Our sport is undergoing cosmic shifts. 2016’s riding situation is going to be defined by new technology – which, if you take our word for it, is actually a good thing. After all, it’ll make us superheroes!

So many people start the new year brimming with good, wholesome intentions: go to the gym, get stronger, get leaner – but guys, come on, it’s all been said before! Before diving into a new project or setting lofty targets, take a moment and look back over the past year.


Time doesn’t stand still: three and a half years ago, we set up ENDURO Mountainbike Magazine while the sport of enduro set about conquering the world. Be it in the Philippines, Dubai, Chile, Norway, Australia, the USA, the UK, Germany, or Spain, the internet united us and gave us the opportunity to share our passion, meet like-minded riders, and inspire others. In our case, we’ve united more than 300,000 mountain bikers from across the globe with ENDURO – and the figure keeps growing.

Living in the days of GoPro, we’re all heroes. Everyone’s experience is shared.

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Think about how radically the how and the what of our riding has changed compared to three years ago. Back then, your weekend ride was shared around the table in the pub, not on Facebook to thousands. No one instagrammed riding adventures from far-flung corners of the earth, the only kudos came from those mud-splattered riders who’d ridden with you (and not from hundreds other on Strava), and none of us had 1×11 drivetrains (apart from the developers at SRAM, perhaps). Pretty strange to think about, isn’t it?

In 2013, we founded the first e-mountain bike magazine. This is an endeavor that some may despise us for, but that’s not an issue. Back then, there were just a handful of optimists and visionaries who spotted the potential of these bikes.

It’s a different scenario today. Brands are knuckling down and focusing a large part of their R&D resources into electronics. Magazines are trying to exploit the boom for themselves, publishing special supplements or extra issues. Race series are incorporating e-mountain bike categories into their traditional formats, and the retail industry is whooping for joy at flourishing sales. This hasn’t come as any surprise, as it’s a sign of how society functions these days: efficiency-led multitasking and digital automation on the one hand, with the nothing-is-impossible mentality and party generation on the other. In the middle: a longing for the outdoors, peace, and balance. But what’s needed to settle in that middle ground? Time.


E-mountain bikes redefine the concept of time, expanding the boundaries of possibility. Life is too short not to ride every possible trail; life is too short to ride without your mates. Or even not to ride at all. E-mountain bikes are a modern form of equality. Physical strength isn’t the only factor; riding is a statement of an individual’s determination and desire for an adventure.

It sounds trivial, but it’s something that skiers have recognized, and they make it look so easy. While the more extreme athletes head to unpronounceable, off-piste areas for ski touring, the masses head to those ski resorts that are kitted out with lifts and après ski, safe in the knowledge they’ll have a great time with their mates and are far removed from any performance pressures. It’s a similarly accepted situation in bike parks: you can have fun, ride the freeride or downhill tracks, and then head back up to the top using the lift without being accused of being a cheater. Why’s that? These guys understand that ‘performance’ doesn’t always have to be at the centre of every activity – excitement, fun, and the idea of a shared experience should sometimes take precedence.

This happens to be exactly what e-mountain bikes do: they give the chance for some real quality time with mates who aren’t necessarily head-over-heels with mountain biking. Not a forced friendship because you just both happen to be into mountain bikes – you can use e-mountain bikes to head out with your truest buddies, regardless of whether they’re fit or flabby.

Compared to the rest of nature, we humans haven’t exactly been blessed with innate skills. However, we do have the gift of being able to learn, being able to build machines and find nifty solutions in order to progress. Mobile phones are there for communication, laptops for emails, single lens reflex cameras for holiday snaps, and hard discs to save everything on. Oh, sorry… now we’ve just got smartphones as one all-encompassing, omnipotent source of knowledge and storage space. But what am I getting at here? Technical progress continues whether we like it or not: our lives are changing before we’re able to comprehend whether we even need these technical solutions. If cars will be able to drive themselves soon, will we become redundant and useless? Not at all – we’ll continue to create products that ease errands and hardship, essentially creating more time for other activities.

The same applies to ePerformance: I can get round the loop by our office in twenty minutes on an e-mountain bike, which is one uphill and one downhill trail (plus a quick stop at the bakery). There are days when I have to work longer than usual, and I can barely muster the motivation to get up early and crawl onto the bike – and let’s be honest, who really wants to be tormented by an unforgiving climb before the working day has even begun?
However, after just twenty minutes on the e-mountain bike before work, I immediately feel better – refreshed, revived, and ready to take on the day. Those of us who work long hours or have family commitments understand how crucial it is to put that precious free time to good use. This is where e-mountain bikes don’t just create more time (as they’re quicker to ride), but also more motivation and support in the event that you’re out riding with far fitter friends (who’ve incidentally got more time to train!).

Almost every superhero has their own gadget that renders him or her better, faster, and stronger. Thor has the hammer, Batman his Batmobile, and Captain America relies on his shield. So what about you? Why not an e-mountain bike?

We took our e-mountain bikes with us to Tuscany, and grins were basically cemented onto our faces – which was partly down to the super-cool, sick trails around Massa Vecchia, but also because of the ease that we rode each transfer between the widely-spread trails. Just think: so many trails in one day, fun uphills, delicious paninis, and a Moretti beer for lunch…. Oh yeah, and then we rode to a beach in the evening, an easy 20 km ride in December to laze on the sand. Doesn’t sound too bad, does it? But the sad truth is that it couldn’t have happened without e-mountain bikes. #powertoridemoretrails

If you understand the past, then you’re in a better position for the future to encounter any new technology on the horizon. So in this sense, we shouldn’t get annoyed or frustrated with changes that essentially simplify our lives – instead, we should celebrate their potential. If you choose to get riled up, then it’s your fault. As long as humans exist on this earth, there’s going to be progress. And superheroes, of course … but with ever-better gadgets.

Are you interested in E-Mountainbikes? Then you should definitely check out E-MOUNTAINBIKE Magazine!


Words: Robin Schmitt Photos: Christoph Bayer

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About the author

Robin Schmitt

Robin is one of the two founders of 41 Publishing, a visionary and go-getter. While he now enjoys every second on the bike – whenever his busy schedule allows – he used to race against the clock at enduro events and a few Downhill World Cups. Besides that, Robin practises kung fu and Zen meditation, plays the cello or with his dog (which actually belongs to his girlfriend), travels abroad and still reviews numerous bikes himself. Progressive ideas, new projects and major challenges – Robin loves exploring undiscovered potential and getting to the bottom of new trends.