80km/h on an electric bike?

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Any visitor to France will soon notice the wasp-like whine of scooters that have been modified by teenagers. Some part of me thinks that if you are going to be riding an underpowered moped powered by engine designed for a garden strimmer then you’d want to ride around in silence, to avoid drawing attention to your puny ride. It’s hardly the manly twin-valve growl of a Ducati or Aprilia.

But the adapted exhaust silencers are tribute to the search for extra speed. An €800 moped can be adapted to squeeze out more power, to get more air in and out of the engine and with luck the acceleration and top end speed will get a boost.

In the same spirit, it seems people are beginning to modify and customise electric bikes. Some models offer 30km/h for 30 minutes or 200W/h but they have limiters and some modification to the circuitry and you can get 80km/h, albeit for under 10 minutes.

This isn’t to add to the high voltage Cancellara debate, although we can note that the technology clearly exists. If you are out riding hard one day, don’t be surprised to see someone on a shopping bike come sailing by.

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