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Behind the Scenes: Launching E161

Fergus Ryan on the Privateer E161 electric mountain bike

As you may have seen, we recently launched our first E-MTB, the Privateer E161, a bike that we have been developing for a long time, and our supported riders have been using as a training and racing tool for seasons. 

Our aim was to show riders what our new E161 is capable of while showing off some of its rider-focused features, so we gave Fergus Ryan, Privateer EDR racer, a call and asked if he fancied a trip to the Lake District to put our Shimano EP801-powered bike through its paces, and who better to shoot the photos than Lake District local James Vincent, who shot our Proven launch in 2022.  

mountain biker jumping his electric mountain bike

"A bike launch is a huge project to be trusted with, so I was stoked when Andi asked me to shoot photos of the new Privateer E161. It was made even sweeter when Andi wanted to run the shoot here in my backyard of the Lake District. We booked two days in June and couldn't have asked for better weather - the morning was spent getting covered in plumes of dust from Fergs back wheel, then we hiked up Birkside to catch golden hour over Thirlmere. The light was firing big time and we got a little carried away, so it was super late when we eventually rolled into Ambleside looking for dinner. Everywhere was closed and the only food available was Thai takeaway that we greedily scoffed on a park bench before retreating to our beds. Zero regrets as we maximised the light and got the shots; everything else comes second. Same time tomorrow?" - James Vincent

Riding down a trail in the woods
Climbing a rocky trail on EMTB

Day 1 - The perfect tool for the job

Ferg was the perfect choice for the Privateer E161 launch as he has spent the past few seasons racing his 161 internationally on the EWS and EDR circuits.  


As our engineers and test riders had developed the Privateer E161 to handle and offer the same characteristics as our 161, it took Ferg no time at all to feel 100% comfortable on the bike, and he quickly jumped right into the big stuff. Although Ferg had never ridden in the Lake District, the familiar handling and confidence-inspiring ride of the E161 allowed him to enjoy the technical trails, jumps and drops on offer. 

"When it came to shooting the E161, we really wanted to push the limits and show what this bike is truly capable of. With that in mind, we headed to the Lake District. Having never ridden there, I was blown away by how technical the trails were but also by how much the E161 kept me out of trouble. Roosting turns and hitting sketchy gaps kept a smile on my face throughout. For me, this bike encapsulates everything you want in an E-MTB, fast up and even faster down." - Fergus Ryan 

Full suspension electric mtb being ridden down a trail

Photoshoots are always great fun, but they can be tiring when riders are asked to push up and ride sections over and over again. Thankfully for Ferg the Privateer E161 made even the steep, dusty climbs fun.  


With 85Nm of torque on tap from the new and improved Shimano EP801 motor, and a 630Wh integrated battery to play with, Ferg was more than happy with sessions technical sections over and over again, even when we managed the perfect shot the first time around. He couldn't help but pop the E161 into Boost mode and ride the same section again and again! 


Effortless climbing is just one of the advantages of the E161, the time that the assist saves and distance it allowed us to cover meant we were able to shoot in 3 different locations maximising our shoot and giving us the opportunity to capture some really beautiful sunset shots. 


Even with a full day of riding completed and night quickly approaching on our first day, the Privateer E161 still had plenty of power left for another day of shooting the following day. 

Mountain biker racing down a trail
Mountain biker racing down a trail
Mountain biker racing down a trail
Mountain biker racing down a trail

Day 2 - Ferg tests the bash guard

After a good nights sleep we met James on day in our second location, an area with fast open trails, huge rocks, big jumps and simply massive drops and rollers. 


This sharp rocky terrain was the perfect setting for some flat out photos, but also the perfect proving ground for our 4mm thick hard-anodised, UK-made alloy bash guard. Like all Privateer bikes, the Privateer E161 is built to be ridden hard, and riding hard on an E-MTB sometimes means riding hard into large rocks! We knew this would be the case and we knew a standard plastic bash guard wouldn't be enough to protect the Shimano EP801 motor, so we built our own custom alloy guard, and believe us this really will save your motor. 


Ferg threw the E161 off everything and anything in sight, really showing its robustness and reliability. The bike handled everything we threw at it, quietly boosted back up for more each time. 


After another day of shooting, we wrapped up with still 2 bars left on the 630wh Shimano battery. Ready for another day

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