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Spinning Vs Grinding | Which Is Best For E-Bike Riding?

Spinning Vs Grinding | Which Is Best For E-Bike Riding?


– Spinning versus grinding
it’s an age-old question that road riders have
agonized over for decades. Pedal faster to go faster, spin to win. – Yeah even at higher-level
mountain biking we see a lot of grinding going on especially as cross country pros. – But this is e-biking and we still spin but for different reasons. So today we’re gonna look
at some of those factors. So when we talk about
spinning versus grinding, which simply means how fast
we’re spinning those pedals. So I’m in trail-mode and in third gear my cadence is about 95,
96 something like that. Chris, what are you in? – I’m in sixth gear and I’m
doing 52 rpm at the minute. – Right, okay, I mean my
riding feels pretty easy, how do you feel? – I’m actually having to work quite hard to keep up the same sort of speed. But that lower cadence means I’ve got put extra effort in. It looks like you’re just spinning with no effort what so ever. – Do you know what that’s
gonna have a big impact on? The battery life. – Definitely. – So you pushing the hard gear, your batteries not gonna
like that one little bit. Hey, but listen, we’re all known to grind on occasion. – True, True. – The slab, the rock, we
were grinding up there. – Yeah, basically pretty extreme, got a weight right on the back. We started up off a spin, but it turns in to a grind, purely because of how steep it is. – Yeah, exactly. But I guess we could talk about, you know, with the fact that we’re
all different physically. How we can talk about slow versus fast twitch turn muscle fibers and there is a science that shows that riders who are more
slow twitch muscle fibers are more efficient at lower cadences. – Yeah, yeah, but enough on
the human biology, Steve. We’re out in the woods having fun on our bikes, right? – Yeah I know, but I’m just thinking about
Lance Armstrong, Chris Froome, they are famous spinners
and so successful. – Yeah, true. A lot of the questions we have on the show is actually riders running out of steam on those big climbs there. Taking those times in too high a gear, not getting their cadence right. So, maybe we should take a look at that. – Do you know what? I think we should break the
whole subject down into points. (upbeat music) – Before we even get into
techniques involved here, first of all need to recognize that we’re riding e-bikes and we’re riding different motors. And each of these motors has
different characteristics. Never the less, each and
every one of them requires you as a rider to learn how to spin, rather than to grind away
in a harder, higher gear. So, the motors then. Why are they different? Well, if you look at the Yamaha motor, that is an exceptional climbing e-bike. However, when you, on lower cadences. However, when you get
into the higher cadences, it tends to run out of steam a little bit. – We should take a look
at the Shimano, Brose and the Bosch units. They’re all pretty capable motors at all different cadence ranges. – Yeah, it’s not like the old
days though, Chris, is it? – No, typically on the old school pedal mountain bike we’d attack
those climbs pretty hard. You’d be spinning without
always turning into a grind. So, it’s certainly different
on an e-bike, right? – I think what we’re
trying to get over here is you can actually tackle
some really seriously big hills on an e-bike. Simply by spinning and giving yourself a bit of a breather. – Yeah, lettin’ our motor work for you. (upbeat music) – So let’s take a look at the reasons why we spin on our e-bikes. First up, is maintaining that traction. If you’re in too hard
of gears, or too easy, you get a wheel spin. Listen, next up it just gives you a chance to pick that line. Picking lines on your
e-bike’s really important, looking ahead and picking that line. – You need to take your time. If you’re on a super steep climb, you don’t want to rush that, do you. What you said about traction, it’s like what happens with the motor, if you’re pushing a hard gear, there’s a lot of stored energy, so if you come across, like a root, and you stop, suddenly that bike’s gonna spin. – Yeah, yeah, yeah definitely – Of course it’s going to
use a lot more battery power if you’re grinding up that hill. The motors like to spin, they like to have an easier life. So, as much assist as you can have, you can help the motor. – And what about stuff like, you know, when we’re climbing. Sometimes there a root or an obstacle, and it’s a lot easier in a, to do that, when your in an easier gear, right? – Yeah, yeah, just lift up that wheel. Just punch those cranks, lift that front wheel
over that little step or ledge on that climb as well. – So, why actually, would you use grinding as a method on your e-bike? Well, do you know what, I hardly ever grind on the e-bike. Only when maybe I want to
do a really hard workout over the 25 kilometer an hour restriction. But in general, um, I think yeah, only on
flat roads, fire roads. – Yeah, I do occasionally
get on a road climb, when I’m trying to chase someone down, then I’ll stick it into hard gear, get out of that saddling grind. – When it come to technical, or any off road riding, I think spinning is number one. (upbeat music) – First of all, riding
position is really important when you spin. As you can see, I’m stood up spinning, whereas Chris is sat down. And ’cause I’m stood up, I’m soon gonna run out of steam, tryin’ to spin that. And what it’s doing is
really making the back end of the bike bounce up and down. My legs are already tired. Boom, I’m done. (upbeat music) – One of the great things
about riding e-bikes is that it makes year round
riding far more possible, compared to a manual e-bike. However, when it comes to mud, it requires some certain techniques. If you’re gonna be grinding
in muddy conditions, all that’s gonna do is break
traction with the rear tire. Which means you’re probably
not gonna get through that bit of technical muddy single track. – Yeah, when you’re tryin’
to hit those climbs, especially if they’re really muddy, on the e-bike you need to spin. Let that motor work, let that bike just take the momentum. Any forced pedal strike
is gonna break traction with that rear wheel. – So all you’re tryin’
to do is keep that wheel spinning really smoothly, not breaking traction at all. So this is what happens if you stick the bike in a high gear and stamp on the pedals. (upbeat music) – And this is what happens
when you spin through there, using good technique. Feeling that traction, no wheel spin, just trying to let that
bike carry the momentum. – Nice. That’s beautiful, Chris. That’s absolutely copy book, Chris. That is the way to get
through mud on a winters day. Okay, so we’re probably
exaggerating a bit there, with the spinning back tire. However, some important
techniques there to bear in mind, not just spinning versus grinding. But things such as the tire pressure, the tire you’re using on the rear. Plus, your gonna be sat down, which means that’s gonna be more weight and more traction to that back tire, when you’re going through the mud. Plus of course, try to
keep your momentum smooth. Don’t try to do it in sections, try to do one smooth arc through that mud section. (upbeat music) – The good thing about when your spinning on that e-bike, let’s
you read that terrain in front of you. Gets you ready for any change in incline on that trail. – Woo, Crikey. And then, I guess, you could take that to the next level, where the trail goes from one angle to an even steeper angle. Where spinning, sometimes
becomes grinding. But never the less, it’s the only way. Now spinning is never more important, than when your trying to do a climb. Where you need to keep that traction, and that momentum. Right, Chris? – Yeah, especially if
you’re grinding up hill. Any chance that that back
wheel gets to lose traction, if you’re grinding away, it’s just gonna spin. And you’re gonna stop, your mates are gonna
disappear up that climb. (upbeat music) So there you go, spinning is a vital technique to have when it comes to riding that
e-bike out on the trails. – Yeah, but honestly it’s inevitable that sometimes you are
gonna have too much grind. And that’s okay when you’ve got really grippy surfaces,
very constant surfaces. But as soon as it gets loose, or rooty, or rocky, then grinding
is gonna have that, it’s gonna build up that energy in your rear wheel. And any slight break of
traction and that rear wheel is gonna be spinning. Which is what you do
not need on an e-bike. – Right, keep it spinning. Well if you’ve enjoyed today’s video, be sure to check out the rock. One of our extreme climbisodes, where we are certainly grinding away. – Yeah, and how to master
technical climbing. Have a look at the video I
did just talk about here. – Yeah, if you enjoyed today’s video, be sure to give us a thumbs up. Don’t forget to subscribe to EMBN and drop any comments below on all your climbing techniques. – Yeah, see you in the woods!

46 comments on “Spinning Vs Grinding | Which Is Best For E-Bike Riding?

  1. Really interesting. I definitely ride a higher cadence and that's on my regular MTB. When I'm on my BMX stuck with one hard gear hills are brutal on the equipment and possibly my body. What really caught me out was the idea that being in a lower gear adds traction, I can see how this could be true for an e bike because of regulated power delivery but for regular MTB's and offroad motorcycles it's very well known that going up one gear to a harder ratio gives better traction

  2. #askembn What jacket is that Chris is wearing ? Looks like a stormtech? I’ve not been able to find any of their jackets that are waterproof enough for anything more than light mist 🤔. How do you find it and what model is it? Thanks 🙏

  3. Good vid…good to see you riding more affordable bikes and good info, esp re the battery not liking low cadence, high torque pedalling. I'm a spinner…grinding saps my energy.

  4. For me, definitely one of the better technique videos. Ebike currently on order. If I'm lucky I will have it next week. Then the fun begins.

  5. Another great video. One thing I noticed is you guys rarely seem to lock out your front forks, which means regardless of grind vs spin mode, you are always losing a ton of power simply to the energy being absorbed by the shock. Why do you keep it so lose in the front?

  6. How can you ride in the rain like that and not totally destroy the trails? Do that around where I live and the trails will be done.

  7. Had my first ride on a e bike , anyone opposed to e bikes have a demo ride it will definitely put a smile on your face as it did for me unbelievable experience 😃

  8. Great video… I love you guys! The only issue with spinning is usually when one is entering into a slow-speed technical section and there's a sudden relief for torque demand due to a slight dip in the trail surface or other feature that suddenly takes away the need to Pedal and when the dip ends you don't have enough momentum to carry you through the obstacle ahead. In this situation one will find themself needng to upshift to a stiffer gear to gain that momentum and carry through the obstacle, however if you are in too low of a gear you can't regain the momentum you need to carry you through and you may end up stopping because you can't upshift quick enough in the necessary time to do so. Thus anticipating and choosing the correct gear is vital to carry you through these kinds of situations.

  9. Buying an e bike soon. 40 year old, quite fit and race, Hightower lt will be up for sale soon as I was anti e bike till I had a blast on one.

  10. Thanks for all the tips now when I get the e bike I will be clued in and speeding up the learning , transition period from regular Mt bike 😁👍

  11. The problem with spinning fast is cardio, if your cardio gets too high you may not be as endurant as you'd want, lactic acid will start getting in the muscles if you reach anaerobic state or even VO² max. But yeah I guess it may be different on an e-bike?

  12. EMBN please do some content on the best winter cycling “clothing” 🙏🏻

    Bit of a warning to other Ebike users; I got kitted out for a winter ride a couple of days ago. Popped on some cycling bottoms with a pair of North Face lined hiking over trousers. I thought great, nice and warm. I rode about a mile, my baggy North Face over trousers then got caught in my crank. Being an Ebike I couldn’t turn the crank backwards. My leg was stuck. So after a few strange looks from passers by I managed to free my leg by winding my expensive North Face trousers around my crank. It was a massive school boy error but also a dangerous one as it completely locked my pedals.

  13. Spinner…often running 105rpm on the road bike and grinding on an e-mtb would be too much like riding a non e-mtb! Keep the motor at the rpm it works best at…

  14. Great tips guys I enjoyed that, can you tell me which modes you both rode during this video ? Totally understand how less demand on the assist will lengthen the ride time but are you spinning in trail or eco using the gears more ? Recently I have tried riding in smart mode on my Kenevo as much as it lengthens the battery time I felt a bit of fun was removed by me working out manually what I was feeling through the pedals and rear wheel.

  15. If you keep your bike in ECO grinding will actually save power as the motor is limited by torque. For Shimano thats 30Nm which at ~50rpm will draw about 160W out of the battery while at 95rpm will draw about 300W.

  16. This is a Monumental time for biking! The E-bikie boom is easily as big as the very beginning of biking on the Repack hill….but Ill never able to afford one due to crippling debts that ill never be able to pay off even by retirement age..20 yrs away.

  17. Any of you folks use a cadence sensor, if so what is your average cadence on a ride? Mine is usually 60 rpm average.

  18. I have had my Bosch Scott E-Spark 710 for  3yrs now, and still I find that some-bikers still the motor not the gears. When out on the hills, I try forget i have a motor. I ride it like a normal MTB. I select eco. Then use all gears. If I am then struggling to climb a hill i select the amount of assist to help me. I can make it easy or hard, depending on how I feel. BTW. the Bosch works best on high cadence.

  19. I’m so glad you lot sent your convicts to Australia. The weather here is way better!! 30 seconds in and I’m thinking bugger that!! Yes, we have rain but a lot of your videos the sky looks miserable. It makes me really appreciate the effort you put in to still bring us awesome, top notch videos that I get a lot out of!!

  20. Spinners have chicken legs and put to much pressure on the saddle nerves. Grinders have
    more stronger larger legs with less damage
    to saddle neves. Use big enough gears to
    keep some weight off the saddle. Develop
    a good tuck/ pelvic tilt.

  21. I never do any those, always between exept when climbing really long steep hills then I'm spinning a bit, but I always pedal so my power and the motor power are perfectly fitted together, instead of wasting muscle power or battery,,,

  22. Armstrong successful as a spinner…? Spinning a web of lies and deceit, ok, agreed. Please don't use this guy as an example anymore. Clean spinning all the way (thumbs up)

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