If you've ever fancied putting an e-mountain bike through its paces in a racing context, now you can. The popular Mini Enduro series in the UK is offering an e-bike race category for 2017, including a special stage specifically designed for eMTBs.
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It's perhaps not a surprise to find that the Mini Enduro series welcomes an e-mountain bike category, since one of its new title sponsors is Haibike, the German e-bike brand. Haibike, whose e-bike range covers everything from downhill mountain bike rigs to electric road bikes, feels the Mini Enduro Series' ethos of inclusivity and accessibility fits well with the Haibike brand.
In a comment to Dirt Magazine, UK Haibike representative Richard Dobney said that the company was "super happy to be supporting the Mini Enduro and Welsh Gravity Enduro for 2017. Having been huge fans of the races these guys have put on for many years, it's great to be involved with a bunch of people that reflect the true spirit of riding bikes in the woods with your mates. Chris and Charlie's events are all about one thing: FUN."
Dobney also commented to BikeRadar that both the Mini Enduro series and its sibling, the Mini DH series, has always been popular with Haibike staff. "The events have always been seen as low pressure, fun races. When they mentioned they'd added an e-bike class last year I jumped at the chance to have a blast around the Forest of Dean - and it was great! Everybody supports everybody."
"It struck me straight away," he continues. "We've known for some time that the vast majority of e-bikers are cyclists returning to the sport after a lengthy time away from the saddle, and this is a fantastic way of creating community, not only amongst e-bikers but the regular mountain bikers too."
Mini Enduro race format
As the name suggests, the Mini Enduro series is all about taking the popular enduro race format – timed race stages connected by untimed transition sections – but compressing it into an accessible, weekend-able format. Based on the popular Mini Downhill event series, it aims to be a 'fun exciting way to race enduro' and is 'aimed at new riders to the sport [who want] to give it a go', plus a Pro-Am category which caters to more experienced racers.
There are now eight categories, including the new E-bikes category: hardtail 12+, 17 and under, 18-29 Senior, 30 - 39 Master, 40 - 49 Veteran, 50+ Super Vet, Pro-Am, and e-bikes, with women and men racing separately. The new e-bikes category is last in the race order, and was incorporated to give 'less active' riders the chance to get their race on.
Each event takes place on one day, with three race stages timed professionally, and events are interspersed over the summer season at the Forest of Dean, Bike Park Wales and Coed Llandegla.
The e-bike race will include an additional stage over and above the three stages the rest of the categories race, designed specifically for e-bikes. Exactly what format or degree of technicality that stage will take is yet to be determined, but with the first event taking place on the 4th of March, there won't be long to wait to find out.
There will doubtless be those who view the addition of an e-mtb category with a degree of skepticism, as surely the addition of a motor takes away a crucial individual element of racing. Dobney disagrees. "Chris and Charlie [have] both spent time aboard our Xduro and Sduro models - [they're] perfect course taping machines, apparently - and realised the potential for running an enduro format race with a twist," he comments. "The assistance of the battery and motor doesn't really offer much when the rider is already doing over 15mph on the downs, so by adding the 4th stage they can push the limit of the technology, with techy singletrack and climbs to keep the rider thinking about the assistance level."
Haibike will be at every round of the event, so if you're keen to know more, then pop by.
Original story via Dirt Magazine UK.