Heres something for anyone in the UK frustrated by UK electric bicycle law. A couple of years ago i thought 'hey, i dont want to pay these rising fuel prices anymore, i want to be green, and i love bicycles. Lets try an electric bike'. I found a ready made one for a reasonable price. The first ride was fun. But i quickly realized i wasnt making any of my journeys faster then i used to on my regular bicycle, and i hadnt extended my range beyond what i used to do with leg power alone. It dawned on me that the 16mph speed limit in the UK effectively meant that all electric bicycle manufacturers were doing was taking the perfect concept of the bicycle and adding a load of unjustifiable weight to it. Fortunately i had 30 day money back guarantee.
In my disappointment, i drifted around the internet looking for alternative solutions, and thats when i found two important ingredients; 1. the very inspiring endless sphere forum, assisting people in the design and construction of 30mph electric bicycles (a much more realistic speed for a regular road transportation vehicle), and 2. the Motorcycle Single Vehicle Approval manual (MSVA). This manual details the standards and criteria to which someone living in the UK must adhere when building their own motorcycle, the goal being to pass an official examination, after which your home made vehicle can ride around just like any motorcycle with license plates and tax discs and MOTs. Phone calls to various testing stations clarified that nothing in the basic idea of a 30mph electric bicycle prevented it from passing the MSVA test. It is more a matter of the details.
The details are unfortunately extensive and technical. A 207p list of things like 'radius of curvature of bodied vehicle protrusions must be 2.5mm or greater, 7mm or greater for the ends of brake lever, 3.5mm for... etc etc', and 'mirrors must be convex, between 94mm and 150mm diameter, positioned more the 280mm from the centre line of the vehicle, etc etc.
So... Im not sure there is much point in me trying to give an overview of the details in this post. Here is a link to the manual, http://www.dft.gov.uk/vosa/repository/M ... 010%20.pdf
so anyone who is interested can get a sense of the feasibility of the 30mph UK road legal electric bicycle project. It took me 1.5 years to work through the manual and find solutions to all the problems. BUT, now that i have, i can answer any questions for anyone who wants to do the same, and im certain that will speed up the process. Most of the 1.5 years was spent on dead ends, trial and error, or just hard work that, after my first test, i had to go away and completely change.
Or, if you are just curious, you can ask about any aspect of the bicycle and i will describe it and how it related to the manuals specifications. For all the endless sphere regulars, you'll recognize the meat and bones of the bicycle, pretty basic for an ebike build: 9c 9*7 hub motor, ping 48v 20ah battery, infineon 35a 12fet controller.
Also, if anyone needed any hands on help, ive aquired a few skills during this project, like bicycle and motorcycle wheelbuilding, brazing/welding, and of course soldering. If you live anywhere near the southeast coast of england or are willing to travel there.
This post isnt very long, and i really feel i owe the endless sphere community more information then just this. I should have kept a build diary. Mark II of the bike will get its own build diary. Mark I pictured above was initially built to take two passengers, using an xtracycle. Sadly this could not pass the test for maximum weight reasons, but Mark II will... so it will be more interesting. Also, it uses a cromotor, which ive already laced for a motorcycle rim and tire. The cromotor/motorcycle rim issue deserves some attention and clarification, it is not at all straightforward, so i'll make a separate post for it. Lacing for motorcycle rims ties in with building a UK road legal 30mph ebike, as one has to use motorcycle tires... but there is one, just one model of tire that will fit a bicycle rim, so it can be alot simpler. Anyway, i'll link to that post when ive finished it.