Talk me into or out of buying an eMTB

Almost 50 years old and have been riding for 20+ years. Started out in Triathlon and took it pretty seriously through my 30’s before having kids. I’m still racing/training a lot, but do Gravel, MTB, and CX now. I’m too damn heavy these days, but still fit enough that I can handle just about anything on my analog bikes so it’s not an I need an ebike to keep getting after it kinda thing.

I love to train, probably more than I like events. Putting in the consistent work, following a plan is really my thing when it comes to bikes. This is also why TR works so well for me.

Here are my thoughts on weather I should pull the trigger on this or not:

  1. My first worry is about spending this much $$$ on a bike. I can afford it so I’m not worried about spending the cash, it’s more that I won’t ride it enough to justify the purchase. I’m still going to do my TR workouts 2-3 days a week. I’m a low vol masters plan guy who adds in outdoor stuff so I’ll still ride my gravel and XC bikes as prep for my events in the spring/summer.

  2. I could see myself using the eMTB as a recovery ride tool, or even an occasional I want to go put in a long endurance ride and I could care less about my watts kind of day.

  3. I also could see it opening up more terrain for me to do my long endurance type rides on. I tend to avoid some of the great terrain nearby if they have huge climbs as I don’t want to spend 20+ min at threshold on an endurance day.

  4. I’m also slightly worried that I would love the thing and I would choose it over my XC or gravel bike too often and I’d end up slower!

Curious about others’ experiences out there. Anyone use an e-bike as part of their training on a regular basis?

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I haven’t been on my road bike for almost a year now since I ride an e-bike. I can do everything on the e-bike that I can in the road bike, but go much farther. It’s a cheaper bike, but I bought a couple high cap batteries for 150+ mile range.

It’s a common misconception that you won’t use the e-bike to get a good workout. I can still pedal just as hard at pedal assist 6 as pedal assist 0, I’m just going much faster.

I like that I can ride from San Marcos to La Jolla (65 miles, 4000ft elevation) in about 3.5 hours on about 80% battery and still have 0.85+ IF workout.

I commute to work 3 days a week and for about 30 minutes each way. I usually use two of the evening commuted to go hard.

Use your imagination. :slight_smile: The e-bike can be a liberating tool at any age and fitness.


I haven’t yet. But I probably will buy one in five years or so. I expect the prices and technology curve to settle a little between now and then. It seems like right now we’re seeing major leaps every 1-2 years - a full generational change rather than incremental improvements.

Your call as to what to do, but it sounds like you’re able to ride everything you want to ride when you want to ride it right now. That’s a great position to be in - congrats to you!

I love my dirt bikes and e-bike, but I still love riding the XC bike and road bikes. It will absolutely be the new hot thing when you get it, but I bet you’ll rotate through them and have fun on both. I say get it!

If I was to ride an ebike, I would push my normal watts and just go faster, not pedal lighter and ride faster than I would otherwise bc I’m using a motor. I wouldn’t view it as away to ‘lose’ fitness. It’s a tool to make you ride faster if you’re slow. If you’ve got the money to burn, do it. I’ve thought the same about buying a e-road bike for my wife so she can ride with me at my normal speeds, but have a hard time justifying the $ bc I don’t think she will use it enough.

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I had a regular commuting e-bike and a gravel e-bike. I sold both to get real exercise. Riding a heavy bike at low power is a horrible experience.

Also, I hated riding a heavy gravel bike on trails. Zero nimbleness. It was like piloting a tank.

I bought an e-bike for my wife with the same hope. She’s ridden it exactly once. :sob:


I have ridden mtb on and off since the mid 90s. I bought an ebike because I wanted to take vacations and ride long rides multiple days in a row without being totally wiped out or having to skip/shorten days due to fatigue. It was a huge success in that regard.

There is a misconception, and internet memes and tough guy comments on forums and pages don’t help, that riding an ebike is for the weak, or that you can’t get a good workout. My Levo has customizable ranges, or can even be left turned off. It came with settings that I found far too aggressive for most terrain, and I think that’s a big part of the misconception. People go to a shop or jump on a buddy’s bike that is tuned to take off like a rocket and they think “WOW! This thing is fast and requires almost no effort from the rider.” It CAN be that, but it doesn’t have to be and I prefer it not to be most of the time.

When I’m riding light XC, I just put it on minimal assist (as low as 5%) to make up for the weight of the bike. I’ll set it to boost the assist for climbs if I’m doing punchy roller coasters where I need a bit more to get it up the 25%+ grades. You can absolutely get a great workout riding a 50lb bike with almost no assist!

If I’m somewhere more hilly/mountains, I can pick a profile with 3 settings more attuned to the terrain for long days of climbing.

If I go to a bike park and just want to have fun jumping and working on skills, it’s fantastic because you can session the downhills all day without being dead from the return trips uphill.

One piece of personal advice. I’ve spent my whole life in search of lighter and faster bikes. When it comes to e-bikes, I see zero need for a light bike. Buy the one with the best ride and the biggest battery. If you go read the comparison reviews between the base Levo and the super light versions, most of the authors pick the heavy base version for the cost and battery differences.

Oh…and yeah, we bought my wife a gravel ebike so she could hold speed and ride farther. She loves it, and it has increased her fun factor heavily (she loves dropping me and cracking jokes on the uphills), but as others have mentioned, she only rides it when I ask her if she wants to ride with me. She likes bikes just fine, but she never LOVED bikes, and having a fancy one didn’t change that.


Nice, you’ve pretty much exactly described how I think I would use it. I test road one the other day and did a climb in all the different power modes just to see how it felt. Definitely opportunity to use those lower modes and get a great workout. plus I did all the flat sections in low power or totally off and was happy with how the bike felt there too.

I was originally leaning towards the Levo SL, but have heard a lot of folks echo your comments that a bigger motor/battery is better. I don’t think I can go full power beast bike as the couple I test road just felt weird to me. I still want it to feel/ride like a bike. I test road the SC Heckler SL yesterday and it felt like it slots in between a typical SL and a full power. Going to look at a few more though.

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I haven’t ridden one, but I’ve heard good things about the Orbea Rise bikes if you have a local dealer.

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Forgot to mention something…if your mtb trips involve flying, you can’t take an e-mtb on a plane unless you remove the battery.

I don’t own one myself, but my friend does and often times I’ll tell him about a place I rode, he will look it up “not e-bike friendly”.

So just make sure you’ve got plenty of supportive trails in your area.


TrainerRoad boosted my FTP from 205 to 325 in two seasons, 2019-2020.

I’m on an extended racing hiatus and my FTP is hovering around 280-290 riding nothing but e-bikes these days, both road and MTB.

An e-bike is whatever you make of it. Watts are watts. Train to power. Your fitness doesn’t care how fast you’re going, just how hard you’re pedaling. Your brain cares though… ebikes are fast and fast is fun. Speed is a huge motivation to get out there and ride.

No way. The newest Levo SL is awesome and has plenty of power. It is a much nicer bike to ride than the regular Levo, IMHO. I’ve ridden them all and currently own a Levo SL and Creo SL.

Recovery rides are way overrated. Would not use this to shape your decision. There’s no reason why your eMTB can’t be your main ride, and build/maintain fitness while riding it.

I’m in NorCal. I’d likely only take it on road trips to Tahoe or up to Oregon. Lots of great places to go via road trips out here.

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They are everywhere around here so I think it’s pretty wide open. I spend most of my rides trying to chase them down!

Did you put a power meter on your e-bike? If so what kind?

I’m not who you asked, but my big battery Levo has a built in power meter that you can use to record rider power. I can’t speak for the SL.

I saw something about that. Pretty cool feature. Does it broadcast to a head unit? Garmin?

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Nice, reading up on that, looks like the Levo SL and Heckler SL (via a connect IQ app) do that as well. Very cool.

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