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How to test an electric bike

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Bikes, trikes, and quads

With numbers increasing with electric motorcycles and scooters, we’re getting a lot of questions about how to register them on a VTS Device, where testers are not sure what test class they fall into or what cc to enter.

Cubic capacity does not apply to an electrically powered machine, so the correct entry in the cc box is - a simple zero.

First class?

Because the cc is zero, when it comes to selecting the correct test class, some may consider it logical for these machines to be categorised as Class 1. Others regard Class 2 as being correct as this covers all motor bicycles, including Class 1 (with or without side cars) as detailed in the introduction to the Inspection Manual.

So which is correct? Well although it may seem odd, it doesn’t really matter which one you select - there is logic to either argument. In the event that a VTS is only approved for Class 1, the tester will have no option but to select Class 1 or to decline to test because the motorcycle is so large or powerful that they are unfamiliar with such machines.

Tread depth

Regardless of the class selected, test standards for electric motorcycles are no different from those for conventional machines. The only tricky aspect is the 1mm tyre tread depth exemption for machines not being greater than 50cc.

We often get asked if this also applies to electric scooters classed as mopeds (with a maximum power output not more than 4kw and a maximum speed of 45km/h).

Construction and Use regulations only refer to engine capacity in respect of this exemption and make no reference to power output. Therefore these low power electric motorcycles must meet the 1mm tread depth requirement as well as having visible tread across the whole breadth of the tread area.


Feature image courtesy of Shutterstock images.

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