Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Electric Bikes
Reload this Page >

Legality of Riding on Public Roads with No Battery or Controller?

Notices
Electric Bikes Here's a place to discuss ebikes, from home grown to high-tech.

Legality of Riding on Public Roads with No Battery or Controller?

Old 03-10-22, 12:59 PM
  #1  
portals
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2022
Posts: 21
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 4 Times in 2 Posts
Legality of Riding on Public Roads with No Battery or Controller?

I intend to buy an ebike kit and the rear hub motor will be say 48V 1000W with a suitable battery pack to power it.

My question is for example during the build I first remove original back wheel and put on the rear hub and do nothing else, no controller, battery or anything else at this point. I decide to take the bike for a test ride to make sure that the rear wheel is a good fit as I will have to cold set the steel frame from 126mm to 135mm and I want to make sure that nothing is rubbing and that the frame alignment and tracking seem good.

What happens if I get pulled over by cops, all I have is a rear wheel with a motor on it (albeit above the UK legal 250W limit), but no way of powering/controlling it rendering it just another 'dumb' bike wheel? Is my bike technically legal or illegal, does merely the fact that I have the motor rear hub wheel on render it illegal, does anyone have any ideas....?

I'm asking as what I was thinking about is making controller, battery and throttle etc. easily removable using my own harnesses so I can ride legally as a normal bike on roads however when I get the chance to ride on private land I can install the controller, battery etc.
portals is offline  
Old 03-10-22, 01:07 PM
  #2  
sloppy12
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Posts: 480
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 166 Post(s)
Liked 247 Times in 145 Posts
I assume this is a direct drive hub motor you want to use? If so pretty much guarantee you wont want to ride it with no power. they suck pretty bad unpowered. For a test ride sure I can see that and it is totally doable, but thats about it.

as for legality in the UK I guess it depends on how big a jerk the cop is, or how stupid you were behaving to require a cop to pull you over on a bike. In the US I cant imagine a unpowered motor regardless of its theoretical power rating ever being a issue.
sloppy12 is offline  
Likes For sloppy12:
Old 03-10-22, 05:08 PM
  #3  
portals
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2022
Posts: 21
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 4 Times in 2 Posts
I assume this is a direct drive hub motor you want to use? If so pretty much guarantee you wont want to ride it with no power. they suck pretty bad unpowered. For a test ride sure I can see that and it is totally doable, but thats about it.

Thanks for the feedback, I have no experience of trying to ride a bike with a hub motor as a normal bike, I thought probably it would be a bad idea, thank you for confirming. ;-)

Coming at this from another way, if I have an ebike that is wired with a controller and battery and I swap out the back wheel removing the motor hub with a normal wheel, is that legal in UK?

From another way, what if I strapped a 12V car battery in to my back basket on a normal bike, just for fun, is that illegal?

Or a BCM to the bike with nothing else, where does that stand?

I think you can probably see where I'm going with this, I want the ebike larger motor distance potential but also option to ride it normally as a bike for school run etc. and be legal, getting pulled by cops with my son would not be a good look.... To do this I need to be able to as quickly as possible convert between the two, so I'm wondering what I can 'keep' on the bike to achieve this?

Thanks

PS:
as for legality in the UK I guess it depends on how big a jerk the cop is, or how stupid you were behaving to require a cop to pull you over on a bike. In the US I cant imagine a unpowered motor regardless of its theoretical power rating ever being a issue.

Lol, it's Glasgow, Scotland, fyi 90+% of them are, being polite, 'jerks'.... :-!
portals is offline  
Old 03-10-22, 11:42 PM
  #4  
Leisesturm
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 5,096
Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1901 Post(s)
Liked 403 Times in 291 Posts
Emigrate. But if you choose not to, just do what the nice people say and use a 250W motor and controller, etc. and call it good. Or get two bikes.
Leisesturm is offline  
Likes For Leisesturm:
Old 03-11-22, 12:19 AM
  #5  
CliffordK
Senior Member
 
CliffordK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Eugene, Oregon, USA
Posts: 26,884
Mentioned: 213 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 15732 Post(s)
Liked 3,160 Times in 2,353 Posts
Around here, very few police officers would be bike savvy enough to be able to look at an E-Bike and recognize the difference between a 250W motor and a 2,500W motor.

Does the motor wattage depend on the power pack?

So, a 1000W motor on 48V may only draw 250W on 12V. It would be hard for an officer to argue power draw in court without even having a battery.
CliffordK is offline  
Likes For CliffordK:
Old 03-11-22, 08:36 AM
  #6  
cat0020
Ride more, eat less
 
cat0020's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Philla PA, Hoboken NJ, Brooklyn NY
Posts: 1,476

Bikes: Too many but never enough.

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 430 Post(s)
Liked 312 Times in 212 Posts
Legality is always black or white, but they can put away someone innocent for decades in prison; they can just about argue anything they accuse you of.
It's all about your interaction and how well you can get yourself out of trouble when caught.
If both fails, you better be wealthy enough to get decent representation.
Or at least that's how it is in the US, other legal system may vary.. but being wealthy usually help a great deal.

There is little chance that you can disguise a 1000w hub-motor and argue that it only cranks out 250w power. It's like driving a Ferrari and tell officer that you only drive at the specific speed limits.
Building your own ebike can be fun, but 126mm rear spacing road frames are probably not the best candidate for 1000w hub-motor, especially after you spread the rear spacing to 135mm.
Sure it might be fine for a while, but it only needs to fail once when you're using that 1000w power output.
Determine your priority for the ebike that you're trying to build, avoiding attention of LEO's is rarely makes it on the list for me; but we all look for different things.

Personally, I like to carry nothing while riding, not even a backpack; put everything on the bike, if that allows the hub motor, battery pack & controller to be obscured from view, maybe that's an option?
cat0020 is offline  
Old 03-11-22, 09:25 AM
  #7  
mclewis1
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2020
Posts: 42
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)
Liked 28 Times in 20 Posts
With no battery and controller you won't have an illegal setup, just a heavy and really slow bike. There is no regulation as to how big and heavy a wheel hub can be (despite it also being an electric motor as long as it's un powered). I personally don't think you'll get much of a look from the police as you'll be going very slowly. If you do happen to draw some attention it will be pretty clear that without a battery you have an unpowered setup. Politely explaining you are just testing out the fit for a setup that you intend to ride off road on private land would be the only conversation needed ... but if you later run into that same police officer while on the operational setup you may not be able to explain things away.
mclewis1 is offline  
Old 03-11-22, 09:27 AM
  #8  
sloppy12
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Posts: 480
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 166 Post(s)
Liked 247 Times in 145 Posts
Originally Posted by portals View Post
I assume this is a direct drive hub motor you want to use? If so pretty much guarantee you wont want to ride it with no power. they suck pretty bad unpowered. For a test ride sure I can see that and it is totally doable, but thats about it.

Thanks for the feedback, I have no experience of trying to ride a bike with a hub motor as a normal bike, I thought probably it would be a bad idea, thank you for confirming. ;-)

Coming at this from another way, if I have an ebike that is wired with a controller and battery and I swap out the back wheel removing the motor hub with a normal wheel, is that legal in UK?

From another way, what if I strapped a 12V car battery in to my back basket on a normal bike, just for fun, is that illegal?

Or a BCM to the bike with nothing else, where does that stand?

I think you can probably see where I'm going with this, I want the ebike larger motor distance potential but also option to ride it normally as a bike for school run etc. and be legal, getting pulled by cops with my son would not be a good look.... To do this I need to be able to as quickly as possible convert between the two, so I'm wondering what I can 'keep' on the bike to achieve this?

Thanks

PS:
as for legality in the UK I guess it depends on how big a jerk the cop is, or how stupid you were behaving to require a cop to pull you over on a bike. In the US I cant imagine a unpowered motor regardless of its theoretical power rating ever being a issue.

Lol, it's Glasgow, Scotland, fyi 90+% of them are, being polite, 'jerks'.... :-!
I think maybe you should ask or at least find the local rules/laws whatever. your questions are bordering on "If I dont have gas in my car is it still a car?" The answer is gonna be most likely if you are doing something wrong in the first place.
sloppy12 is offline  
Old 03-11-22, 11:18 AM
  #9  
2old
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: socal
Posts: 3,421
Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 678 Post(s)
Liked 466 Times in 355 Posts
It's difficult for individuals in the US since, as above, the constabulary pretty much wouldn't notice an e-bike unless it was breaking the speed limit. I've ridden bikes with double the allowed 750 W on city streets, and as long as I kept pedaling and stayed below 30 mph, police drive by without incident, but who knows in Scotland. Do you have any local forums or have you asked on pedelecs.co.uk since that's a more equivalent situation. Also, at times I rode my bike without power, and it was fun for awhile and great exercise, but taxing.
2old is offline  
Old 03-11-22, 05:01 PM
  #10  
portals
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2022
Posts: 21
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 4 Times in 2 Posts
Thanks for all the replies and some good points made above.

So I need to have a think about a few things and also do some more research on pedelecs.co.uk, thanks again for the input.
portals is offline  
Likes For portals:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.