As the popularity of e-bikes rises, so too does the knowledge of how fun, efficient, and useful they can be. You may hear your friends or coworkers describing their e-bike and how much they love it and wonder which type of e-bike would be right for you. They may also tell you about modifications they make to the bike, sometimes called “refits” or “retrofits”. Modifications such as speed increases, battery swaps, light changes, and customized racks are all possible, but some changes are not recommended.
But this is the beauty of the electric bike world. As more riders join the community, they discover new and cool ways to customize and personalize their e-bikes. Other riders see this and put their own spin on a mod. In this way, everyone can have something unique and suited specifically to their style. However, it is important to remember that not all modifications are safe to make to an e-bike. Sometimes, refitting an e-bike can have disastrous consequences. Today’s article is a short public service announcement about the dangers of modifying an e-bike.
We support having fun and personalizing our e-bikes, but not at the expense of your safety or the safety of others. It’s cool to care about the well-being of yourself and other riders, pedestrians, and drivers. This shows a level of maturity and a sense of belonging to the electric bike community. Let’s all give our community a good name by following these tips to be as safe as possible when retrofitting your e-bike.
Speed Limit Modifications
It is normal to wonder how fast an e-bike can go. Especially when you first begin riding, it is a natural temptation to reach the highest speed limit with your shiny new bicycle. We do not recommend modifying the settings in any way to increase the speed. Our bikes are designed, built, and tested to certain quality standards and within specific operating ranges. We employ professionals at every level to ensure the safety and quality of every bike that we send to a customer.
In addition, there are laws which govern the speed of e-bikes used in the United States today. Himiway e-bikes are considered Class 2 e-bikes and have a top speed of 25-28mph. To accommodate multiple uses, Himiway bikes have the option to set your maximum speed to whatever number you want and see it on the backlit LCD. In this way, you can customize the speed of your e-bike within a safe range.
The best part about operating your bike within the pre-set factory speeds set by the manufacturer is that it will perform optimally for range, lifespan, and comfort of your ride. If you modify your bike to go faster than recommended, the range of the battery may be diminished. As we’ve designed all our bikes to be long-range e-bikes, this would be a big drawback to your riding experience.
Doing so will cause the motor to work at a higher power than normal and the battery will need to output a large current which may deteriorate the battery itself or the wires which may burn. It may also be highly illegal to operate a sped-up e-bike. If you are in or cause an accident, you may be liable for severe legal and monetary fines. For this reason, we do not recommend the modification of the top speed of your bike.
Battery or Motor Modifications
To alter the speed, or simply to safe money when replacing parts, you may be tempted to modify and refit the battery or motor of your e-bike. This poses a large safety hazard though. The original factory charging and discharging system may not be suited for larger-capacity batteries than what came with your bike. This will lead to the battery easily being overheated which will reduce the lifespan of the battery and increase the risk of fire.
Operating a bike with different batteries and motors may wear on the other parts of the bike too such as the gear systems, brakes, and tires. Tuning your battery or motor may also require you to carry additional insurance or avoid certain bike paths due to the power of your bike. Because we want all our riders to be safe and enjoy their e-bikes as much as possible, we do not recommend replacing your battery or motor by yourself. Only an expert, licensed professional should attempt such repairs or maintenance.
Finally, it turns out that many modifications are simply against the law. Electric mobility is still such a new concept that laws may vary from state to state and country to country. However, one thing remains constant: putting yourself or others in danger of harm will carry huge repercussions. Tuned or refitted e-bike systems may turn your bike from a traditional class 2 e-bike into a moped or motorcycle in the eyes of the law. But because e-bikes are not equipped with the same power and safety features of motorcycles, this could cause you to incur heavy fines or risk severe injury.
Making these modifications may jeopardize the e-bike community that we all love. If too many people break the law in this manner, it is possible that states will crack down on the use of e-bikes and we will lose some of the freedoms we currently enjoy such as commuting safely to work, riding through a peaceful park, or getting exercise in the great outdoors while vacationing.
If you are unsure about whether a modification is illegal or not, err on the side of caution and do not make the change. This way you will stay safe, healthy, and happy knowing you are not at risk. Besides, there are plenty of legal upgrades you can make to alter the color or style of your bike.
Modifications May Void Your Warranty
Lastly, tampering with the speed, batteries, motors, or adding other unapproved aftermarket parts of a Himiway e-bike may void the great warranty that we offer on our bikes. We cannot guarantee the safety or quality of retro-fitted e-bikes. Himiway bikes come with a 2-year warranty which will give you confidence in your purchase and peace of mind on your ride.
We know our riders love their bikes and love riding them in a variety of scenarios. We fully support safe riding habits and proper maintenance or repairs of all our bikes. However, as we’ve learned today, there can be dire consequences for manipulating the speed limit, motor, or battery of an e-bike. This may void the warranty and open you up to financial or legal trouble. And we certainly don’t want anyone injured due to risky or dangerous modifications.
To avoid those issues entirely, only use licensed and approved parts and repair shops to work on your e-bike and skip the illegal tuning altogether. Happy riding!