Downhill legend René Wildhaber on passion, inner drive, and his bike with maxon BIKEDRIVE AIR.

How has cycling changed for you since you have been riding a bike with maxon BIKEDRIVE AIR?

What always bothered me about e-bikes in the past was that it never really felt like being on a bike – the weight caused a lot of inertia and the large amount of assistance distorted the physical sensation. It felt more like riding an underpowered motorbike. Bikes with maxon BIKEDRIVE AIR feel quiet and light, like a bike. Just what I like.

How would you describe the riding experience?

Going up hills, the drive makes it feel like I’m still training as much as before in my professional mountain biking days. The assistance is really unobtrusive and natural. It helps me when going up hills or doing challenging technical maneuvers, but does not slow me down or impede me on flat terrain and on downhills.

What, in your opinion, is special about maxon BIKEDRIVE AIR?

The drive is very efficient, and it never fails to amaze me how many meters of altitude I can coax out of the lightweight battery. The drive decouples completely when riding without assistance, so that there is absolutely no resistance when pedaling. That is unique. On a practical side note, I can even oil the chain in the same way as on a conventional bike, by simply backpedaling. 

How and where do you train?

I use the Transalpes E1 with maxon BIKEDRIVE AIR when I’m maintaining the bike trails in BikerBerg Flumserberg, when I need to carry a heavy backpack filled with tools.

In addition, I love riding the technical trails in the vacation region of Heidiland, where I can now handle lots of tricky riding challenges on the uphill too, thanks to the precision assistance of the maxon drive. Even hike-a-bike sections are no longer an obstacle for my e-bike.

What motivates you? What drives you?

My motivation is to keep fit, and at the same time experience beautiful nature and culture without having to travel halfway around the world. There is fantastic bicycle and mountain bike infrastructure all over Switzerland, with great trails right behind every house, and sometimes even on the commute between work and home. Going out, discovering trails, and meeting nice people – that’s my passion.

Do you also use the e-bike with maxon BIKEDRIVE AIR as a mode of transport in your private life?

Of course! I try to use the Transalpes E1 and thus also the maxon BIKEDRIVE AIR as often as possible. Simply because cycling is fun and better for the environment than using a car. I also really like putting the e-bike through its paces, and passing on insights and new ideas to the developers at maxon.

Why should people ride a bike like the Transalpes E1?

maxon works with premium bike manufacturers. For example, my E1 from Transalpes is an e-bike with a carbon frame geometry designed for balance and safety. My bike was designed to my specifications, and built to perfection with great care in Zwillikon am Albis. Together with maxon BIKEDRIVE AIR, a huge amount of Swiss perfectionism and individualism has gone into my bike. And because riding is just fun.

What's next for you?

There’s so much happening. The most important thing is family. I’ve already had my three-year-old daughter out on the bike thanks to a child seat from Shotgun and the maxon BIKEDRIVE AIR drive.

Thank you for taking the time to talk to us, and keep enjoying your bike with maxon BIKEDRIVE AIR.

Other products that might be of interest to you