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5 Reasons to Ride a Gravel E-Bike in 2021

Joel Smith

Ah, gravel riding…so much fun, right?

If you’ve spent a bit of time “off-tarmac” this year, you know the joy I’m referring to. Gravel riding combines the speed of road riding with the adventure of mountain biking, creating a perfect middle ground for maximum enjoyment.

The gravel category itself is growing by leaps and bounds, with technology advancing rapidly. New wheels, tires, bars, and other components are coming to market seemingly every day, delivering on the promise to improve our riding experience.

At Alchemy, we took this development trend a step further by introducing the first American-made gravel E-bike earlier this year.

The E-Ronin is a true work of art, perfectly balancing weight and performance (28 pounds complete build weight, 250 watts max power) to provide the kind of ride that you could only dream of a few years ago.

Okay, so sounds great on paper, right? But, the question remains, is it really worth it to ride a gravel E-bike like the E-Ronin?

The simple answer is yes. The longer answer is also yes.

Here are 5 reasons you should consider adding a E-gravel bike to your quiver in 2021.

Reason #1) Versatility

Gravel bikes are all about versatility.

Ride them fast on the road? No problem.

Take a well-worn alleyway to avoid traffic? All good.

Hit some rough and nasty dirt roads? Absolutely.

That’s because a gravel bike’s geometry and tire clearance allow you flexibility in both the equipment you use and the type of riding you can do.

For example, our E-Ronin series offers tire clearance of up to 45c. That means you can run a meatier tire to give you more traction and increased comfort.

This alone means you can access roads and trails that you wouldn’t normally ride with drop bars. And back to the original point — have a lot of fun while doing it.

Second, a gravel E-bike like the E-Ronin can accept mountain bike drivetrains for wider gearing options, and flat bar setups. This will again improve comfort levels, especially for those long days in the saddle on rough terrain.

Reason #2) Versatility Times Two

Adding the “E” to gravel takes versatility to another level. With the ability to go further and faster, the scope of your riding is exponentially broadened.

To explain more, let me offer a personal story.

My riding time is relatively restricted. I don’t have the luxury of 2-hour weekday (or even weekend) rides in my schedule. As a result, I pretty much repeat the same loop because I know I can reliably do it in a 1.5-hour timeframe.

On an E-gravel bike, with 1.5 hours at your disposal, you can turn your daily ride into a mini-adventure.

As I mentioned above, on an E-gravel bike, you can get further a lot faster. AND you can up the power (and speed) when you’re rushing to get back to your obligations.

It’s a win -in in my book.

Reason #3) Powerloss: No Problem

There’s no doubt E-bikes are heavier than normal bikes. Many riders are concerned with draining the battery, and the idea of struggling to ride a heavy, cumbersome bike back home.

This is one of the main reasons we built the E-Ronin around the Fazua Evation motor. For starters, the Evation is one of the lightest systems on the market. At only 10 pounds total for the battery and the motor, using the Fazua allows us to build complete bikes under 28 pounds.

And unlike other systems on the market, there’s no resistance when the motor is off (or above the speed limit). So if you do happen to have that rare circumstance of riding without power, it’s relatively easy to pedal the miles back to your starting point.

Reason #4) Getting Out…Far Out

One of the nicest features about today’s gravel bikes is the ability for bike-packing. With rack and Bento-box mounts on most of today’s gravel bikes, bringing the necessary items has certainly never been easier.

Of course, the downside to all the gear is weight. With all the food, cooking, and sleeping gear required for an overnight jaunt, it’s conceivable that you’re adding your body weight to the bike itself.

This, of course, can make your bike very hard to climb, especially once the wheels touch the dirt. This is where the “E” in the gravel E-bike really makes a difference.

Even at lower power settings (to expand range), the little bit of oompf means the difference between pedaling the bike or pushing the bike up a hill.

Note: There are a few options to recharge your E-bike during an off-path excursion, but the reality is that most riders are planning their bike-packing trips around a lunch stop where they can add power as needed.

Reason #5) The Fun Factor

Let’s not forget the main reason we ride bicycles: to have fun, to get outdoors, to explore, exercise, and more. The real goal is just to put a smile on your face.

However you feel about all the different elements of an E-bikes, there’s no denying they’re a super fun ride.

And gravel riding in and of itself is a great time. Combining it with some power doesn’t just double your enjoyment: It’s an exponential growth in fun factor.

Remember, sometimes it’s better to ignore the skeptical or negative chatter about E-bikes, and focus on that fact that a little bit of power can deliver maximum joy. And isn’t that really the most important reason to consider a E-gravel bike?

Shop our E-Ronin, the first American-made carbon gravel electric bike >

 

Alchemy’s Joel Smith has been riding mountain bikes for over 35 years. Starting out in the dirt on a converted Laguna-brand cruiser in the mid-1980s, his immediate love of the sport turned into a lifelong career. Smith raced both XC and DH in the 1990s (in the now defunct NORBA National Series) and has worked on nearly every aspect of bike development over his nearly 30-year long career.

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