Can An E-Bike Beat A Chairlift? | Commencal Meta Power Vs The Vallnord Downhill Track

Can An E-Bike Beat A Chairlift? | Commencal Meta Power Vs The Vallnord Downhill Track


– [Steve] Okay, so it’s 8am and the chair lift is closed. So the only way for me to get
to the top of the mountain is by E-Bike, naturally. Now, if it’s difficult
coming down the mountain, what on earth is it
going to be like trying to get back up there? Can an E-Bike tackle
terrain only really made for chair lifts? Today, it seems, we are going to find out. (upbeat electronic music) Many people say it’s one of
the ultimate downhill puzzles. Riddled with routes of complexive turns on ever changing gradients. It doesn’t get more physical,
technical or mind-boggling. I can’t wait then to get
stuck into the puzzle that is Vallnord out here in Andorra. Wow, do people actually
wait until 10 o’clock to get on a mountain? That is wasting valuable riding time. I think first of all, I
need to grab a coffee though cause it’s going to be hot in a minute. Whoa! That is some bike! Now, it just so happens that the reigning World Cup Downhill Champions Commencal are based right here in La Massana. And who invited us to try
and ride their all new META E mountain bikes up and down this terrifying hill. “Wow, that’s great! “Can you say thanks to Max?” – [Man On Stool] (greeting) – See you later, right! (bright upbeat music) Now, you might be wondering what type of bike I’m tackling this monumental
beast of a mountain on. Well, it’s a bike that’s
a bit of an animal itself. 180mm travel upfront
and 170mm on the rear. You might not have noticed,
but in that down tube is a Shimano 504 watt-hour
internal battery. And that’s going to
give me a decent range. Secondly, I’ll be aided, I have to say, by the heavy side walled Maxxis Assegai tire
double down on the rear and EXO up front. 12-speed SRAM Eagle should
keep the gearing low enough and 200mm rotors with
SRAM Code R brakes to stop me cartwheeling back down the
hill if it all goes wrong. Yeah, I know, such a drama queen, right? You could argue, I suppose,
it’s a bike who’s mindset is firmly rooted in downhill action. But as Commencal pointed out,
it’s a beast on the climbs and a monster on the descents. I think it’s time to get to that descent. And so, armed with
Commencal’s all new META and injected with a double espresso hit, I struck the mountain to
gain a march on a chair lift that seemed to be working part time. (funky upbeat music) Now, I really don’t know what
I’ve got myself into here. I found a goat track which
apparently takes you direct to the start of the downhill track where all the action begins, but I think the action has already begun. (funky upbeat music) It soon became very clear that this climb would not roll over Steep, technical, hot
and utterly exhausting. (upbeat music continues) Rock followed rock, root following root with rock, dust, cambers and loose dirt thrown in for good measure. This was testing (Music continues) Wow, that was ridiculous! Pedaling a 180mm travel bike
up that super steep hill. But here it is, the start
of the infamous Andorra World Cup downhill track. And, you know what? I think we’ve beaten the chairlift because there’s nobody here. So, it all begins in La
Massana at 1300 meters and finishes here at La Cobella at 1950. So, that’s 650 meters of descending, which is pretty nuts and
I can’t to get stuck in. It actually looks like the
chairlift has begun working. The question is, would
we beat the chairlift? Well, probably not. Certainly not on a clear
day between the 14th of June and the eighth of September. But then, that’s only 12 weeks out of 52. Now, get this it says on
my phone that the World Cup down track is 2.79 miles and
it’s said to take 13 minutes, but we all know it takes
considerably less than that for the World Cup riders. Loic Bruni did it in about 4 minutes. Still, it’s time to dive in. I’m a little bit scared. (rock music) As I mentioned earlier,
this bike has collosal 180mm of travel up front a massive 170mm on the
rear, and as Commencal reminded me, it is a
monster in the descents. (upbeat rock music) If the tires are designed for clawing you up over the rocks, then the other sides of
those knobs are angled for anchoring you going down. And the double walled casing
there to take the big hits as effectively as the core
suspension front and rear, critical for any descending
bike, not just the Commencal. (upbeat rock music) Oh boy, that was absolutely brutal! Absolutely brutal! How on earth do they get down that hill? I’ve got no idea. Max, how on earth do they get
down the hill in four minutes? – [Max] Four minutes
because, I don’t know, you are a World Cup rider. – [Steve] So, five minutes up the road from the
Commencal restaurant/cafe is, no surprise, the Commencal store. Let’s go have a look at
what they got on offer. Come on in. Oh, watch
your head there Nick. So, what have we got? Ah! Downhill bike. What have we got here? Ah! So there’s the bike
we’ve just been riding. What have we got here? Ah! And there, oh! There’s a 29″ version of the META. The Power 29. Which Commencal say is “a
beast on technical climbs with a disconcerting downhill ability”. But get this, “its It’s an ally to the person who climbs for their descents” Hmm, it seems like it’s got my name on it. It’s right there! The 29″ version of the META! I’m going to take one on the
hill if that’s ok with you sir. Ha! Au revoir SX, it’s time to hit the 29! Ok, let’s not be hasty here, I mean two to three runs on
the World Cup downhill track is all very well and good, but why would you not explore all these mountains? It would be crazy. Google maps says it’s a 15
minute drive to the top. It’s a one hour 20 run, two hour 20 hike. I reckon I could challenge
the chairlift on this road to the top of this hill. And so it was that armed
with the bigger wheeled META we make the summit, but always with one eye on the
mouth watering descents. These were the same slopes raced by the World’s greatest downhill racers only a few days before. The bigger wheels and less a travel not holding it back in the slightest. (Chill music) In a land where the chairlift
runs for only a few months, an E-Bike is the tool that frees you from the shackles of the time tables. Still, it was a hard day with
some even harder decisions. Which bike should you choose? So let us know in the comments below, META Power 27 or META Power 29? So, for more adventures on E-Bikes, check out the Tour of Mont Blanc or the Summit to Sea. And, don’t forget to hit
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