Recently my wife and I traveled to Andalucía, the southernmost autonomous region of Spain. We stayed in Granada which sits at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, or, “snowy mountain range” – not to be confused with the iconic peaks in California, or America’s number one selling IPA. Besides the Alps, the Spanish Sierra Nevada are the highest mountains in western Europe. You can see the Mediterranean Sea and African continent from their peaks.
From our room in Granada we could see the ice on Pico del Veleta, one of three major peaks in this range. This would be the area close to our starting point for a 60 kilometer mountain bike ride out of the Sierra Nevada, through the Sierra de Huétor Natural Park, and back to Granada. We were hungry for a new type of adventure, so in the age of One Wheels and other electric assisted gear, we rented electric mountain bikes from Nevada Guides.
Before you poo poo e-bikes, consider this: they’re quite, lightweight, and nimble as a modern mountain bike. Their sophisticated software and hardware makes pedaling smooth and assists only when needed. They’re great for long distance touring, and average riders can burn just as many calories and build just as much strength on e-bikes as they can traditional mountain bikes.
Some version of electric bikes have been around as long electric motors. E-bike manufacturing took-off a few decades ago when they became popular for urban transportation. When battery technology developed from heavier lead batteries to lighter more powerful lithium batteries, so did their application in e-bike manufacturing.
Today, electric mountain bikes are built with quality components and provide a step-up in long distance mountain touring, like this trek in the Sierra Nevada. We rented the Bergamont E-Revox 8.0 bike which sells for about $3,000. It was an aluminum hardtail frame with 29 inch rims, an electric assist Bosch motor, Shimano components, and a Manitou front suspension. The motor charges in under two hours and can run between 90 miles on eco, and 30 miles on the turbo, depending on your setting.
We joined our guides, Jose and Maria on our first full day in Spain and we had a hoot shuttling to the starting point. There were language barriers, of course, but we always spoke the language of adventure and adrenaline while clocking miles on the tour.
We started in high rocky terrain, riding past breathtaking overlooks with majestic views. The air was fresh and exhilarating. We dropped 300 meters in elevation before making our first uphill push. It was this steep climb when we came to appreciate the technology – always monitoring and assisting our torque, speed, and cadence.
About halfway into our ride we rode into the Sierra de Huétor Natural Park, navigating through cedar forests, replete with bustling waterfalls, steep drops, and rugged terrain. It reminded me of the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. We saw stags, goats, and birds of prey throughout the preserve. In all, we rode 60 kilometers and spent the last bit riding around Granda before finishing the day. The guide brought the van to our ending point where we shared pictures along with our 3D Strava Relive animation.
Riding the Alpine range, speeding through single track and downhill trails, and navigating city streets is the perfect e-bike adventure for intermediate mountain bikers. Nevada Guides shed a new light on an old favorite. E-bikes are only getting more sophisticated, and if you like mountain biking, then put an electric mountain bike to the test.