We are often asked about the speed restriction on electric bikes. The law in the UK, which is taken from European regulations, means that the maximum speed that a motor can assist you to is 15.5 mph (or 25 Kph). You can go faster than this under your own steam or going down hill and there appears to be a 10% margin of error so that on many bikes the motor does not cut out until you reach around 17 mph.
For most people this is fine but for the more athletic riders this can be perceived as being a bit limiting. In the US the legal speed is 20 mph and this would arguably be better. The average commuter that uses a road bike probably averages 16 mph or more and on the flat would be going a around 20 mph. If you are on an electric bike you will be pedalling a heavier bike without assistance. We don’t think this should be a problem and your average speed will still be faster for two reasons: 1) You will be going faster uphill and on the flat the additional weight of the bike does not matter 2) your acceleration (especially with the Bosch Performanceline CX motor) will be much quicker. However, we know from experience that it is difficult to make this argument to a potential customer.
In some countries in Europe it is possible to buy a Speed Pedelec. This is allowed to go at 45 kph (about 28 mph) but the bike is required to have a number plate and mirrors and the cyclist must be insured and wear a helmet. In the UK the regulation that allows this has not been adopted and therefore an electric bike that will assist faster than 25 kph is not legal except on private land (not accessed by the public) – and there are not many places like that.
The solution for the UK is that the bike will be classed as a moped and each individual bike has to be type approved, registered with the DVLA, notified to HMRC and taxed. In fact as it is an electric vehicle the tax is free but it still has to be taxed. (I know!)
If you are interested in a Speed Pedelec bike please contact us and we would be pleased to assist in the process of making sure that the bike is legal.