I want to give a big thanks to Jenson USA for making this whole thing possible! Jenson sponsored this video, and was also able to arrange for a loaner Tazer to be sent to me for the last 4 months. Jenson is a leading online retailer with a huge variety of ebikes, traditional bikes, and all the parts you could ever need. Also, anything purchased from that link will also help support my channel. Thank you for your support, and big thanks to Jenson! I’m also sponsored by Ibis Cycles (I ride their bikes in half my vids), PNW Components, Industry Nine, Shimano, Kitsbow Cycling Apparel, and Kali Protectives.
I’ve noticed two distinct uses for the ebike. The first is self shuttling, and the second is riding what I call “terrible trails”. No, I’m not very good at naming things!
- For self shuttling, rather than using a chairlift or pickup truck, the ebike is an easy way to get multiple laps in on a hill- usually about the twice the laps of a traditional bike. This type of use means the bike is being ridden downhill above 20 MPH, and therefore when the pedal assist is not available for most of the descent.
- Now, for what I call “terrible trails,” I’m talking trails that are baby head to basketball sized rocks, stuff that’s basically unrideable on a regular bike. The extra torque and weight of the ebike allows it to get through some insane rock gardens. Ebikes also make a lot of flat trails a lot more fun. Instead of plowing along at 5-10 mph, the speeds increase to ~double that. Instead of a constant battle for forwards progress, you can start to find a flow and have fun through these trails.
The needs of a self-shuttle ebike are quite different than the terrible trails ebike. The shelf shuttle bike needs a big fork, something like the 38 or a dual crown. It also needs a steep seat angle for those steep climbs. The battery position should be as centralized as possible. Since most of the descending will happen above 20mph, the handling of the bike is critical. Now for the terrible trails type of ebike, a slacker seat angle can be really beneficial, as it allows the rider to stay seated and pedal through a lot of chunder, using that motor and power for a technical advantage. A higher BB can allow for more clearance and for earlier pedaling out of turns. A slightly shorter wheelbase keeps the bike nimble in these awkward situations.
I’ve only ridden three ebikes to date so this is not some sort of all encompassing review of the Tazer to all other ebikes. It’s simply my experiences with the Tazer, and I found the Tazer to me much more of a “terrible trails” style of ebike. Which is a good thing- that’s going to be more applicable to more people than the self-shuttle type. I did do a ton of self shuttling on it, but I would change a bunch more parts if that was my predominant use for the bike.
The Tazer is VERY light. It’s 49 pounds in stock form. Most of the weight is positioned well, but I did feel the battery was placed a little high and a little forward when pushed hard on really steep and really jumpy trails. Since I have such a weird riding style of hanging way off the back of the bike, this worked well for me in the turns. When nosing in on jumps though, it was a little bit of a challenge to feel as confident as possible. However, at slower speeds, the weight positioning was a non-issue. And you could say that the slightly slacker seat angle is compensated for with the battery weight being farther forward.
For this style of riding really nasty trails, the VPP suspension did a great job. This design feels a bit more stuck to the ground, and while pedaling, it maintained good traction, even through rough surfaces. The leverage ratio is solid for “monster trucking” through sections. However, as a smaller rider myself, normally I try to jump over as much chunder as possible. This is why I have such a bouncy riding style. The VPP can be ridden this way, but I did add a volume reducer to combat bottoming. I also added quite a bit of low speed compression. Normally I prefer the DPX2 over the X2, but for this bike, I’d be curious to try it with an X2. Since I was hunting for more bottoming resistance, I don’t think a coil would be that great, as it would need a lot of high speed compression to keep from bottoming, and that’d likely create a very over-damped feel. For the terrible trails, you’d want the damping fairly open, and a progressive spring curve, like the air shock with a big volume reducer, would allow for more open high speed settings.
The stock spec of this bike in the “expert level” trim was AWESOME. I spent the first month on this bike almost completely stock. I swapped the cockpit over to my personal PNW Components bars, stem, grips, and Loam Lever. PNW Components has sponsored me for a few years now, and not only are their parts really comfy, they’re what I’m used to riding on all the rest of my bikes.
The first real performance based change I made was to go to the PNW Components Bachelor 170 dropper with a WTB Silverado saddle. The stock Fox Transfer post was good, but I’m used to 200mm of drop. The Fabric saddle was quite comfortable, just as comfy as my favorite WTB options. But it was too tall to allow me at 5’8” to fit the 170 dropper on my size medium Tazer. Going to the thinner WTB saddle helped allow for more clearance, though it was a little narrow for such an upright riding position as the Tazer.
I rode both flat and clipless pedals, and since your feet are your throttle, I really do like clipless for this application. With more practice on flats I did end up getting more used to them, but still, to pedal through the real rough stuff, clips will always be more controlled. Now for a self-shuttle though, I’d probably stick with flats.
Next, I swapped the wheels. The stock DT Swiss wheels were SOLID. They were stiff and strong and rode very light. However, the rear hub only had 24 points of engagement. Going to the Industry Nine Hydra system wheelset meant I had 692 points of engagement. That was a nice upgrade for the slow, trialsy stuff and meant that I had a bit more control when using boost mode on tight trails. You can upgrade the DT system to 54 points of engagement, FYI. I still prefer how solid the Hydra system is, as it’s engingeered to utilize some natural flex to make for a very smooth and reliable engagement.
The stock Maxxis Minion DHR II tires were really good. I rode these in some crazy wet, snowy, and muddy conditions, and they impressed me. The cornering traction was SOLID and predictable. I did want more braking traction for our crazy slippery conditions, so I threw my all time most favorite tire, the WTB Vigilante, on the front and the rear. I kept the stock sizes, so a 29 x 2.6 front and a 27.5 x 2.8 rear. The cornering traction improved in the wet, though likely wouldn’t be as good in the dry hardpack, and the braking traction was immensely improved.
For a terrible trails build, the stock mullet wheelsize combo felt good. The stock 165mm cranks are spot on, and the wider 177mm Q factor is really comfortable for me. The XT M8120 brakes worked awesome, and the 11 speed SLX drivetrain with the narrow ratio cassette has been SOLID.
As a terrible trails build, I wouldn’t change much from where I’ve got it now, though CushCore would be a nice upgrade. I did try the Trust Shout fork, and it did not work well on this bike. It wasn’t nearly stiff enough for the extra weight of the ebike, and it also made it a lot harder to get the bike airborne.
I wish I didn’t have to send the Tazer back, but I’m going to work with Jenson to try to get some more ebikes in the shop. I’ve really enjoyed the Tazer. It’s a solid trail build that can easily handle some aggressive self shuttling. The volume reducer in the rear shock helped the rear suspension a ton, and the longer dropper post was a great upgrade. I can definitely recommend the Tazer as a well sorted eMTB. Remember, Jenson USA, the sponsor of this video, is a leading online retailer of Intense bikes. If you want to learn more about the Tazer, or the rest of the ebikes that Jenson offers, please do hit this link!
What other ebikes would you like to see on the channel? Lemme know!
General Affiliate Links:
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Industry Nine: https://bit.ly/IndustryNine2022JKW
PNW Components: https://bit.ly/PNWComponents2022JKW