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This post comes after our experience sending bikes to Australia but this has also effected several of our EU based backers specifically in Germany where they have some very stringent regulations on electric bikes and their motor power rating.
You see the EU has written regulations that govern the total power output of motors that are supplied on electric bikes opting to set this limitation at 250w which on the surface may seem like a reasonable power rating and more then enough for the average user as these bikes are strictly meant to 'assist' the rider in getting from a to b. The problem arises however that this limitation is ill conceived for several reasons for example, if one digs deeper into the entire reasoning behind this limitation its really based in the fact that these electric bikes should not provide assist to any rider past a speed limit of 25kph. That is quite fast and depending on the rider weight, there can be a lot of momentum generated for someone traveling at speed considering that the average electric bike weighs in excess of 20kg plus the rider weight. Assuming an average rider weight of 100kg you are looking at approximately 100KN of force being applied if we measure the stopping distance at about 3 cm. This is a huge amount of energy that is transferred into the opposing object, enough to cause serious injury.
The problem is the following, the average person can pedal (without assist) faster then 25kph for short periods and if you look at the amount of assist versus rider weight, you will find that the average professional biker can easily generate 400w or energy on a normal bike. What ends up happening for heavier riders is that there is a severe performance hindrance even on flat terrain not to mention if there are any hills involved.
As has been the case in several instances in the past, the lawmakers are not looking at the real root causes and solutions in order to make riding safer in that what really should be regulated is the max speed while assisted by the power system. A heavier rider on a 500w bike for example may in fact get the same performance during the acceleration phase as a lighter rider would up hills while only on a 250w equipped electric bike.
The power systems can be regulated with internal electronics or the bike computer and the max speed which can be easily tested (as opposed to trying to figure out what watts the motor on the electric bike installed is, if there are no markings on the motor).
As electric bikes are made more mainstream by such companies such as ours that are enabling people whom may not have seen the value proposition at a price of 1500 USD but can easily see the value when the price costs less then 500 USD, the regulations should reflect the desired final outcome instead of imposing limits that negatively effect the user's experience based on factors that were not taken into account such as rider weight.
All Stark Drive bikes include inbuilt electronics that limit the total final speed when being assisted by the electric motor and/or when riding on pure electric power with the use of the Throttle.
CEO, Stark Drive LLC.