back to article UK government says no to turbo e-bike

The government today confirmed that an electrically powered bicycle, may not be sold in this country because its top speed exceeds legal limits. The Turbo e-cycle's US-based creator, Specialized, was all set to peddle its first battery-equipped bike in coming months across the EU. But with a top assisted speed of 28mph, it …


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  1. tanj666

    Govt can't keep the pace?

    I think our precious government is just jealous of the speed that this assisted bike would be able to port people about at. These people would not be buying petrol/diesel for cars then and the govt would be losing revenue, while people were actually getting on with things.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Govt can't keep the pace?

      I also think these devices should be legal. It's like a motorbike, but less safe, right?

      Anything to help the lycra-clad brigade accelerate off into the Darwin awards.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Govt can't keep the pace?

        Yes its a bit like a motorbike/moped ... but the rules for electrically assisted bicycles are drawn up the way they are so that they (electrically assisted bikes) aren't the same as mopeds but are treated as bicycles so that issue of driving licenses, VED, compulsory helments, number plates etc etc aren't applicable.

        1. Robredz

          Re: Govt can't keep the pace?

          They also have quadricycles, like the Aixam, restricted to 29 mph, which is basically a small car, you can drive at the age of 14 in France and some other EU countries without a driving licence. Over here even though they are low emission they are classed as a motorbike, so cost around £135 a year in VED, but are unrestricted, diesel ones do around 55mph and 80 ish mpg

    2. Tapeador

      Re: Govt can't keep the pace?

      I'm not so sure. At least with current bikes, the sheer effort of propelling one should in the overwhelming majority of cases get between the rider, and the number and seriousness of any potential accidents they could be involved in - because speed truly is the killer, and the multiplier of opportunities to be killed or injured. This bike would remove that vital obstacle.

      By way of extending the argument, the cost will fall on the public purse, of maintaining those not killed by their accidents - including paraplegic ex-cyclists AND the pedestrians hit by the dozier else more psychopathic/supremacist among the lycra-clad. This is small-c conservatism and nanny-statism in action preventing something dangerous which the rest of us must pick up the cost of - and I agree with it.

      1. Marvin the Martian

        Re: Top speed assistance?

        It would seem stupid to use the assistance to reach a higher top speed --- it means you have to peddle more when going slower (typically: uphill), and extra speed when you have to soon brake (downhill, typically).

        Here in hilly Exeter I'd pay good cash for this kind of bike: a battery-charging brake to make the inevitable downhill braking less of a waste, and an assist to get up the steepest bits (with a toddler and luggage on the back).

        It doesn't seem to be that difficult to limit the electric engine to sub-15mph speeds.

        1. Tapeador

          Re: Top speed assistance?

          @ Marvin

          I agreed with you until I realised the argument had a flaw - if it's easy to limit the speed, it's easy to circumvent the limitation.

      2. Homard

        @tapeworm - Re: Govt can't keep the pace?

        Most cyclists are sensible. Most own cars and pay road tax for them.

        They choose instead to get some exercise, instead of getting FAT.

        Cyclists have every bit as much right to be there as you do. Especially as they have paid road tax for cars they're not using.

        In my experience it is retarded car drivers that make the cyclists riding environment dangerous. They think we move like snails, and also that they have right of way when the rules of the road say they don't. So they act like an impatient mentally retarded fuckwit. When challenged these car drivers express surprise at the cyclists annoyance ! Fortunately these drivers are fairly rare, but unfortunately they are out there.

        Most cyclists can easily exceed the speeds quoted here for the electric bike. So, what purpose does the ban serve ?

        Most road users are considerate to cyclists, and everything moves smoothly. Thank you to these people :-) !!

        Lycra clad indeed. Jealous because you can't fit in any of the kit ?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @tapeworm - Govt can't keep the pace?

          " Lycra clad indeed. Jealous because you can't fit in any of the kit ?"

          Fitting into Lyra isn't a problem. Not looking like Morph with a 'glandular condition' on the other hand...

        2. Arclight

          Re: @tapeworm - Govt can't keep the pace?

          For once the phrase "Won't anyone think of the children" has a serious use on The Reg. Its not the lycra adults that are the problem, well they are when your sat behind a gaggle of them on a country road, its kids.

          As its a bicycle, kids can ride it. Given that the average 17 year-old, after several lessons and even passing a test, is the most lethal thing on the planet, do you really want one of these steaming along the footpath at 28 mph under the control of a 14 year old?

          1. Vic

            Re: @tapeworm - Govt can't keep the pace?

            > do you really want one of these steaming along the footpath at 28 mph

            No-one - absolutely no-one - is talking about permitting such things on the footpath.


        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: - Govt can't keep the pace?


          Oh yeah you ever seen those twats on push bikes jumping red lights in the city? Luckily most of the time they stay in the road while they dodge the traffic they should have stopped for at the lights. Then there are the twats who decide to say "F**k the lights!" and do just jump up on the pavement and make everyone get out of their way while they peddle off up the road. FInally there are the cyclists that find they need to be at the other end of a one way street and simply ride down it the wrong way up on the pavement, with a big, smug "F**k you, out of my way fatties!" smile on their faces!

          Yeah give these dopey twats a push bike that will do nearly 30 mph, sounds like a bloody good idea! When the Police starting nicking these selfish twats while they peddle up the pavement, then I'll be happy to let them have a faster push bike, until then at least they can only go as fast they can peddle up a pavement.


          1. The Indomitable Gall

            Re: - Govt can't keep the pace?

            That small minority tends to ride sub-£500 bikes. Anyone who goes past the grand mark tends to be a bit more sensible.

        4. The First Dave

          @Homard - "Most cyclists are sensible. "

          Can I have some of what you are smoking please? From my observation, Cyclists are the _least_ responsible road users on average - worse even than those 'variable width' motorbikes - the ones that only need the width of a white line when they want to overtake, but need an entire lane to themselves if they actually get stopped at traffic lights. (Very few motorbikers have the cheek to claim that they are pedestrians by pushing their bike through a 'green man')

          1. Vic

            Re: @Homard - "Most cyclists are sensible. "

            > need an entire lane to themselves if they actually get stopped at traffic lights.

            This is essential. It's how motorcyclists are taught to behave.

            The dangerous point for a motorcyclist is when a car is alongside. If the car moves over, the bike goes under its wheels.

            On the move, a motorcyclist may opt to overtake - at this point, he is in control of his position, and can get through the threat zone as quickly as he sees fit. He can choose the amount of clearance he wants for optimum safety.

            Once stationary, a car alongside becomes a real threat; if the car gets to the corner without the motorcycle being fully clear, a very dangerous accident is likely to occur. And you can't even hang back and let the car go - a significant number will just turn into you anyway, and the car behind is far too likely just to drive straight through you.

            So we have the situation where a motorcyclist is forced to take the whole of the lane. It's no great imposition for the cars behind, but the alternative is truly dangerous.


          2. Andus McCoatover

            Re: @Homard - "Most cyclists are sensible. "

            "but need an entire lane to themselves if they actually get stopped at traffic lights"

            We fuc*king do, so some prat in a lorry has a vague chance of seeing us, between episodes of Angry Birds or the girlfriend on his mobile.

            Fuc'k me sideways, Dave, can you even ride a bike? Believe me, in traffic, it's not fun!

        5. terlan

          Re: @tapeworm - Govt can't keep the pace?

          "Cyclists have every bit as much right to be there as you do. Especially as they have paid road tax for cars they're not using."

          Sorry but there is no such thing as ROAD TAX in the UK.

          There is an annual VEHICLE TAX, which hasn't been linked to road mainentance since about 1937. And its a per vehicle tax, so cyclists dont have that covered just because they own a car, as the vehicle tax only covers that vehicle. But then cycles would be exempt from it probably.

          However, they also dont have compulsory insurance, sometimes in the thousands of pounds, to cover their liabilty for damage to other vehicles and injury to people. Nor do they require to have ANY formal training or testing before they are let loose on the public roads. Anyone can walk into a shop, layout a wad of cash for a bike and begin riding on the road without knowing the differnce between a giveway sign and a stop sign. They also dont have to have their vehicles maintained and inspected by government testing stations every year. Nor is there a vehicle database of cycles registration marks that police or other authorities can use to identify the owner of a bike should he decide to break a law or say damage a vehicle or a person in a collision and decide to flee the scene.

          Now theres no reason why cyclists should be made to at least take the theory test before being allowed to ride certain roads, for example dual carriageways certain busy commuter routes, national speed limit areas etc, to show they have the responisbility and sensibilities to do so. A yearly check to enrure their vehicle is fit to be on the road, has proper lighting etc. Mandatory laws regarding safety equipment and visibile clothing for cycling at night say. And some for of third party liability insurance to assure the rest of us that if some dozy plonk on a bike slams into the side of your car while its sitting at lights and damages it, you can at least rest in the knowledge his insurance will cover the cost to repair damages to paintwork.

          Then cyclists can quite rightfully claimn to be entiled to the same rights as motorists, when they are treated the same as them in every aspect of road use, not just the bits cyclists like.

          So while I agree that cyclist do have the right to be on the road, and many have the greatest of intentions at times, such as saving the enviroment (carbon footprint of their rather expensive to make lycra outfits, bikes and other equipment not withstanding) and staying fit. there are a huge number running about without any regard for fellow travellers on the road, an over inflated sense of entilement, no clue what so ever about basic road signs, ettiquete or safety or ride in low visibility without lights or proper high visibilty clothing. And are simply a danger to themeselves and other road users. And these are the ones making the rest of you look bad and annoying drivers the most.

          1. Homard

            Re: @tapeworm - Govt can't keep the pace?

            I agree with many of your points, particularly cyclists not obeying the rules of the road, not being visible , not having lights, etc. I class the people who fit in these categories as idiots, not cyclists.

            Regarding insurance, I'm not sure you understand that real cyclists don't want to bump into you in the first place :-) !! One bump, even if it doesn't hurt you will write off a carbon fibre bike. The idiots without lights, etc as above that don't care won't get insurance. If I damage your car I'll pay for it, if I'm in the wrong.

            To fit with your being a pedant, I pay vehicle tax (until recently known as road tax :-)) to allow me to use my car on the road. Whilst your comment is correct, since I am the sole driver of my car, when I'm using my bike, by simple logic I can't be using my car. I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions ! Add to the argument that electric cars are road tax and London congestion charge exempt. Where do you want to go from here ? Riding my bike my 'carbon footprint' is lower than an electric car, and as I'm smaller on the road I cause less congestion. Can I have a rebate ? Perhaps that would cover the cost of the insurance you insist I should have ?

            My wife and I are both sensible cyclists. Well maintained bikes and all the right gear. Between us 4 near misses in the last 2 weeks due to fuckwitted car drivers. Are you really sure you know where the issue lies ??

  2. Lee Dowling Silver badge

    I could buy ten cars for that.


  3. Anonymous Cowbard

    those desperate to own a Turbo will have to travel to the continent to do so

    Presumably once bought on the continent it would be tricky to enforce any kind of ban if imported into the UK?

    Form an orderly queue in Calais bike shops please?

    1. spencer

      Re: those desperate to own a Turbo will have to travel to the continent to do so

      it's still illegal to actually go over 15mph on a battery assisted cycle, and if you don't pedal it's classed as a moped and you need a license for it.

      Of course you can import one for off road purposes...

    2. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: those desperate to own a Turbo will have to travel to the continent to do so

      You can drive it here, but you would need the appropriate class of motorbike licence, road tax and insurance in order to do so. Finding someone to insure it could be difficult.

      1. jonathanb Silver badge

        Re: those desperate to own a Turbo will have to travel to the continent to do so

        alternatively, there is nothing to stop you using it on your own land, or a private track with the owner's permission.

  4. D@v3


    What are they thinking, I can go faster than that on my pedal powered bike.

    Shame about the price, seems like a pretty neat idea, beats an electric car for sure

    1. Code Monkey
      Thumb Up

      Re: 15mph?

      Yup. I grew up in Lancashire where even fat lads can exceed the speed limit down the right hill.

      1. adnim

        Re: 15mph?

        I used to easily overtake cars coming down the A537 (Cat and Fiddle) into Macclesfield. I scared myself quite a few times.

    2. Lallabalalla

      Re: 15mph?

      Damn right - i *average* 12mph through traffic to work and back every day. On my old (slightly better geared) bike I used to regularly set off the SLOW DOWN- 30MPH sign on Ferme Park Road on my way home.

      15mph? Really??

      1. tirk

        "I used to regularly set off the SLOW DOWN- 30MPH sign...."

        Which is why cycles need number plates, and cyclists insurance and cycling licences, so they can be bought to account for dangerously flouting the law, just like motorised road users.

        1. Law

          Re: "I used to regularly set off the SLOW DOWN- 30MPH sign...."

          The second they smooth over the hole ridden gutters, replace the missing grids, add bike lanes to every road - I'd happily pay for a numberplate. Right now I'm taking all the risk cycling in Manchester traffic, with very little incentive from the government to leave the car at home (other than increasing fuel duty every year).

          FYI - I'm also a driver, I just cycle for cost/exercise reasons 4 days a week, about 16 miles a day.

        2. Gareth Jones 2

          No More Regulation ! (Re: "I used to regularly set off the SLOW DOWN- 30MPH sign....")

          We have too much regulation already. Compulsory insurance feeds an industry of insurance companies, ambulance chasing lawyers, insurance databases, etc. and we the law abiding get royally fleeced. Compulsory third party insurance is only of use to the third party when the first party is actually insured - uninsured driver = no pay out.

          So let's turn it round - get rid of compulsory insurance, insure yourself against getting run over/into if you wish. Insure yourself against getting sued by someone you ran over if you wish, but not if you don't. Result - insurance premiums drop dramatically due to lower demand, lawyers starve, road accident victims are no more or less maimed than before. Maybe we can put the lawyers' fees saved into a crash victims payout pot?

          Wishful thinking I know when we have a parliament stuffed with lawyers, and an insurance industry big enough to buy them all, even at £250k a pop - but let's not inflict these requirements on cyclists eh? Let's just be glad that they are still a little bit more free than the rest of us.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "I used to regularly set off the SLOW DOWN- 30MPH sign...."

          On the off chance you aren't just joking might I suggest you try learning about the law. Speed limits apply to motor vehicles. Bicycles do not, last time I heard, fall into this category.

    3. Arrrggghh-otron

      Re: 15mph?

      I've been commuting 16 miles a day for the past few years on an ebike compliant with the usual ebike regulations* (i.e. assist limited to 25kph or about 15.5mph). 15mph doesn't sound a lot but it makes a hell of a difference to my average speed when compared to a non ebike. It feels safer as it is easier to keep up with traffic. Gets me up the long steep hills with only a little more effort than riding on the flat. Gets me to work without arriving soaked in sweat. Keeps my speed reasonable when cycling into a headwind and saves me about £2k a year in fuel costs (ebike costs about 10p a day to fuel, and has very few other associated costs).

      Ebikes can be purchased in the UK from about £400 for a basic bike with low range. Midrange bikes start at around £700.

      *The UK ebike regulations are a bit of a mess as the UK gov messed up implementing the EU directives and forgot to cancel the UK legislation so ebikes with throttles are legal in the UK at the moment, though technically the motors should be limited to 15mph and 200W continuous power rather than the EU 25kph and 250W - but then the power restrictions are largely notional as most 250W motors are capable of upwards 1KW for short periods anyway). The Super Ebike (The s-class ebikes not allowed in the UK as the UK gov declined to implement that part of the regulation) class requires registration, insurance and if I recall correctly a motorbike helmet, and are restricted to 45kph and 500W.

  5. DJ 2

    In my youth, I was once cautioned for doing 60mph+ going down hill. These days I'm lucky if I can cart my bulk at much faster than a walk.

    I blame it on the beer.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "In my youth, I was once cautioned for doing 60mph+ going down hill"

      Many years ago went to an exhibition on Sir Malcolm Campbell and Bluebird which related an episode from his youth when he was stopped by a Policeman going at high speed downhill on a bike (possibly repeatedly to see how fast he could go) and got hauled up before a magistrate who let him off with a stern lecture and an instruction to "forget about this obesssion with speed that you seem to have"

    2. TeeCee Gold badge

      "Pedalling furiously" is the actual offence and was probably signed into law by Noah.

      When I was at Poly, a mate got done. He might have got away with a ticking off, but for two important things:

      1) He was shitfaced.

      2) On being told what his offence was, he countered with the fact that he wasn't pedalling at all, merely freewheeling.

      There's only one thing the plod hate more than a smartarse and that's a pissed smartarse.

    3. Rob

      RE: In my youth

      I used to work for a factory bakery and had to be at work for 6am, I used to cycle but my mate had a 125 motorbike, as it was quiet I used to hold on his arm and get propelled to work a lot quicker, although being a lot older now and have a greater sense of danger, I realise I wrong that could have all gone. My pothole avoidance skills are still finely tuned ;-)

      (Obviously being young and stupid at the time it was a laugh)

  6. spencer

    Silly regulations killing an exciting technology field dead.

    If you go to China, you'll see E-bikes all over the place, ridden by people young and old, and being sold dirt cheap.

    Over here you have to pay over £1000 at the very least for something that can go 15mph at the very most (and it has to be pedal assisted). All thanks to UK regulations.

    It's a shame because this is a very clean and cheap way to quickly transport people around cities that's been killed in the UK.

    1. Tom 38

      Re: Silly regulations killing an exciting technology field dead.

      Hmm, really? I don't think I saw any e-bikes* when I recently spent a month in Shanghai. They seemed mostly to be 2 stroke flymos disassembled and attached to a bicycle, with some versions more refined than others.

      * An e-bike being an electric motor and big battery pack.

      1. spencer

        Re: Silly regulations killing an exciting technology field dead.

        Yes - really.

        I was there 2 years ago, guangzhou and nanning, and they were omnipresent.

        Is there the possibility that they have been banned in central shanghai?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Silly regulations killing an exciting technology field dead.

        Last i heard Xi'an has banned petrol bikes, they were all electric last time I was there.. although 15mph is what a car does in the streets of Xi'an....

        Shanghai, wouldn't know, only saw the airport and hotelll

    2. Putonghua73

      Re: Silly regulations killing an exciting technology field dead.

      I was also scratching my head at this article because when I was living in Kunming (SW China),

      E-bikes were a common form of transport - especially because Kunming has dedicated cycle lanes.

      In between regulation and poor infrastructure (whilst I applaud the desire for more people to use their bikes, there is NO way I use my mountain-bike during rush-hour in London. Strictly weekend pleasure / masochistic cycling across NW London), this concept is dead. Sadly, no surprise. After reading more news reports on the state of the nuclear industry, and the lack of any coherent plan to meet our energy needs in 2020 (or whenever most will be decommissioned) - let alone any emissions targets - is it any wonder that when a potential option appears (emission free inter-city transport), it's strangled at birth.

      I'm not a car lover by any means - as I would love to see more no car zones in London, but with ever- increasing transport costs without any apparent benefit to the commuter, what incentive is there for people to give up their cars?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They are probably too worried that people would actually buy them to commute and they would lose all that fuel revenue.

  8. Sampler

    I can do double that on the push bike! As for the price, I only paid £500 for my car so that's definitely out! (infact, both bikes, car and all vehicles I've owned previous don't come to that price, or even half)

    Surely it's a small demographic of people that interested in cycling they're willing to pay £4.5k for a bike but not that into cycling that they're too physically unfit to propel themselves?

  9. Richard 31
    Paris Hilton


    even 28mph is not particularly fast.

    I can maintain that pace on my road bike for a mile or so.

    Those that ride the Tour de France maintain almost that as an average.

    Why not allow the allow the bike?

    Fools. Although part of me does think that if you get on a bike you should bloody well pedal it yourself.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Think e-bikes are actually a very good idea - sure this one is costly but it would open it up for more / cheaper models. I'm sure people would be much happier biking to work if the electric motor could take some of the effort out of it (some not all) - i.e. give you a boost on hills etc.

    So much for the government being 'green' - yet you can go out and buy a petrol powered moped (for less) that will go just as fast / faster and anyone with a car license can drive one (if I remember correctly).

    I'd be much happier with an e-bike you just plug in for pennies.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Think e-bikes are actually a very good idea - sure this one is costly but it would open it up for more / cheaper models."

      Be careful what you wish for. The first result of the introduction of the rules allowing electrically assisted bikes about 30 years ago (they were totally illegal before then) was the Sinclair C5!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "I could buy ten cars for that."

    Ten clapped out rust buckets that would be better scrapped than on the road.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well maybe they'll be wreckers if you tried to buy 10, but you could certainly buy 4 or 5 good ones for approx £1k each.

      My current car cost me about half what that bike goes for, and I've owned it for 6 years and driven 60,000 miles in that time. Let me down once when the after market alarm went wrong, so I can't really blame the old bus for that.

      Green credentials? Well it's an old "pre common rail" diesel, so 2nd hand veggie oil works as fuel.

      1. TeeCee Gold badge

        "Green credentials?"

        Well, preventing a load of energy and raw materials being used to build a new one by getting the most out of an existing one beats out the veg oil use by several orders of magnitude eco-wise.

        It's just like recycling, only without the effort.

  12. Whitter

    Bar room lawyers assemble!

    OK: so what if you sold it as a "scooter" rather than as a peddle bike?

    Would that change the regulations / requirments at all?

    1. edge_e

      Re: Bar room lawyers assemble!

      It would then be subject to type approval (or what ever they ended up calling the law to stop people building "unsafe" chops and would require tax, MOT and insurance to be allowed on the road.

      1. Steve Evans

        Re: Bar room lawyers assemble!

        Given some of the "skill" exhibited, cyclists should be forced to have most of those already, including some kind of registration displayed across their backs.

        Don't down vote me, I know you are all perfect users of the road, I'm talking about the others!

        1. Mike Brown

          Re: Bar room lawyers assemble!

          so your saying that those that have mots and licences and reg plates are all perfect drivers? hmmm

          1. Steve Evans

            @Mike Brown

            Far from it, but having a registration they are traceable, and having insurance they can pay for the damage/injury they cause.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @Mike Brown

              Approx 10% of cars have no insturance, and there's a high degree of hit and run incidents on cyclists.

          2. Mike Brown

            Re: Bar room lawyers assemble!

            I think youll find that the amount of damage, and the cost of incidents caused by cyclists is so tiny that setting up a reg scheme to police it would be a massive waste of money.

            besides its easy to track a cyclist that has been in an accident: they are the bloody scrap mark on the road. just rifle thro thier pockets and find some ID.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So all the e-cars will be restricted below 28mph ?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How about a bit of personal responsibility - 28mph is probably safer on a bike as you can keep up with traffic - what puts many people off is getting swamped by traffic and big hills.

    Anyone else fed up with the gov't telling you what you can and can't do...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I'm really fed up that bastards in the government saying I can't murder people! Tossers.

      1. BorkedAgain

        Re: Yeah!!

        Murder's illegal? When did that happen?

  15. Tom 7 Silver badge

    If thats £4.5k

    how much will the iBike be?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So having an electrically powered bike at 28mph is not allowed but cycling a normal bike at 28mph is OK?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    28 what

    28mph, I've done 45 on a Raleigh Townsend 18 speed racerbike, meat powered of course.

    1. Steven Jones

      Re: 28 what

      Unless you are Chris Hoy, Mark Cavendish or the like, that's with gravity assisted meat power as 45mph on the flat requires about 1.8Kw on road bike. Electric bikes can do those speeds downhill too - just not with any power assist.

      Incidentally, fat boys on steep downhills for faster than thin ones as the weight goes up faster than cross-section.

      1. jonathanb Silver badge

        Re: 28 what

        The amount of acceleration you get has nothing at all to do with weight. It depends on the strength of the gravitational field and the amount of air and road resistance.

        1. Tom 38

          Re: 28 what

          As a fatty, I think you will find that the amount of personal weight has a direct correlation with the aerodynamic performance.

          1. Law

            Re: 28 what

            I concur.... as a fellow fatty.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 28 what

        When I was younger, i could achieve 35mph top speed on my mountain bike on the flat (the fens so no hills!)

        I know my mate who was a keen biker could do 45mph on the flat!!! didn't believe him until we tested him!

        1. Steve Evans

          Re: 28 what

          I'm a keen biker and I've seen 160mph+

          Tell your mate to ditch the 65 kitted moped and get a real one! ;-)

          1. Vic

            Re: 28 what

            > I've seen 160mph+

            I've never done more than 140 on mine.

            I have no fairing, and I sit bolt-upright...


            [VMX1200, in case anyone is interested]

            1. Steve Evans

              Re: 28 what

              VMax... Brrrrm Brrrrm!

              You must have a neck like the QE2 mooring rope!

              1. Vic

                Re: 28 what

                > You must have a neck like the QE2 mooring rope!

                I had to buy new shirts when I got it... :-)


  18. Jon D'oh

    Guess they don't want any competition for the dangerously slow mopeds, wobbling away in the gutters.

  19. Graham Bartlett

    Not entirely stupid

    At 15mph, you're not going to get more than a broken bone if you pile it into a wall, or if you pile it into a pedestrian. Sure it'll hurt, but everyone will walk (or at least limp) away.

    At 28mph though, you can do yourself and pedestrians some very real damage. So it certainly does make sense for riders to get the training for looking 28mph-worth ahead, wearing a "proper" helmet, making sure that the bike doesn't have anything which'll impale a pedestrian on impact, annual MOT check to make sure the bike's brakes still work, insurance for if you do wipe someone out, and so on.

    Yes I'm aware that you can do more than 28mph downhill on a regular bike. It's not exactly a regular occurrence though.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Not entirely stupid

      That'll be why it's mentioned in the article that some countries which have permitted them have made them "road only".

    2. Vic

      Re: Not entirely stupid

      > At 15mph, you're not going to get more than a broken bone if you pile it into a wall

      But you are more likely to come into conflict with motorised traffic that refuses to believe a bicycle is moving. At 30ish, you have far more options in how to deal with cars...

      > you can do more than 28mph downhill on a regular bike. It's not

      > exactly a regular occurrence though.

      I disagree.

      I don't have a speedo on my pushbike, but on the flat[1], I usually get overtaken by cars going not much faster that me. As we approach a speed camera, I usually start overtaking them. From this, I infer that my top speed is somewhere around 30mph.

      And I'm a fat bloke on a foldy bike...


      [1] My top speed uphil is ... pitiful.

      1. JC_


        Pulling a consistent 30mph on the flat is great going for anyone, let alone a "fat bloke on a foldy bike"!

        If cars are passing you with a big speed difference then you must be cycling on major roads or outside the city? Going across London I have no problem keeping up with motorised traffic, unless it's night and the roads are completely clear. 12mph average stopping at all red lights (and there're 70 or so lights each way on my commute).

        Drivers seem to be adapting to cyclists and most don't make silly attempts at passing because they know the cyclist will just filter by at the next pinch point.

        1. Vic

          Re: @Vic

          > If cars are passing you with a big speed difference

          They're not. they're passing me with a small difference.

          > you must be cycling on major roads or outside the city?

          I cycle in Southampton.

          > most don't make silly attempts at passing

          This isn't true in Southampton. It is *usual* for me to have to do at least one urgent stop because a car driver just *has* to be past me, even though I'm already close to the car in front. So car behind pulls out, guns the throttle - then brakes hard to avoid the car he hasn't bothered looking at, whilst simultaneously pulling to the left (with me alongside).

          Like I have said elsewhere - awareness is everything. I heartily recommend the Roadcraft series of books (motorcycle or car) - they're hard going, but they've saved my life[1] on numerous occasions.


          [1] Moreso when I'm riding a motorcycle than a pushbike, I grant you - but everything helps on a treader... :-)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not entirely stupid

      >28mph downhill is very easy on a bike, just need the right hill.

  20. Anonymoose Cowherd

    Loving the 80's throwback "Turbo" moniker on something which clearly doesn't have one.

  21. Leona A

    dark ages

    I'm surprised they don't insist that a man with a red flag walks in front of anything powered by electric! We have some bizarre laws get some E powered sports car doing 100Mph oh that's fine, but a bike that can do 25Mph, oh no, we can't have that, same for Segways, powered skateboards and scooters, are laws (like our Leader) are out of date and touch!

    1. squizzar

      Re: dark ages

      An electric car that presumably has to pass safety testing and can only be driven someone with a license you mean? If you have a bike that can power itself up to about 25mph then you might as well be on an (electric) scooter, and the rules for one of those should apply to you: license, tax (a paltry £15 for little vehicles like that), MOTs and insurance.

      And I do think that a lot of cyclists, mostly for their own benefit, could do with some training on how to use the road. I say that as a daily cyclist myself (and intermittent car driver and motorcyclist).

      1. Leona A

        Re: dark ages

        Yep agree with you on the subject of 'some' cyclists and their abilities (or lack there of).

        As for me, no I'm stuck to just my 4mph maximum walking pace, but a friend did suggest to me that I should get a guide dog to pull (I mean guide) me along on a skate board.

  22. SW

    What about the VAT

    Surely the government would also have to take into consideration the 750 quid they'll be losing in VAT.

    1. Big O

      Re: What about the VAT

      Nah - make it up in pasties!

  23. Dave Wray

    Of course we can't have it!

    It might actually be useful, and as numerous people have said no more dangerous than most pedal bikes (at least not to pedestrians).

    Why would want us to ave something like that?

  24. Lamont Cranston

    Class it as a motorbike,

    or one of those 3-wheel scooters that you can ride on a car license, then subject it to £0 road tax (it doesn't emit anything, other than that sense of smugness that all cyclists give off*), and a requirement for insurance.

    Result? Govt. boosts its green credentials. No one's going to buy one at that price but, on the off chance someone does, there'll be some comeback on the insurance if they manage to knock someone over.

    Alternatively: Government gets over its silly objection to the import of a pushbike. No one's going to buy one at that price.

    *myself, included

  25. squizzar


    You need at least the CBT for a 30mph limited scooter (which would cost a lot less than £4500), and a proper helmet etc. My first motorbike cost (brand new) about £2000 by the time I'd bought the bike, protective gear (BTW: I still don't fancy hitting the tarmac at 30mph with that lot on, I really don't fancy coming off my pedal bike at that speed when I'm only wearing a t-shirt and shorts), CBT, insurance etc. Took about £12 to fill the tank (2 gallons) and it would do over 200 miles on it (close to 120 mpg). For the remaining £2500 you could fill the bike 200 times and do 40k miles!

  26. FreeTard

    too slow

    I regularly clock cyclists while on my motorbike and even old and slow women cyclists easily do 30mph. This rule makes no sense.

    50kph is the norm - 31mph.

    1. JC_

      Re: too slow

      Slow women do 30mph? Not for long, and never on flat ground.

      Maybe you're exaggerating because an old lady on her pushbike passed you? ;)

  27. Mr Young

    no comment

    I've looked at this silliness before and concluded an electric motor for 15mph top speed can be cooled, or uprated, or more battery, whatever - how do you regulate that? hehe

    1. M Gale

      Re: no comment

      Same way you regulate idiots putting race grade octane enhancers in their petrol: They tend to drive like idiots most of the time.

      Of course if you happen to like the extra juice and the occasional sideways drive around a roundabout, t'ain't my place to complain.

  28. James 51

    On a flat cycle path I can get a crusing speed of 18mph without too much effort. The big benefit might be going up steep hills or carrying heavy loads (though most bicycles sold in the UK aren't really well suited to that).

  29. Nick Kew


    Once upon a time, someone invented a hybrid machine: a bike with normal pedals, but also with a small engine to assist the rider. Since "Motor-assisted Pedal Cycle" was a bit of a mouthful, the name of the machines got abbreviated to "Mopeds". In time the pedals lost their purpose before disappearing altogether, and the moped became just a type of very small motorbike with a slightly odd set of rules.

    Has the history of mopeds been so disastrous that we now have to use the law to prevent it repeating?

    1. Jemma

      Re: Mopeds

      Um, no.

      There were three classes of machine in all.

      The first is something like the smiths autowheel and deriatives thereof. These included motors designed to attach to a normal bike in varying positions. They were usually of small swept displacement and either fitted as a 'third wheel' drive (autowheel), a clip on attachment such as the 'Mosquito' and amazingly a 22cc Bugatti cyclemotor with of all things a small supercharger! Other members of this august yet wheezy class include the Cyclaid and My Golden Eagle 32cc belt drive single speed (of 2007 vintage, and hand built by myself). The more modern types such as the 48cc and 80cc 'china-girl' bikes can be had with a layshaft system to use the bikes built in deraillier gears. For the suicidal there is the Morini motor putting out 8.5hp on a pushbike and good for 50+mph.

      The second is an autocycle - which usually used a single type of engine in various frames with various transmissions. These are bikes built by the company WITH engine and the relevant bits built in.The engine was a 98cc single cylinder engine from Villiers. Examples of this type are the Bown bikes, Francis Barnetts (commonly with the later Junior De Luxe motor). Some of these bikes were multispeed with generally 2-3 speeds. One used a 1st-neutral-2nd box which needed either careful handling or a good kicking depending who you speak to. Most autocycles have pedals - and the starting procedure is either to kick the engine over on the stand using the pedals - or ride up to speed and let in the drive starting the motor that way. Almost all autocycles used the Villiers 98cc series engines, either the Junior with canted cylinder or the Junior De Luxe with a horizontal one), so that could be said to be a pre requisite. Most of these machines could be pedalled - but if the drive was unclutched this was not a fun procedure. Flat out these machines were good for 35mph or so - but the port design on the Villiers engine is not really condusive to fitting tuned pipes, nor would they be original parts.

      Then we come to mopeds. These are a entirely different kettle of fish. Generally they use an engine of around 50cc - 125cc. Older bikes used manual transmissions, with one bike memorable for having 7 speeds and a engine that ate piston rings like Prescott eats pies (warning of their demise was a cloud of blue smoke and a tinkling noise, as bits of sintered metal were expressed from the exhaust port at an appreciable fraction of local lightspeed). They were generally 2 stroke, they had pedals (of dubious ability) but they was more a show than of any practical use. The more modern machines tend to use 4 strokes - with various types of automatic or CVT transmissions.

      Modern 'mopeds' bear little or no relationship to any of these. With a spavined 4 stroke engine, no pedals and generally squeeze and go they really dont come under any of the categories. However there is hope at hand. Its entirely possible to remove the 4-stroke motor and replace it with a 2 stroke (twice the power density as standard) and to fit a tuned pipe for more performance. This wont speed you up that much (unless its a pipe entirely for top end) but it will give you more power and torque in the mid bands (its a complicated theory) which aids in hill climbing and mid band acceleration (think the equivalent of the old 50-70mph sprint times they used to post for cars).

  30. jason 7

    Actually its the riders that are the problem and not the speed or DoT

    If ordinary folks can ride these and then find they can do 28mph with little to no effort ON A PAVEMENT like so many now seem to think they have a right to, then carnage ensues.

    I wouldn't like to be hit by a bicycle doing 15mph on a pavement let alone one doing 28mph.

    I saw someone tearing round Norwich on a Segway once, those things were quite fast in action and in the end they did get nicked when they knocked someone flying on a pavement. Caused some nasty injuries.

    If you want to use such devices then get a licence, use only the roads or have an identifiable numberplate so we can give those details to the Police when you zoom off after knocking someone over.

    1. Jemma

      Re: Actually its the riders that are the problem and not the speed or DoT

      I have more than once told people riding on the path its illegal. I generally get told to do something biologically impossible.

      Thats assuming they can be bothered to slow down before they've maimed you.

      However - when the car drivers in my area stop using the bike lanes for car parts or for vehicular target practice - it'll be alot safer to be on the road. Its gotten worse over the years, even for experienced and skilled riders. Put a child on the average UK road and you are just asking for some nerk in a BMW/Audi SUV to send them flying through the air without even noticing the accident

      The sole, solitary time, I ever rode the GEBE off the road was on waste ground to see if it was usable cross country at any speed. It worked ok, but as a hardtail, at any speed it took a couple of hours to stop your insides vibrating afterwards.

      1. M Gale

        Re: Actually its the riders that are the problem and not the speed or DoT

        See I think the govt here should just declare that riding a bicycle on the pavement is perfectly legal but pedestrians have right of way at all times. That means get off and walk or get on the road if they're in your way.

        It would be more of a match for the current reality, where putting bike lanes everywhere would be stupidly expensive and, in the case of a white line on the road, not do a whole lot for safety. Bicycles are the only genuinely free form of transport that exists in this part of the world, can go practically anywhere, and can go for miles on a few cups of water. I'd hate to see that go because some people think that anything useful has to be taxed and regulated somehow.

  31. Kevin Johnston

    Sense, not very common these days

    Apologies to the nice man whose quote I stole (damn good one isn't it). The difficulty with all these topics is that legislation has to be for the many and not for the few. As someone said above, the market for these bikes is pretty small and almost certainly does NOT include the cyclists who actually have a clue what they are doing on the roads.

    The Public Highways are dangerous enough without adding a new category of 'electric turbo accident seeker' with very small tyre contact area and brakes which need intelligence when applying (hit the front brake first at 30mph and you'll be chewing tarmac before you can say OW).

    To all those that proudly (and with good cause) announce they can pedal faster, I bet you know how to use your brakes safely and you still get that pucker moment when some stupid a*** pulls out across you.

    As with Segways, the problem with these is not getting it moving but in moving and stopping safely and as such they should be restricted to private land or else go through the full roadworthiness testing that mopeds/scooter have to meet. Not that they would have a hope in hell of meeting it.

    I speak as a car driver/motorcyclist who hates bicycles because I'm overweight and unfit and they try to kill me whenever I try to sit on one. If you are going to have two wheels then stick at least a 650cc engine to them.

    1. Jemma

      Re: Sense, not very common these days

      ...some stupid ass pulls out across you...

      One of my sigs I had for a while on a site relating to MB's...

      "40mph doesnt hurt, its the side of the Audi that hurts"

      Thankfully I had fitted good brakes when some idiot did that to me.

      Thankfully the only 'accident' I had on the Golden Eagle was a wet slide (bruised from my hip to my knee - which went a lovely shade of purple) despite various darwin award types trying to commit vehicular seppuku in front of me.

    2. Jemma

      Re: Sense, not very common these days

      Actually a 22cc Golden Eagle has been legalised - including if i remember a tuned pipe on a full suspension ATB frame in blue.

      Not only that - but with suitable brakes and competition pads fitted they can actually have better brakes than officially designed mopeds. I know, because I have both out-dragged and out braked manufacturer mopeds on my homebuilt.

      Please try not to make comments claiming factual exactitude when they are nothing more than slightly to the left of guesswork.

  32. ChrisCabbage

    I had a speedo on my Raleigh Record when I was a teenager.

    I used to get some serious speed up going down Slack Hill (between Chesterfield and Matlock)!

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    eBikes and the law

    A couple of points regarding electric cycles (aka pedelecs).

    By law this type of bike is limited to a 250w motor and a powered maximum speed of 15mph. That is the motor will propel the bike to 15mph, above that you can pedal the bike up to whatever speed your legs can manage. The motor also works as a pedal assist, allowing you to pedal up hills much easier than a normal bike. These bikes are classed as bicycles.

    Anything bike above the 250w and 15mph speed are classed as mopeds, and therefore require MOT, crash helmet, drivers licence, number plates and insurance.

    1. Jemma

      Re: eBikes and the law

      And if you arent a copper I'll eat my hat. Why does a copper doing the Anonymous Coward thing still not surprise me?

      1. Tom 38

        Re: eBikes and the law

        Don't be daft, he knows chapter and verse of the law, he is clearly not a copper.

    2. Jemma

      Re: eBikes and the law


      Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994

      You are here: 1994 c. 22SCHEDULE 2 Vehicles for disabled people Section 18

      A vehicle (including a cycle with an attachment for propulsion by mechanical power) which—

      (a) is adapted, and used or kept on a road, for an invalid, and

      (b) does not exceed 508 kilograms in weight unladen, is an exempt vehicle.

      You were saying...?

      1. SYNTAX__ERROR

        @ Jemma

        Not really sure how your quote is relevant - as it covers vehicles which are adapted for use by disabled people.

        I wouldn't see it as a good trade-off to actually become disabled in order to ride one of these bikes!

        1. Jemma

          Re: @ Jemma

          Well, that would be the part where I am IB for back problems amongst other problems, which pretty much qualifies me.

          More to the point - if they are prepared to allow it for a group of people - probably on the basis that alot of people with disabling conditions (such as late stage MS for example, or many ME sufferers) wouldnt be able to use such a machine - what is stopping them just accepting that its common sense.

          The faster a cyclist can go in town traffic the safer the cyclist. The electric and 2 stroke bikes can keep up town speeds permanantly. The less the speed differential the less accidents - the less accidents the better safety. Not to mention the fact that most bikes like mine sound like demented wasps played through an amp... which means most people (bar the wannabe darwinists) have a better chance of hearing them coming than some old girl on a pushbike wobbling down the middle of the path.

  34. Andraž 'ruskie' Levstik


    In this country we had at end of primary school a full term of cycling school. From roadsigns etc... to practical driving tests. I still have that "cycling license" somewhere. I just don't think anyone gives a c... about it.

    Frankly I know how to ride... it's the damn motorists that don't. They have this insane cosmic idea that we're some sort of aliens on their planet of "My Road" and will get it in their heads that we should be removed from civilization. But as I also drive I see daily what stupidities some cyclists do not to mention the pedestrians.

    Atleast the cops here have stopped a few cyclists doing stupid things. As for e-bikes the one's here need to be limited to 25km/h since that is the speed limit on bike lanes/paths. And PHYSICALLY SEPARATE bike paths/lanes from traffic and especially pedestrian areas.

  35. Matthew

    I don't give a continental

    But I am curious if e-bikes bought overseas will be able to drive on the *correct* side of the road back here in Blighty?

    1. Vic

      Re: I don't give a continental

      > e-bikes bought overseas

      An import, eh? Well, you'll have to replace the whole headlamp assembly...


  36. Mike Moyle

    Doesn't seem too unreasonable to me.

    If you want to go more than 25 MPH under powered drive alone, then they want you to have a license, etc., since what you have at that point is a motorized vehicle.

    You are still allowed to go over 25 MPH on a motor-ASSISTED vehicle... No one is stopping you except for a lard-assed inability to pedal at 10 MPH.

    Also, at a quick glance, the proportions on the Specialized bike don't look THAT different from a standard bike with a tire pump attached to the frame diagona. Thus, while it's pretty obvious when some idiot is riding a moped or scooter under power on the sidewalk it would be less so with one of these. (I'm going on the, perhaps unwarranted, assumption that the penalties for riding a bicycle on the sidewalk -- usually a local ordinance, if it's prohibited at all -- are different from driving a motor vehicle there.)

    1. James Hughes 1

      Re: Doesn't seem too unreasonable to me.

      25mph isn't 10mph more than 15mph if you are talking about the energy required - drag goes up with the square of speed, so to get from 15 to 25mph you need more enerygy than you would need to go from 0-10mph. Quite a lot more.

      I'm not that fit, and I can just about average 19mph on my road bike on the pretty flat Cambs Busway cyclepath (max speed about 26 I reckon). The only dangers are the complete nob-end students from Impington village collage who seem to think that walking or cycling 5 abreast across the whole path is a really good idea, and don't look where they are going. Already been sideswiped by one moron and I was practically on the left hand verge. /rant

      1. SYNTAX__ERROR

        Re: Doesn't seem too unreasonable to me.

        In my experience, one can pedal a generic mountain bike to about 30mph and a road bike to about 50.

        Of course it depends entirely on the available gear ratios. Your fitness will mainly affect how long you can sustain top speed for.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Class it as a motorbike


    brand new honda vision 50 £1695

    helmet £50

    cbt = £100ish

    insurance = 200 - 600ish

    so around half the prices. Why have it classified as a motorbike when it would be restricted to roads same as a motorbike when you can have a bike for cheaper and that is still fairly green (60+mpg and no lithium). not to mention it would need a minimum of horn and suitable power brakes.

    its a good decision I've been hit twice (from behind) by idiots riding at stupid speeds through PEDESTRIAN ONLY town centers. first time cost me some scratches. second time cost me a lot of pain but given that after the first time the guy shouted insults and rode off at least this time i made sure to remodel both wheels (amazing what a stomp from a DM does to a bike wheel).

  38. shoesday

    Beer is good while you're killing time charging batteries :-)

    I used to own an Ebike (till it got nicked) as far as I'm aware this country is using a combination of DOT and European laws, the EU laws allow a 250w motor which the DOT allow even though their guidelines state a 200w motor maximum, but we are also allowed throttle only power which is banned in the EU but allowed by the DOT so we get the best of both worlds (which doesn't happen very often) They are great fun and if you commute about 20 miles each way a day you can cover that on a single charge with no or very little pedaling, no tax or insurance, only problem for me was that covering longer distances required a four hour stop off to charge the battery, but then I guess people might be waiting that long to fill up on petrol in the coming weeks anyway :-)

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Registration and insurance

    I love the idea of a regeneratively charged bicycle. Very nice.

    I'm also all for the idea of compulsory registration and insurance. There's no reason why a semi-powered cycle should not be subject to ANPR. Perhaps if you had to have an ordinary driving licence to legally ride such a class of bicycle - it would be a very good thing! One would have to have knowledge of the road rules.

    It really is time for any passenger-for-hire vehicle, whether powered or not, to also be formally registered (such as the Tuk Tuks in central London) and subject to ordinary road rules including careless and dangerous driving.

  40. Jemma

    The idiots strike back...

    I rode two petrol power motorized bikes for 2000 miles+. The first was a Raleigh MTB with a 22cc two stroke motor from Golden Eagle bikes, which was stolen. The second which I still have is based on a Cruiser frame with a 33cc piped two stroke.

    Both are capable of 30, the D7 of 38mph but that has a tuned pipe on it. The latter one I upgraded the brakes, lights and various other equipment - all simple things to do and got the brightest lamps I could lay my hands on.

    The piglets locally didnt have a clue what to make of it - one tells me its entirely legal - another verbally abuses me, gives me 6 points for driving without insurance (its a SODDING bike) - and his boss flat out lies through his teeth after I threaten to go to the IPCC. Not to mention he plainly had no concept of cycling since his comment at what had been the brightest LED tail-light on the market was 'thats small isn't it' - notwithstanding the fact you cant even look into it without literal pain - your eyes actually hurt!

    The only accidents I had on it was dropping it on wet pavement at speed (a lesson learned, and a brake handle destroyed - wet road and front brake, bad idea) and some dozy Asian girl who walked out in front of me glued to her mobile phone completely oblivious (goddess knows how, the thing sounds like a hornet on methaphetamine run through an guitar amp).

    I agree with the people who say that speed actually helps cyclists - the faster you go the safer you are, end of. There is a steep hill near were I used to live, cars parked on both sides, and a bus route. The 22 bike wheezed a bit on it, but the D7 flew up it at traffic speeds - which is much safer than toiling up it,swaying all over the place, doing barely walking pace, in a lovely shade of puce... millimeters away from the front of a 65 bus.

    But heres the thing. The D7 bike cost me about £1000 all told - would sit at WOT all day without complaining and would do 22+ miles on 600ml of petrol, with some still left.... If you said I could have gotten 25 out of a tank thats 189MPG - full throttle all the way. Average speed of 28mph for the journey. Top roadspeed on the flat, 35mph.

    I am now driving a car, doing the same journey. If I am really careful and hypermile the car gets 28mpg or so, even the best diesel manages maybe 65-80mpg - and on a bad trip the average speed is 15mph!

    The government have no interest in cutting carbon footprint - if they did they would actively sponsor machines like mine, not treat people who are actually making massive carbon savings, taking a car off the road, and travelling efficiently, like target practice for traffic police with PMS. Thats not to mention there are various people online who have converted their bikes into cargo haulers for businesses. A fully-sus MTB based 22cc GEBE was able to carry over 600lbs of equipment without problem, using just off the shelf components fitted to the bike alone - that wasnt including what it could have towed via trailer. The 33cc 2S GEBE could probably pull half that again. Add that to the fact you can buy a frame extensions off the shelf that will allow you to seat 4 people in tandem & still make 25-30mph, it makes you think...

    Government... if you want to save money, save resources, free up money in the wider economy and generally improve peoples lot. and ironically health, then Electric assist and Petrol assist bikes are the way to go. Most people who build their own bikes take alot of care about it, and finish them to a high standard - a simple check would suffice - not the same palaver for a motorized bike as for a Caterham 7.

    1. Vic

      Re: The idiots strike back...

      > some dozy Asian girl who walked out in front of me glued to her mobile phone

      Get yourself a copy of "Motorcycle Roadcraft".

      Whilst pedestrians on the phone are frequently suicidal[1], it is incumbent on us cyclists to take account of them.


      [1] The number of pedestrians that just step off the kerb in front of me has to be seen to be believed. I *hope* they are listening for cars, because they certainly aren't looking. Once electric cars become omre widespread, there will be carnage...

    2. Grease Monkey Silver badge

      Re: The idiots strike back...

      Yup, you're an idiot. Both your vehicles were illegal for use on a public road. In order to be legal they would have had to be either (a) an awful lot slower or (b) of a standard to comply with construction and use regulations, registered, insured and taxed.

      If you had ever dealt with plod who understood the law as regards assisted cycles then not only would you have got a fine and probably points on your licence, but the vehicle could have been confiscated. This is no different to what happens to those idiots who ride unregistered and non compliant dirt bikes on public roads. Like the berk near us last year who dug up an old MT-5 from somewhere, ripped off the road going bits and thought he had himself a motocross bike. He would ride it on the road every evening to get to the local woods and after a week plod intervened. He got a nice fine, points on a licence he didn't even have yet (nice) and the bike was confiscated and apparently crushed because it did not have a frame plate.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The idiots strike back...


        Phew that's a relief. For a moment there it sounded like the sky could have fallen in.

        He got off lightly, should have gone straight to jail and his life ruined. Us tax payers need something in return for our payments.

        /sarcasm off.

        1. Grease Monkey Silver badge

          Re: The idiots strike back...

          And if he'd run over your kid that would have been OK then?

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    but why not in i-white?????? :((((((

    no glowing logo? :(

    no "pad" handlebar mount, complete with immersive, 3-D,crash-proof experience? :(

    no exclusive semi-rigid, splash-proof canopy? :(

    such an opportunity to monetize this truly breakthrough, revolutionary, unique design - missed! :(((((

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    i made my own electric bike with a 750watt hub motor and 3 12v alarm batteries.

    Goes at at least 30mph down hill, 20 on flat and 10-15 up most hills without peddling.

    Cost about 200 quid...

    golden motor co have all the details.

    1. M Gale

      Re: Pah..

      3 12V alarm batteries and a 750W motor?

      Okay let's assume you're going for some real porkers of alarm batteries at 10Ah each and you're wiring them in series. That's 36V * 10A = 360Wh.

      So basically you get about half an hour of juice and then you're fuckered? Still, at 750W that must be a hell of a half hour.

  43. b166er

    At four and a half grand, I think they should permit any fool willing to buy one to earn a Darwin Award.

  44. dr2chase

    28mph is an odd choice

    In the US, in many states, the limit is 20. Why Specialized would produce a bike not legal in (much of) the US is a little puzzling to me.

    And it is definitely a safety issue. Not too many bikes go faster than 20mph, and those that do, don't go much faster, or for very long.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "I regularly clock cyclists while on my motorbike and even old and slow women cyclists easily do 30mph. This rule makes no sense.

    50kph is the norm - 31mph."

    Your speedo needs checking. Easily doing 30mph on a pedal cycle - tour de France maybe?

    1. M Gale

      Re: Tour de France

      This is what I'm thinking.

      If you actually set the bike computer/speedo/whatever to the CORRECT WHEEL SIZE, you will find it surprisingly hard to maintain (or even achieve) 30mph on a pushbike, regardless of how light the frame or how well oiled the bearings. As someone who really has done 60+ MPH on bicycles, I can tell you that speeds like that on a bog standard diamond frame are scary. Especially going down an 80 degree incline on the side of a slagheap. Half the reason I did it, really.

      And car speedos are always a bit shit. Compare what your dash says to what a GPS speedo says and be prepared to be amazed.



      I can definitely achieve 30mph on my general-purpose (freeride) mountain bike.

      I'm not as fit as I used to be, so I probably couldn't maintain that for very long on the flat.

      I wouldn't like to think there are old ladies that could beat me, they might be rare but some almost certainly exist.

  46. Dave 126 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    I want one!

    plus a spare set of wheels with mud tyres fitted.

  47. Hairy Airey
    Thumb Down

    Stop with this obsession with road tax

    Winston Churchill abolished road tax in 1937. There is Vehicle Excise Duty, which is emissions based. So a bicycle would be liable to pay the zero-rate, which clearly would be a waste of time and money to collect. (For the same reason they abolished the dog license).

    Regular cyclists get their own insurance. The car driving cyclist haters should realise that there would be more cars on the road if you got rid of bikes.

    In fact fuel duty and VED does not pay the whole cost of the roads. My reckoning, based of figures from the Green Party, is that the roads cost about £35 billion more a year to maintain (it might even be more). Which is why our railways are such a bargain at £4 billion a year (even in Beeching's day roads were much more subsidised, but I understand he was working for his "independent" boss who'd sold his shares in road haulage companies to his wife).

    As for banning the bicycle - it's time that electricly assisted vehicles were allowed to travel at the speed limit, however the only reason I can see they aren't is that they have no legal requirement to have a speedometer and therefore being fined for speeding isn't reasonable.

  48. david willis


    Won't we all suffocate if we travelled at over 15mph, and lord think of the children, we'd need somebody with a red flag to walk in front of such a vehicle. Surely its much safer to ban such a satanic device and ensure all decent motorists sit safely in queues at petrol stations where as long as tempers don't get frayed nobody will get hurt. Plus the excheqer can make money out of the motorists!

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Can this be used as a moped? Properly licensed, insured, with registration and Tax?

    I suspect it would need more lights, and I guess the VED would be £0 as its electric, a car licence would be fine, so the problems are insurance and registration... insurance for mopeds is a lot cheaper than this bike, but carrying a number plate would be a problem... maybe a microplate are they legal?

    1. Grease Monkey Silver badge

      Re: So

      Doesn't even come close to meeting C&U. It's not just a matter of lights you know. Take a look at any road legal electric scooter. Oh and to be classed as a moped these days it needs type approval as such. Without that it would get to a light motorcycle (or whatever they call them these days) for which a car licence is not enough. Not even sure it would even qualify for L plates without TA.

      Actually thinking about it if you passed your car test after 2000 you don't get moped entitlement any more.

  50. Scott Broukell


    There is a growing number of peeps trying to use the roads and pavements, especially in cities, whether it be on foot or in all manner of motorised, or non-motorised, contraptions. I would suggest that this simply requires all those peeps to have greater consideration for each other in those circumstances.

    Probably the best cyclists are those that also have, and constantly refer to, experience as car drivers and pedestrians. This works the other way too of course.

    We simply need to have greater consideration for those around us. Look ahead and plan your next move whilst considering what those around you might do and the position there are in. I would suggest that the problems we perceive with other road users are, in large part, down to a growing lack of understanding and consideration.

    If you use the road, abide by the rules of the road and give other users consideration – simple isn't it.

    There are plenty of idiotic, inconsiderate, road / pavement users out there too, but I firmly believe that if we show greater consideration to each other, the lesson will be learnt remembered and passed on down the line as it were.

    Probably the worst drivers / cyclists etc. are those that think they are the best and that they can never make mistakes.

    Cyclists and motor cyclists are vulnerable on these congested roads, therefore they need to be handled with greater consideration. However, the complete disregard that many cyclists show to other road users or to the highway code is becoming intolerable to many other peeps. This does no good to our general perceptions about “all” cyclists, so let's keep it in perspective and give each other some care and consideration.

    I'm not sure I would want to be propelled on a “Turbo” electric bicycle at (relatively) high speed through any of the urban / city-centre traffic that I have encountered recently, therefore I agree with the suggested limits imposed. Compulsory cycle tests, licensing, helmets and insurance cannot be a bad idea given both the levels of congestion and levels of skill now required to negotiate that congestion in a lawful and considerate manner.

    1. dr2chase

      Re: Consideration

      If room on the roads is scarce, logic suggests that cars should be discouraged, because they take the greatest amount of space to transport (usually) a single person.

      The focus on rules-of-the-road is also a mistake, unless you think that following the rules is more important than minimizing the number of people hurt or killed. Despite the (alleged) care with which they are driven, cars in the US and UK are about (at least) 15 times more deadly to pedestrians than bicycles are. Unless you think that results don't matter, cyclists are the safety experts.

      1. Scott Broukell

        Re: Consideration

        @dr2chase 11:40 gmt

        Whilst I kind of agree that cars should be discouraged I don't think my focus was on rules of the road, rather on consideration towards each other. Rules are helpful to keep the system in a reasonably orderly manner. However, you are right to point out that the occupants of cars and lorries often fare better in collision with any softer road users involved.

        There are, however, a number of studies which demonstrate that if you remove all the signage, painted lines and whatnot, so that the "road" space becomes shared, peeps will slow right down to avoid each other, take greater care and car / lorry drivers, for whom all that signage is really there to please, become demoted to the same shared level as every one else. That may be the way to go - the Dutch have tried this out in a couple of urban areas and found, so I believe, that RTAs are reduced as a consequence. And that peeps are less stressed to boot :-)

  51. carl 10

    Great! This will enable kids to speed along the pavement before cutting in front of my car without looking at even greater speed! Just as well these bikes are not at teenager/parent - friendly prices!

  52. Crisp

    I want one of those bikes!

    But I still wouldn't be able to ride centre left in the road without some car driving arse honking his horn at me to pull over so he can overtake.

    Why do I have to ride in the gutter? Can anyone tell me?

  53. Grease Monkey Silver badge


    This is hardly the first electrically (or otherwise) assisted bicycle to be capable of more than 15mph, so I don't understand why it's a story - unless Specialized are just using it as PR.

    If it can do more than 15mph then it is a moped. Being a moped it would need to comply with the construction and use regulations as they apply to mopeds, which in it's current state it obviously doesn't. Even if it did comply it would need to be registered before you could use it on a public road. And then of course you would need the relevant licence and insurance and of course tax. Oh and a helmet, a proper one not one of those silly bicycle helmets.

    If Spesh were to revise the bike so it complies with construction and use regulations then there wouldn't be any problems. Legally. There would be some other problems, such as the fact that complying with the regulations would make it somewhat heavier and less nippy.

    Those whining that this is some sort of conspiracy against electrical vehicles need to wise up. There are electrical mopeds out there and the government don't mind them at all. Nobody is buying petrol or diesel for them and it's not like the treasury get much tax from them. The last time I taxed a small motorcycle it cost me the princely sum of £16. Hardly going to swell the government's coffers much it it? And since all two wheeled conveyances are exempt from the congestion charge there's no money to be made there either.

    The simple fact is that the law is as it stands and the government should not rewrite it to suit Specialized.

    Those who seem to be trying to make this into some sort of slanging match about cyclists should bear in mind that the vast majority of cyclists would never, ever consider and electrically assisted bike. It defeats the whole purpose of their cycling in the first place.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The things that you push with your feet

    They are called PEDALS.

  55. Andus McCoatover

    Beats the living daylights out of me...

    1) I reckon my single-speed Jopo* can go faster than that, unaided. It's only got one brake (back-pedal to activate it), but it seems to break an ancient English law, forbidding travel by witchcraft

    2) Here, it's ILLEGAL to ride on the road, if there's a footpath. You must use the footpath.

    3) Until recently I could ride my moped on the footpath. Unfortunately, that's been curtailed. So have a lot more young moped riders in the last 2 years.


  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So when can we expect speed limiters on ordinary bikes then?

    Oh, we can't.

    So it's not about safety then, its just about obeying the rules...

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