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16 September 2019

Kyle Warner, 27-Year-Old, 3x North America Enduro Tour Champion, Loves e-Bikes

The Rossignol ambassador puts the e-bike stereotype to rest in this interview.

The typical e-MTB consumer is a baby boomer looking to get back on the mountain and ride the way they used to, right? Not according to Kyle Warner. The twenty-seven-year-old, three-time North American Enduro Tour Champion puts that stereotype to rest.

Originally from Chico, California, Kyle now resides in Boise, Idaho and is an ambassador for Rossignol Bikes.

 

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What was your perception when e-bikes first started to come into the market around 2014-15? Was there ever a period where you thought they weren’t for you?

I wasn’t quite sure what to think when they first came out. To me it didn't make sense to have a really heavy bike that wasn't enjoyable to ride on the downhills. As someone who loves the free feeling of the downhill, I couldn't figure out why I would sacrifice that portion of the ride for an easier time on the climb. I wasn't against it from a user group or trail access standpoint. It just didn't seem fun to me.

 

What happened to make our opinion change?

The technology has come such a long way in the past 5 years, and the first time I rode one that made me excited to be a part of this movement was at the end of 2017. As soon as the bikes got proper geometry, lighter weight, more range, and a better user interface I was so excited to ride and own one. It makes it possible for me to get more laps in during a ride and spend more time enjoying the downhills. For me, e-bikes allow me to get more enjoyment per hour and I am really grateful to have them in my arsenal.

 

You’re an athlete for Rossignol bikes. Why did you decide to become more involved on the e-bike side when you could have chosen to simply ride their acoustic mountain bikes?

Honestly, I want to be a part of this movement. E-bikes open the door for so many more people to give mountain biking a shot. I know how much of a difference cycling has made in my life and I just want to help people discover this sport and gain a positive outlet in their life.

 

You live in Boise, Idaho now and just helped out with Boise Bike Park. You also have Eagle Bike Park near you, which is open to Class 1 e-MTB. Have you ever run into any conflicts with this?

Eagle Bike Park has been open to Class 1 electric mountain bikes for the past year as an experiment with the park's user groups. It has been a massive success and has allowed the e-bike market to develop a great following within Boise. It has also gotten a lot of new people out and riding the trails. I think the city is really happy about this increased presence and they are working hard with local bicycle advocacy groups to build new trails in the area and attract more people to come visit, buy homes, and move into the area to increase the tax base. I think cities that can embrace, and market, the e-bike user group early on will see a lot of success.

 

Do you think e-MTB’s can live cohesively on trails that traditional mountain bikes are on?

Yeah, I totally do think that they can co-exist. Ultimately though I would love to see more one-way directional mountain bike trails being developed. I think the e-bike vs conventional bike issues are going to be very minimal and much less of an issue than we already have with hikers and horses. I have seen high traffic riding areas around the world see a lot of success with one-way directional trails and I really hope as the user base of mountain bikes continue to increase, we will be able to make a better case to cities and counties for developing mountain bike specific one-way trails.

 

You did a video with Paul Basagoitia recently in South Lake Tahoe, California. As publicly known, Paul went through a major spinal cord injury and fought back to be where he is today, pedaling on two wheels. Did sharing the experience of watching him send his biggest jumps since the accident effect you in away way?

That was such an awesome experience with Paul and all I can say is that it continued to reaffirm what I have felt for the past few years. Mountain biking is best when shared with friends, and the e-MTB allows myself, and people with injuries, varying fitness levels, or less experience on a bike to ride together and share those awesome moments. I am so excited be involved with cycling in a time when this tool exists and see opportunities open up for a wider range of users.

 

Why do you think so many people are hesitant about the adoption e-MTB’s?

I think people are worried about their sport changing. Mountain biking is different from many sports in the fact that it can completely consume your life and really become your sense of identity in a way. People are passionate about riding and they don't want something or someone new to come in and decrease their own ability to go shred. It really is a totally understandable position. I hope overtime they can come to realize that through an increased user base we all have a bigger voice when it comes to bicycle advocacy and can actually use this as a tool to build more trails, support the existing trail systems, and give more people than ever an increased and healthy outlet.

 

I know you ride your e-bikes with your girlfriend, April. Do you have other friends also adopting e-bikes and joining you for rides?

Oh yeah! I have some friends that work crazy hours, have families or are just generally compressed on time in the day and the e-bike has been an amazing tool to get them out for an hour, crush some miles, have a good time, high five and send them back to work. It has made mountain biking become a smaller endeavor and allows them to get out way more than in the past.

 

Where do you see e-bikes going on the future?

I personally see it diverging a little bit. I think you will see two trains of thought; some people will primarily use them as short ride bike, under two hours, smaller batteries, less max assist, lighter weight, more like a normal mountain bike with a small push. These could be great for lunch rides, small loops, people that don't have a lot of time in the day.

The other type of e-bike will be like a 750-900-watt hour battery, more of an assist, little bit heavier overall, more like a tiny - pedal driven adventure moto. People will be using these for those epic weekend missions, exploring an entire trail network in a day, riding for 4 or 5 hours and climbing 10k-15k feet per day. I would really love to have one of each, my daily driver and my weekend warrior.