The case for heavy emountain bikes


Local time
12:59 AM
Jul 25, 2020
I have read completely through the Levo SL vs Levo thread and found it fascinating. It's nice to see threads in the e-bike forum that are this long and still have serious content.

The big elephant in the room in that SL vs Levo discussion is the assumption that, all else being equal, lighter is always better. In my own experience I do not find that to be the case and I am not sure exactly why.

For years whether it be bike, women or any other sport, twitchy = lively and fun while stability = boring and lackluster.

I have two bikes. Bike one is a 22 lb Carbon S-Works full suspension Stumpy 27.5. Bike two is a 70-80 lb Titanium Fat bike with BBSHD drive and 1,100 watt hour battery. I have so much add on stuff that the e bike has gained a lot of weight. The original weight was 49 lbs.

I much prefer riding the e bike vs riding the Stumpy. The Stumpy seems like a teenager while the e bike seems like a long relaxing vacation. The heavier bike is much easier to balance at very low speeds. I can track stand it. The Stumpy seems like I am always a step behind the bike. At the moment I am chalking that all up to being in a condition of TMB (To Many Birthdays). I do not have the speed in reflexes that I use to and coordination seems much slower. Multi tasking is also harder. I feel safer on the heavier bike. Deep down I would prefer to be on the Stumpy but the reality is different.

Given a population of riders, reflexes are no different than anything else. Reflex speed with fall into a bell curve of those with fast reflexes and those without.

I think the heavier bike is easier to keep under you if your reflexes are on the slow side. I could be full of sht and deluding myself and that is why I am open for discussion. I think if I tried the Levo SL vs the Levo I would be squarely as undecided as the whole thread of discussions. I would like the lively feel of the SL but feel safer on the Levo. Given the money I would not be confident with either purchase and after purchase the grass would be greener on the other side. Your thoughts?

(Rant) I use to be stupid and think any old codger can stay in the game with enough hard work. I now know that anything over 60 is a gift that requires some serious life changes. I have watched a lot of fit people die in their sixties and a lot of sedentary people reach well into their nineties. Gene's play a major role. Medicare also plays a major role. Medicare can decide who stays in the game and who does not. Just because you know some 75 year old guy still trashing the youngsters does not mean that anybody 75 can achieve that if they try hard enough. By that time half of them are already pushing up daises. I am not about the buy into that argument anymore. (End of Rant)
I have a 70 lb Riese and Müller Supercharger and a Niner RIP9 RDO and ride them for commuting and trails, respectively. I do find the supercharger very stable and fun to ride. I use to think the Niner was heavy, but now it seems feather light and much more fun to ride on the trails.

I’m a Clydesdale and 58 yr old so I’m not in the best shape anymore but am not in need of pedal assist on the trails yet. That said, when the time comes, I’m in.
With respect, you're comparing the stability of a skinny tire, ultra stiff framed FS MTB with a fat tire Ti hardtail MTB. Weight is only one of the many factors that will make them feel very, very different...
I have two sets of wheels. One set 26" X 4.8" and the other set running 29" X 2.25". The heavy bike is just more stable regardless of tires. IMO the inertia of the bike is what slows the motions and creates the stability. Inertia is also what frustrates agile mountain bikers at higher speeds.
This ^^^. You could just as easily have a 28-lb ultra-long, low, and slack enduro sled that's stable and confidence-inspiring. "Twitchy" typically has to do with geometry and setup rather than weight.
I know what you are saying is correct and that would normally close the discussion but I am not afraid to look wrong or vulnerable. I am going to change tacks here, hopefully to better reflect what I meant when I wanted to open a discussion. Stability and twitchy are two terms that may have vastly different meanings from one mountain biker to another and I suspect that stability has a better defined meaning in terms of bike design and manufacturing than most bikers realize. That is why I left the door open in my original posting. I had a sneaking suspicion that definitions where going to get me.
I have a unique way of looking at things that can often times confound other people trying to follow me so I have to be open to shifting, backtracking and changing directions. Multiple engineering degrees but my natural modus is intuition, not logic. That said, let me try again (y)

Let me get this out of the way first. I found out quickly with a fat bike that I did not like rotating weight in the wheels so I went as light as possible on tire set up. Hubs, cassette and rotor as the same in the wheelsets. The weight difference between skinny and fat tires is all where it counts. The fat set definitely feels more stable that the skinny set. Higher rotating mass definitely equates to the bike not wanting to change directions quickly.

That said, as my bike has gained weight elsewhere from add on stuff. The bike feels more stable than it did when it was lighter, regardless of wheelset and of course way more stable than my S works.

I ain't in logical mode here, I am in touchy feely mode. Is it safe to say that given two bikes set up the same, same wheels, weight attached to bike, would the nod on stability go to the heavier bike? Am I wrongly equating slower motion due to inertia as being of higher stability? Does inertia have nothing to do with twitch or stability. Am I looking for a different word?
I think weight does have a effect ,but maybe not as much as you think. Let's look at extremes ,say bike one is designed to be stable and light , if you add weight to it would still have the design elements that made it stable just heavier. That might make it more stable ,maybe not. Bike two is designed to be twitchy /quick heavy ,take away the weight ,it's still twitchy/quick ,maybe more so since you're not fighting inertia. So there are other factors the come in to play, your bikes have two very different intend uses. That ,I think has a bigger effect than weight.
This is all pointing to a huge gap in my knowledge and that gap is where its most critical for me. I intellectually understand geometry and what it does but I have purposely avoided tying an Enduro or even a downhill bike. I lack the feel of different geometries and for me that is everything. Will have to seriously consider doing that. I am sure all of my questions would probably vanish and the knowledge that I have would translate into more common sense.
Regarding all vehicles, performance or leisure, lighter is always better is the general consensus.

I don't doubt an 80# e-bike feels totally stable. But that certainly isn't the bike experience I'm shooting for.

If I'm running an 80#+ e-bike, it's not going to have pedals and is going to be an electric motorycle with a twist throttle.
So I should take the 20+ lbs of stuff out of the saddle bags so I don't need a throttle? You are making a lot of assumptions about that weight.

I take a lot of the weight off of the bike to lift it onto a hitch rack.
Must be getting weaker. I'm not to good at guessing. I just weighted the bike with the narrow wheel set and the bags on with a lighter load and the extender battery on. 57.2 lb. There has to be at least 10 ls of add-ons still on that bike. I should take all the sht off once and see what the difference is.
Current add-ons that I see on it.
Saddle bags with light load
Extender battery and extender rack 14sp2
Kick stand
Rear Rack
lights front and rear
fiberglass fenders
watt meter and heavy wiring
handlebar cell phone holder

Edit, Oh sht I forgot the main battery of 7.3 lb, so bike as it sits was 64.5 lb. tale all that stuff off and I would be back down to 49 lb
I'm faster on my lighter Yeti on every downhill. The added 16-17 lbs on my e-bike is very noticeable and not a plus in any scenario. The weight makes is harder to make quick changes and jump over some stuff. It also makes it harder to climb through chunky rocky sections where I can "float" the light bike way more and stay more on top of the rocks, if that makes sense. Plus, it is harder to slow down for features so that kills time and I have to keep more of a margin around corners in case someone is coming up the other side. I'm at 45 lbs which is not bad actually. I am getting faster and faster downhill so who knows..maybe I will eventually break all my times. I'll soon ride the same trails on both bikes but I sure am dreading the uphills on the Yeti now. :)

All in all though, I am riding more often, enjoying a lower HR, and seeing trails I used to dread riding recently, especially in the summer...the kind that go up 1,500 ft every 4.5 miles.
At a local enduro race I attended the Pro class guys ran both e- bikes and bikes on the same day on the same runs essentially back to back.
All went faster on their bikes. It wasn't a huge difference, 3-7 seconds as I recall per run, but keep in mind a TX Enduro run is short, around 2 minutes

Sent from my SM-G892A using Tapatalk
I won't try to say a heavy bike is ever faster, but I have some experience on similar bikes with similar geometry components, etc, just one was 100lbs heavier. Yeah, I'm not talking mountain bikes, but dirt bikes, going down hill on a steep trail with a ton of loose rocks moving about as I rode over them, one a Husky 125 two stroke, the other the same year Husky 525 four stroke. The four stroke was much easier to keep on line and ride. I wouldn't want to try and say if it was faster or not, easier to pop off of things and change lines on the 125, but these were two extremely similar bikes, size, tires, travel, suspension components, geometry, everything was extremely close, but one was a ton heavier, and also while we were going down with the clutch in most of the time, the four stroke also had a lot more rotating mass. I can't say how closely this would play out in mountain bikes, but I wouldn't be surprised if the heavier bike was a bit slower, but way easier to ride.
I can tell you that in my case, the light bike is easier to ride though I still find the short chain stay Pivot to be amazing. I rode a Levo on the same trails (a friend's) and it was not as easy to ride or turn around tight switchbacks. The Yeti just is easy to handle. I also have some dirt bike experience and did find the heavier bikes to be more stable in certain situations but the lighter bikes to be far easier to navigate in almost all terrain, especially rocky and steep terrain. There, the lighter 2-strokes excelled as log as you kept them in a good rev range. The 4 strokes lugged up anything but were heavier and ponderous on tighter, steeper, rockier terrain. I find the same with mountain bikes. I am only talking about FS bikes, of course.
Humorous initial post which (to me) identifies the variables, the most important might be rider's age, which make this complex. I always felt that my best riding was on as light an MTB as possible. Many years later when I really don't care, it doesn't seem to matter. There are heavy bikes or lighter ones I'm very comfortable on and others not. Doesn't help much, but "them's the facts".
Well folks, I have a 95 pound e-mtb, the E-CELLS Super Monarch Crown (crazy name, I know).
It has 2 wheel drive, 2 batteries and dual suspension so yeah, heavy.
But it is very powerful and can haul a maximum 400 pound load so me, my rifle and survival gear and about 150 pounds of boned-out elk or deer meat. I hunt in Nevada and covering ground to search for big game is what it'll about. I got this bike because I dislike ATVs. They are pox on the land. 'nuff sed.
There are now several makes of 2 wheel drive e-mtbs out there but this E-CELLS bike had the best quality components, very reasonable price ($4,800.) and the company headquarters are only 60 miles away. So, Samsung batteries, Rok Shox suspension, Shimano shifters & gear set, Vee Bulldozer tires and the MOST powerful Bafang hub motors made (exclusive to E-CELLS) and Taiwanese frame. The company owner chose these components for their durability and reasonable price.
Heavy eMountain bikes offer better stability, durability and performance on rough terrain. Swiss bike manufacturer, has created the ultimate heavy-duty bike, some of them have a robust frame with a powerful motor to tackle any challenge.
Starting out with a 59cm Vitus 979 frame with Mavic SSC group and a sub-20 lb weight (no motor), I went to ebikes several years ago and fell in love with the stability of the fat tire across a wide range of terrain, from deep sand to fast commuting on pavement. And when I say I went big, I really mean it.



In the last couple of years, though, I have had a need for small and portable. My 29er fit this niche, and I regained my appreciation of less being more. Still, the wagon wheels got in the way of the portability part so I built a 26" emtb a year ago. Look closely and you can see it, packed in with the camping gear.


The smooth street tires were good for pavement and nothing else, so it has some nice, bigger Maxxis knobbies on now. It is by far my favorite bike for fun riding and for short errands. If I need to haul some gravel, or go to Costco, a big fat bike or a big frontloader excels at that. But for fun on something besides deep sand and snow, its light and nimble all the way.