Most neighborhoods have that kid or family that was always tinkering with some new invention. Some neighborhoods had elaborate forts or treehouses that included a crazy mechanized way to gain access. While other neighborhoods had that kid who was putting a motor on everything – including a bike. Unlike the sophisticated kits you can buy today that ‘motorizes’ a bike, these creative kids were tearing apart an old grass trimmer pairing it with a belt or chain to power an old bike. Legality and safety aside, the design of some of these motorized bikes were quite ingenious.
Many sources state that the first motorized bike was built in 1868 in France. Shortly after that, in 1869 a steam powered bike was built in the US. These bikes are the precursor to today’s modern motorcycle. There are many articles online that review the history of these motorized bikes so I won’t go into more details regarding those machines. What we find more interesting is the emergence of today’s modern eBikes.
Where does that power come from
Today’s Electric Bikes (eBikes) are powered by an electric motor that is mounted on either hub (on one of the wheels), a Hub-Drive eBike or by a motor that is mounted directly between the pedals, a Mid-Drive eBike. The early modern eBikes used the Hub-Drive system, while over the past few years, most new bikes feature the Mid-Drive system.
Today there are three classes of eBikes – Class 1, Class 2 and you guessed it Class 3.
- Class 1 and Class 3 eBikes are pedal-assist and have maximum speeds of 20 and 28 respectively.
- Class 2 eBikes, like the Class 1 eBikes have a maximum speed of 20, yet Class 2 eBike are throttle-assisted.
Throttle-assisted eBikes of Class 2 can be ridden with almost no effort – you still have to brake and turn, but you don’t have to pedal. Just hop on, engage the motor and press the throttle and you’re off. So what exactly does pedal-assist mean? We get that question a lot from guests who have never ridden an eBike. Take for example our new Trek Alliant+ 7S – a Class 3 eBike.
With the motor off, the bike rides exactly like a traditional bike – including the gears. Shift down for going up hills and shift to a higher gear for a flat road. Yet once you engage the motor (you just push a button), each pedal stroke is ‘assisted’ by the motor. How much ‘assist’ is dependent on which mode you select.
The Alliant+ 7S for example has 4 pedal-assist modes – Eco, Tour, Sport and Turbo. We love the Turbo mode! You probably guessed that as you level up the modes you get more ‘assist’ yet will use the battery faster which will reduce your range.
What does an eBike cost
Our partner, Trek, makes eBikes that almost parallel their traditional bikes. Their highest end bikes for road, mountain and cross country eBikes will set you back about $13,000. Trek’s entry level ‘town’ bike retails for about $1500. As you can imagine there are many models in between.
Pikes Peak Bike Tours & eBikes
The eBike we have selected for our Garden of the Gods tour and our new Starlight Tour is the Trek Allant+ 7s – a pedal-assist eBike shown above. The Allant+ 7S is equipped with a super powerful Bosch Performance Speed motor, a front suspension fork (yes some of our our roads are bumpy), disc brakes, integrated front and rear lights and a wealth of thoughtful design details make this electric bike the perfect solution for our Garden of the Gods and Starlight Tours.
Do I really need an eBike?
Both of these rides are hilly – with the Starlight Tour gaining over 2000 feet in a few miles. Most of our guests come from lower elevations and for many to ride up 2000 feet may not be the most enjoyable endeavor. The Allant+ 7S takes most of the work out of the ride – providing the rider with an excellent opportunity to experience our breathtaking views. If you want to ride up 2000 ft without engaging the motor – good luck we will see you on our way down.
Aren’t eBikes just for people who can’t ride a ‘real’ bike?
Absolutely not! This is a HUGE misconception. If you have never ridden an eBike, we highly recommend hopping on one and riding it around our parking lot or at your local bike shop. I bet you will say something like “Oh wow! I can really feel the boost. This IS fun”. We get similar reactions from our guests once they get on one of our eBikes. After riding on one of our eBike tours, we often hear from guests as they return home and buy an eBike.
We are inspired by the creative kids who build their own motorized bikes and want everyone to experience the thrill of riding a powered bike – albeit on a safer more comfortable ride. Voted American’s #1 park by Trip Advisor, Garden of the Gods is a must see on your trip to Colorado. Join us on a memorable eBike tour of this unique park. We highly recommend planning your trip around a full moon to experience a unique ride on our Starlight Tour. You can always bundle one of our eBike tours with a more traditional bike tour – Bike Pikes Peak or Bike Gold Camp Tour. We also have exciting multi days tours for those who want to experience it all or a Singletrack Experience for mountain bikers!
Contact Pikes Peak Bike Tours at firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-337-5311.