Electric bicycles are rapidly becoming popular mobility solutions for folks residing in urban areas. Depending on where in the world you’re from, your e-bike should not exceed a certain level of power for you to be able to ride it without a license. In the US, this is a somewhat reasonable 750 watts. However, across the pond in Europe and the UK, the limit is much lower at 250 watts.

So what do you do if you want a faster e-bike—perhaps one that can hit speeds closer to that of a full on electric motorcycle? Well, you modify it of course. Indeed, electric motors on e-bikes are fairly easy to boost, with the removal of a speed governor providing quite a lot more oomph. That said, there’s a big problem when it comes to boosting e-bikes for more power: it’s illegal.

And a certain e-bike rider in the UK learned this the hard way when their souped up electric two-wheeler was seized by police.


A recent Tweet (I still call it Twitter, fight me) by the City Police Cycle Team showed what appears to be a heavily modified electric bicycle rocking a powerful hub motor. The e-bike looks pretty much like a homemade electric motorcycle, rocking pedals just for the sake of being called a bicycle.

The video on the City Police Cycle Team’s post shows an unloaded top speed of 73 miles per hour on the speedometer.

It’s estimated that this e-bike has about 2,000 watts of power on tap, nearly 10 times the legal limit allowed on UK streets. UK police described the modified two-wheeler as a “homemade monster,” and emphasized that the legal limits for e-bike performance are 250 watts and 15.5 miles per hour.

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It goes without saying that electric bicycles are super cool and tons of fun. But modifying them to go way faster than they were designed to do so is illegal for a reason. Not only are they potentially dangerous given their drastically increased top speed, they could also be fire hazards, as a lot of these modified e-bikes were built in a basement or backyard, with high-powered motors and batteries bought online.

With more and more e-bikes hitting the market, and more and more illegal activity involving these two-wheelers occurring, it’s only a matter of time until law enforcement rolls out stricter regulations surrounding their use.

And for law-abiding e-bike riders, this sucks big time.

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