Should You Go Tubeless? | Ask EMBN Anything About E-Bikes


– Welcome to this week’s Ask EMBN show. I’m joined with Doddy from GMBN Tech, and we’ve got loads of
questions this week, so let’s get into it. (electronic theme sounds) – So the first up is from Strikeforce MTB. – Ooh, good question. Well, I swap around quite a lot between e-bike and regular bike as well, but, yeah, they’re quite similar geometry. The biggest difference that I feel, with the e-bike compared to a normal bike, it’s obviously gonna be that weight. And the weight translate out on the trail to actually a good thing. You’re hitting those corners
with a lot more grip, the bike’s a lot more
stable, but some people, if you’re swapping between the two, I think that that weight sometimes becomes a bit of a hindrance on the
lower speeds or tight maneuvers. And slowing it down, as well,
as you come into some sections as I mentioned, really
fast, but actually slowing those bikes down does become a bit harder. So it’s just adjusting
your ride and stuff, but it definitely doesn’t
take away any good points of the bike, it’s
definitely a plus for me. I find that an e-bike will
actually handle all that stuff a lot better than a
standard, regular trail bike. – [Dodd] Yeah, I completely
agree with you, it does. Although I’m probably in
newer stakes to yourself, that I don’t ride an
e-bike as much as you do, so going between the two is a
bit more of a problem for me. – Yeah, yeah. – Definitely what you said
about the braking, 100%. Coming in at the stuff, you’ve
got to stand on those brakes, literally, to get it to slow down, but in the summer there’s more grip. – Yeah, definitely. I’ve thought, as I’ve mentioned,
in all those situations I would prefer to be on an e-bike, whereas probably Doddy would
find it easier switching between the two, but
definitely a similar ride feel, and I think if you’re
jumping the bikes as well, jumping is definitely an art form when it comes to an e-bike,
some people find it harder, but personally, I think
once you get into it, you’ll find yourself jumping a lot more with a lot more confidence. I think it’s confidence inspiring, that’s what I’m trying to say. – Yeah, it is. It’s kind of like riding
an old downhill bike. – Exactly. – It’s got that weight,
the stability and stuff. – Definitely. But yeah, give it a go out on the trail, and I don’t think you
will struggle at all. – Okay, next up from David Hill. So that’s chipping, isn’t it? – Definitely, yeah, so
that’s removing that limiter on the bike, so obviously the
Bosch unit is a great motor, but it really does struggle above that 15.9 or 25 kilometer-an-hour limit, So fitting one with a Speedbox unit is something I have done
in the past on Bosch. It is a good unit, it’s a little bit less, well, protected, it’s just
basically a clip-on unit, it goes over the speed sensor– – Like a dongle-type thing. – Yeah, like a dongle, so
it just holds on with rubber hovering over the speed sensor, but it’s quite susceptible
to water damage, and it can fall off if
you’re gonna ride that bike under big jumps and things like that. – I did ride… I don’t know if it was a Bosch system, but I did ride a chipped
one a little while back. I found it really confusing,
because the information that’s displayed on the monitor
is completely inaccurate, and you have no idea where
you are on the battery. It felt cool, but, I don’t
know if it’s the way. – Yeah, definitely, but I
think what Doddy’s saying is basically, if you’re doing 20
mile-an-hour down the trail, it would half the speed limit,
so it’d say you’re doing 10 and so it confuses the motor. But obviously, the distance you’re riding, the range is all gonna be scrambled. – Of course, Bosch in particular, they’re gonna be quite
strict on their warranty, and they will know if
you’ve put a dongle in, so you’re kind of on your own
if you want to take that risk. I mean certainly, if you’re
riding your bike on the road, don’t chance it, it’s against
the law, plain and simple. Off road, then, yeah, alright, arguably, you could see some advantages. But what I’ve heard
Jonesy saying, actually, is if you’re going over
that limit too often, perhaps you need to address
the way you’re riding trails. Maybe ride the trails backwards, or… Not a marked trail, that is, but try approaching the
way you ride differently because you don’t really need that limit. – So yeah, basically, what we’re saying is that you steer clear of limiters, it’s gonna cause you issues with warranty, and as Doddy says, just look
at the way you’re riding if you really need to
de-restrict that e-bike. – Well, our next one’s from Ian Wright, I can’t imagine it’s the footballer. So I guess he means the one
that was initially powering the motor, because that’s
keeping warm, and the other one– – The exposed one. – Wasn’t doing it’s job, right. – Probably using that T.E.C.
pack on your Focus as well, so you’ve got an exposed
battery under the top tube. Yeah, so batteries are a
hell of a lot, just like us, they like to be warm, and if
you expose them to extreme cold or extreme heat, they’re
not gonna like it. If you’re going out for a cold ride, I’d probably suggest charging
your battery indoors, sort of trying to keep that
core temperature in the battery. When you’re out on the trail,
I would try a neoprene cover, that should help keep a bit
of warmth in the battery, or you can bodge it
with some foil as well. It’s meant to keep a bit of
battery heat in there as well. And there is other options out
there, on things like Amazon, you can get a body support,
something like a back support, modify that, it’s a cheap alternative to those custom battery sleeves. – Do a hack video on that actually, that’s probably a good idea. I think it’s the same with
all batteries in general, like when I’m taking photos,
I keep spare batteries on the inside pockets and stuff. It’s exactly the same reason. I guess on your particular
bike, you’ve got two batteries in the frame, so yeah, I
reckon doing some sort of wrap. Failing that, if it is that
bad and it’s only an occasional ride that you’re going to ride
in that sort of conditions, take that battery off
and put it in your bag. – Yeah, that’s a good option, definitely. – Alright, this one’s a bit more of a personal one, Chris, from Scott. – Yeah I was out for a couple of weeks. It was three weeks ago, now,
we just had a little boy, so it brings the family
members up to three now. – Wow, free baby factory
is going on there. – Yeah, hittin’ the trails on them, got a few that are
already riding, but yeah, keen to get ’em on two wheels ASAP. – I think you need to do
some videos with them, down the line, maybe wait ’til they’re a little bit stronger before
you chuck ’em on e-bike. Alright, this one’s a bit more focused. So this is from Quad Kid. What do you reckon? – Doddy, you’ve got to
be the man to talk about tubeless setups, right? – I would always say go for tubeless. Personally I think inner tubes,
I would rather grow gills and walk backwards into the sea I just think it’s just old
technology, we don’t need it, you only carry them as a spare
part, tubeless is fantastic, but it does require more
maintenance than people think. – Definitely, yeah. Definitely swap out to tubeless. Personally I haven’t had
tubes on a bike for years now, and I haven’t had a puncture for years. Soon as I did ride a
bike with tubes in it, I actually had two punctures
that day, so it shows. – Yeah, you know about it. – Yeah, definitely I’d recommend
swapping over to tubeless. But your tire choice, which
you mentioned as well, I would have a look, see
if it’s fit for purpose. If you are just riding
the easy sort of trails and a shallow tread
design’s going to last you a lot longer, give you a lot more range, than sticking a big, aggressively
fat, knobby tire on there if you’re not doing that sort of riding. And vice versa, if you’re
hitting muddy trails and proper off-road mountain biking, then sticking an aggressive tire on there is going to reap a lot of
benefits out there on the trail. – Yeah, if you’re unsure
about your tire choice, and the thing’s that’s
going to be best for you, speak to some other local riders, whether they’re e-bikers or not, and you’ll find there’ll be
a pretty general consensus on the sort of tire, or
specific design, or brand that people use, and that’d be
a good sort of starting point to start looking at your own choices. Alright, so Sixty Seconds
of Stephens says… – Good question. Yeah, jumping, obviously
I do quite a bit of that. On the e-bike, I’d really suggest probably a minimum of around 40 PSI. So obviously that sounds
quite a lot of pressure if you’re doing normal
sort of trail riding, but running a harder tire,
that’s going to give you a lot more predictability on takeoffs, you’re not going to get tire squirm, and of course if you case a jump, a soft tire’s going to run the
damage of damaging your rim. Just a lot better to run a
harder tire for those big jumps. Gonna increase the rolling
resistance as well between jumps, so you’re going to be
hitting jumps a lot faster. I know guys like Pilgrim
and those guys on the e-bike generally run sort of 40 to 60 PSI, and even on the hardtail jump bikes, they’re running up to 100
PSI on those bikes as well. So don’t be afraid to pump up your tires. But obviously if you’re running tubeless, I personally wouldn’t go above, I think about 55 would be my max. I’ve had a nasty experience
of one blowing off the rim when I’ve increased that pressure. Literally blowing up in my face, tire sealant going everywhere. I’m sure you’ve had that
sort of thing before, right? – Yeah, 100%, and
there’s always guidelines on your tire sidewalls of your pressures. Now even upper one of
that, you can test it and go a bit higher, that’s
just the safe recommended, but you can explore it, I think. Also, something else, when you were saying about tire squirming,
if you’re into jumping, surely some sort of rim
insert, like a CushCore, or (mumbles), something like
that would be pretty useful for protecting the rim, and
keeping those tires in place. – Yeah. – Alright, this one’s pretty cool, this is from Alexander Seesink. I think it’s the same with any sealant, regardless of the one you’ve got. Generally, the better sealants tend to be the more sort of latex-formulated ones, the Doc Blue is similar like
that, Stan’s, any of those, but they do tend to dry
out, and that happens in both cold temperatures
and hot temperatures, so personally, I like
that style of solution, so I just use more of it. And you do have to top up
more often than you think. – Yeah. – I don’t know about you,
but what I don’t like doing when I replace my sealant,
is taking the tire off. – No. – I’ll take the valve core
out, and I use a little syringe basically to squirt in more. – Yeah, it’s a lot less– – Then you can also see
how much you’re putting in. It also means you don’t
break the seal as well, so it stays on the rim. And then you can get a
lot of other solutions that don’t have the
latex or formula in them, and they resist, they’ve
got more antifreeze, and they resist freezing. However, they don’t
seal punctures as well. – I think you might
find a problem if you go to super extreme temperatures,
but as Doddy mentioned, a lot of them have an antifreeze in them. I think it works to
about minus 40 Fahrenheit or something like that, so
you shouldn’t have a problem in those temperatures
that you’ve mentioned. – Yeah, just generally
a little bit more lube if you want the slightly
better style lube, or if you want the safety, go for the more
antifreeze-friendly option. Choice is yours, really. – But definitely remember
to keep on top of that. A lot of people think that tubeless is a fit-and-forget thing
that you do to your tires, but you really need to be on top of that, changing them every few months, especially if you live
in quite a hot area, those tires will dry out a
lot, and you’ll just be left with a clump of sealant in
your tire rolling around, which won’t repair any punctures. – And actually, good point,
you can hear them as well, so if you take your
wheels off time to time, and give them a bit of a jiggle, if you hear some sloshing,
you’re good to go. If you don’t hear anything,
it might be a good time to inspect it, or just
top up on the solution. – Might even have a (mumbles) in there, they’re known as the little
balls rolling around in there. – Like a big bogey or something. Alright, straight into Ralph N. – Personally, when I ride a regular bike, I used to ride clip pedals for more trail, cross-country riding, and
flats for everything else. But since I’ve ridden
e-bikes, I’ve been pretty much a 99% flat pedal user. I think with the e-bike’s
power and the motor, it sort of negates that need
for an efficient cadence and spin all the time, I know
it does obviously help range and things like that, but
I think the added power that you get from the e-bike
just pretty much negates the need of clips for me. But I know guys like
Doddy, you use clip pedals quite a bit for more of your riding. But I think for the trick style of riding, like you mentioned wheelies and manuals, personally I wouldn’t be
going anywhere near that with a set of clips on. Especially if you’re learning, you need to get your
feet out really quickly. It’s gonna give you a lot more confidence. But I’m sure Doddy will talk a bit more about using clips versus flats. – Yeah, I ride both quite
happily, but I’ll pick clips, like nine times out of 10. When we went riding with Jonesy
last summer, I picked clips. And this was a real first
sort of experience for me, and that was a huge mistake in hindsight, because getting used to the bike, used to when the power kicks
in, all that sort of stuff, it was too much on top, and
it sounds like you’re having the same sort of problems,
so I would suggest running flats actually,
and then after a while, once you’re used to the
bike, you know exactly what the bike’s doing
in all circumstances, then you can go back and
make the most of clips. Because there’s a lot of riders,
like Fabien Barel and Nico, they both continue using clips, and arguably, they’re
two of the best climbers on the most technical terrain, so they’re clearly using
them to their benefit. – But definitely you have to… I think your confidence levels
really have to be up there to use clips on an e-bike. I think, as you mentioned
all the style of riding looks like you’re doing,
I think try some flats. And you can always go
back and switch between for whatever you’re doing. – To be honest, that’s a good
way of riding a bike actually, chopping and changing, it makes you a better rider all ’round. – Yeah, ’cause definitely clips can actually lead you
into some bad habits. I know guys that do bunny-hops and things actually rely a lot on using
that clip pedal action, it’s actually a bad technique to get into. If you switch ‘cross to
flats, you’ll find yourself not actually being able to bunny-hop. So switching between, keeping it fresh, means you can commit to
corners with flats a bit, but you can stick a foot
down if you’re slidey, but then you’re not gonna get
that power out on the trails. It’s vice versa… Just try both, I’m sure you’ll
come up with a good option. – Next one’s from ARC 1980. We get this question
literally every single week. – Exactly, it’s a good question. But I think the Focus Jam2 that you’ve got is a really good bike out of the box. There’s not a lot I think
that you need to be upgrading. And upgrading’s always a good question. It’s like, I always like
to think about upgrading as like, am I better than the bike, am I better than my bike’s suspension. I think if you’re running
into problems on your bike out on the trails, then
it’s time to upgrade. If you find your suspension’s topping out and making horrible noises,
and you’re doing better things than your bike can do for you, then you should look at upgrading. But I don’t think planting
a load of money in a set of carbon wheels for your
e-bike is a big upgrade. – No, don’t do that. – I think you just need to get out there and look at your riding, and
choose what are the weak points on your bike, but don’t go
swapping stuff every single month ’cause you’re never gonna
know where you are on the bike if you keep messing around
with your bar height, and different handlebars,
and things like that, you’re never gonna get to know that bike. And I think being at one with your bike is a really important thing,
rather than keep swapping bits and upgrading bits. – 100%, yeah. So I think it’s really
important to say actually, is a lot of your bike
components are consumable items, they’re gonna wear out sooner or later. So if you do wanna spend some money, spend it on your tires
when they’re worn out, don’t do it now. Same goes for your
transmission, wear it out first. There’s no need to spend money on it. Other items like your
suspension, like Chris says, you’re not gonna know
what a job they’re doing until you really get used to the bike, so save that, and you
can always get them tuned when you get them serviced
at some point down the line. Don’t spend the money
yet, get used to the bike. – I think if you’ve got money
burning a hole in your pocket, I’d maybe look at doing
some coaching, some trails, sort of training stuff like that, rather than spending that money on a fancy new rear mech and chain, ’cause that’s gonna
translate out on the trail a lot better than trying to upgrade and lose a few pounds here
and there on your e-bike. I think obviously those
cheaper bits that you mentioned might be entry-level on your Focus, actually are gonna be a
lot more durable as well, because they’re gonna be
a little bit stronger. They’re gonna be heavier, but
they’re not gonna wear as much like the high end stuff,
components, is usually made out of. Like a lightweight cassette,
the cheaper options have things like steel in them,
which you know is gonna last a lot longer, but you go
to the lightweight stuff and it’s gonna burn, it’s gonna wear out a lot quicker out there. – Essentially, all Chris is saying is don’t waste your money
yet, get to know your bike. That’s the most important thing. And if you do have to spend
money, think about it. – So here you go, that’s
the end of our Ask EMBN, and thanks Doddy for joining
us here today on the show. – Cheers for having me. – Don’t forget, if you guys
have got any questions, #ASKEMBN, drop them in
the comments box below, and we’ll get back to you ASAP. – Yeah, if you wanna see
another useful video, click down here, it’s all about
the best upgrades you can do with your new e-bikes. – Don’t forget, if you’ve
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