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Tuning is not a trivial offense

Pedelecs are allowed by European law to run at maximum at 25 km/h. Then the e-motor shall stop support. CAN-connectable dongles overcome this limit.

(Source: Stock Adobe)

On private area, you can run your pedelec at higher speeds than 25 km/h, but not in public area. Some of the offered tuning dongles are connected to the in-pedelec- CAN network. Nearly all motor suppliers, from Bosch via Brose to Shimano and Yamaha, provide CAN connectivity. These tuning dongles become “smarter”. In the beginning, they did not feature a switch to tune or not to tune electrical powered bicycles. Today they do. Some of them take away the 25-km/h limit without making any concessions to the functionality of the original HMI (human machine interface) device. One of the best dongles on the market is already compatible with the Bosch 2020 drives. According to the company, due to the plug-and-play principle and the housing, the Peartune MSO 3.0 is easier to install than before. Improved software ensures that the 25-km/h speed limit of the e-motor is removed. Even when the tuning is active, the display shows the correct speed. By pressing the Walk button the tuning can be switched on or off at any time. The dongle is compatible with Bosch e-bike drives and displays from 2014 to 2020.

Dongles such as Speedbox 3.0 change the behavior of the pedelec motor, so they provide support even at speeds higher than 25 km/h (Source: Ebike Electronic)

Going faster than 25 km/h requires in some countries a driver license, a license plate, and vehicle insurance. Anyway, pedelecs with the speed limit cause already more severe accidences as regular bicycles, not powered by a motor. The European community has therefore regulated the safety of electrical powered two-wheelers. The regulation references the EN 15194:2017 standard. The scope indicates the use case: “Electrically power assisted bicycles of a type which have a maximum continuous rated power of 0,25 kW, of which the output is progressively reduced and finally cut off as the Epac reaches a speed of 25 km/h, or sooner, if the cyclist stops pedaling.”

The standard covers the complete electric bicycle. This change was made because the mechanical part of an electric bicycle needs more stringent requirements than a conventional bicycle. Another essential change is the fact that EN 15194 is now harmonized under the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC. This means, if an electric bike complies with EN 15194, it is presumed to be in conformity with the Machinery Directive. Therefore, the pedelecs should be protected against tuning attempts including those by the above-mentioned dongles. It is important to note that in most European member states compliance with EN 15194:2017 is not a legal requirement, compliance is voluntary. Compliance of electric bicycles with pedal assistance up to 25 km/h and maximum 250 W with the Machinery Directive is a legal obligation, as is compliance with the Product Safety, EMC (Electromagnetic Compatibility), Low-voltage and Rohs (restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment) directives.