E-bike tuning: possibilities and risks

25 km/h is sometimes not enough for you? Then you may have already come across the topic of e-bike tuning. In fact, there are several ways to work around the speed limit of the e-bike motors. In this article, you will find out what these tricks are and why you should definitely keep your hands off them.

About e-bike tuning in a nutshell:

  • E-bike tuning solutions are available in different versions for all common motors from well-known manufacturers, for example as clip-on chips or permanently installed kits.

  • Tuning chips often fool the motor control system into thinking that the speed is slower than the actual speed. This means that the drive only switches off when you are going much faster than 25 km/h. Tuning is forbidden and extremely risky.

  • Tuning is forbidden and extremely risky. Not only is there a risk of damage to the e-bike and high fines. In the worst case, you could face imprisonment. We therefore strongly advise against any manipulation of your e-bike drive.

  • In any case, you should protect your e-bike from theft. With the BikeTrax GPS tracker and the PowUnity app, you get the safest e-bike theft protection on the market and ensure that you get a stolen e-bike back quickly.

You are in the middle of a speed rush and then the motor switches off because the maximum speed has been reached? Most e-bike riders know this moment. The same goes for the desire to tickle a little more out of the drive. But is that possible at all? The answer is “yes”.

Like other vehicles, e-bikes can be tuned, for example with tuning modules and tuning apps, as we discussed in our overview article “The best e-bike app: How to find it | 15 apps in comparison“.

But the risks of e-bike tuning are much higher than many people realise.

How does the speed lock for electric bikes work?

E-bike motors are only allowed to be active up to a speed of 25 km/h in both Austria and Germany. Therefore, e-bike drives measure the speed and automatically switch off as soon as the maximum is reached.

How the measurement works differs depending on the drive.

  • With speed sensor: If your e-bike has a mid-motor, a sensor measures the speed. This is a simple component that works with a magnet. Such a sensor is a gateway for e-bike tuning.
  • Without speed sensor: Hub motors do not need a sensor. Here, the motor directly detects the speed. This makes tuning much more difficult or even impossible.


E-bike tuning – an overview of the ways of tricking the speed limit

E-bike tuning works in different ways:

  • Plug-on chips: You plug a tuning module onto the speed sensor. Above a certain speed, it ensures that the speed sensor only transmits half the actual speed limit or a third of the actual speed to the motor control unit. This means, of course, that the values displayed by your bike computer are no longer correct. In addition, the plug-on chips can be recognised by the trained eye at first glance. On the other hand, such a chip can be easily removed in order to ride your pedelec in its original condition.

  • Permanently installed tuning solutions: Permanently installed tuning solutions or tuning kits are available in different variants. These include the so-called “dongles”, which function similarly to clip-on chips. Permanently mounted solutions are usually invisible. Elaborate variants have the additional advantage that they do not falsify displayed values such as speed.

  • Software tuning: Many chips or modules do not change the programming of the e-bike drive. Instead, they fool the motor control system into thinking that the speed is slower than the actual speed. Tuning kits, on the other hand, can be used to increase or remove speed limits. Theoretically, significantly higher speeds are possible than with a plug-on solution. However, the intervention is deeper and often difficult to reverse.

    Tuning apps: Most tuning apps only work in combination with a tuning module. They are used to control the tuning and to view central values. However, there are also apps that allow you to change the region in which the e-bike motor locates you to the USA. Then you have more room for manoeuvre, because in the USA, e-bike motors are allowed to support speeds of up to 32 km/h.

Which tuning solutions are available for which e-bikes?

Most tuning chips are limited to specific engine brands. If you want to use them, you have to search specifically for your motor. However, you can get tuning solutions for engines from different suppliers from manufacturers such as SpeedBox.

Tuning chips for Bosch motors

Bosch is one of the leading manufacturers of e-bike motors. Its drives are installed in e-bikes of various brands, from Haibike to Cube. Tuning chips for Bosch motors are available from SpeedBox. With SpeedBox 1.0, the manufacturer has even developed a chip for 4th generation motors with Smart System. The bikespeed products are an alternative. A special feature here: The speedometer shows you the real speed.

Tuning chips for Yamaha engines

SpeedBox also offers various tuning solutions for Yamaha engines. A competitor in this field is, for example, sIMPLEK with the Stick Pro.

Tuning chips for Panasonic engines

If you want to remove the speed limit on an e-bike with a Panasonic motor, you can use a tuning box from badass, for example, in addition to chips from bikespeed or SpeedBox. Whether it lives up to its name remains to be seen.

Apart from the examples mentioned, you will find many other tuning solutions on the market that are compatible with different e-bike drives. They come from brands such as SpeedBox, bikespeed, DoubleDongle, PearTune or SpeedChip.

How expensive are tuning chips for e-bikes?

How much you have to pay for a tuning chip varies depending on the product. In most cases, the costs range from 150 to just over 200 euros. As you can see, it’s not cheap.

Why you should not tune an electric bike

As we already mentioned, we strongly advise against e-bike tuning.

There are several reasons for this:

Why you should not tune e-bikes

We have already mentioned it: We strongly advise against e-bike tuning.

There are several reasons for this:

Technical risks of e-bike tuning

Simply fit a chip and the bike goes faster. When you take the chip off again, everything is the same as before. Is that how simple you imagine electric bicycle tuning to be?

In reality, things are more complicated. The use of chip tuning, dongles and the like often leads to technical problems:

  • E-bike manufacturers, or manufacturers of e-bike motors, find e-bike tuning a thorn in the flesh. After all, it increases the risk of stricter legal regulations for e-bikes. This could have an impact on demand. In addition, companies have to deal with dubious warranty claims as a result of tuning, which is why manufacturers like Bosch and Co. are trying to put a stop to tuning. For example, drives compare signals from the speed sensor with other measured values. If there are noticeable deviations, the motor reacts with an error code and heavily throttled support. However, observers, for example in Stern, noted that it took only a few months for manufacturers of tuning solutions to outsmart these safety locks.

  • Unlike S-pedelecs, conventional e-bikes are not designed for constant speeds of 30, 40 or even more km/h. This also applies if you only ride on well-paved roads. This is also true if you ride exclusively on well-paved roads. Therefore, even with higher-quality e-bikes, tuning leads to more wear and tear on components such as the drive, gears or brakes. Cheap models quickly go down the drain.

Warranty claims expire

Another decisive reason for not tuning an e-bike is the legal consequences. Many e-bike riders underestimate these.

Keep the following in mind:

The maximum limit of 25 km/h is a condition for not needing a licence plate, insurance and driving licence as an e-bike rider.

The situation is different for a tuned e-bike. It is automatically a moped.

This means for you: If you ride a tuned pedelec, you are riding a vehicle that needs a licence and insurance, but has neither.

The consequences can be serious:

  • In case of an inspection, you risk high fines or even imprisonment.

  • In case of accident damage, no insurance will pay. If you need a medical examination, you have to pay some or all of the costs yourself, depending on your health insurance.

  • If you injure people, you could be charged with negligent bodily injury.

  • If you have an accident with your pedelec, you are liable with your private assets.

Here are a few examples of possible penalties:

  • In Germany. driving a tuned e-bike without an operating licence: 70 euros and one point. Here, if you have an accident with your tuned e-bike, you are liable with your private assets.

  • In France, up to one year in prison and a fine of 30,000 euros, as well as the suspension of driving licence for up to three years.

As you can see, the law does not treat e-bike tuning as a trivial offence.

The same applies here: The chances that tuning will remain invisible are vanishingly small. At the latest in the event of an accident, tampering usually comes to light.

Ride an S-pedelec instead of tuning an e-bike

You want a motor that supports you even at speeds higher than 25 km/h, but you don’t want to take risks with a tuning solution?

Then the purchase of a speed pedelec (abbreviated S-pedelec) is a good idea. These e-bikes have a drive that legally supports them up to a maximum speed of 45 km/h. Remember: an S-pedelec is not a motorcycle.

But remember: an S-pedelec needs a licence plate and insurance. A helmet is also compulsory. Cycle paths are taboo for S-pedelecs.

Harmless: visual e-bike tuning

You can use visual e-bike tuning without any concerns. If you want to “pimp up” your electric bike, you can choose from colourful foils for the frame, components with an eye-catching design and other accessories. As long as they do not affect the functionality of your e-bike, you can use them without any worries.

The same applies to functional accessories such as powerful lighting or high-quality pedals

Also allowed: Increase torque

For some drives, for example from Brose and Panasonic, you can get software that increases the torque. This makes it easier for you to master steep climbs, but it does not make your bike any faster. However, increasing the torque is one of the few permitted methods of e-bike tuning.

Conclusion: E-bike tuning doesn’t pay off for anyone

Admittedly, e-bike tuning is tempting. Who wouldn’t like to increase the power with a few simple steps and complete the next tour at high speed?

But the fun is not worth the risk. Because with e-bike tuning you risk damage to the hardware and technology of your e-bike, serious accidents and a heavy fine or even a prison sentence.

We therefore urgently advise you to refrain from all tuning measures that are not of an optical nature. Instead, enjoy the many possibilities that a normal e-bike offers. If 25 km/h is not enough for you in the long run, an S-pedelec is a good choice. You can ride it legally and safely at high speeds.

Share article!

wurde hinzugefügt