Motorized Bikes that aren't street legal in California

Discussion in 'Laws, Legislation & Emissions' started by slickdude, May 1, 2012.

  1. slickdude

    slickdude Member


  2. slickdude

    slickdude Member

    Okay, lets say I bought a Stealth.

    Now this thing easily hits over 35mph, not legal at all. But let's say I had no key and it is turned off and I am only pedaling it, is that then legal since it is being ridden only as a regular pedal bike?
     
  3. Big Red

    Big Red Active Member

    Illegal?

    Actually bro, it's 30mph for gas, 20mph for electric.
    And if ya want to see something that MIGHT be illegal in California, check this out. I found it on Craigslist of all places.
    Big Red.
     

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  4. slickdude

    slickdude Member

    Again let's rephrase my original question. Let's say I had a Stealth Bike. Now that can go about 50 plus on batts. But if it is turned off and I am just pedaling is it legal to street ride as a pedal bike is what my original question was? Or second question. Let's say I got a Stealth Bike and just throttled it to 20mph, then is it legal to ride on the road in the ignition mode? Two questions, anyone able to give me a honest answer here, thanks?
     
  5. Big Red

    Big Red Active Member

    Motorbike Law.

    In California an electric bike is limited to 20mph and is not allowed to be pedal assisted to go any faster on level ground. The same applies to a gas bike except it's allowed a top speed of 30mph. Now for question #1. I suppose you could put a Lear jet engine on your bike if you never turn it on. But ANYTHING that can exceed the allowed speed limit is not street legal. I don't think the cop is gonna care that you don't have it running at the time. You might beat it in court if it wasn't running at the time, but I think you would still get a ticket. BUT, If the jet engine was throttled down to never exceed 30mph then it could be street legal.
    SO, go ahead and build it. This might prove intresting.
    Big Red.
     
  6. slickdude

    slickdude Member

    So what you are saying is this. If I had a stealth bike with a potential of 55mph, but I was just pedaling it, I should be fine. If I ride it at 20mph or less I should be fine. If I throttle it beyond that then I am fair game for a ticket or worse? Is this what your reply is to my question?
     
  7. Big Red

    Big Red Active Member

    Legal?

    Not exactly. If it is even POSSIBLE for it to do over 30mph for gas, or 20mph for electric,(in California,) then it is not legal to "fire up" on the street. IF you NEVER fire it up on the street then it could be some kind of grey area. But then, If it's never fired up on the street the cop is gonna have a hard time proving it surpasses the speed limit. I still think you would be going to court over it.
    Hey, Just tell the judge that you only use the power plant for the track, and the peddles for the street. If you can get him laughing hard enough you just might beat it in court.
    BUT, there are a few bikes that will do 55mph. Most try to make them look "street legal" as possible and try not to get caught speeding. And If you do get caught doing 55 then yer probably gonna lose yer bike and get a GREAT BIG ticket. Now be honest, "IF" you had a bike that would do 55mph, would you ALWAYS keep it at 20mph? I think thats a big fat NEGATIVE.
    Big Red.
     
  8. andrewflores17

    andrewflores17 New Member

    that should keep traffic out of the way
     
  9. Big Red

    Big Red Active Member

    street legal

    And, OH YEAH. Theres a reason ya don't see jet cars on the road. Could you see another car pulling up behind you and losing his radiator and grill from your exhaust. Anything that gets too close is a gonner, Now if you could get my Ex to stand behind you....(Mmmmm,:devilish:) Just kidding guy's:jester: I already took care of that problem.:7:
    Big Red.
     
  10. slickdude

    slickdude Member

    That chainsaw bike also clears bikepath traffic though probably a bit messy though.
     
  11. reb1

    reb1 Member

    It is illegal for an electric to power you over 20 but you can still pedal over 20 or roll down a hill over 20 as long as you obey the posted speed limit. The same goes for gas motors. Common sence should be used here also. Many people do not have the brakes to stop properly at speed going down a steep grade.
     
  12. Big Red

    Big Red Active Member

    Ca. Law.

    May not be true reb1. Check out Ca. V.C. sec. 406 (b) (3).

    (3) Is incapable of further increasing the speed of the device when human power is used to propel the motorized bicycle faster than 20 miles per hour.

    It don't say "unless the motor is engaged", It just says 20mph.....
    And of course the same applies to gas, except it's 30mph.
    Big Red.
     
  13. reb1

    reb1 Member

    The motor has to be incapable of further increasing the speed of the device when human power is used to propel the motorized bicycle faster than 20 miles per hour. This is done through most manufactures electronically. And for good reason. You are adding weiht and speed to a bicycle of unknown quality. The very fact that they state when human power is used to propel the motorized bicycle faster than 20 miles per hour is allowing you to do so. The law is very specific in this case. Do the police look at it this way. I do not believe many of them have even read the laws pertaining to motorized bicycles. I was looking at a cargo bike with electric assist and everytime I mentioned this to anybody including law enforcement realitives. The only law they repeated was lines from 406 A. I told the realitive at a holiday dinner that I did not believe the abridged version of the CA VC for bicycles was legal. Everybody at the table had a good laugh. After his face was down to a light pink I mentioned that there was more than one letter in the alphabet. He started laughing and finally asked where I got my info. I directed the realitive CHP officer to the appropiate web site that says CHP at the top. The police have allot of laws to manage and we are not a high priority. Many times police run around with cheat sheets that have the pertinent things there superiors would like them to deal with. They do not always have all the info at the ready and may not want to take the time to look it up. Espically if you take offense at there every word. When I travel to the VA on my tandem I go under the 10 fwy. There is allot going on here but due to congestion of traffic I am able to ride behind a car at there speed through this area. I have no motor on my tandem and sometimes approach 25mph through this area. It is the safest way to handle this area and other freeway interchanges. The electric assist I am looking at for the cargo bike is a high torque hub motor and will only power up to 15mph. I am trading speed for torque so I can haul me and the wife or large ammounts of groceries up hilly areas. Before electric assist the Yuba Mundo is close to the same weight as my tandem.
     
  14. Big Red

    Big Red Active Member

    E Vs. Gas.

    ("The motor has to be incapable of further increasing the speed of the device when human power is used to propel the motorized bicycle faster than 20 miles per hour".)

    Exactly. They don't want you going any faster then 20mph on an electric bike, EVER. I never really understood why since a gas bike is allowed 30mph. The weight is approximately the same. It is also capable of using the same types of braking systems. So why not 30mph on an electric? I have no idea.
    Big Red.
     
  15. reb1

    reb1 Member

    The statement in the law clearly states that the motor has a speed limit. It says it twice. It clearly states that when human power is used to propel the motorized bicycle faster than 20 miles per hour. I can and will use my human power to go faster than 20mph when I can keep up with the automobiles through intersections. I will also use my legs or gravity going down hill to ride at a reasonable speed going down a hill or grade. Just like I do on my regular bicycle. I will not allow the bicycle to coast up to a dangerous speed. My tandem has a drag brake and hydraulic rim brakes. I use the drag brake to hold it back and the rim brakes as needed going down a mountain pass. I will allow it to go around 35 but not much more. If I did not have the drag brake and held my rim brakes constantly to hold my speed back the heat could melt a tube and cause me to take a spill. With disk brakes the rotors will warp and on some with plastic parts on the calipers melting of the pad adjuster and the pads falling out is common. And quite frankly I am not willing to be penalized and forced to increase my danger and travel time. The Heinzmann hub motor I will be using is a high torque version. I told the dealer the weight that I needed to push up some very steep hills and how far I wanted to travel and he recommended which of there over 30 hub motors and the kinds of batteries he thought were good. This motor trades speed for torque so it will only power the bicycle to around 15mph. I am purchasing two very expensive Tri metal lithium batteries so I can have the range I need. I will pedal along with them so I am looking at 75 miles range with two 13 amp hour batteries that weigh around 10 1/2lbs each. Lead acid would weigh around 60lbs.
     
  16. Big Red

    Big Red Active Member

    E Vs. Gas.

    Hey reb1, like the range yer gonna get out of it, but I can't do only 15mph. My bike right now, still running a little rich, is hitting close to 40mph. I RARELY push it to that, keeping it closer to speed limits. If I could only do 15mph around town I'd get run over. WELL, I do live in San Jose and too many crazy drivers here and LOTS of traffic. 15mph around here would only get me squished. I'd bet you get "off the line" faster though. Sounds like yer gonna have a real torker bike. Might even get wheelies.
    Big Red.
     
  17. reb1

    reb1 Member

    I have no problems with traffic bothering me at bicycling speeds where I ride. You have probably noticed in congested areas with closely spaced side roads it is safer to ride at traffic speed in the lane with the automobiles. I can still muster enough speed to do this in these areas without a motor. I like the german made electric hub motor with the hardened steel beveled gears. There is a mid drive kit for the Yuba Mundo that I like but not there motor with composite gears. I will contact the Heiznmann guy and see if they have a motor I can setup to use on this kit. Then I could have the abililty to go faster and have enough low end also for the steepest hills. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5ZdbAGKJ90
     
  18. Big Red

    Big Red Active Member

    E Vs. Gas.

    Being able to shift gears is a big plus. It doesn't look like it would be too easy for the average builder though. If you can buy the frame for it then it's just a matter of money, but then it's not really a "build", It's "some assembly required". It looks like it would do the job though. Also, Not sure how the law looks at a gear shifting motorized bicycle. I know the SBP shift kits are not legal in California and this one works on the same princible, kinda. I guess if you got hills then you really have no choice. I barely get over an overpass on my bike, and if I had REAL hills then I'd be hurting. Cool system though, Hope it works out for you.
    Big Red.
     
  19. reb1

    reb1 Member

    CA VC 406 A makes reference to an automatic transmission. This section refers to other than electric or electric with non operational pedals. CA 406 B makes no reference to automatic transmission. This is the section of the VC that many police do not know or feign not knowing when you talk to them. The regular gears on a bicycle are not a transmission. This kit is designed specifically for this cargo bicycle for the version 3 and 4 frames. You can get this kit in any of the currently three colors the Yuba mundo is painted. Not being attached to a wheel allows me to use the 48 spoked rear wheel and a 48 spoked dyno hub front wheel. Yes you can purchase the Yuba Mundo frame separately in flat black. This bicycle is rated for around 700 lbs GVW.
    http://urbancommuterstore.com/
    http://gobiketrip.com/blogs/urbancommuter/08-07-2011/my-yuba-mundo-m-drive-electric-bike-conversion-kit
    This is a car replacement. At the speeds I will be going I very much doubt I will be bothered by law enforcement. The rear rack is 2' 7" long. There are a slew of accessories for hauling your gear or even kids. I am purchasing the bicycle with a Schlumpf Mountain Drive on it. This is an internal geared crank with a 2.5 to 1 ratio. Meaning when the planets are engaged the crank arm has to travel 2.5 times to rotate the front gear once. This means when my fat but + groceries and wife are loaded on it, I can still pedal even though I will be crawling up those hills. The system drives the rear wheel so I will put a 9 speed with a 12-36 tooth cassett on it.
    I read alot of posts about motorized bicycles. The most common police involved ones are where the police appear to be singling out specific kinds of riders. People who have suspended licenses are often the victim of unwanted attention. If you have screwed up the police will stalk you. If you ride your motorized bicycle like you ride your bicycle and you are the kind that does not stop at stop signs and jerks motorists around by cutting them off all of the time than you will attract the police to you eventually. I obey the rules of the rode on my bicycle. Much of the bigoted hatred that is directed toward us is because people are intolerant of each other to start with. All it takes is for some clown to show off and now we have more attention than we can imagine. When I am done getting my Yuba Mundo together. I will save for a Lightfoot Ranger with a Subaru Robin EHO35 mid drive.
     
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