikes (Type 2). The former are still human-powered whereas the latter are fully motorized like a motorcycle. Some states like California are already recognizing the different classifications of eBikes and allowing some on trails while prohibiting others. This clear distinction should help us avoid expanding our mountain bike trails to motorcycles, or worse yet, have trails that are currently open to mountain bikes relegated to “hiking only.”
R&M also provides only top-of-the-line components. You’ll get a Shimano Deore XT Shadow+ 11-speed drivetrain, Shimano Deore XT brakes, and a Fox Float 34 Performance Boost suspension fork with 120mm of travel. You can even upgrade to a 14-speed Rohloff drivetrain. If you’re using it for camping, you can include a rear rack to carry up to 60 pounds of gear along with you.
I have been mountain biking since the late 1980s, when all I could afford was an entry-level Bridgestone MB-5 on my strapped college budget. Over the years, I’ve explored up and down the mountains of Washington and Oregon in search of the best singletrack. The bikes changed but our passion ebbed not. When I co-founded Trails.com in the late 1990s, mountain biking was still one of my top outdoor pursuits. Our employees were outdoors nuts as well and biking was simply a part of life.
The first step in deciding which Electric Bike is for you is to determine the right style for your type of riding. Want to take things off road? We have a full range of Mountain Electric Bikes, Hunting Electric bikes, and Fat Tire Ebikes that’ll have you going on and off trails with ease. Looking for a low impact but super fun ride? Our line of Comfort E-bikes, Commuting E-bikes, and even folding bikes will have you zipping around town, on the beach, or anywhere you can ride- no problem.