Riding my X-1 ebike is the only thing keeping me sane during this lockdown

April 4, 2020

For a week I ended up at the wife’s house without any ebike to ride and I started to fall into a deep depression. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me, all I knew is that it was getting really hard for me to just get up and do anything at all. During these times of Covid-19 lockdown I feel like if you’re not getting depressed, then you’re just not paying attention. I’ve decided that there is nothing more important in my life than my mental health so I started riding my X-1 pretty aggressively for over 2 hours a day every single day. Now I’m a happy camper again with a butt that is so sore I have a hard time sitting down and legs that are so stiff that it’s hard to move. This article is about how I rediscovered my love of ebiking and at the same time discovered over 10 miles of singletrack trails that someone else had created that was just a few hundred yards from the trails I made and was riding every day.

I always use MTBproject.com when I travel to find new trails, but I never thought to use it to find 10 miles of new singletrack trails in my own backyard

The X-1 is my ‘dream’ ebike in that it comes in a very large frame and it can produce up to 2000W peak power with a tiny motor. The battery is built into the downtube and for the casual observer, it looks like just a large carbon fiber downhill bike. As long as I shut off the motor when riding by other people on the trail no one has even noticed that I have an ebike (yet). My ebike is covered with mud which makes even better camouflage. Those people who feel like riding an ebike is cheating and you don’t get any exercise, I can tell you that is absolute BS. After 2 hours of riding my X-1 I can barely walk. I keep the PAS set at level 3 (out of 5) and I can ride much faster and much farther, but it sure feels like I’m still burning the same number of calories. When you start riding an ebike every day, switching back to pedal power makes you feel like everything is happening in Slo-mo. For me, the ebike cranks it ‘up to 11’ and allows me to ride at the edge of my ability level even though I’m currently pushing 48 (my birthday is today)! Happy birthday to me.

Mud and pine needles make excellent camouflage, keep that chain oiled though

I maintain several miles of trails that back up against the Morgan Hill state forest and when I go for a ride I literally am able to just leave right from the door of my wife’s house. The Land Trust is over 450 acres of land shared with about 17 people and there is a lot of hiking and skiing trails people have made through the property over the years. It’s a wonderful place to live, especially when you consider these uncertain times when the majority of Amercians seem to think stockpiling alcohol, guns, and toilet paper is the appropriate course of action. A few days ago we planted 1000 strawberries in one day and currently, our farm produces almost all the food we eat. We hope in a few years to be able to feed over 100 families with just 4 acres of trees, gardens and bushes.

I’m extremely happy with the front fork which has had no issues at all

I’ve been amazed at how far I can ride with the battery on the X-1, it’s good for about 2 hours of trail riding, and as the battery gets below 20% it really starts to be a dog. When it gets to about 10% I feel like it can barely produce any power at all. I have yet to hit the cut off where the battery cuts out yet. I tend to ride at PAS level 3 and just go till it says about 45% of power then turn around and head home. Usually, my butt runs out of juice before the battery does. I reviewed the X-1 on my blog here and after 6 months of ownership, I have to say this is the best ebike I’ve ever purchased hands down. The only issues I’ve had with the bike probably came about because I was riding it in below-freezing weather, which I don’t recommend for any suspension ebike. You can get the X-1 here for $3650 from Lunacycle, but don’t even consider getting it without the 2000W peak Ludicrous controller which adds another $300. The M600 Ludicrous version feels slightly more powerful than the 750W nominal BBS02 motor (which has a peak power of 1400W with a 52v pack).

The rear axle has loosened up a couple of times so if the back end feels waggy I make sure to tighten it up, the rear brakes are also getting pretty squishy probably from winter riding

I love the website MTBproject.com and for wandering nomads, with mountain bikes, it is one of the most important websites out there. They have collected trail information on thousands of singletrack trails all over America. You can zoom in and print out the maps to easily find the trailheads and parking areas. The trails are mapped by apps people load on their phones so you can see every twist and turn on the map exactly as it is in real life, which makes it extremely easy to see exactly where on the trail you are, even if you never got your orienteering merit badge in boy scouts like I did. I was obsessed with boy scouts when I was younger and went on every camping trip I could. It was an incredible experience in so many ways, mostly in the level of chaos we were able to create (we burned through a lot of Scout Masters).

The rear shock lost a bit of oil and lost a bunch of air from riding it in the cold, but I pumped it back up with my Fox shock pump and it’s been fine ever since

I had heard rumors that someone had created bike trails in Morgan Hill last year, but I never was able to take the time to go out and find them. The DEC is pretty strict about anyone cutting trails in their State forests without their permission ($25,000 fine) but someone actually got permission in 2017-2018 and has made some really nice trails. In NYS the DEC in their infinite wisdom also prohibits any ebike from riding in the state forests, so there is that to contend with as well. In the 20+ years I have lived near Shindagin Hollow and ridden almost every day I’ve seen the DEC rangers a grand total of 3 times. I’ve met a handful of people in the parking lots that have brought ebikes to ride, they are usually pretty bashful and when I tell them I blog about ebikes they get pretty excited. I’ve gotten to try a bunch of low power mid drives with Yamaha and Bosch motors and have been pretty under impressed with the state of the market right now. With a focus on 250-350W drive units, it feels like a race to the bottom with premium price points. The irony here is that when I ride at PAS level 3 I rarely use more power than that, but on steep hills, the power is there when I need it so the bike does not stall out.

I like to keep the ebike inside so I get maximum range on those very cold mornings, a cold battery has a lot less range than a warm one

If you want to beat the Covid-19 blues then stop reading the news and checking the John’s Hopkins website to see how many people are infected and dying and just go out and ride. I encourage everyone to ride responsibly and to keep their distance from other riders. Nothing is more important than your mental health and the best way to not go crazy during these crazy days is to spend a couple of hours in the woods every single day. It really doesn’t matter what you’re riding, as long as you take the time to just ride.

Ride On.

Karl Gesslein is a degenerate hooligan of the highest caliber living in upstate NY. His passion for e-bikes and all things sustainable causes him to be obsessed with climate change and finding solutions that will keep humanity from becoming extinct from our own hubris. His personal blogs include electricbike-blog.com, awaken-spirit.org & chestnutparadise.com.


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