E-bikes are shaping up to be the next big thing in commuting, with its market size projected to reach over $118.657 billion by 2030, according to Allied Market Research. But while they prove to be an excellent alternative to driving to work or even taking the bus, they occupy a strange space in the world of extreme bike sports. They do offer many advantages, such as making it easier for beginners to get into the sport (and returning cyclists to get back into it). But currently, they don’t really have that big of a presence compared to traditional extreme bike sports. Will the most recent market developments change that? Let’s find out.
Porsche Advances Further into Sport E-bike Market with Revamped Models
At this point, everyone who has been watching the e-bike sphere is going to be aware that major manufacturers like Porsche have been trying to break into the space for some time now. While many frown on how aggressive they have been in that regard, their technological edge enables e-bike sports to reach new heights. The new Porsche E-Bike Sport and E-bike Cross have proven to be very promising during testing. Their revamped designs, centered on the Shimano EP-8 engine, boost performance by up to 4 times that of an unaugmented bicycle. This is thanks to the 85 nanometer engine’s 500-watt peak output rate. This exemplary power output is also able to be doled out over 5 start assist levels, 3 max torque levels, and 10 overall assist levels.
Of particular interest to extreme sports fans is the Porsche E-Bike Cross, which is geared towards extreme sports, particularly trail biking. Equipped with a 504Wh battery, Magura MT Trail brakes, Fox suspension, and Shimano XT mechanical shifting, the Cross is a little heavier than its brother, the Sport. But with the EP-8 engine, Porsche says, it can provide electrical assist for speeds up to 15.5 mph (around 25 kph), allowing riders to easily overcome the added weight. Tying it together is the Shimano computer and associated app, which allows for easy tracking of distance, speed, and remaining battery/range, as well as engaging all available settings. But hardware of this caliber comes with a hefty price tag. The Porsche E-Bike Cross starts at $9,500, over twice the cost of the average mountain bike.
Will Bigger-Name Brands Equal Lower Price of Admission?
Conventional wisdom suggests that the arrival of big names like Porsche onto the e-bike market will cause immediate disruption. But as it stands, Porsche is only bringing more expensive products into an ecosystem full of them. The price of conventional extreme sport bikes can go as low as just under $200. But the electric variety rarely goes under $2,000 beyond starter models. If you’ve asked the question why are electric bikes so expensive before, the answer lies primarily in the fact that electric vehicle components are hard to come by. It’s for this same reason that electric cars are currently more than 60 percent more expensive than a brand-new car that runs on gas.
Still, there are renowned brands that provide comparable performance to Porsche’s newest lineup, such as Ducati, for a fraction of the price. The Ducati e-Scrambler, for example, is currently available for just under $3,700. There are also those who cite that the electric offroad revolution is going to start with mini bikes, with names such as Stacyc steadily building trust among consumers for providing affordable yet high-quality means to introduce young kids to offroad biking.
Are Extreme Electric Bike Sports About to Break into the Mainstream?
While the electric mountain bike market is experiencing a decent amount of growth right now, it will be a while before it fully breaks into the mainstream. The main reasons for this are the steep price of admission and fewer options compared to traditional mountain bikes.
There is also the matter of e-bikes and its role in body fitness. Exercise is one of the biggest reasons why people get into extreme bike sports in the first place. Take this away, and you might as well get into dirt biking instead, and probably save a lot more money. In the end, the mountain bike is an enthusiast’s vehicle, and conveniences that would make sense for commuters won’t necessarily make it better. The sport would have to change or branch out entirely in order to fit electric assist into the equation. And while it remains niche because of prohibitive prices and lack of options, that isn’t likely to happen anytime soon.
Although current circumstances dictate that ebikes won’t quite be breaking into the mainstream of extreme sports just yet, there is hope for the future. Already there are enthusiasts looking to forge a new sport with the capabilities of this hybrid vehicle, enabling it to use its full potential while staying true to the spirit of sportsmanship.