There has been quite a bit of discussion and debate about the “tuning” of electric bikes using e-bike dongles, enabling them to exceed the legal speed limit by “fooling” the software installed by the manufacturers. We at Cycling Made Easy have been consistent from the start: We do not encourage or recommend that our customers fit e-bike dongles. We do not sell nor encourage anybody to supply, fit or use them.
Why do we adopt this policy against e-bike dongles? Surely…
“nobody will know”
“it is a bit like speeding on the roads in a car – Everybody does it and is a bit of fun”
“I like the exhilaration of going fast and it is likely I will get away with it”
“I am only on the road for a short time on my rides so it is OK to travel on paths and bridleways indeed anywhere off road so what is all the fuss about”
“I feel it is only a bit of high jinks and I like the idea of getting away with it and beating the system!”
We hear all of this and would make the following observations:-
As the numbers of e-bikes grows, so will the awareness of their legal limits. Should anyone be caught, we understand that the person may be fined or even lose their driving licence.
We are keen to see our market grow and this will only happen if the manufacturers and dealers adopt a responsible, consistent attitude; encouraging customers to be responsible and safe. All it will take is one ‘incident’ involving an illegally tuned e-bike, and the public could turn against e-bikes in general, banning their use on public paths and bridleways, or indeed anywhere which may be off-road. They will regard e-bikes as ‘motor bikes’ and link them as a danger to walkers, horse riders and the public generally. E-bikes would be vilified and discouraged.
The speed of e-bikes
Remember that although the motor assistance cuts out at 15.5 miles per hour it is still possible to travel as fast as is sensible downhill – and also on the flat – by using your own pedal power. Increasingly, the bikes are becoming lighter so a faster road speed, if wanted, can be managed by traditional pedal power. Also remember that you will be travelling considerably faster uphill with e-assist, so a ride is not a slow one; rather your average ride speed evens out and becomes more enjoyable.
Damaging to your e-bike
The bikes are not designed to have an override mechanism on the software. If an e-bike dongle is fitted, this immediately invalidates the warranty and can be easily checked by the dealer. In addition, the motor and components are not designed to be used in this manner and the battery delivers a much shorter range as more power is required for longer periods. The second-hand value of the bike will plummet after the fitting of an e-bike dongle.
We do our utmost to make sure prospective customers are matched to the right bike for them. They visit our stores and accept our advice and guidance on the most suited bike and frame size. We then take them on an accompanied test ride. They decide on the right bike and declare “I would like to think about it”. However, at the end of that process, some go on to contact one of the small number of dealers who, on the phone, encourage them to have an e-bike dongle knowing that only a few disreputable outlets are prepared to supply and fit. The customer follows the “bike in a box” route which means that we lose out. If they have subsequent problems with their e-bike then they have to keep the packaging and send the dismantled bike back. Ultimately, this is damaging to the fledgling e-bike industry as a whole.
What the Manufacturers say about e-bike dongles…
Don’t just take our word for it. Bosch, Scott, Raleigh/Haibike, KTM and other manufacturers are also crystal clear on this matter. They do not encourage it, in some instances they are removing support from dealers not committing to steer away from illegal de tuning and the sale of de tuning kits. So too are Bosch unequivocal in their policy and attitude. All these links can be found on our web site for further clarification and explanation.
We hope that the above is straight forward and unambiguous. Enjoy e-biking and be responsible and safe. In this way our market will grow and more people will experience the benefits and outright exhilaration delivered by a quality well supported e-bike.
Director, Cycling Made Easy
See e-bike dongle policy statements from our partners:
Read more about this subject on BikeBiz: bikebiz.com/news/read/brands-must-be-tough-on-e-bike-modifications-says-supplier/018585