For most riders, e-bikes are a great fitness and skill leveller that allow those who are less able to get out on rides or ride with faster groups, which wouldn't be possible unassisted. However, increasingly, we are seeing e-bikes being used by the elite riders of the sport as a way to enhance training. For mountain bikers, it’s a great way to pack in as many downhills as possible, refining descending skills quicker and without the reliance on a chairlift or driver to shuttle you and your bike up the hill.
Two-time British hill-climbing champion Dan Evans is no different and has been supplementing his hill climbing and time trial training aboard his Cannondale Habit Neo e-MTB. While the mountain biking skills the Habit helps cultivate may not directly benefit the skills he needs on a hill climb or TT, it's still a useful training tool. We caught up with Evans to drill into the facts of how riding e-MTB benefits his training.
While we all love riding our bikes, the monotony of specific training plans and targeted efforts can become draining and have a detrimental effect on motivation and even performance. If you are training outside, the weather can only compound this especially if it’s paired with fatigued legs at the end of a hard block.
Based in Wales, Evans is exposed to his fair share of wet weather riding. Having the e-MTB and the assistance of the motor is a real motivator when the weather is unpleasant, “No matter how wild the wind, how heavy the downpour the Neo keeps plowing on, keeps morale high and keeps me riding outdoors.”
He also has the MTB playground of the Snowdonia National Park and, while he has a Cannondale Scalpel at his disposal, it’s not always possible to get a quality mountain bike ride in when you should be resting. On recovery days the e-MTB allows gentle riding, spinning the legs without sacrificing the quality of the ride. It’s this type of riding which is a great reset for the brain as well as the muscles.
Evan’s is sponsored by Cannondale so he uses the American brand’s Habit Neo 2, which uses a Bosch Performance CX drive unit and PowerTube battery. The motor offers 85Nm of assistance and has a large 625wh battery so he doesn’t need conserve boost mode on steep climbs. The bike has 140mm of travel at the front and 130mm of travel at the back and uses Rockshox suspension. The 29er Stans Flow wheels are equipped with fast-rolling Maxxis Rekon 2.6in tyres. The drivetrain comes compliments of SRAM - in this case, a GX and NX Eagle 12-speed mix. Braking performance is achieved through Magura’s four-piston MT5 Trail HC hydro disc with 220/203mm rotors. The bar, stem and dropper post all come from the Cannondale parts bin as well while a Bosch Kiox head unit provides the screen from which Dan monitors the bike's metrics.
Evans will undoubtedly be hungry for a top result and to add another title to his name at the 2021 UK National Hill Climb Championships, which is due to be held on Winnats Pass at the end of October.
- Best e-MTBs: electric mountain bikes that can get you up and down the mountain
Tech Specs: Dan Evans' Cannondale Habit Neo 2
|Frame||Cannondale Habit Neo|
|Motor||Bosch Performance Line CX 250W|
|Battery||Bosch PowerTube, 625Wh|
|E-system display||Bosch Kiox|
|Fork||RockShox 35 Gold RL 140mm fork|
|Shock||RockShox Deluxe Select+ RT 130mm|
|Groupset||SRAM GX/NX Eagle 12|
|Brake||Magura MT5, 220mm/203mm rotors|
|Wheelset||Stan's NoTubes Flow S1|
|Handlebar||Cannondale 3 Riser|
|Seatpost||Cannondale DownLow Dropper|
|Saddle||Fabric Scoop Shallow Elite|
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Graham has been part of the Cyclingnews team since January 2020. He has mountain biking at his core and can mostly be found bikepacking around Scotland or exploring the steep trails around the Tweed Valley. Not afraid of a challenge, Graham has gained a reputation for riding fixed gear bikes both too far and often in inappropriate places.
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