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Who Wants Electric-Assist Mountain Bike?

Currie Technology, the umbrella company for a handful of e-bike brands is the largest electric bike manufacturer in the U.S.  They recently unveiled their 2014 line of  electric bikes

Currie Tech has been selling e-mountain bikes under the Haibike name in Europe for three years, but this will be the first season they bring the bikes to the U.S. And they are not just easing into the market with a model or two to test the waters. 

The German-based Haibike’s Xduro line of pedal assist-only e-bikes features both hardtail and  dual suspension frames spec’d with high-end components and powered by Bosch’s new  “Performance Line” mid-motor drive system optimized for the U.S. standard of 20-MPH.  

Currently there are no bikes offered  in the USA market  using the Bosch system, which is one of the two most popular ebike mid-drive systems in the European market (Panasonic being the other). It seems like Currie will have an exclusive on Bosch drive systems in the United States.

Marty Schlesinger, Southwest Territory Manager for Currie Tech, presented three bikes, most notably the flagship 2014 model, a full-suspension 27.5er with six inches of travel front and rear called the Xduro AMT Pro. In addition to that topline build, Haibike will offer a second, lower spec six-inch full-suspension 27.5er, a five-inch full-suspension 27.5er, a 29er hard tail, and a DH-oriented 26er with seven inches of travel front and rear.

At the heart of all the bikes is a bottom-bracket mounted Bosch motor that’s powered by a 400-watt lithium-ion battery. It’s a pedal-assist system, meaning that the motor doesn’t work on its own but simply augments a rider’s effort with up to 300 watts of supplemental energy.

All the full-suspension models use a time-tested four-bar linkage for travel, and all parts throughout the line come from reputable industry players, including suspension from Fox and Rockshox  and components from Shimano and SRAM. The Xduro AMT Pro sports a SRAM XO/XO1 drivetrain, blingy Iodine 3 wheels from Crank Brothers, and even a Crank Brothers Kronolog dropper post.

There are the obvious issues of user conflicts and trail damage due to the increased weights and speeds of the bikes. And the bikes also raise important advocacy questions since many trail-use debates center around motorized vs. non-motorized. But the biggest objections seemed to be emotional ones. “When you go back in the woods, shouldn’t it be about purity of experience and getting away from it all?” one editor asked. “Isn’t mountain biking about physically pushing yourself?”

Currie Tech’s Schlesinger wasn't surprised by the skepticism. “I've been touring around the southwest showing these bikes, and it’s about a half-and-half split between those who are interested and those who oppose it,” he said. “But there is interest. These bikes have a place.”

So do you still want one if the price is right?

Who Wants Electric-Assist Mountain Bike? Reviewed by Blogs on 5:30 PM Rating: 5

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