Date: Monday 7th Feb.
Weather conditions: Bright and cold
Ground conditions: Roads dry, trails very muddy and wet
Test ride route: 12 miles in total. 3 miles road, 3 miles single trail, 3 miles byway
When I was offered the chance to ride an electric mountain bike, I jumped at it. I have been an e-bike sceptic for some time, questioning the range, weight and off-road capabilities of the current range on sale.
I collected the bike from Simon at The Cycle Agents in Hitchin. He spent ample time talking me through the controls and explaining what to expect from the various power settings. There are five to chose from, off, walk, eco, trail and boost, all controlled from a handy switch mounted on the left hand handle bar. Mode selection and various other important information is conveyed via a small display unit on the bars.
The e-bike I had was a Thok MIG-R that sported Fox shocks up front and a Fox air shock at the rear. The ride quality that this set up provided was as you’d expect from a high end fully suspended MTB- plush with the ability to smooth all but the harshest bumps and holes on trail and road.
My initial reservations about the weight of e-bikes soon evaporated within a few miles of my ride. The Thok proved to be nimble when pushed over some pretty grim terrain, tracking well and maintaining its line. Changes of direction, sometimes at the last minute, failed to unsettle it.
While on the ride I managed to fully explore all the power modes on offer. The electric motor provides assistance to the input your peddling provides. It’s not just a case of sitting there and let the motor take the strain. Most tasks only require the trail setting, this providing a medium amount of power. On a couple of the more demanding uphill trails, ones that would usually leave me gasping for air, I opted for boost. With the power on full, I could ascend the hills easily, leaving a silly grin on my face and almost tempted to turn back and try them again. At no point did I feel the motor assistance interfering with the flow of the ride, and transition between modes is seamless.
So by the time I came to hand the Thok back to Simon, I was pleasantly surprised to admit the huge benefits of an e-bike. There is always a worry that e-tech will spoil the primary function of a MTB, but here is a perfect combination of the two. The extended range it can provide to your rides, the ability to get injured or less able riders out in to the countryside, or just the pleasure of achieving tracks you thought previously un-ridable, the Thok ticks all these boxes.