For Hans Rey, the advent of e-MTB has been a revelation. Follow him on a journey through the Norwegian trail community, picking up awesome insights and friendships, with some AUTO SHIFT fun for all.  

The joy of MTB innovation

Most would agree that the invention of full suspension, and the dropper seat post were among the chief innovations in the world of MTB. Yet, more recently, a new phenomenon has been popping up: purpose-built trails, bike parks, and e-bikes.

Hans Rey, a prominent figure in the mountain biking community, has been a strong advocate for purpose-built trails and e-MTB. He believes that riding electric is the next level of fun, opening the sport to a wider range of people. Innovations like purpose-built trails and e-MTB have made mountain biking inclusive to families, the young, the old, people with physical challenges, and those who already love the sport.

Before purpose-built trails, people were grateful for a hiking trail or fire road where they were tolerated. But sharing trails has its limits.

Hans notes: “These days, there are trails for all levels of riders, entry-level to allow novices to find their feet and learn basic skill sets, then more technical trails for those who want to shred. Yet they must be built properly and sustainably so they don’t erode with use and abuse, safe and predictable to avoid nasty surprises. Riders can relax and emerge into the flow and have fun.”

Hans Rey: The Next Frontier

Glen Jacobs, a trail building expert, leader of World Trail and a long-time friend of Hans Rey, has been instrumental in creating some of the best trail networks in the world. He recently invited Hans to experience his latest European venture, a cycling Utopia at Hogevarde, Norway.

Norway is a land of lakes, fjords and mountains, houses with roofs that look like wildflower meadows… and Vikings. To the north is the Arctic Circle, and closer to the south of the country is Fjell Park Trail Center at Hogevarde in the Hallingdale Valley.

It is here with its expanding trail network, and for now, lacking an uplift that Hans found the e-MTB perfect for climbing the mountain without any pain, to then be able to enjoy a huge network of trails. Berms, rollers and flow carved through the natural landscape of pine trees, stream crossings and huge granite boulders become part of the experience. Whatever the World Trail crew builds is both eye candy and ride candy.

Hans Rey: The Next Frontier

Hogevarde itself is an example of a relatively new concept in mountain biking; it is a community that is very much geared towards bikers' needs and desires. Not just to visit but to a community where people want to live and work. Although a ski resort, they put summer first, which means mountain bikes first.

We have seen examples like this with Blue Derby in Tasmania and Oztrails in Bentonville, Arkansas. This town is being developed in an environmentally sympathetic way to become a community for like-minded people who love to ride.

Enhancing adventure with EP801

Pedaling up the mountain in “TRAIL MODE,” Hans was also putting his new GT e-Force with Shimano EP801 drive unit through its paces; this system has more power and torque and is smoother and lighter than before. He is really excited about putting the AUTO SHIFT and FREE SHIFT to the test.

FREE SHIFT technology enables you to change gear multiple times without pedaling, and AUTO SHIFT intuitively knows when a gear change is necessary by tracking the cadence and torque.” Hans explains. To demonstrate, Hans rides uphill no-handed, and you can hear the gears switching, but he isn’t doing a thing with his hands. “It’s like an automatic car,” he says. The E-TUBE PROJECT Cyclist App has a lot of adjustability to customize the system to a rider’s style and needs.

Check out AUTO SHIFT

Once at the top, Hans notices a giant rock. Since he loves to “play” on his e-bike, pushing his skills, he has to climb and then roll it.

“I really am impressed with the LINKGLIDE drivetrain,” Hans says. “It is strong and robust, and it enables me to change gears smoothly even under high torque, which is invaluable for my kind of riding.”

Hans Rey: The Next Frontier

Trails in Norway

“We drop and roll down the flowy trails,” Hans says. “The scenery is exquisite, the dirt is smooth, and the A and B lines offer options for every level of rider. Do you want to wall ride the rock face? Sure, go ahead. Do you want to ride along the top and gently roll down? You can do that too, or hit a jump to the side.”

The following day, Glen Jacobs joined Hans and the team and invited them to meet the trail building crew and test the next super trail, which is still under construction: Blueberry Jam. This 16-kilometer trail starts at the resort and ends in the valley below.

There is already a trail network in the region, Hallingdale Rides consisting of 6 bike resorts scattered along a long valley. Nesbyen is one of them, a short drive from Hogevarde, the small town has infrastructure firmly established for bikers, bicycle-friendly breweries, bike shops and rentals, coffee shops, bike wash, shuttles and, of course, plenty of trails.

This center for biking compliments Hogevarde, adding variety and miles more opportunity to shred, and it was a perfect destination to conclude Hans Rey’s Norwegian adventure. Skoll!

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