What are the Implications of having your electric bike tuned and why you shouldn't do it.
OK, you can 'Dongle' your ebike using a Bosch Tuning Dongle or if you ride a Yamaha e-bike, a Yamaha Tuning Dongle. On the internet you will find some retailers offering this service of 'tuning' or 'de-restricting' electric bikes. The current law however, is quite clear on electric bike motors, the maximum speed the motor can assist you too is 15.5mph or (25 kph). Most of the motors supplied with the electric bikes are capable of reaching a speed that is significantly in excess of this and therefore the motors have been restricted to ensure that they cut out at this speed plus or minus 10% for the UK market and the UK Law. When tuning or de-restricting the bike using a 'dongle' or other method, this 15.5mph speed restriction is removed. This is done in various ways, such as fooling the speedometer into thinking that the bike is travelling at half the speed that it is in fact travelling at. This means that the bike can achieve speeds in excess of 30 mph before the motor cuts out. As you can imagine this is totally againt the law and dangerous too.
If you are caught riding a de-restricted or tuned electric bike, or you are involved in an accident the end result will be that you will be treated as using an unlicensed, untaxed vehicle on the road with no insurance. You will undoubtedly lose your driving license and because you are not insured you will have to pay for any damages, including damages to other people out of your own pocket, possibly running to many thousands of pounds. In other words the police will throw the book at you, even if the accident is not your fault. Remember, to ride a de-restricted bike you will need a driving licence, insurance, MOT and of course you must wear a crash helmet. And not just any helmet, it must be a motorcycle helmet.
Why you may ask?
Because an electric bike with a motor de-restricted enabling speeds of over 15.5mph is classed as a Moped or Motor Bike. An electric bike restricted to 15.5mph and fitted with a motor with a max motor size of 250 watt is still classed as a Pedal Cycle and the same rules apply as if it had no motor at all. You can ride an electric bike on any designated cycle path or towpath. But not de-restricted electric bikes. An electric bike is classified as a EAPC (Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycle)
Will I loose my Warranty?
If you derestrict your bike, yes you will invalidate the warranty. Not only the warranty on the motor but on any 3rd party equipment fitted, i.e. brakes, forks. etc. But how will they know if I 'Dongle' my bike? quite simply, dealers like myself have computer software that can not only update the battery but the motor too. We can tell the date an Electric bike was 'Dongled", the max speed the bike has done, when and If the 'Dongle' was removed. There is no hiding from the computer software.
Some websites will lead you to believe that riding an unrestricted bike off road or indeed a bike that is over 250 watts off road is okay. However, that is not the case. The only place that you can ride one of these bikes is on private land, that is not accessible by the public and with the landowner's permission. This limits considerably the number of places that these bikes can be used and indeed I would go as far as to say that when these bikes are sold the vendor knows full well that the bike is going to be used illegally in 99% of cases, but they will not make this clear to the customer. Even when the dealer asks you to sign a disclaimer, that should set off alarm bells in your head. He /she knows the bike is illegal and is trying to justify it by you signing that you know its illegal. However, im sure the Police would be chasing the dealer if an accident occurred.
Implications for these modified Electric Bikes
I am concerned that this selfish action could jeopardise the whole industry and the use of electric bikes generally. If there is a bad accident involving an electric bike that has been derestricted, for example a small child is killed or injured on a cycle path then there is likely to be a knee jerk reaction and electric bikes as a whole may be banned from areas that are currently open to cycles. This will ruin the fun for everyone.
There are always going to be dealers out there that disregard the consequences for others and sell you a bike for profit. If you want a bike to do more than 15.5 mph then I suggest you buy a Moped / Motorcycle. My view is 15.5 mph is plenty fast enough to have some serious fun, after all nothing stopping you pedalling faster is there?. So why risk breaking the law, losing your license, incurring a huge bill and perhaps even getting a criminal record. Is it really worth it? NO!
Silver E Riders Limited does NOT sell 'Dongles' or other devises which de-restrict the top speed of eBikes due to the obvious potential legal implications.