I rubbed my eyes in astonishment as an elderly man shot up a steep path at high speed in the forests of Kusnachtertobels, just east of Lake Zurichsee. A faint high-frequency hum revealed that he was accelerating with more than just his own muscles. Once he came to a stop, he smiled mischievously at the faces of stunned bystanders. The man on this carbon-fiber E-bike is Jean-Pierre Schiltknecht, a 74 year-old avid mountain cyclist. The wily senior assured me he has been active with mountain cycling “Since the inception of the sport!”
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The RideControl Evo display features a button control on the grip and a readout on the stem, giving you control over ride time, distance and cadence. Best of all, it gives you as very accurate percentage readout of how much battery is remaining, so no excuses for running out of juice! The five rides mode are Eco, Basic, Active, Sport and Power and there’s also a walk assist button.
There is no crossbar or crazy geometry to speak of, simply a high modulus carbon front frame that is connected to a trailing arm. Even the wheels are cutting edge, with the special patented quick-detach "Pitstopwheels" fastening to a central hub like a sports car. On top of this, there's a futuristic Knightrider-esque "cockpit", which consists of numerous coloured LEDs that give slightly abstract readouts on battery range, gear selection and speed. Again, lighting is built in, drawing power from the main battery.
Me: I had a total of seven knee surgeries over 14 months, and man, my fitness took a beating. Getting back on a bike was both liberating and frustrating. I just can’t go as fast, or as far, as I used to. But, you don’t have to fall victim to a flesh-eating bacterial infection during routine a ACL reconstruction to find the idea of an electric mountain bike appealing.
More and more people are switching to electric bikes for a lot of practical reasons. It provides convenience because you do not have to wait in traffic or look for the perfect parking spot. That saves you time and money for gas. As for health benefits, you can squeeze in some exercise and manually pedal your way to work then switch to the electric motor when you get tired.