In a new challenge video, Global Cycling Network presenter Ollie tests an e-bike on one of arguably the most difficult climbs in the world: the Stelvio Pass, a mountain road in Northern Italy which borders on Switzerland and has been in use since Roman times. It is a 21 km long and 2,757 meters high route that features stunning mountain range views—if you can reach the top.
"It's an absolute monster," says Ollie as he sets off from the ski resort town of Bormio on a Ribble e-bike, describing the climb as a "bucket list item" for any accomplished cyclist.
"I'm trying to make this test relevant to beginners," he explains. "So I'm going to cap my power output and try and keep my heart-rate nice and low... By me producing less power, it causes the motor and the battery to pick up the slack."
Ollie also points out that while the Pass has an average gradient of 7.6 percent, this is "deceptive": three quarters of the way up, the route features a flatter plateau, with much steeper sections before and after it. There is also a specific portion which includes 14 consecutive hairpin turns.
The Pass eventually opens up into a wide valley where Ollie can see the entire remaining distance in front of him, and he reaches his destination without the e-bike running out of battery power—although it is flashing red.
"That a bike like this means that more people can experience what it's like to ride a bike up here and see that can only be a good thing," he says. "I think it's amazing."
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