Can An Urban E-Bike Be Used Off Road? | Riding A Commuter Bike In The Wild

Can An Urban E-Bike Be Used Off Road? | Riding A Commuter Bike In The Wild


– It’s no secret that the
majority of E-Bikes sold are actually commuter bikes. And all over the world, hundreds of thousands of
people are using these bikes to get to work, to buy their groceries, or simply just go and
hang out with their mates on the other side of
town and have a coffee. But to get to the mountains, you actually need an
E-Mountain Bike, right? Well maybe, I mean if you think about it most people probably wouldn’t expect their Golf or their Astra,
or their 5 Series BMW, to do the work of a Land Rover. So would it be unfair to expect
this bike to do everything? Could you actually mix
the rough with the smooth? The coke cans with the sheep (beep)? Or the grip of tarmac and concrete, with something a little
bit more unfriendly? Well today, we’re going to find out. (upbeat music) (cow mooing) (digital beeping) Now being a bit of a bumpkin, I actually love the hustle
and bustle of the cities, dodging the cars and the
people, and the taxis. But my heart definitely lies in the hills. The trees blowing, bleating sheep, just getting involved in it all. You all right? (upbeat music) Now there’s actually an
added twist to today’s story, and if you think about it, most of us usually use our own vehicles to transport our E-Bikes
into the mountains, into the wilds, off-beat, off-track, but today we’re going to
attempt to use public transport to get there. For me this is slightly
unchartered territory, and I’m already feeling slightly nervous. First thing to do, is go and get a ticket. (upbeat music) Right, so that nervousness
is already kicking in. I mean, do I take my bike inside? I guess I do, right? This is all very civilized. Today is tickets only. Right well first things
first, let’s get this ticket. Now I’m looking to get
the 10:34 to Abergavenny on the Great Western service. Do I need to book my bike on the train? – Not that one. – No? – You’d need to, if it
was a high speed service. – Right. So if it was high speed I’d
have to book it on the train, but not this one. – No ’cause it’s a local
stopping service, it’s fine. It’s only the high speed ones, but if it’s a country
service it’s usually– – Okay great, thanks very much. Now I’m at Bristol Temple Meads, a famous British train station. I just picked up my ticket from a very friendly ticket officer. I’ve got to say, it’s all
pretty calm at the moment, I expected it to be carnage. But now I need to get platform five. Oh there’s platform five, Cardiff Central, and obviously we change en-route. So the next step is to
get on to platform five, which might be the first difficult step. This is for bikes. Wow, this is an absolute doddle. Brilliant! So great news, you can
take an E-Mountain Bike on to a train and for
no added cost either. Now there are restrictions, but that depends on the service provider, and that’s primarily
down to peak time travel and maybe some high speed trains. So all you need to do is actually check on the services on your
individual country. It’s worth noting that for folding bikes, and of course there are
some folding E-Bikes, you can actually take
those on trains in the UK anytime at all. So all we need to do
now is get on the train. AS you can see there are hundreds
and hundreds of bikes here at Bristol Temple Meads. I was just thinking, these
guys need to be in the hills! (upbeat music) I’m still slightly nervous
before getting on the train, so I’ve just checked out
Great Western website and it actually says you
can send them a tweet to make a reservation to
put your bike on the train, or alternatively, to send
them a WhatsApp message to reserve your space. I mean, how cool is that? (upbeat music) So it looks like all
you need to do is find the bicycle sign on the side of the train or actually speak to the
porter on the station platform. On we go, I’m really excited! In she goes. Now the bike we’re using
for today’s adventure is a proper commuter E-Bike,
Specialized Turbo Vado with a custom Rx tuned
street motor in there, which is specifically designed
for urban environments. It’s got a 460 watt battery, and in the advert it talks about all of those things I mentioned earlier, going to the shops, visiting
your mates for a coffee, but no mention of mountain biking. (upbeat music) Well this is all very civilized, looking out at the traffic jams rather than being in the
middle of them, cursing. I just hope there’s going to
be some in-flight refreshments. (upbeat music) Now, one bike off and one bike on! (upbeat music) Wow, well here we are
in sunny Abergavenny. Great, well I think it’d rude
not to go for a bacon roll before we head to the hills. Well that was a pretty cruisy journey from Bristol Temple Meads. We got to Newport, did a quick switch over and then caught the
train up to Abergavenny, which is where we are now, at the edge of the Brecon
Beacons National Park. So our journey’s going
to be up into the hills by a means of cycle way, main
road, narrow country road and then, hopefully, on to the hill side. (upbeat music) Now, I’m just looking at the rangefinder on the Specialized website, for my rider weight it seems that I can probably do about
26 miles in sport mode in hilly conditions. But if I change that out
to mountainous conditions, I can get about 3000 feet of climbing, but only 11 miles. Now our route today is
between five to six miles and about 2000 feet, and judging from the app it seems we could probably do that in turbo mode, so there’s only one
way to find out, right? Now the first part of our journey, and only 10 meters from the train station, is the cycle path which is
the first part of our journey, and this bike should be in its element. (upbeat music) Wow. Absolutely stunning. Oh well, maybe not as friendly
as the people from Bristol but probably speak better English! So we just came out from Abergavenny, literally just left the town center, hadn’t even left the
deck and all of a sudden the ground went, whoosh. This is an insanely steep hill climb, and even in turbo mode
is still quite an effort. What do you say, guys? Nothing, all right. (upbeat music) Wow. Wow. So far, so good! The little turbo Vado has
dealt with city streets, it’s dealt with some cycle
paths, on to the country roads but now for the first time we
have to dip our toe off-road. Looks okay for the first
part, looks pretty steep but I’ve got no idea what
is actually over that brow, so let’s get up there and see
what we’ve got to deal with. (upbeat music) In fact it’s like the slab! (upbeat music) So just over a thousand foot of climbing, we’ve hit the off-road. It’s become apparent very quickly how much the technique is different on a city bike to a mountain bike. Now I actually did swap
out the tires on this bike from City Slickers to
Maxxis cyclocross tires. But still the grip is really at a minimum, so I’m constantly shifting my weight forwards and rearwards, plus trying to get a
little bit of momentum to get up those short punchy climbs. So behind me is our
target, and as you can see, it’s a little bit steeper
that I thought it was. So from my perch here, on
this beautiful bracken bale, I’m thinking, do we go
for a right hand approach, or do we take a direct approach
straight to the summit? I guess we’ll kind of work
it out as we go along but this is definitely more of a challenge than I thought it would be. (upbeat music) You might be wondering about my clothing, now I did actually come
prepared with waterproofs, with warm wooly socks, and riding shoes but it’s such a beautiful
day, and I thought, well all we’re doing really is coming for a spin from the
city out into the countryside, I’m not going on any mega
expedition or something like that, so I thought, well I’ll just
keep my puffer on and my jeans. (upbeat music) Well we very definitely
hit a break of slope here, the change of angle is
really quite significant. And I guess this is where urban gearing meets mountain gearing head on, this is where we are at a
little bit of a disadvantage, actually a pretty big disadvantage, not having low gearing which
you’d find on a mountain bike. Still, we’re going to
give it our best shot. I think I’m going to try and section this, it’s pretty full on. As you can see in the background there, the ground gets even rockier, so what awaits us, I don’t know. Yeah, 1645 feet. And yes, those are the Brecon Beacons at the same height as
us, in the background. Aargh! Get up there! Oh my God! I really don’t think this bike was made for these conditions. Still, we’re hammering
on, that’s the main thing. (panting heavily) (upbeat music) (laughs) Wow, so close to where we began
our journey earlier today, yet so, so different in so many respects. So busy, so quiet. I mean it’s unbelievable
there’s so few people up here. One hour on the train, and just one hour on the electric bike, and I’ve still got three
bars of battery left on a climb which was just over 1700 feet. I mean, it wasn’t easy, and certainly in places
it was very technical, I learned loads of different
climbing techniques today. But the over-riding story I think, from our adventure into Wales, was simply how easy it was to do it. It wasn’t that expensive,
we had a bacon roll, the bike is still in,
I’m sure you’ll agree, showroom condition. I mean, we didn’t put it through any, well you might think differently, it probably did go through a few rocks. But here we are on the summit, success. Okay, now we’ve got to get back down, but that’s a different story, I’m sure you don’t want
to know about that, we’ll tell you that another time. So yeah, let us know your
thoughts about city bikes what adventures you guys are going to in the next few months. Are you going to go and
buy an electric bike and go to these adventures? It really is a great way to get out and explore the countryside. If you want to see something
a little bit more extreme, there’s Into The Wilds with Hannah Barnes, which is a video we did
last year down here. Chris has done his video, how far you can go on one charge on an electric mountain bike, which is actually quite a
different tool to this one. Don’t forget to give us a thumbs
up if you like this video, and hit the globe to see more
electric mountain bike videos, and remember it’s free,
it won’t cost you a penny. Right, another bacon roll, Brandon?