eBike Tuning –
dangerous and risky!
Because original equipment offers the greatest enjoyment and because safety is important to us, at Bosch eBike Systems we are committed to responsible eBiking in line with laws and regulations. After all, tuning pedelecs is a risky business: Using tuned eBikes on public roads may not only lead to technical problems but also result in serious legal consequences.
In legal terms, pedelecs with a support capacity of up to 25 km/h and a motor with a continuous rated power of up to 250 watts are equivalent to bicycles. As a result, eBike owners do not require any extra insurance, registration number or driving licence and are permitted to use cycle and forest paths – a real bonus! It's in everyone's best interest to maintain this status if we are to enjoy the same rights and freedoms as other cyclists. Tuning eBikes puts this situation at risk – and that concerns us all!
What does "tuning" actually mean?
With the help of so-called "tuning dongles", as well as through chip tuning, it's possible to increase an eBike's maximum speed using the support provided by the motor. Legally speaking, whoever manipulates a pedelec and exceeds the actual 25 km/h support limit is no longer operating an electric bicycle with equivalent status to a non-motorised bicycle, but rather is riding a moped and must comply with the corresponding requirements when travelling on public roads!
The risk: The risk is posed by the fact that tuning kits and other types of manipulation can damage the drive system as well as the bike itself. If an accident is caused by tuning, it may result in high liability costs as well as criminal prosecution. You risk losing your guarantee and invalidating your warranty claims.
„For most customers and dealers, the risks and dangers they're exposing themselves to aren't clear at all and neither are the harsh consequences they may face.“
Zweirad-Industrie-Verband (ZIV - Bicycle Industry Association)
Tuning isn't just some trivial offence
Tuning is breaking the law, there's no doubt about it! Many people don't realise Using tuned eBikes on public roads may not only lead to technical problems but also result in serious legal consequences. that pedelecs with support up to 25 km/h and a rated continuous output of the motor of up to 250 watts are regarded as equivalent to bicycles by law and thus do not require vehicle insurance, a registration plate or a driving license. Tuning changes this status because a tuned eBike is usually considered as a moped. Among other things, people who operate a moped without proper liability insurance, license plate or driver's license, risk fines or imprisonment and possibly civil consequences such as liability for personal injury, should accidents occur. In addition, there is a risk that buyers could lose existing guarantee and warranty entitlements on the Bosch eBike system and other bicycle components if they have their eBikes tuned.
“It is important to us that eBikes - in other words pedelecs with maximum sup-port of 25 km/h - continue to be classified as bicycles in future, with all the associated rights and obligations. We must protect and preserve this status so that bikers can continue to enjoy an electric tailwind" Claus Fleischer, CEO of Bosch eBike Systems.
You pose a real danger to yourself and others
The technical manipulation of eBikes, such as increasing the shutdown speed to over 25 km/h, creates continuous loads that were not accounted for in the design and for which even the robust, high-performance components of Bosch eBike Systems are not designed. In this situation, it is mainly the brakes that are subject to increased loads. However, components such as the handlebars and fork are affected, as well as the frame and several other components. As a result, tuning compromises the safety of the pedelec as a whole, putting yourself as well as other road-users at risk.
Thus, the anti-tuning solution is yet another way in which Bosch is responding to a requirement included in current European standard (EN 15194: 2017) for electric motor-supported bicycles.
Tuning at sporting events is prohibited and is simply unfair. What counts in competition is the enjoyment and excitement you get by pitting yourself against others and mastering the challenge by honest means. Tuning and manipulation are incompatible with real sportsmanship! Race formats such as the Bosch eMTB Challenge are specially designed for eBikes with electric-drive support of up to 25 km/h. This comes down to physical fitness, riding technique and talent, in particular.
Voluntary commitment by the bicycle industry as a stance against tuning
For years, Bosch eBike Systems has been working closely with bicycle manufacturers, associations and authorities to actively combat eBike tuning.
Back in 2017, the Zweirad-Industrie-Verband (ZIV) put in place a voluntary commitment by manufacturers against the manipulation of eBike systems, which Bosch eBike Systems co-initiated and actively advocates for.
Since 2021, the fight against tuning has been stepped up at European level as well. With the anti-tuning initiative 'Companies against Tampering', the European manufacturers’ association CONEBI, along with the ZIV, Bosch and many other companies in the bicycle industry, is also committed to preventing manipulation of eBikes and drawing attention to the relevance of the issue.
To this end, participating partners commit to comply with all applicable anti-tampering regulations, to continuously assess and improve existing standards, and to raise awareness of the dangers of tuning among all stakeholders.
"At Bosch eBike Systems we are committed to responsible eBiking. This is why we're persistently fighting the practice of tuning and are continuing to develop our technology further."
Claus Fleischer, Managing Director of Bosch eBike Systems
Protecting the system
The software of the Bosch eBike systems can detect whether the pedelec has been tuned by means of a sensor while riding. It then switches to emergency mode. Consequence: an error code in the display indicates manipulation and support is reduced. The eBiker can restore the original riding settings by riding the pedelec for around 90 minutes. As soon as the system returns to normal mode, however, the manipulation check will be repeated. After the third time, limp home mode can only be deactivated by a specialist dealer using the Bosch DiagnosticTool.
Thus, this measure is yet another way in which Bosch is responding to a requirement included in current European standard (EN 15194: 2017) for electric motor-supported bicycles. This increases protection for both the pedelec and the rider. After all, improper use of the system usually reduces the service life and eBikers risk damaging the drive unit and the bike itself. The safety of a tuned eBike can no longer be guaranteed: components and the bike itself are exposed to unforeseen stresses - and the consequences are difficult to predict..
eBike standard EN 15194
The rules set out in EN 15194:2017 serve to establish a uniform European Standard for electronically power assisted cycles (EPAC bicycles) that covers all the components involved. By purchasing an eBike that conforms to EN 15194:2017, the buyer is guaranteed that the electric drive unit and other components meet the minimum requirements of this European Standard and that these components function properly together. EN 15194:2017 furthermore stipulates that effective measures be implemented to prevent or compensate for any plausible manipulation (such as tuning of the maximum speed).
Cycling is better without tuning
Whether as a means of transport for getting to work, relaxed journeys in the town or country, or as an item of sports equipment: there has long been an established use of eBikes in almost all areas and they have found many devoted fans in all age groups. Both the young and the old are enthusiastic about this new, environmentally-friendly form of mobility and enjoy the new freedom of movement that pedelecs offer. The high-performance components from Bosch eBike Systems make cycling a truly carefree experience. The electric drive puts an end to the slog of energy-sapping bike trips, offering comfortable support that can be adjusted to suit individual needs. Tuning is therefore completely unnecessary for fully enjoying everything that eBikes have to offer. On the contrary: tuning ruins the real fun of it all – whether it's on relaxed rides or in competition.