Can I replace components on my e-bike? What do I have to consider as customer?
Yes, but you have to be extremely careful. The CE marking refers to the complete product including all parts. And it becomes invalid if substantial changes are made to the bike without prior consultation with the manufacturer. Until recently, not even the experts agreed upon what were “substantial” and what were not. The German service and bicycle association (VSF) and the German Bicycle Association (ZIV) together with Zedler-Institut issued uniform guidelines on the replacement of e-bike parts. For the first time, these guidelines present an overview of the parts that you are allowed and not allowed to replace without explicit approval and to whom you should address for consultation: to bicycle manufacturers, drive system suppliers, parts manufactures etc. It is for example allowed to replace headsets, front and rear derailleurs without problem. Handlebars and stems, however, must only be replaced under certain conditions, if they were approved by the vehicle or component manufacturers. You see it remains complicated after all. But thanks to the new guidelines at least your dealer knows what to do. They can thus provide better advice. And this is an offer you should accept.
What do I have to consider as a retailer when replacing parts?
If parts on an e-mountain bike are replaced just like that, the CE marking becomes invalid. At the moment of replacing components retailers legally become manufacturer of the bike and are liable for example in the event of an accident. Experts like the German service and bicycle association (VSF) and bicycle expert Dirk Zedler therefore recommend that manufacturers draw up lists of replaceable parts. The CE marking applies to all parts on this parts list, therefore only these parts should be assembled. In cases of doubt, you can also address directly to the manufacturer, ask which handlebar may be replaced and ask in addition for a written approval or declaration of no-objection. In addition, the VSF and the German Bicycle Association (ZIV) together with Zedler-Institut issued guidelines on the replacement of e-bike parts. Here you can check for the first time which parts you are allowed to replace without legal problems, which agreements have to be kept and which particularities have to be observed in each case.
May I tune my e-mountain bike?
This question seems almost superfluous in view of the fact that you are actually hardly allowed to replace components. Dirk Zedler is publicly appointed and sworn-in expert witness for bicycles and electric bicycles and writes on his website: “A component which holds on trekking bikes, but fails on electric-assisted bikes is a daily reality for experts. […] If several […] factors interact, frames or parts can break suddenly, all the more in the case of retrofitted or tuned electric-assisted bikes. As an expert I strictly advise against running the incalculable risk of retrofitting or tuning.”
Read the entire article here.
Author: Cornelia Thoellden