Following on from our successful open day we took the bikes up onto the Quantocks.
Here are reviews from two of the riders.
"When I was offered the chance to try out a couple of mountain bike e-bikes by Nationwide e-Bikes I jumped at the chance - any excuse to get out on a bike I say!
I went along to the try out without any real idea of what riding an e-Bike would be like but was not expecting to come away praising the concept. After all, as we all agreed before we set off, an electric bike is cheating - isn't it ?
My first surprise was just how progressive the electric assist is especially in eco mode. They have several settings from eco through touring and sport up to Turbo each one delivering more of an assist. I have got to admit I only actually tried the eco and Touring modes as I was worrying about the battery dying on me - I need't have. In 12 miles of riding the battery status hardly changed, only dropping a single bar right at the end of the ride. This was the first of my misguided preconceptions shattered.
During the mornings session I rode two of the bikes, the first a Gepida Sirmium hard tail and the second a Diamondback full suspension bike with dropper seat post. Both of which handled superbly. This was the first time I had ever ridden a full suspension bike and it was a bit like being in an arm chair. The comfort particularly noticeable on rocky descents. I did however feel there was a definite inefficiency when climbing with the full suss bike - much more bounce then I am used to. This however was without me locking out the suspension or playing with preload or rebound settings so it may have been as much down to the bike not being tuned to my weight and riding style as much as a problem with the bike.
My biggest surprise however was that I suddenly loved climbing hills and not just because they were less energy sapping. It was more down to the fact that I seemed to have so much more control of the bike. Being able to maintain a good pace even on the really steep bits meant I was not stalling or loosing my balance when encountering a large root or lump of rock. What would normally have brought me to a stop or slowed me so much that I was forced to dab my foot down I now managed to power over. Once again the smooth boost from the motor also meant I didn't loose any of the directional control of the bike.
On one section, as we all went whooping down a particularly long descent, another of the riders said to me " you know what? I usually find myself worrying on the down hill bits about having to climb up the other side" and it made me realise I was suddenly looking forward to the climbs, as much as the descents. Which was a bit of a novelty!
Don't get me wrong I still reached the top out each climb out of breath, but the pain wasn't so intense and it certainly didn't last as long!
e-Bikes - I certainly view them in a different light now, so a very big Thank You to Nationwide e-bikes for giving me the chance to try them out for myself."
Review by Ross - Taunton
Four years ago my wife and I hired an ebike to ride up the Juan pass in Switzerland. The ascent to 2000 metres would ordinarily have been a real challenge but with an ebike we were able to enjoy fantastic scenery without getting tired, The bikes then were heavy and tended to lurch with pedalling.
My expectations for an ebike ride on the Quantocks were limited to reducing some of the hard work. I was, therefore, surprised by the technical improvements on current MTB ebikes.
The hardback Gepida MTB I was loaned was extremely capable handling steep climbs with ease. The smoothness and progression of power settings were impressive. Riding through the muddy sections of the ride was 'a breeze' and the bike was very stable during descents on the forrest roads. Would I want to lead another ebike MTB ride? Definitely yes!
Review by Jonathan - our ride leader.