A classic battle of stability versus agility

It’s pretty obvious that e-bikes have a speed advantage when it comes to pedalling up hills – 500w extra power definitely puts some vim into your legs.

>>> Best electric mountain bikes for 2020

But what about when it comes to descending? Do the tables turn, are regular bikes quicker because they are easier to accelerate and more agile in the turns?

Or does the extra weight of an e-bike help it keep momentum and roll over rough stuff better?

We’re not sure, but we’re going to have a bit of fun trying to find out, in our e-bike versus bio bike challenge.

To help us, we’ve got two Spectrals from Canyon that cost nearly the same…

In the red corner we have the Canyon Spectral:ON Al 6.0. It weighs in a 23kg and costs £3,079. For that you get the Shimano STEPS E8000 motor, 150mm of travel front and rear and an alloy frame.

Then in the blue corner we have our normal bike a Canyon Spectral CF 7.0 for £2,800. On paper it has the pectral:ON beat; the spec is far better. From its carbon frame to its top end RockShox suspension and it even has 10mm more travel on the front. Most importantly though it’s pure as nature intended, without the bike motor the Spectral is nearly 10kg lighter than its heavyweight opponent.

The plan is simple. We’ve picked a test track we know like the backs of our hands in the hope we can get some consistency in our runs. It’s a mix of tight and tech and fast and flows with a short climb about a third of the way into the run and the greasy conditions are sure to keep us on our toes. It will be really interesting to see how that climb influences the results and to do that we’re going to work out split times for that section.

After a sighting lap we’ll do two timed runs on each bike and then take the fastest of those two.

Two riders, two bikes, one track, four timed runs and, with any luck, one clear winner.