• Kyle Warner

First Ever GNCC E MTB Race

Hey Guys, I hope you all had an awesome weekend! I just got back from the first ever American Motorcycle Association sanctioned E-MTB race in Washington Georgia. So, Ebikes... We all know people have strong feelings for and against ebikes. I personally really enjoy riding them and I love being able to get people out on a bike with me that maybe wouldn't want to or be able to otherwise. I think that it is a great opportunity to help people recreate outdoors and the more people getting outside and moving the better for us all. Well it seems like the AMA (american motorcycle association) and MX Sports have decide to kick the door open on Emtb racing and see what people think. For those of you who are not familiar with the GNCC it stands for Grand National Cross Country and it is the premier offroad Motorcycle and ATV series in the united states. They average over three thousand gate entries a weekend and have well over 1500 participants at each event. I flew out to Washington, Georgia to go check out the first ever AMA sanctioned E-MTB race. The race is limited to class 1 ebikes only (20mph cutoff, 750watt max), and the course was a 3 mile loop that we did 4 laps around for a total race time of just under an hour. The course was a good mix of fire roads, fields, and tight woods. The race started with a mass start and was not only heavily spectated but also televised on RacerTV. As soon as the race got underway I could tell I was in trouble haha. I jumped off the line first and had a couple bike length lead after the first 100 feet or so. However as soon as I hit 18mph the Shimano motor started to pull down power before it cuts it completely off at 20mph. So it goes from 100 percent power at 18mph to 50 percent power at 19mph and 0 percent at 20mph. This would be no big deal if everyone was on the same bike but the new Brose motors in the specialized will give you 100 percent power up until you hit 20mph and then cut off immediately. Even though I had the jump on the rest of the field for the first long straightaway as soon as we got close to the 20mph zone I got passed by 6 guys and they just started to ride away from me. I knew the only chance I had was to push hard in the technical sections of the track and hope I could make up enough time to give myself a buffer on the open sections. On the first lap I was able to pick off one guy in a tight corner, one guy on a rough sweeping corner and 2 guys on a really nasty piece of the woods. I came around the finish in 4th place and put my head down hoping I could maybe climb up to a podium. On the second lap I was able to get two more guys in the woods and pull into second place however former world champion mountain bike racer Nat Ross caught up to me on one of the open sections and got around me. For the next two laps we had a really fun battle where he would pass me in the open, I could get him in the singletrack, and then he would blow by me out in the open again. We just yo yo'ed like that forever until I made a dumb mistake and took a slightly wrong turn which let him get by right before the finish. I was still able to pull a 3rd place which I was happy with especially with how under powered I was on the open sections. My average heart rate was 188 for the entire hour and I even hit a max of 195 on the final lap. I had a blast and all I could think about was how much more fun this was to participate in and spectate than a normal mtb race. The fans had a great time and were out there cheering us on the whole time. I used 80 percent of my battery life in just under an hour and never shifted out of boost mode haha. It was an intense battle and a great learning experience. I think that Specialized made a great decision coming on board with this series as the title sponsor and being out at all the events providing demos and bikes for people to race on. If this discipline was a stock I would invest heavily into it. I have never seen more people smiling and laughing at the end of a race and as it continues to grow and get the word out I think the attendance is going to skyrocket. Things they did great this weekend: Pro AtmosphereSpectator FriendlyTelevisedFun CourseGood Race Length Things they could improve on: Maybe having a dedicated shipping address to mail a battery ahead of time since you cant fly with them. Prizing and payoutMaking sure everyone has correct wheel sizing for the oem motor to ensure a true 20mph cutoff. First place finisher had 29 inch wheels and pulled away by 4 minutes over the full hour race. Things I learned: Rider weight is hugely important on the hills. A 130 pound rider at 750 watts is going much faster up a hill than a 180 pound rider at 750 wattsTorque matters. Even though the bikes are putting out the same peak wattage the torque numbers vary greatly between motors. Higher torque value will let you spin a lower rpm and produce the same amount of power. Lower RPM = less cardiovascular fatigue. 27.5 Plus tires are super sick in the mud!Riding bikes is fun. Making Braaap sounds doesn't make your ebike go fasterI hope you guys enjoyed the video and the write up! Thanks again for all the support and let me know if you have any questions at all!


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