All about bicycles, electric-assisted bikes, technology and safety in the press

The most common safety risks that we come across in our daily work around bicycle safety, technology and operating instructions are also published by us in articles in the leading German special-interest magazines TOUR (Europe's road bike magazine no. 1), BIKE (Europe's mountain bike magazine no. 1), MYBIKE and EMTB in order to make this information, which is important for the industry, available to a wider public.

For many years now, the Eurobike Show Daily, trade fair magazine of the annual Eurobike Show, has also given us the opportunity to publish our view of major developments in the cycle industry in full-page articles.

We also speak regularly in independent expert presentations about all areas of bicycle technology and the bicycle market. In addition, we are quoted by further special-interest magazines of the industry and the trade as well as increasingly by radio and television in their media reports, which shows us that we are spot on with our advice. The section "News" informs you about the latest news from our specialist areas. The reports and publications of this section are listed chronologically or according to areas of interest. 2023/08/28
Reading time 2:30 minutes

Industry associations with guidelines related to e-bike tuning and motor retrofitting

Six trade associations and institutes of the cycle industry from the industry, commerce and trade – the umbrella organization for German industry guilds BIV, TUEV Rhineland, the test institute, the German service and bicycle association VSF, Zedler-Institut as well as the German bicycle association ZIV - have published two new guidelines dealing with the risks related to the »Tuning of e-bikes 25 (15.5) / EPACs« and the »Retrofitting of e-drives«.

Backdrop: Considering supply and demand and with a view to the consequences, there is a clear need for clarification on both topics from the associations' point of view. »Many users seem to be unaware of the serious consequences, including criminal offences, especially in the case of tuning.« Retrofitting bicycles with e-drives is another topic that is regarded as critical by the experts in view of the existing technical standards and requirements. Together with the industry the trade associations of the cycle industry have been campaigning for years to make tuning as difficult as possible and to inform users about the state of facts and the dangers.

E-bike tuning: that’s what you should know

While from the experts’ point of view, retrofitting a motor is more of a specialist topic for workshops, tuning, i.e. increasing the maximum design speed of e-bikes, is to sensitise primarily the broad awareness among consumers.

The fact is that according to the experts’ experience the suppliers of tuning kits do not provide their customers with sufficient information. Often it’s only mentioned in the small print that the use of such kits is not permitted on public roads. There is not a single word said to indicate that use in general can be dangerous, as the bicycle components are not designed for a higher permanent load. “Riding without driving licence” or “Driving without insurance protection” on public roads can be particularly serious.
An important fact to know: EPACs with tuning kits are no longer e-bikes, but motor vehicles that are moved in traffic without insurance protection and not allowed to be ridden for example on bicycle lanes.

Bicycles solely built and tested for muscle power

In their guidelines “Risks related to retrofitting bicycles with e-drives” trade associations of the cycle industry from the industry, commerce and trade explicit indicate that bicycles are designed and tested for being used with pure muscle power. Retrofitting them with special kits turns these bicycles at least into e-bikes 25 kmh/15.5 mph / EPACs that are subject to the Machinery and the EMC Directives (electromagnetic compatibility) and have to be tested accordingly. Finally, the retrofitting person would have to draw up a declaration of conformity what he usually cannot or is not allowed to do. With a higher power than 250 watts and more than 25 kmh / 15.5 mph pedal assistance it is a motor vehicle in terms of traffic law that requires individual approval, an operating licence from an authorized body.
Both new guidelines now available as download for free

Both German guidelines are now available for download as pdf files under this link and that link.

Finally, it should be noted that the European Union has adopted technical measures against tuning. The technical specification CEN/TS 17831 “Cycles - Electrically power assisted cycles - Anti-tampering measures - Reproducible tests fighting counterfeiting” will be published shortly. This lists various measures and tests that manufacturers of e-bikes must comply with.

Text: Jo Beckendorff/trade associations
Photo: ZIV

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