Just got an ebay kit. Good for London commute?

Bike_Curious

Finding my (electric) wheels
Mar 15, 2019
7
1
Howdy. Excited to have an ebay kit for my mountain bike. My hope is to use it for my journey to work. Any of you guys ride in London? How have you found police attention? Any tips for keeping out of the way of law enforcement? The motor on the rear wheel is quite physically large - is that too inconspicuous? I have no intention of riding fast or dangerously - just want to alleviate some of the effort of pedalling.
 

Wicky

Esteemed Pedelecer
Feb 12, 2014
1,142
1,379
Colchester, Essex
www.jhepburn.co.uk
1000W jobbie cheap of eBay? Hope you don't have hills on your route, and got a big battery as it will guzzle leccy juice. You'll need better brakes if you hurtle around at moped like speeds. Are you going to register it as a S-pedelec? You'll also need proper lid, reg plate MOT and to keep out of shared cycle / pedestrian paths and keep to the roads.
 
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Bike_Curious

Finding my (electric) wheels
Mar 15, 2019
7
1
1000W jobbie cheap of eBay? Hope you don't have hills on your route, and got a big battery as it will guzzle leccy juice. You'll need better brakes if you hurtle around at moped like speeds. Are you going to register it as a S-pedelec? You'll also need proper lid, reg plate MOT and to keep out of shared cycle / pedestrian paths and keep to the roads.
I'm hearing a lot of conflicting stances on this matter. Some threads like this https://www.pedelecs.co.uk/forum/threads/do-the-cops-care-about-illegal-ebikes.26541/ essentially say "use it sensibly and nobody will care" while others warn of serious legal consequences.

If it's that risky I might just return the items and abandon the project. I can't be bothered to expend lots of time, effort, and money on some strangled bike with a microscopic motor to follow the precise letter of the law.

I'm curious to hear the experiences and attitudes of Londoners.
 

vfr400

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 12, 2011
1,228
168
Basildon
I can't find any evidence of an illegal electric bike rider ever having been prosecuted, but you have to bear in mind the case of the fixie rider that hit a woman when she stepped out in front of him without looking while texting. She died. He went to jail for a long time because he didn't have a front brake.

It's difficult to prove that some illegal kits are in fact illegal, but you'll make it a lot easier for them by fitting a massive pancake motor in your back wheel.
 
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anon4

Esteemed Pedelecer
May 9, 2017
487
66
27
GB
I'm hearing a lot of conflicting stances on this matter. Some threads like this https://www.pedelecs.co.uk/forum/threads/do-the-cops-care-about-illegal-ebikes.26541/ essentially say "use it sensibly and nobody will care" while others warn of serious legal consequences.

If it's that risky I might just return the items and abandon the project. I can't be bothered to expend lots of time, effort, and money on some strangled bike with a microscopic motor to follow the precise letter of the law.

I'm curious to hear the experiences and attitudes of Londoners.
Here in the north east noone gives a shite about my modded Carrera that shoots along at 25mph. Can't vouch for London, but one advantage these have is they don't cause noise pollution, hardly anyone seems to know what they are so you will probably not be bothered if you ride sensibly, which you have to to stay alive in whacky races London anyway. It is still all at your own risk though, we get away with it now but the police may turn their attention once enough idiots start causing harm with them. Chances are if you pretend to peddle like mad when going fast noone will even notice
 

Bike_Curious

Finding my (electric) wheels
Mar 15, 2019
7
1
I can't find any evidence of an illegal electric bike rider ever having been prosecuted, but you have to bear in mind the case of the fixie rider that hit a woman when she stepped out in front of him without looking while texting. She died. He went to jail for a long time because he didn't have a front brake.

It's difficult to prove that some illegal kits are in fact illegal, but you'll make it a lot easier for them by fitting a massive pancake motor in your back wheel.
This is one example I found on this site https://guernseypress.com/news/2017/12/18/electric-bike-rider-is-taken-off-roads/

I had considered that the mid-drive conversion kit style might be more discreet. Maybe I'll give the pancake back, and try to fit something mid-drive instead.

Presumably determining whether it's legal or not requires the bike to be confiscated and taken somewhere for analysis. It seems unlikely that would happen for a "routine" stop and search, unless you've done something dangerous or aggressive to **** them off. I don't know :/
 

vfr400

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 12, 2011
1,228
168
Basildon
Guensey is a tiny island where everybody can see what's going on. It's nearer to France than our mainland and it's not even in the UK. Stop being a smartass. If it really worries you what's going on 100 miles out to sea, give up the idea of that 1000W kit then.
 
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Bike_Curious

Finding my (electric) wheels
Mar 15, 2019
7
1
Guensey is a tiny island where everybody can see what's going on. It's nearer to France than our mainland and it's not even in the UK. Stop being a smartass. If it really worries you what's going on 100 miles out to sea, give up the idea of that 1000W kit then.
I'm not trying to be a smartass, I'm just paranoid. Or looking to gauge how much my paranoia is justified. Didn't know Guernsey wasn't in the UK, TIL.

I ordered the kit kind of impulsively and I guess I didn't think it through. Since only motors with >750W come in those large diameter black cases, it's pretty easy to identify from a distance as illegal. It might be worth opting for a mid-drive type for more stealth.
 
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tommie

Esteemed Pedelecer
Mar 13, 2013
1,527
418
Co. Down, N. Ireland, U.K.
To be honest less would do especially if it`s used mainly in and around London, there`s plenty of legal hub and mid-drive conversions out there that will do the job much better.
I`d consider the likes of Woosh or one of the other sellers in this forum, they`re always there in case you need guidance or run into problems, something you won`t get from Ebay sellers.
 

Wicky

Esteemed Pedelecer
Feb 12, 2014
1,142
1,379
Colchester, Essex
www.jhepburn.co.uk
Try searching for threads relating to keywords London commute

https://www.pedelecs.co.uk/forum/threads/commuting-to-work-on-ebike-in-london.31356/

https://www.pedelecs.co.uk/forum/threads/also-looking-to-commute-in-london-different-parameters.19675/

https://www.pedelecs.co.uk/forum/threads/what-bike-for-a-20-mile-each-way-daily-commute.30991/

etc.

And if your route is through stop start traffic light dominated roads then a bike with better acceleration compared to rip roaring outright speed will have an advantage of its own. Have you experince of riding a pedelec? - if not arrange a test ride to get a better idea of a practical performance offered by standard pedelec as a baseline for your build. It could potentially save you hundreds of pounds, time & grief ...
 

Phil Dryden

Pedelecer
Jun 20, 2018
99
43
65
Leicester
Hi Bike_Curious
I think that your caution is well advised. There has been a smattering, admittedly small, of prosecutions for the use of illegal ebikes. The danger of accidents and injury involving innocent parties is not, however, the only factor to be taken into consideration; such occurrences, or even just a visit to this website, could well confirm to the authorities that the law is being disregarded on a widespread basis and the result could be more onerous legislation for ALL pedelecers. This is something which we should reflect on out of fairness to all. My own particular gripe is the number of ordinary "bike users", (can't call them cyclists), riding around on roads, paths, and cycleways at night showing no lights or any respect for the Highway Code. These folk are a real menace to motorists and pedestrians alike, and should be dealt with by Plod.
 

krzychoniusz

Pedelecer
Jul 22, 2018
49
2
London
I have been riding around central London on a BBSHD powered ebike pretty much every day for the last 6 months. Throttle only, no pedalling, big bike with mirrors and massive battery pack - not exactly trying to blend in. I pass the police vehicles few times on every commute and never had any issues. With so much traffic you will blend in perfectly. There is a ton of electric scooters which are equally illegal and much more visible and these don't get stopped too. Just as an example, last month I saw I guy riding an electric monocycle near Liverpool St station, tailgating a police car in the middle lane for good half a mile and no one cared. If you're sensible, wearing a helmet and not endangering others you will be absolutely fine. Just don't crash into anything, that's when things could get messy. Or buy an insurance.
 

vfr400

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 12, 2011
1,228
168
Basildon
Hi Bike_Curious
I think that your caution is well advised. There has been a smattering, admittedly small, of prosecutions for the use of illegal ebikes. The danger of accidents and injury involving innocent parties is not, however, the only factor to be taken into consideration; such occurrences, or even just a visit to this website, could well confirm to the authorities that the law is being disregarded on a widespread basis and the result could be more onerous legislation for ALL pedelecers. This is something which we should reflect on out of fairness to all. My own particular gripe is the number of ordinary "bike users", (can't call them cyclists), riding around on roads, paths, and cycleways at night showing no lights or any respect for the Highway Code. These folk are a real menace to motorists and pedestrians alike, and should be dealt with by Plod.
Sorry to have to be contrary, but can you produce some evidence that anyone has ever been prosecuted? There has always been scaremongering, but nobody has ever given us anything concrete.

The aregument about tighter legislation because there are too many illegal bikes has been running here for at least 10 years. If anything, during that time, legislation has given us more freedom to get the power we want.
 

Bike_Curious

Finding my (electric) wheels
Mar 15, 2019
7
1
I've decided I don't want the headaches of an illegal bike. I'm going to return the item, and at some point in the future get one that complies with the law.
 

Woosh

Trade Member
May 19, 2012
10,379
7,273
Southend on Sea
wooshbikes.co.uk
I've decided I don't want the headaches of an illegal bike. I'm going to return the item, and at some point in the future get one that complies with the law.
well said.
legal kits are also lighter and more energy efficient.
If you need high torque, I would recommend something like the Woosh 48V TSDZ2 kit. If you prefer to avoid shifting gears, the X08C kit.
 

Charliefox

Pedelecer
Feb 11, 2015
205
48
74
Culloden Moor Inverness
I'm not trying to be a smartass, I'm just paranoid. Or looking to gauge how much my paranoia is justified. Didn't know Guernsey wasn't in the UK, TIL.

I ordered the kit kind of impulsively and I guess I didn't think it through. Since only motors with >750W come in those large diameter black cases, it's pretty easy to identify from a distance as illegal. It might be worth opting for a mid-drive type for more stealth.
You could still go up to 20mph easily with a 350W geared rear hub which is same size as a 250W and hardly noticeable. you would get 25miles plus from a 10Amh battery too.Quick off the lights as well. Surely London traffic is usually pretty slow anyway.
 

Nealh

Esteemed Pedelecer
Aug 7, 2014
7,135
2,716
55
West Sx RH
A 250/350w hub is capable of up to 28/30 mph if used @48v, you just have to get the correct rpm winding for your terrain use.
 

krzychoniusz

Pedelecer
Jul 22, 2018
49
2
London
Since only motors with >750W come in those large diameter black cases, it's pretty easy to identify from a distance as illegal.
Unless an officer is an ebike enthusiast they will never spot if the motor is overpowered or not. Event then, unless there is a label on it that says it's more than 250W, or there is no label at all (as required by the law), you could claim this is a 250W kit. Similarly with mid-drive motors, it would be difficult to know for certain if it's a 250W road legal or 1000W overpowered motor just by looking at it if there was no label on it. Riding fast does not necessarily mean the motor is overpowered, you could have just been pedalling really fast. Central London is full of cyclists hitting 30-35mph on road bikes.

The only way to prove you wrong would be to take your bike to a testing facility which is extremely unlikely unless you've been stopped for doing 100mph; routine check would most likely be limited to a conversation. Be a nice guy and you'll just be told to slow down.
 

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