My Thoughts On E-Bikes

By RLC founder and head coach - Ryan Leech

As a 29 year veteran in the MTB industry, it’s incredible to have observed the gradual introduction and embrace of e-bikes. A decade ago e-bikes were demonized, and now the praise and demand is almost uncontrollable. I personally still opt for my ‘analog’ bike most of the time, but I too am thrilled by the e-bike experience. 

We receive plenty of questions and comments about e-bike techniques on RLC. They present some interesting challenges, and of course opportunities. Because of this, we're starting to adapt our courses to meet this demand. The first course we plan to update will be our latest Bulletproof Basics course

There’s also a dedicated e-bike course stewing :-)

While there are still some adverse opinions about e-bikes, they seem to be waning as the growing pains of how e-bikes are integrated into the industry and trail networks become sorted. 

The dose of giggles and fun are inarguable no matter where on the spectrum you live: from beginner to pro, kid to senior, and from off-the-couch (or post injury) to the super fit. E-bikes are here to stay, and may become the norm - if they aren’t already!

My First E-bike - The Kranked Hyperdrive 

I’ve had a few teaser and test Norco ebikes flow through my possession, but due to high demands, I haven’t been able to have my very own - YET. I currently have a custom Norco Range VLT with Shimano STEPS being built up now - super pumped! 

In the interim, I have been ripping on a Norco Range with the Kranked Hyperdrive e-kit. This is a home-grown hand-built brand from my friend Bjørn Enga who produced the Kranked movie series that I was featured in a long time ago. 

He was ahead of his time (like usual) with his first e-kit launching a decade ago. This is a different experience than the pedal-assist e-bikes that are standard across the industry. The Kranked Hyperdrive has been developed so that you can “downhill the uphills”. 

It boasts an industry leading power to weight ratio along with “total rider control” so at any moment you can ride pedal assist, pedal only, or motor only.  It is also designed with a proprietary quick release system so that your bike can easily be analog and electric. One bike, 2 configurations! 

In fact, you may have seen how we rigged a ski up to them this winter and ripped around some snowshoe-ing trails. So much fun! 

If you're interested in this unique option, you can check all the details out here.


My Norco Range VLT with Shimano STEPS:


My long-time sponsors Norco and Shimano teamed up to create the epic Norco Range VLT.

I’ve been on a variety of Sight and Range prototypes over the last few years, and I have a feeling my e-bike time is going to ramp up once I have my own! Delivery should be here within the week!

Final Thoughts

I’m a slow speed tech riding enthusiast. My trials background is engrained deeply. I enjoy throwing my lighter weight bikes around in unique ways - the tighter and more balancy the tech, the better! 

While trials and tech moves can be done on an e-bike, it’s a different style - it opens new ideas, but closes many too. I’m curious to see how my riding evolves as my e-bike time ramps up!

What are your thoughts on E-bikes? If you're an RLC member - let us know in the private Facebook group here!

Wishing you well, 

Ryan Leech 

Founder & RLC Head Coach 

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