In legal terms, pedelecs with a support capacity of up to 25 km/h and an engine 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. 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!
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.“
- Siegfried Neuberger, Executive Director of Germany's ZIV bicycle industry association
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, last but not least, the frame and other parts. As a result, tuning compromises the safety of the pedelec as a whole, putting yourself as well as other road-users at risk.
Tuning isn't just some trivial offence
Tuning is breaking the law, there's no doubt about it! Those who tamper with pedelecs are running a double risk: Tuning may result in you being charged with operating a motor vehicle without a driving licence and may constitute a violation of the requirement to have valid insurance. This may result in a fine or even imprisonment of up to one year. And that's not all: If, after an accident, your personal liability insurer learns that your eBike was tuned, the insurer is entitled to refuse to assume any costs for damages resulting from the accident and other consequences. Tuning therefore also poses a financial risk.
Equal status of bikes and pedelecs
Currently, a pedelec is considered to be equivalent to a bike. This also applies to all the related rights and obligations. This includes the fact that they can be used on cycle and forest paths, the fact that there is no requirement for a registration number or separate insurance and much more. This equal status has ensured that, up until now, the use of eBikes has been largely unrestricted. If cyclists tamper with their eBikes by tuning them, thereby risking possible accidents and injuries, this will give rise to policies that include more stringent regulations and future bans. This would cancel out the benefits that all other eBike fans are able to enjoy!
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.
It is particularly important to be aware of and prevent the risks of eBike tuning. "It's our belief that hardly any eBike riders would make use of tuning tools if they could actually foresee the potential consequences in relation to warranty claims, resale, police checks or an accident."
– Siegfried Neuberger, Executive Director of Germany's ZIV bicycle industry association.
Bike dealers must also be aware that by offering tuning solutions, playing fast and loose with the risks and the regulations governing them and contributing to the spread of such solutions, they are putting the market for eBikes at risk. Our dealers can use the professional diagnostics solution from Bosch eBikes systems to read the software version, configuration data and error codes of the eBike components and update the eBike. In addition, the diagnostics tool offers tuning recognition and informs the dealer of any manipulation.
Bosch eBike Systems is collaborating closely with bicycle manufacturers, associations and public authorities to combat tuning. Germany's Zweirad-Industrie-Verband (bicycle industry association) has drafted a voluntary agreement for manufacturers against manipulation of eBike systems which Bosch co-initiated and proactively supports. This agreement contains a series of measures for combating eBike tuning such as networking the industry with dealer associations, consumer organisations, the police, accident researchers, experts, testing institutes and the trade press.
In addition, law enforcement agencies such as the police have the clear legal obligation to open an investigation if they become aware of a possible criminal offence. The criminal offence of tuning requires a report to be made and criminal proceedings to be pursued. Anyone accused of tuning quickly becomes a defendant. All of the components of Bosch eBike systems are subject to thorough quality checks. If an eBike is tuned, this safety is no longer guaranteed. In the interest of our customers, we are committed to responsible eBiking and monitor the market for any activity that fails to comply with statutory and regulatory requirements – a stance that is also supported by the pertinent EU laws in force and even promoted by manufacturers.
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.