Policing E-Bikes

Anyone have ideas on how to police E-Bike rides being uploaded to Strava?  I've been watching lots KOM's go bye-bye recently.  As E-Bikes become more popular this will continue to be a problem.



  • Official comment

    Hey Folks, 

    We do have some auto-flagging functionality that attempts to automatically detect bad or invalid activity data but it doesn't work great in all cases. We hope to improve this functionality in the future, but there is no definite plans right now. 

  • In my region of Switzerland there's hardly a segment where the top 5 didn't ride an e-bike. Most of the leaderboard changes happened in the last year. Strava's Segment Leaderboard Guidelines ask athletes to set the correct activity type. Unfortunately, most e-bike riders don't bother. I don't think it should be all that difficult to write an algorithm that detects an e-bike activity and automatically changes the activity type during the upload process.

  • Patrick - sad to hear this is a global issue, thought it might be isolated to the "me" culture in the USA.  I'm not sure there is a quick solution but I like your idea for an algorithm that detects various parameters to detect that the rider is on an E-bike.  Maybe compare/match Heart Rate, Speed, Cadence, etc. to auto flag the ride.  Just last week I was passed by a guy on a 5% grade who was pedaling around a 40 cadence and was moving along at 30 kph.

  • i see it here too.  one thing for sure is strava needs to change the icon for e-bike rides or at least color the circle - maybe green.  


    if i ride with people on e-bikes and they are not calling it an e-bike ride, i don't want to "report them."   Yes, you are correct, there is an easy way to detect these rides.  


    I guess strava would rather work on improving kudos.  the site is turning into "garbage in garbage out."  



  • Agreed, E-bikes are becoming more and more a problem. 

  • Agree with this.  In some cases people with E-bikes don't even know how to post correctly.  I experienced this when I saw a co-worker ahead of me on the leaderboard, and I knew he had an e-bike.  When I talked to him about that he didn't realize how to do it correctly, then changed it.

    If the uphill power numbers are totally out of sync with the downhill segments, can't you at least notify the user that "Based on your power profile, we have detected the possible use of an electronically assisted bicycle.  Did you use an E-bike for this ride?" 

    Or something of that sort.

  • (I hope e-shoes aren't next.)

  • I agree too and I hope that Strava is doing something about this issue. I think Zwift has a good solution as they are checking high power outputs with riders history. Something even a machine can do. Somehow I feel (maybe a little bit too much) like a nerd, when I'm angry with ebike-riders stealing KOMs. At least in Germany I have the feeling, that most of them are older riders (60+) and maybe don't have the technical understanding of tagging a ride as ebike-ride or simply don't understand what's that kom-thing about. But in the end I like Strava for tracking my efforts and the possibility to compete with other riders in segments. And I don't want to compete machines or e-motors. 

  • may be too difficult to create an accurate algorithm , but i think chris is on the right track.   if you get any top 10 trophy there should be a hard stop before posting that asks if it was an Ebike ride, and if so to change the activity type.  if the person is a scumbag liar sociopath who just wants strava glory there's no easy way to stop them.  i would think most people just don't realize it affects the leaderboards, and some other people actually care about that.  

  • I think there is not one solution that could solve this problem entirely. In my opinion Strava should implement various techniques:

    1 - Request every user to register the bike by type (also usefull to separate mtb from road bikes) and create different leaderboards. Every ride shoud have a bike associated with it, even retroactively.

    2 - An algorithm isn't a bad idea but I think that it would only work on extreme cases.

    3 - If someone is flagged, let's say 5 times, that person shoud be prompted to correct the ride and the bike type for the flagged activities, over 10 flags that person would be blocked from Strava.

    4 - Putting some information on the main page explaining this problem to everyone and tutorials to help you have a honest profile (for the ones who care).

    Ultimately I think Strava has everything to lose by doing nothing. I love Strava, I use it mainly to compete against myself, not particulary interested in records, but I think that's not the case for a significant number of users. I hope Strava is working on some kind of solution because e-bike market is only getting started.

  • Strava should just allow to filter the results! Just like it is possible for men, women, there should be bike categories. Just label the KOM/QOM with respective bike category. Done. You get a bike KOM/QOM and an ebike KOM/QOM.

    I do not really see a problem, I am using both ebike and non-ebikes. Ebikes are just another type of bike. About time to treat them as bikes. 

    There is a lot of relevant functionality that does not work due to the way Strava currently handles ebike rides, e.g. live segments. This makes using ebikes and Strava really cumbersome and boring. A shame, as subscription fee is the same for ebike users!

  • I would suggest for STRAVA to require either HR or power meter data for top10 places in any segment. And with that info they could easily spot if there was real attempt for KOM/QOM, or just an idiot with an e-bike.

    In my country e-bikes by law can have 1000w motors and speeds exceeding 50kph.. And some riders with e-bikes are getting smarter - they are going steadily 30-35kph uphill, and 35-40kph on flats - and that way taking all uphill KOMs and returning for faster flat KOM's on next week.. I'we seen few issues like this already..

  • Es gibt eine eigene Kategorie bei der Sportart für E-Bikes. Man muss dann nur E-Bike Radfahren auswählen und nicht Radfahrt. Somit haben die E-Biker ihre eigenen Segment. Wäre übrigens super, wenn es das auch separat für Rennradfahrer geben würde. 

    There is a separate category for e-bikers. They have to choose only e-bike Cycling and not Cycling. So the e-bikers have their own Segment. Would be great if there would be trhe samalso for racing cyclist.

  • I write for the Wall Street Journal & am exploring a story on the impact of e-bikes on Strava KOMs/rankings. If anyone would like to discuss the topic -- from US, Europe, wherever -- please let me know in this thread. Thanks - Mike Colias

  • Hi Mike, I’d be happy to share my thoughts on the topic.  Let me know how to get in touch.

  • Jeff - Thanks for the reply. You can email me, but if I leave my address here the comment won’t post. So please try: mike dot colias @ wsj dot com

  • I'm an ebike rider, and I track my rides on my Garmin Vivoactive watch. I don't have a setting on my watch to mark a ride as ebike vs. bike. I don't want to pollute the scoring (sometimes I ride a regular bike too!) but I find the process for going in to Strava to change my ride type post-facto is really painful and slow (many clicks and a long delay - scores of seconds - per record I change). I'd love to be able to set my watch to have an option for me to choose "ebike ride" or where I could set up my Strava profile to ingest my bike rides as ebike by default, but I don't know how to do that.

    Can someone please tell me how to do this more efficiently?

  • Strava has to do something about this issue. I know some summit users that have already canceled their subscription. Strava has become popular because of their leaderboards and KOMs. If both are polluted by E-Bike-Riders (on purpose or not) Strava is losing reputation -- and users.

    There are some really good ideas in this thread. Strava, please innovate. (or die)  <--- quote by Specialized ;)

  • Ich bin ja auch MTB und E-Biker und ich denke das dieses aber auch ein Problem der Teilnehmer ist. Wie bereits oben Beschrieben kann ich in Strava die Sportart E-Bike Radfahren auswählen. Wenn nun Teilnehmer mit dem E-Bike (E-MTB) unterwegs sind und diese Sportart nicht auswählen, so kann Strava da eigentlich nichts für. Wie sollen sie denn überprüfen, dass derjenige nicht mit einen E-Bike unterwegs war. Früher gab es die E-Bike Sportart nicht aber seit es diese gibt, stelle ich selber auch immer auf E-Bike um, wenn ich denn mit dem E-Bike unterwegs bin. Hier muss man auch mal an die Benutzer appellieren, das sie ihre E-Bike Touren nicht als normale Tour speichern.

    I am MTB and E-Biker and I think that this is also a problem of the members. As described above I can choose the sport E-Bike cycling in Strava. If now participants with the E-Bike (E-MTB) are on the way and this sport does not select, then Strava can actually do nothing for there. How are they supposed to check that the person was not riding an e-bike? In the past there was no e-bike sport, but since it has existed, I always switch to e-bikes myself when I am on the road with an e-bike. Here you also have to appeal to the users that they don't save their e-bike tours as normal tours.
  • In the gear profile there should be a check mark option to designate a bike as an e-bike.

  • In my case i ride an e-bike and i used Strava for Down Hill, and i dont mark it as e-bike because the segments are diferent.
    Segments should be the same, just 2 diferent leaderboards (bikes and e-bikes) and the possibbility to mix both.
    If you mark your ride as E-bike there aren't almost segments created, you can't compare with you old own times with standar bike, and can't compare with standar bikes doing DH.
    I think about 10% of the total riders who dont mark the activity as e-bike are in my case, so having same segments for bikes and e-bikes will solve these porcentage.

    * In the unprobable case of doing a top10 uphill, i mark the activity as private. But not many people do this when riding ebikes...

  • I have seen more riders in other threads with the same idea. SAME SEGMENTS for standard bikes and e-bikes, 2 LEADERBOARDS.

    And a filter to mix both leaderboards

  • Does it make sense to compare e-bike an bike riding? No, it does not. In any way. So there is just no need for mixed leaderboards. To be honest, I don‘t want my efforts to be compared with e-bike rides. I dont‘t compare to motorcross oder quads or anything with an engine. Even in DH it does not make sense. The leaderboard in our region are mostly e-bike free. Everybody is taking care and e-bikers are flagged within days.

    Maybe strava should add an option to copy existing segments for ebikes (But why are e-bikers actually not able to create their own segments? Here in our region some did: same name as standard segment but with a leading e.XXX)

  • Hi @Cesar. I think you’ve missed something. The issue is - people are riding e-bikes and not marking the rides as e-bike rides. It looks like Strava has chosen to ignore this. All the other ideas about KOM, segments, lists, etc, are secondary and are likely to be ignored too. As I said earlier it’s Garbage in Garbage out.

  • This issue was first mentioned in this thread at the beginning of August. It’s now December. Way too long to go without at least an attempt to fix it. What are they waiting for?

  • If only Strava permitted the transferring of regular segments into e bike leaderboard this problem would be solved overnight.
    E bike riders don’t want to create new segments they want use the ones they have riding for years on regular bikes.
    Strava needs to act now!

  • it takes about 20 seconds to create a segment ( and a few hours for strava to actual calculate and populate the leaderboard)   so why should strava create the segments for e-bike riders?  If you want a segment, just create it yourself.   and i agree with robert,  the real problem is people using E-bikes and mislabeling them (more likely not even knowing they have to change the activity type to e-bike rather than regular bike)   this ruins the leaderboards for regular cyclists. 

  • looking at the rationale from those other posts on the same subject,  i guess if you try and recreate a segment,  it likely will be slightly different (by a few meters/seconds)   so if you really want to compare you're own ebike vs bike times,  they won't be exactly the same...so i  do see the point i was just arguing against!

  • One issue I see with just duplicating regular bike segments into e-bike segments is that e-bikes are not allowed/legal in all the same places that regular bikes are.  You would be automatically creating tons of segments that would be illegal for e-bikes to be used on.  The fact it, some people figure that if there is a segment there then it must be okay to ride.  It is so easy to create new segments.  There is no reason e-bikers couldn't just go for a ride and then create segments for themselves that match the other already existing regular bike segments.  Do that for a week or two no different rides and you will have a vast majority of the segments in your area duplicated.  I guess the e-bikers don't just want power-assist with their biking, they want technical-assist with their segment creating. 

  • I got an end of year recap film from Strava.  Ironically, this text box pops up before you can see your recap.  "Before you can watch Your Year in Sport, we need your permission to dive into all of your 2018 data to find the year's best moments and stats. We take your privacy extremely seriously and will use the data just to search for highlights and create this fun video for you. These same "privacy first" guys have no problem sending my name out to various people “i have in common” as “an athlete you should follow.”  I not only don’t want this to happen, I am unable to stop it.  In addition, I can’t get Strava to figure out a way to remove this annoying feature from their phone and computer app, nor can I get them to reply to a thread that someone started about this back in Aug, 2018.  

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