Guido Tschugg’s Haibike XDURO DH signature model arrived at his house last week, so he headed to Leogang to give it a first ride. He invited me along too, so I grabbed my downhill gear and set out for Leogang. To my dismay as I approached the mountain I could see the lifts were not working. Oh Man, I didn’t even bring any XC gear! When I got out of the car I said to Guido, “I think it’s shut”. “Yes it is” he said with a grin, “but we have motors in our bikes, it’s no problem”. Thankfully, he had brought along a spare XDURO for me!
I was a little doubtful, I rode an ebike once around some gentle hills but I could have ridden them almost as easily without a motor. Leogang on the other hand, is a world cup Downhill track and it’s pretty dam steep. I ride up and down a lot of steep stuff around Salzburg on my Enduro Mag Long term test Specialized Stumpjumper, but it’s for sure not as steep as most of the way up Leogang, so I was happy to leave the stumpy and grab an XDURO.
Anyway, off we went, both of us in full DH gear and within a hundred meters the trail already got super steep but the bikes just motored up it, with us barely breaking a sweat and chatting all the way, something you can’t normally do when climbing up a gradient that steep. We flew past 2 exhausted looking guys pushing their full DH Demos up the hill and 5 minutes later arrived at the middle station. Way down below we could still see the guys pushing their bikes up. ha! These things are great!
As long as you keep the bike in the right gear, and keep the pedals turning you just climb up anything on these long travel bikes as easily as you normally pedal a lightweight XC bike on the flat. Is it cheating? Well no more than taking a lift up, which you need to normally do in order to ride a DH bike, or if you were in a race, but we were not in a race, we just wanted to access some sweet trails and within no time at all we got to the top! I still had two bars of power on the battery left after climbing 1000m. It would have been a hellish climb on a normal bike, I think you would also have to push some sections for sure, without that motor assisting you I can’t believe many people would be able to pedal up, it was just too steep.
Heading back down, even though it was his first ride on the new bike, Guido was looking really comfortable. “This thing just works better and better the faster I go” he said “It just feels so stable!”. I didn’t have a DSLR with me, but snapped some shots on my iPhone. I was riding a budget version of the XDURO myself, not sure what model it was but the brakes were set up the wrong way around for me, and the stem was too long so I wasn’t feeling as good going down as I was on the way up, which has to be a first!
Really looking forward to trying some more of these Haibikes, especially the one with 650 PLUS sized tires as they must be approaching similar levels of grip to a dirtbike tire. Maybe even more due to the e-bike weighing 20kg rather than 100kg. If you live anywhere with some good elevation changes, both up and down, and you live in a place where it’s illegal to ride a dirtbike on the trails then these things open up a new world of sweet possibilities!