Cycling keeps you fit, is great fun and gets you from A to B in no time. But what’s better – cycling under your own steam or with a little help from an electric motor? Two bike fanatics battle it out: Marco Guarino swears by his racing bike, while Mario Klaus is an advocate of electric bikes.
Text: Clau Isenring / photo: Beda Schmid
Marco Guarino, 38, passionate bike racer
Experience: Has been competing in road races for the last 6 years
Speed: 25 to 30 km/h in winter, 30 to 40 km/h in summer
Position: Head of Product Management at m-way
«Riding a racing bike is awesome because you can get moving in the great outdoors and you’re able to travel quickly under your own physical strength. It’s a fantastic feeling to be cycling flat-out on your bike. As a triathlete I avoid using electric bikes so that I get the maximum training effect. Your body has to be put through its paces occasionally – I wouldn’t manage several hours of endurance training on an electric bike.
My carbon road bike weighs around 7 kg and is much lighter than an e-bike, which weighs around 20 kg. The tyres are also extremely thin and the frame is ultra rigid. This makes the bike much easier to handle and optimises energy transfer, enabling me to maintain speed and maximum efficiency over longer distances, too.
The best experiences I’ve had on my road bike have always been on mountain passes. Arriving completely exhausted at the top after a long climb, and then the reward of whizzing back down the mountain. Amazing! One highlight for me was taking part in the 2016 Ironman Championships in Hawaii. It was brilliant being able to tackle the same route as the professionals who you normally only see on television.
Summary: Sooner or later all electric bikes run out of juice. My battery, however, doesn’t run down – all it takes is a little sugar and I can be on my way again.»
Mario Klaus, 43, passionate electric biker
Experience: A staunch electric bike user for the last 3 years
Speed: Up to 45 km/h with the S-Pedelec
Position: Head of Marketing, PM & After Sales at m-way
«As a commuter an electric bike is the perfect alternative to hopping in the car or taking the train. I can cover long distances quickly and avoid sitting in traffic jams. I ride an electric bike which can reach speeds of up 45 km/h if I’m pedalling. It takes a couple of minutes more to travel the 18 km to work than if I went by car. And when I arrive, I’ve already had some exercise in the fresh air and I feel completely relaxed – that’s quality of life!
The best thing about riding an e-bike is the flexibility it offers. Everything’s possible – from a gentle cruise to power training. I can cycle to work with a pulse rate of 130 bpm without working up a sweat and give it my all on the way home in the evening. If I really want to reach 45 km/h, then I really have to pedal hard and fast. What many people don’t realise is that electric bikes are designed to offer support, but they don’t ride themselves.
My most memorable ride was when I took an electric bike out on my favourite mountainbiking route for the first time. Even though I know these trails like the back of my hand, the bends felt completely different – narrower somehow! And then I realised that I was consistently cycling 10 km/h faster than with a regular bike, and I thought, “It’s great fun!”
Summary: Electric bikes can tackle any distance and gradient.»
Safety on the road with your electric bike
Be sure to cycle at an appropriate speed. Remember: