Martin Byers from Gravitate tries his hand at e-biking with Tony Yule from eGuide Scotland

I’m not going to lie, being an old school mountain biker, I’ve always been a bit of an e-bike skeptic. Although in the past year or so I have been curious to find out what all the fuss is about. So when Tony from eGuide Scotland got in touch to suggest we go for an e-bike ride, I though; sure, why not. What have I got to loose!

Tony Yule (left) pictured with Martin Byers

Tony is the owner and founder of eGuide Scotland which is an e-bike hire and guiding business. Their operation is based out of Aboyne in Royal Deeside where they have a fleet of Merida e-bikes available in all shapes and sizes. Find out more here.

I arrived at eGuide HQ at 10am. Tony had a bike for me ready to go. We swapped over my pedals, set up the suspension and we were off!

We headed over the bridge and started our a short tarmac cruise towards Balfour forest. Tony gave me some tips on cadence and power management… which I immediately forgot about when we attacked the first technical single track climb! This was going to take a bit of getting used to.

It turns out that e-bikes don’t turn you into a superhero with endless torque. You still have to think carefully about about gear selection and managing your power output to clear those climbs.

Once I got the hang of managing those extra watts, the direct and technical climb up to the top of the ‘Chutney’ trail suddenly became totally achievable. I’ve always quite enjoyed a technical climbing challenge, so I can see how that e-bike boost could be a real game changer.

We blasted down Chutney in no time (completely forgetting to stop and take photos) and I was surprised at how ‘normal’ the bike felt on the descents, despite not really taking the time to set it up properly and get used to it.

We then pedaled up to take in another link trail before starting the long grind up to the start of the Fungle Singletrack descent. This is where the e-bike really comes into it’s own, allowing us cover some serious ground and bag a decent amount of elevation while still having a perfectly normal conversation.

We finished up by taking in the classic ‘Master Blaster’. A fantastic trail made infamous by a couple of tricky and relatively flat pedally sections. This is another area where the e-bike really shines, giving you that extra power to keep things moving at the end of a long ride.

Without keeping a close track, I would guess that we got in over 1000 meters of climbing and descending in just a couple of hours. All on one battery charge.

So, am I ready to drop some cash and make my next bike purchase an e-bike? I don’t think so. I’m actually one of those weird people who slightly enjoys the pain of a steep fire-road climb, or the satisfaction of clearing a particularly technical climb with ‘nae dabs’.

I can however see the benefits of e-bikes for many people. Particularly if you are time poor and want to maximize descending time, or if fitness is becoming a barrier to enjoyment.

Another great use for e-bikes is for beginners who want the mountain bike experience, but are yet to build up the fitness needed to get properly into the hills.  

So, to rephrase the question, can I see myself considering getting an e-bike in the the next 5 years? Sure, why not. What have I got to lose!

Finally, big shout out has to go to the Aberdeenshire Trail Association who have recently taken on the task of looking after the trails around Aboyne. Their hard work has helped to keep the trails running sweet, even in the wettest of conditions. You can find out more about them here.

eguide Scotland were the first business to invest in Gravitate as a ‘Polished Titanium Investor’. Their contribution has made a huge difference to our organisation and will help us create the regions first dedicated mountain bike and adventure park.


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