What Goes On At The Verbier E-Bike Festival?

What Goes On At The Verbier E-Bike Festival?


– Over the past few years, we’ve certainly been to a lot
of E-bike shows here on EMBN, but never a festival. So we’re here in Verbier. Got beautiful trails, beautiful
mountains, beautiful food, so it makes complete sense
to have a E-bike festival. So what’s it all about then? Well, today we’re going to find out. (gentle rock music) So what’s it all about? Well, first and foremost, you can actually rent E-bikes to ride some of the amazing trails you find in Verbier and
the surrounding area. But there’s other things to do, as well. You can sample the local
gastronomy and culture of this high mountain region. I know a lot of you are
going to be thinking, “Okay, what about the mountain bikes?” Well, there’s actually
more than 30 brands here, and obviously they’ve
all got different sizes, they’ve got different models, they’ve got different travel, they’ve got different motors. So it’s a great place to come and, maybe, if you’ve not already
bought any mountain bike, come and find out which one you want, or if you do actually want one. Or indeed, if you’re thinking about buying a new mountain bike, it’s the perfect place to come
and find out your new bike. There’s a little kid skidding there. There’s loads of other
things to do as well. You’ve got guided events, which range from beginner up to expert. You’ve got waymarked trails, so you simply pay your money
for your E-bike rental, and you can go and
sample all these trails. So if you think about it, if you’ve got maybe half
an hour, 40 minutes, or an hour on each bike, you could maybe try 30 bikes a day. Now for some of you who are a bit more
athletic and adventurous, there are some events taking place. There’s a 33k event, there’s a 66k event, and a 100k one-day event in the hills. But the big one, and that’s the reason why
I’m wearing sunglasses, ’cause I’m pretty weary at the minute, is the Tour de Mont Blanc, which is a three-day race, 350 kilometers, 16,000 meters of climbing, and 18,000 meters of descending. It’s probably the hardest
E-mountain bike race in the world. Here in the E-bike festival, it’s all about a huge range of riders. I’ve seen people from 12 up to maybe 80, just doing the E-bike rental, which is actually a key
part of the festival, right? – It’s the most important
part of the festival. The objective number one of this event was to put people on E-bikes, so that they can understand the revolution that E-biking is. I haven’t met one person who
tried and who didn’t like it. And we believe that this is
going to be a revolution, again, a wide revolution. It’s going to change massively the summer, and even spring and autumn season for these mountain destinations. We believe even that
it’s going to be bigger in a couple of years
that the winter season. – Wow! – And it’s going to
compliment this very well, enabling those destinations to run not on four months a year, but on eight, nine, ten months a year, and that’s a game-changer. – Now, traveling with E-mountain
bikes is very difficult simply because you can’t
take a battery on a plane. I’m joined now by Joel Sciboz, who’s from Verbier Tourism. Joel, there seems to be a
lot of E-bike hire places here in Verbier, plus
obviously the festival. It’s a great option for people who want to go riding
their E-bikes, right? You just simply fly in, come and rent an E-bike out, and go and ride some amazing trails. – Yes, it’s been now a few years since with the development of the E-bikes, that all the shops here have seen that people wanted more E-bikes
than conventional bikes, and of course it makes it easier for everyone to just hike
up the mountains, and yeah. – So here’s the big question. Can you actually see a day when maybe E-mountain bikes take over the hills from snowboarding and skiing? – Might be, I don’t know
if I am going to see it. We are lucky enough that we
are high enough on the mountain so that our winters are not so
much in danger as right now. But I’d say on a long term, why not? And if on a short term, we can have as many people in the summer as we have in the winter, then it’s all good. – So are you seeing, how big is the growth in E-biking
in Verbier and this area? – Well, compared to two, three years ago, the shops were renting, maybe 20 percent of
their bikes were E-bikes, and last year it went over 50 percent, and this year I guess
it’s probably 75 percent. (gentle pop music) – Now, one of the reasons
that thousand of people are flocking here to
Verbier E-bike festival, is actually to rent E-bikes. There’s more than 30 brands
here which you can try out, with all kinds of motors and
sizes and shapes and travel. So what you do is you sign on online, you come in here, you
check in to these guys, they give you a number, and then you proceed through here. You get your photograph
taken, so for ID purposes, and then you move over here, and you give the guys a guarantee, so you don’t run off with the bikes, and then finally you just sign
your name on a bit of paper, and hand over a massive 15 euros, which you can try any bike
for about half an hour. You can ride the trails, you
can do anything you want. So what a massive opportunity to come here and try all the bikes out, and just basically see which
one you want before you buy it. Brilliant! (gentle pop music) So you’ve got your
E-bike rental, what next? Well, how about taking
on some waymarked trails here in the mountains around Verbier? Loads of different levels. You’ve got easy up to expert level. For example, you got a 1.2 kilometer with 26 meters of climbing, so really, really beginner level, up to a 40-minute waymarked route which is 310 meters. So like I said, all waymarked, and a great way to go and take
your different E-bikes out, and compare them one against another. So whereas the waymarked
trails are unguided, you come here and you
get your E-bike rental, and you take it on the hills by yourself, you can alternatively take
on a half-day guided trip. Again, different levels. You got easy, medium and really diffiult. 11 kilometers, 15
kilometers or 20 kilometers and elevation from 480 meters up to 1,000 meters. So those are half-day guided trips. You’ve also got day out trips as well. So the day out trips, unsurprisingly here in
the mountains of Verbier, a little bit more challenging. But again, there’s something
in here for everybody. Easy, medium and difficult. I’m looking at the elevations here. 1,200 meters up to… Actually that’s it. About 1,200 meters’ climbing in a day. So definitely very doable, but as far as the Tour de Mont Blanc, that was about 5,000
meters’ climbing today. But again, like I said, they’re guided trips, and all you need to do
is sign up for them. Now alternatively, you can sign up for an enduro-style event. As you can see, there’s three different sectors here. So you can actually go
out and do a 38k loop, or you can tag onto
that and do a 66k loop, or go for the full 100 kilometers. It’s not quite Tour de Mont Blanc level in terms of the altitude. We’ve got 658 meters
for the first section, 1,195 meters for the second, and 1,100 meters for the third. But still a considerable day out. So to get involved with this, you’ve actually got to sign up before coming to the festival. But yeah, that’s quite a tasty few routes there up the mountains. Like I said, different distances
for you to choose from. (gentle rock music) Now, no E-bike festival would be complete without an expo area. And here in Verbier,
we’ve got over a kilometer of different brands, bikes and products. It’s crazy. Well, judging by all these empty racks, the Haibike Flyon is
clearly a very popular bike, and of course we already know this. So here is the Flyon. Now, Haibike actually take guided tours out throughout the day. There’s four guided tours through the day. You got to prebook, but no cost for it, so it’s pretty cool. And you get out, and you go and sample some
of the incredible trails around the mountains here in Verbier, and they’ll tell you all
about how the bike operates, it’ll tell you about sizing, pretty much everything you need to know about this bike, and
indeed any other Haibike. Wow! Oh my God! Now remember, this is actually
Verbier E-Bike Festival, not E-Mountain Bike Festival. This is the Specialized Creo Gravel, and there’s actually
a route around Verbier where you can take this bike. Now, it’s rumored actually that the Tour de France riders actually use these
bikes on their rest day, and this is a guy called Maz who’s on the Tour de France. So what about it? Well, it’s got a 320-watt
battery in the downtube, 35 newton meters of
torque from that motor, which is 240 watts, 38mm tires, 20mm suspension
actually in the front there. Look at that! Madness. Flared bars. But get this. You can actually get
an extra 160 watt-hours from that little battery
pack which goes in there, and weighs in about 1.8 kilograms. Brilliant. Brandon, I’ve got my flat pedals, I’ll see you later! Now, it’s not all serious mountain biking. Look, I know I got a burger
and chips in front of me, but that comes out of need from a three-day Tour de Mont Blanc. Now, there is actually a Tour de Gourmande here at Verbier E-Bike Festival, which takes in some of
the culture and gastronomy of the Valais and Val de Bagnes area. It’s a five-stop trip, and you rent a bike and you simply go and take in all the trails, you go and try some wine, some cheese, some meats of the area. It’s actually one thing I
really would like to have done, But I decided to do the
tour of Mont Blanc instead, and hence, like I said,
the burger and chips. It’s not bad, mind. (relaxed pop music) Well, it’s clear that people
of all shapes and sizes and abilities ride E-mountain bikes. Prior to the E-bike
festival here in Verbier, was actually the Tour de Mont Blanc, which is actually organized by Verbier E-Bike Festival as well. It was three days, 350 kilometers, 40,000 feet of climbing, 60,000 feet of descending. It was a massive, massive trip. I did it with a friend at Specialized, because Chris pulled out because he had a virus
last-minute, unfortunately. Now, you’re probably wondering
why there’s a bottle in here. Well, this bike actually
belongs to Olympic gold medalist in cross country, Christoph Sauser, who came second in the Tour de Mont Blanc. And speaking to him later, he said it’s probably
one of the hardest events he’s ever done on any
mountain bike discipline. So that shows you that E-biking isn’t actually
just for lazy people. It can be for some really
super-fit athletes too. Now we often get asked how to clean your E-mountain bike. I think possibly that 25 bar, (laughter) is maybe a little bit too much. But check out this really neat little system here from Karcher. Ooh, might have broken it. Oh dear, I’ve broken it, but it’s vibrating. It’s got all the bits in there, it’s got all the nozzles and everything. You can stick this in
the back of your car. It’s 5 bars like I said. Put those there. And I think it’s probably just enough for an E-mountain bike. It’s still pretty powerful, but you can fill up that there, and the battery will actually take nine fills of that container. You can also plug in to your car as well. Really neat. Obviously the battery is a key
part of the E-mountain bike, and one aspect of E-mountain bikes you might want to check out
if you come to a festival, is whether you want to go for an internal, or an external battery. Now the cool thing with these
is they’re 500 watt-hours, and you can easily fit
these into your backpack. There’s actually a video which we did, Summit to Sea with Fabien Barel, which I’ll leave in the link down below. Yeah, like I said, come to the festival, have a look, feel the batteries, and check out which one’s for you. Now, one opportunity you
need to take advantage of if you come to an E-bike festival, is to try, obviously,
all the different bikes. But not just the bikes. Also the different amount of travel. Now, the Rotwild here comes
in 140, 150 or 170mm travel. But it’s things like
having a look at the bike, it’s about touching it, and
just getting that feel for, is that bike for you, or is it not? Another thing is to test out
the different sizes as well. So this particular bike comes in small, medium,
large and extra large. So there you go. Now not only do you get
to try the different bikes with the different amounts
of suspension travel, and the different sizes
and different colors. You also get a chance to
ride the different motors, from such companies as Rose, from Shimano, Yamaha, TQ, and of course, the hot news which is the new
fourth-generation Bosch motor. Lighter, smaller and no resistance past
25 kilometers an hour. So you’ve got your
E-mountain bike, what next? Well, how about a trip
from Chamonix to Zermatt, an iconic tour. It’s a seven-day, eight-night trip. It costs 2,500 euros
for the seven-day trip, or actually you can do a half-week trip, which is 1500. It includes everything,
including accommodation. You do have to have a certain
level of experience to do it, but you’re looking at between
35 to 45 kilometers today, 2,000 meters of climbing. And they’re on sort of dirt track, so it’s not anything too complex, right? – No, no. It’s accessible for the people. – Yeah. So, yeah. Sounds like an amazing trip to go on. Rossignol, famous French ski brand. I think this sums up
Verbier E-bike festival. A load of bikes just out on the trails, leaving these empty stands. Brilliant! Now, some of you probably
will be asking the question, “Okay, there’s Verbier E-Bike Festival. What about outside the festival?” Well actually, there’s loads
of E-bike rental places here in Verbier. Backside is one of them, that actually kind of most of their fleet are now E-bikes. And unsurprisingly, all other bikes are sat here being unused. Says it all. Do you know what, I’ve only got one regret
from Verbier E-Bike Festival, and that is, I didn’t go on the food tour and have some wine,
cheese and some saucisson. But then again, I can come back next year. This event, it’s got it all. It’s got the hardest
E-bike race in the world, the Tour de Mont Blanc, it’s got guided rides, it’s got enduro races, it’s got waymarked trails, and of course, it’s got all
those E-bikes to go and try out. So if you’re in the market for an E-bike, or in fact if you’re going
to go and buy a new E-bike, this is definitely one
place you should go to. So any questions on E-mountain bikes or E-mountain bike festivals, let us know in the comments below. If you want to check out
what E-mountain bikes can do, have a look at these
two videos down by here. I’m definitely going to come back to Verbier E-Bike Festival. For now, I’m going to bed. So give us a thumbs-up
if you liked this video, and don’t forget to subscribe
to EMBN to see more videos. I’m going, see you later.