Press release #eBike Systems

New software from Bosch eBike Systems protects against tuning

  • Anti-tuning software for eBike drive systems from Bosch
  • Technical solution in the fight against eBike tuning
  • Pedelec tuning isn't just some trivial offence
Tamara Winograd

Tamara Winograd >

Stuttgart/Reutlingen – Tuning pedelecs is a risky business. Many people don't realise that using tuned eBikes on public roads may not only lead to technical problems and safety-related issues, but can also result in serious legal consequences. Awareness and prevention are important. Technological measures will also be taken to make manipulation more difficult in the future. For model year 2020, Bosch eBike Systems is launching software that recognises eBike tuning and consequently reduces support. This solution is the Bosch response to a requirement included in the current European standard (EN 15194: 2017) for electric motor-supported bicycles, marking another important step in the fight against tuning.

New software to protect against tuning

Bosch eBike Systems has developed software that uses a sensor to detect whether the pedelec has been tuned. If the software recognises that the drive has been manipulated, the eBike automatically switches to limp home mode. Consequence: an error code in the display indicates manipulation and electric support is reduced. The eBiker can restore the original riding settings by riding the pedelec for around 90 minutes. As soon as the system returns to normal mode, however, the manipulation check will be repeated. After the third time, limp home mode can only be deactivated by a specialist dealer using the Bosch DiagnosticTool. This reduces riding enjoyment and discourages manipulation. The software will be installed in all Bosch eBike drive systems from model year 2020 onwards. Specialist dealers can use the Bosch DiagnosticTool to detect manipulation of the eBike, even if the tuning kit was previously removed. The dealer can see whether the pedelec has been tuned and how often.

Equal status of bikes and pedelecs

For Claus Fleischer, CEO of Bosch eBike Systems, this innovation marks a major advance in the fight against tuning: "We are persistently fighting the practice of tuning and are continuing to develop our technology further. It is important to us that eBikes - in other words pedelecs with maximum support of 25 km/h - continue to be classified as bicycles in future, with all the associated rights and obligations. We must protect and preserve this status so that bikers can continue to enjoy an electric tailwind." That's why Bosch eBike Systems is committed to responsible, lawful and compliant eBiking.

What does "tuning" actually mean?

Pedelecs with support up to 25 km/h and a rated continuous output of the motor of up to 250 watts are regarded as equivalent to bicycles by law and thus do not require vehicle insurance, a registration plate or a driving licence. There's likewise no minimum age limit for operating an eBike. With the aid of tuning kits, it is possible to increase an eBike's maximum speed, i.e. to "soup up" the motor by having the speedometer transmit a significantly lower speed indication to the motor than the actual speed. The drive unit will support such commands until the speedometer reaches 25 km/h. The risk: there is a danger that buyers could lose existing guarantee and warranty entitlements on the Bosch eBike system and other bicycle components. There are also possible technical consequences: The improper use of the system can reduce the service life of the components, and eBikers can risk damaging the drive unit and the bike itself.

Tuning isn't just some trivial offence

Legally speaking, people who tune their pedelecs no longer ride an electric bike that is classified in the same way as a bicycle and should expect consequences. As a general rule, a tuned eBike is the equivalent of a moped (S-pedelec). Riders therefore require a driving license and vehicle insurance. Any infringement of these regulations can result in charges for operating a motor vehicle without a driving licence and violating Germany's Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act – punishable by fines and imprisonment or possibly civil consequences such as liability for personal injury, should accidents occur. What's more, tuning compromises the safety of the pedelec and endangers riders themselves as well as other road users. "If cyclists tamper with their eBikes by tuning them, thereby risking possible accidents and injuries, this will give rise to policies that include more stringent regulations and future bans. This would cancel out the benefits that all other eBike fans are able to enjoy. Tuning is completely unnecessary for fully enjoying everything that eBikes have to offer. On the contrary: any tuning ruins the real fun of it all – whether on a relaxed cruise, or pursuing sport riding fair and square" says Fleisher pointedly.

Bosch eBike Systems is shaping the future of eBike mobility with innovative products and digital services ranging from highly efficient drive systems to the first production-ready ABS for eBikes and Connected Biking solutions. On the daily routes through the city, on leisurely rides through the countryside or for sporting adventures in the mountains: Bosch eBike Systems offers eBikers the right drive system (drive unit, battery, display, and app) for every requirement and every area of use, ensuring a unique riding sensation. Today, more than 100 of the world's leading bicycle brands trust the perfectly coordinated, modular product portfolio. As an independent division within the Bosch Group, Bosch eBike Systems also makes use of the Group's technology and manufacturing expertise. For healthy, safe and sustainable mobility that is fun.

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The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. It employs roughly 421,000 associates worldwide (as of December 31, 2022). The company generated sales of 88.2 billion euros in 2022. Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. As a leading IoT provider, Bosch offers innovative solutions for smart homes, Industry 4.0, and connected mobility. Bosch is pursuing a vision of mobility that is sustainable, safe, and exciting. It uses its expertise in sensor technology, software, and services, as well as its own IoT cloud, to offer its customers connected, cross-domain solutions from a single source. The Bosch Group’s strategic objective is to facilitate connected living with products and solutions that either contain artificial intelligence (AI) or have been developed or manufactured with its help. Bosch improves quality of life worldwide with products and services that are innovative and spark enthusiasm. In short, Bosch creates technology that is “Invented for life.” The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 470 subsidiary and regional companies in over 60 countries. Including sales and service partners, Bosch’s global manufacturing, engineering, and sales network covers nearly every country in the world. With its more than 400 locations worldwide, the Bosch Group has been carbon neutral since the first quarter of 2020. The basis for the company’s future growth is its innovative strength. At 136 locations across the globe, Bosch employs some 85,500 associates in research and development, of which nearly 44,000 are software engineers.

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