Japanese government reacts to Chinese high-speed ebikes

VoltMan99

Well-Known Member
Region
Asia
City
Tokyo
Sorry for the OT.

High pricing?
BBSxx series?
Less than either mentioned, and an actual parts stream. I have the right to repair.
Yamaha and give up my throttle and be unable to ride with younger friends?
BBS mid drive kit with battery ¥60,000 minimum. Panasonic 26” mid drive ¥81,000 for the whole bike. No problems registering the bike either. DIY no dealer will touch for registration. No registration, cop pulls you over, gives you a hard time about possibly being a bike thief or worse.
 

JASmith

Member
Region
USA
Wow! Bafang copies a Japanese designed mid drive and then turns around and peddles it back to Japan. It’s a funny world.
Karma! That's how Japan started too, reverse engineering and producing less expensive copies of Western goods. Back in the 60s "made in Japan" was synonymous with junk, but by my day it meant highest quality. Korea made the same transition, and give China 20 years and they may be next.
 

Gordon71

Well-Known Member
Karma! That's how Japan started too, reverse engineering and producing less expensive copies of Western goods. Back in the 60s "made in Japan" was synonymous with junk, but by my day it meant highest quality. Korea made the same transition, and give China 20 years and they may be next.
I think China is pretty much already there. I've bought lots of stuff made in China (hard not to) and have been overall pleased with the quality of it.
 

VoltMan99

Well-Known Member
Region
Asia
City
Tokyo
I think China is pretty much already there. I've bought lots of stuff made in China (hard not to) and have been overall pleased with the quality of it.
Actually much of their product well exceeds the capability of what Americans or Europeans can do.
 

stw

Member
Region
USA
Interesting development to me because I first learned about throttle-control e-bikes years ago from seeing fairly large family e-bikes made for kid-hauling and grocery shopping in Japanese urban areas. I suppose those are not part of this issue because they were likely compliant to regulations and speed-limitations all along?
 

VoltMan99

Well-Known Member
Region
Asia
City
Tokyo
Interesting development to me because I first learned about throttle-control e-bikes years ago from seeing fairly large family e-bikes made for kid-hauling and grocery shopping in Japanese urban areas. I suppose those are not part of this issue because they were likely compliant to regulations and speed-limitations all along?
99% of the e-bikes in Japan for the last 25 years are domestic model pedal assist mid drives and don’t have a throttle. There is often a twist shifter that might appear like a throttle but it’s actually for gear selection for the Nexus/Alfine geared hubs. We call them “Mamacharis“ meaning “Mama’s Chariots”. There’s now a very strict set of design guidelines, especially for bikes that Moms carry children with (2 kids max). I’d read a year ago or so that e-bikes make up for about 50% of adult bikes now, including old bikes. I very rarely see an illegal bike these days - lately only fat tire type with DIY drives, but lately they’ve been pulling them off the streets by the truckload - most are not registered and can be seized immediately if parked illegally which is quite often.
 
  • Like
Reactions: stw

Timpo

Well-Known Member
Karma! That's how Japan started too, reverse engineering and producing less expensive copies of Western goods. Back in the 60s "made in Japan" was synonymous with junk, but by my day it meant highest quality. Korea made the same transition, and give China 20 years and they may be next.

Japan did indeed, create junk and copied engineering from Western products.
However, Japan did not create counterfeit products anywhere near China did.

Sony, Panasonic, Pioneer, Kenwood, etc... I don't think they ever created counterfeit products of RCA, Zenith, Bose and other American products.
I think Japan was known for creating poor quality products back in the day, but they weren't known as counterfeit / knock offs.

Same as cars.
When Lexus LS400 came out, everybody was saying it's a copy of Mercedes S Class, but it wasn't exactly a counterfeit.
They sure did copy a lot of elements from Mercedes, but I am not sure if you could call them counterfeit.
The Lexus LS: History, Generations, Specifications

1989 Mercedes-Benz S-Class | Classic Driver Market


Same as Mazda RX-7.
Everyone said it's a copy of Porsche 944, however, it wasn't counterfeit their.
FC vs. FD - RX7Club.com - Mazda RX7 Forum

22k-Mile 1987 Porsche 944 Turbo for sale on BaT Auctions - closed on  October 31, 2019 (Lot #24,601) | Bring a Trailer


However, look at Chinese cars made by BYD, Geely, etc..
They look exactly like BMW and Mercedes,
I made an album of fake Chinese BMW's: BMW

Top 10 Chinese knockoff cars vs. the original designs | Driving

Volvo Personvagnar AB - Volvo Owners Club Forum

W car Logos

Attack of the Chinese Clones: Geely vs. Rolls Royce & Hautai vs. Bentley |  Automotive Addicts
 
Last edited:

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
Well, the Japanese cities are very dense and the typical commute distances may not be as high.

Just half-hour ago, I stumbled on this video and these comments.

1626325352616.png



 

JASmith

Member
Region
USA
Just half-hour ago, I stumbled on this video and these comments.
That's the Verge though. You can safely dismiss that community, lol! I still die every time I think of the Verge PC Build video, taking incompetence to a whole new level. And to the point of safety regulations? The helmets and riding apparel he's referring to are not a matter of public safety but individual only, meaning it doesn't need to be regulated and ATGATT is a decision that is and should be up to the individual. BTW, half the time I see that juiced, it looks like the headlight is aimed at the sky.
 

VoltMan99

Well-Known Member
Region
Asia
City
Tokyo
Well, the Japanese cities are very dense and the typical commute distances may not be as high.

Just half-hour ago, I stumbled on this video and these comments.

View attachment 93334
Honestly those look like junk, and a poor imitation of an e-scooter. Yamaha e-Vino costs less than both above and better equipped as it’s a real scooter. Honda has a nice utility version with more ooomph. Honda , Yamaha, Suzuki, and Kawasaki are doing a joint development with Osaka University to introduce a common battery. The upshot to that obviously swap out rental batteries from a convenience store - unlimited range and endurance. A lot of movement in Europe as well with Husqvarna and Kumpan. All of those efforts working very hard to stay within an established regulatory framework to make sure they succeed. Meanwhile America tinkers with converted mini bikes using junk from China, flouting any regulatory and safety initiatives, and not developing any serious industrial production. A big missed opportunity. Not to mention it’s embarrassing 😳.
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
A Mormon was seated next to an Irishman on a flight from London to the US.
After the plane was airborne, drink orders were taken. The Irishman asked for a whiskey, which was promptly brought and placed before him.
The flight attendant then asked the Mormon if he would like a drink. He replied in disgust, "I'd rather be savagely raped by a dozen whores than let liquor touch my lips."
The Irishman then handed his drink back to the attendant and said, "Me, too, I didn't know we had a choice."
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I get it, everybody likes speed and fun but,
an unseasoned rider on an E-bike that can do 40 mph can be dangerous not just for himself for others on the road as well.
 

JASmith

Member
Region
USA
I get it, everybody likes speed and fun but, an unseasoned rider on an E-bike that can do 40 mph can be dangerous not just for himself for others on the road as well.
Speed limits are fair, but IMO the way this system should have been implemented is that in "bicycle plate" mode it abides by 250w 15mph speed/power limit or whatever they said it was and should be able to used the same as any bicycle and in any place a bicycle is allowed (after all, human riders can output 400w and go 15mph without issue), but as soon as you exceed that and unlock it via the controller to go into unlimited mode it should be allowed to go as fast as the speed limit allows for any road traffic and obey all road traffic rules and regulations (including the need for a motorcycle license). That fairly addresses the public safety issue and what a rider wears should be up to her, and would make high performance e-bikes appealing in their versality to bridge the gap between bicycle and motorcycle.
 

shiruba

Active Member
Hmm I wouldn't say that these are "gaining popularity" unless that means going from 0% of people to 1% of people.
99% of people will just buy from one of the big three. Some people will buy some cheap foreign bike off of Amazon, etc., unaware that it is illegal.

Also, this is not about Bafang bikes in general, but cheap Chinese ebikes in general. Also, I have no idea why, but this has apparently been a problem mainly in Osaka. (I have noted this on the news a few times, and it's always in Osaka. The police will see someone going up a hill without pedaling, etc. - Dead giveaway).

What is really interesting is this:
1. Street legal PAS bikes have the limitation of 24kph, no throttle, etc., and can be ridden backwards down one way roads, on the sidewalk (as an exception), bike lanes, etc.
2. Higher powered eBikes have existed, but are always required to be registered as a moped or motorcycle.

There seems to be some mixed information above...
There is *already* a law that says that *anything* with a motor is classified as a motor vehicle, which requires license, insurance, registration, helmet, license place, mirrors, brake lights, etc., etc. There is also a very specific exception for "power assisted bicycles", which means anything that can only go up to 24kph with a maximum of twice the rider's power input at 10kph and 0 at 24kph.

The situation under the current law is, simply put, the imported bikes that don't comply with the existing PAS regulations will be treated as motorcycles by the police when found, and if they don't qualify as road legal motorcycles/mopeds (or Gentsuki), you will be in trouble. There is no need for any new law about that at all - the existing law is clear.

The only real thing that is needed is to have Amazon and the other online retailers involved put a big disclaimer that says "THESE ARE NOT ROAD LEGAL. FOR USE ON PRIVATE PROPERTY ONLY or you MAY BE ARRESTED AND JAILED", so that people can't play stupid when they do get caught.

But the license plate cover thing... that is interesting.

Until now, there was no legal way to "switch modes". For example, the battery on my "moped" ran down and I had to pedal it home under 100% my own power once. Technically that's not legal. Likewise if the motor broke down and I had to pedal it, that would be "operating a malfunctioning motor vehicle". Realistically no cop is going to stop me for that since it just looks very much like a normal bike, but still. Also technically I can't ride that bike on the sidewalk or bike lanes even when the power is turned off, because it is registered as a moped. If I took off the license place, I could 99% get away with it, but technically that's not legal either. If I kept the license plate on, then it would be obvious I shouldn't be riding on the sidewalk. If the "cover the license plate" option is available and somehow links to the power output, that would be very nice indeed.

I have imagined a system before where there would be one bike with two different head units that would allow you to switch it between PAS and Moped mode in a way that would not be easy to play funny stuff with the cops.

And for the record, most people in Japan don't purposely break the law. It's not worth it to be arrested for something silly, but it's also just frowned upon in general. You would probably be fired the moment you were arrested, shunned by your family, etc.

Usually for bicycle offenses like accidentally running a read light or not running with your lights, the cops will just give you a warning (speaking from experience!). For operating something that does not qualify as a bicycle without a license, registration, or insurance, though, I am quite sure you would be looking at a 10 day detention plus fine/jail time - at least if they thought you did it on purpose.

Japan is far from a surveillance state, but prosecutors don't usually prosecute "iffy" crimes either, as a failed prosecution looks really bas on the prosecutor's record.

"Bicycles already have to obey the same traffic laws as registered vehicles have to obey." - Yes and no, something classified as a bicycle can go the "wrong way" down one way streets legally in most cases, can ride on the side walk most cases as an "exception" (i.e. you should try to avoid doing it as much as you can if you feel safe), can use bike lanes, bike trails, etc. There are extra requirements for making a two step right turn. On the other hand, running red lights, etc., is still illegal, but usually treated much less harshly.


btw, I have seen tear downs of Bafang motors. Really really bad build quality with solder gobs everywhere, etc. You do get what you pay for.
At least the worst a cheap motor can do is break, I am much more worried about cheep batteries that can explode, etc.

btw #2, the same issues have been caused by "e scooters" recently as well, as some people were riding them around without realizing they needed to have a license plate and all of that jazz. (They don't qualify as PAS bikes...)
 

Elkman

Active Member
No country is more protectionist than Japan so no surprise that they would want to keep out Chinese products. The Japanese have no issues with exploiting Chinese labor to make their products and then sell them into Europe and the USA.

10 years ago I was in Shanghai and nearly all the scooters were electric ones. I would be standing on the sidewalk and waiting for the traffic light to change and wonder how the "motorcycles" were so quiet. At least in the big cities the Chinese have done an exceptional job at keeping small vehicles like scooters out of the main traffic flow of cars and buses and large trucks. Very different attitude toward people on bikes and scooters in China as compared to the USA.
 

shiruba

Active Member
So I guess you're still NOT allowed to use one of those 8000W 60mph "ebikes" (that resembles dirtbike) with this license plate.
However, you can use it as a "Gentsuki Category 1" which is a performance similar to 50cc scooter??
Gentuki class 1 is only for up to 600 watts. An 8000 watt bike woke need to be a higher class motorcycle.
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
Gentuki class 1 is only for up to 600 watts. An 8000 watt bike woke need to be a higher class motorcycle.
It's actually more like 7.2 horsepower, 5,369W. (I could be wrong)

600W would be 0.8 horsepower, and typical 50cc scooter generate a lot more than that.

A lot of Gentsuki Category 1 (50cc scooters) have way more than 0.8 horsepower.
 

shiruba

Active Member
The real gem in this law is the requirement that you must have a license tag, which means that the bike has to be registered by the manufacturer as a vehicle. There’s also a bunch of safety things that it’s required to have on it such as turn signals, brake lights, horn etc etc - so it needs to be a specially designed and produced bike. Because it has a license tag, it also means the driver needs a drivers license for 50cc, as well as insurance. And while it may seem trivial to fold up your license plate the real kicker is that you can’t own or operate that vehicle without a drivers license and insurance.
Btw a horn is apparently not required for gentuki class 1. (at least mine didn't have one stock). It should be, though.
 

shiruba

Active Member
So I did a little research on this...
This has nothing to do with random Bafung bikes, and is being pushed by one company called Glafit. They are selling a "eBike" called the GFR-1 (and another one called the GFR-2) which is classified as an electric moped/motorcycle. (Gentsuki class 1). At present this means you need insurance, license plate, helmet, etc., etc., and you can't ever ride on the sidewalk, bike trails, etc.

I have an "electric moped" eBike too, and the manual goes to great pains to tell you that it doesn't matter if the power is off, it is always a moped and must obey all moped laws.

What glafit is proposing to the police and gotten accepted in principle (not not actually enacted in law yet) is that they have this "Mobility change" thing attached, then when you cover up the license plate, it will disable the assist entirely, and they are asking it to be recognized as a normal bike then. This is a big deal, because until now there is no way to change the classification of a vehicle - it is either a moped or a bicycle. But this would only work on their bikes, so you would not be able to attach it to the bikes in the photos and have it work. Of course if the law passes, I expect other companies might also start producing compliant vehicles.

It still needs to be registered as a moped before use, so you still need accident insurance, and it still has to have turn signals, brake lights, etc. Interestingly, even when switched to human powered "bike mode", the insurance must pay out if you get into an accident.

They also said that if this law passes, they would look to produce a bike that switched between compliant PAS ebike mode and electric moped/motorcycle mode instead of just between human powered and electric mode.

Technically speaking, operating an eBike classified as a moped without a license, number plate, etc. is illegal as it stands even if the power if off - but realistically, if it looks like a normal bike, and you took the battery out before driving, then nobody is going to arrest you.
 

shiruba

Active Member
It's actually more like 7.2 horsepower, 5,369W. (I could be wrong)

600W would be 0.8 horsepower, and typical 50cc scooter generate a lot more than that.

A lot of Gentsuki Category 1 (50cc scooters) have way more than 0.8 horsepower.
Maybe so, the they have predetermined the wattage and engine displacement for each category already. 0-49 CCs or 0-0.59kw is defined as class 1.
Class 2 is 50-124CCs or 0.6-0.99kw.

Note that this is "average" per, so there is some wriggle room. My Gentsuki ebike is class one, but it can put out around 1000 watts for a few seconds according to the display. I don't know over how many seconds the average is taken or anything like that, apparently that isn't spelled out in the law.

600watts coverts to roughly 0.8hp, and old 50cc motors were roughly 1-1.5hp, so I suppose that is how they came up with these numbers. Gasoline motors have improved, though, so now with fancy ones, they can get more like 7.5hp on the high end. This could be considered "cheating", but it's the governments fault for defining the categories by displacement instead of hp to begin with.
 
Last edited: