If there was ever a mountain bike park that needed to be approved for e-bike use, it is the Mammoth Mountain Bike Park. Why? Mammoth is notoriously one of the toughest places to ride a conventional mountain bike. The park’s altitude assures your lungs will feel like an elephant is sitting on them. The trail surface is soft, spongy, dusty, momentum-killing pumice that can break the spirit of the strongest riders (think kitty litter). There is not a rider who has ridden the Mammoth Mountain Bike Park trails and not wished to have the assistance of an engine. Now, they no longer have to wish.
The United States Forest Service (USFS) has given Mammoth’s Bike Park permission to allow Category 1 (pedal assist) e-bike use on their trails. As a critic of any motorized electric bike use on multi-user, natural-surface trails, I am 100% supportive of the USFS’ decision to allow these motorized bikes in the park (although I don’t understand banning Category 2 bikes). Limiting their use to trails designated solely for mountain biking will eliminate most trail-user conflicts. While e-bikes are much faster than human-powered bikes, there will not be the tremendous speed variance observed when permitted on trails shared with hikers and equestrians. And the USFS makes it clear that e-bikes will only be allowed inside the park boundaries. They are not be permitted on any trails on USFS land outside the bike park boundaries.
The Mammoth Mountain Bike Park is scheduled to open on May 25 (conditions and weather permitting) and there will be Trek e-bikes (pictured above) in the rental fleet. Mammoth has yet to post their 2018 ticket and rental bike prices.