At its core, the e-bike is equal to the regular bike. However, e-bikes have some advanced parts that differ from regular bikes like motor, battery, and sensor. Since with these complicated and crucial components, it may spend us more time and energy to maintain it. Therefore, we will get the most use of it and enjoy more from the e-bike.
Like most sorts of transportation, electric bikes also need regular maintenance to ensure they work properly.
Generally speaking, we may seek help from a professional maintainer when we have trouble with our e-bikes because it is convenient for us to cope with the problem. Nevertheless, if we pay more attention to them, they will give us fewer troubles and end up costing us less money.
Obviously, how important is regular maintenance of our e-bikes. It will keep our e-bikes stay in top condition and reduce any large repairs in the future.
Then what should we do to maintain our e-bikes? Here are some tips for you for reference.
1, GENERAL MAINTENANCE
First and foremost, general maintenance is the most crucial thing to help e-bikes stay in top condition. In common sense, we must check our e-bikes both before and after we ride them.
Before we ride our e-bike, we should keep in mind that keep tires inflated and the battery fully charged is important. Also, we should confirm the condition of brakes and other electronic parts like sensors and displays. It is also good for our safety to check all the parts before riding. For example, checking brakes conditions will prevent us from hurting once we encounter the unexpected accidents. Confirming battery capacity can inform us how long we can ride.
Then what we should do after we ride our e-bikes? On a sunny day, it is easy to take care of an e-bike. What we need to do is to store our e-bikes in a clean place. However, we need to do more after we ride on a rainy day. First, it is crucial to keep the e-bike clear and dry, so we can clean the frame, tires, and other parts which are wet because of the rain. Second, we can dry the bike with a clean cloth, or place the bike in a ventilated place and let it dry naturally. Finally, we can store it as usual.
2, OBEY THE RULES
Not only do we need to know what we should do to our e-bikes, but what we cannot do to our e-bikes is also crucial. First, the manufacturer will provide us with a manual and once we received our e-bikes, we should check it and know all the information about the e-bikes. Also, it is the first thing after we received the e-bike. Then we can install the e-bike following the manual. Besides, there will be some suggestions for us how to protect it and we must strictly abide by them. Nevertheless, in order to seek thrills or pursue extraordinary feelings, some cyclists may adjust the top speed illegally without any support. All in all, for the rules listed in the user manual, we must check thoroughly then keep in mind and obey them.
Routine maintenance is the key factor to longevity for our e-bikes. The following are some suggestions for maintaining the different e-bike’s parts.
Tires: We should examine the tires regularly to ensure that they are in correct air pressure or inflated. Typically, with an e-bike, you can ride a greater distance than an ordinary bike so the stone on the road will have a greater chance of destroying the tire while you are riding. So be sure to maintain the correct air pressure and keep it inflate. If the air is too low, then the wheel will stick in the ground so the inner tire may be damaged.
Brakes: If checking tires regularly ensures the longevity of the e-bikes, then checking brakes makes you safe when you ride the e-bike. Regardless of different types of e-bike brakes, guaranteeing they are effectively working is the most important thing among your riding tour. No one wants to have such experience that you cannot control the e-bikes when you are riding because of the poor condition brakes, especially when you went downhill. How dangerous if the brakes do not work properly. Thus, having this good habit to check the brakes can provide a safe and fun riding experience for you. Take a close look at your brakes pads after you ride it to see how they’re holding up. We know the type of brakes may vary, from rim brakes, mechanical disc brakes with hydraulic disc brakes, each having slightly different maintenance tips. What’s more, be sure to repair or replace the brake once they have anything wrong. Or, you can test the brake often in a safe environment to ensure it can work properly.
Chain: One of the common problems for the chains is the chain skip, which is so terrible experience for us when we are absorbed in riding. In order to avoid this common problem, and we need to keep the chain in a lubricated state. After we cleaned the e-bike and dried it, lubricating the chain is a necessity to prevent it from rust and wear. Then in the next time to ride it, the e-bike will be in top condition and we can enjoy it directly.
Battery: The most important electronic pieces of e-bikes are the battery. Ensure that you already read the manual that how to charge it properly before you attempt to charge it. You must know that the incorrect charging method will damage the battery or wear it out quickly. What’s more, making sure to avoid storing the battery in extreme cold or hot temperatures when the e-bike is not in use. Last, occasionally charging the battery will extend its longevity. So, just keep all the tips in mind to do battery care.
Frame: It is not acceptable to leave massive mud or dirt on the e-bike frame because it may lead to chipping paint. Clean the frame with water, a dry rag, or soft towels, even you can coat a layer to prevent the frame rust. But, do not use the high-pressure hose to clean the frame, and leave the battery on when you clean it in case of damaging its charging connectors. When storing the e-bike, keep in mind that you need to avoid bad weather conditions such as rain, snow, and direct sunlight.
What checks should you do before riding?
Before heading out on your electric bike, a few quick checks will help make sure you’re getting the best, safest ride possible.
Mechanical and electrical checks are the key thing, says Thrasher, so from a mechanical point of view, tire pressures and if you’ve got any mountain bike suspension settings as well. Mainly because if you’re riding an e-bike with deflated tires then you may not get the range out of the bike that you want.
You’d normally notice if you’re riding a bike with deflated tires or worn gears – you’ll have to work harder than usual – but an e-bike will compensate, effectively masking the problem and draining the battery faster than necessary,
It’s also really important that your brakes are working properly because the e-bikes are slightly heavier, says Thrasher. I’d have a check of the brakes and gears before you go on a ride. Just a spin around the car park or just down the side of your house, just to make sure everything’s operating mechanically as it should.
From an electrical point of view, making sure that the battery’s got a full state of charge, he says. You’d ideally do this with enough time to make sure that you can put charge into it. There’s nothing worse than rocking up to a ride and finding that you’ve got one bar of battery. It’ll either be a very difficult ride, or the ride won’t happen.
And a quick check of the cables as well. Speaking from a Shimano Steps point of view, the cables are quite delicate and they carry all the data through the system, so if they’re slightly damaged or you’ve managed to hook it on a car when you’re taking the bike off a rack, they can get damaged and that can cause an error to occur. So it’s definitely worthwhile checking.
You should also check that the cables are correctly plugged in. Shimano has a special wire tool (catchily named the TL-EW02), which makes sure that you’re pushing on the correct part of the wire and not damaging it.
Also take a look at the magnet for the speed sensor. It’s a bit like the old school cycle computers that you had where the magnet went round and it told you how fast you were going, Thrasher explains. The e-bike has a drive unit that knows how much pressure you’re putting through the pedals – there’s an in-built power meter – but it also has a speed sensor to work out how fast you’re going. With those two metrics it can work out the right amount of power delivery, but if the magnet gets knocked then it can’t see that, and then the drive unit won’t work.
It’s quite common for that magnet to get knocked out of place, either in transit or being out on the trails. Just make sure that the magnet is in line with the sensor, with the correct distance between it.
If your bike has a Shimano Steps drive system, also watch out for an error code called WA13. Thrasher explains that this is a torque sensor error, and is easily fixed.
This happens when someone hops on the bike, they start pedalling it off down the road or down the trail, and then they think ‘Oh no, I haven’t turned it on!’ So they turn it on, and then the system sees that there’s pressure going through it, which it doesn’t expect. What it then does is say ‘Well, that must be a problem’. So then it beeps and comes up with a WA13 error code.
The easiest way to clear this is to stop the bike, get off the bike, turn the battery off, ideally if it’s a downtube-mounted battery remove it – that clears everything from the system – put the battery back in, turn the system on again without any pressure on the pedals. Nine times out of 10, that clears the WA13 error code.
Finally, make sure that the battery is secure in its mounting. That’s not easy to do for an internal battery, but for an external one, make sure that there’s no play between the battery and its mount. Any movement can cause intermittent faults.
How can you make the battery last longer?
There are lots of ways to eke greater mileage out of your e-bike’s battery, some of which are more obvious than others. We always think about marginal gains in cycling, but they’re all things you can do to improve the life of the battery, and certainly the range of the battery, says Thrasher.
We spoke before about the tires being correctly inflated and things like your brakes rubbing. You notice all these if you’re a human being pedalling a bicycle, but with an e-bike they’re quite good at masking those little things.
Also think about which of your bike’s modes you’re going to be using. Most e-bikes have a set of different options that give varying degrees of assistance. On Steps we have three modes – we have Eco, Trail and Boost modes – and there are two factory preset modes for these of Dynamic and Explore, but you can also customize it, Thrasher explains. We have an app on the phone called E-Tube, and through this E-Tube app you can customize Eco, Trail and Boost from a low, medium and high setting.
So if you went out on your bike and you wanted the best life out of the battery then you’d ride it in Eco with Eco set to low, because you’re just going to receive a small amount of power through the system. So you’re not going to go as fast as going up a hill in Boost, but you are going to get a lot of life out of the battery, or range out of the battery.
There’s really no substitute for knowing your route. If you’re planning a whole day out with lots of good hills, don’t hit them all in Boost mode or you’ll end up riding without any assistance at the end.
If you just want to go for a blast in Boost mode, you won’t be able to go nearly as far, but it’ll be a lot of fun.
The last thing I’d add to that is that lithium-ion batteries do like to be charged, so don’t let your battery run all the way out and then leave it run out, Thrasher says. The battery can enter a sort of hibernation mode, and then it can be very difficult to wake that battery. What we recommend is that even if you’ve just used a bar of battery, put it on charge. It likes that. You’ll increase the life of it if you charge it often.
What if your bike has an electrical fault?
If your bike has an electrical fault, never try to disassemble your bike’s battery or drive system. You might void your warranty, cause more damage, or even give yourself a bad electric shock.
The first thing I’d say is visit a professional bike shop, or we prefer a Shimano Service Center, says Thrasher. They’ve got a tool called an SM-PCE02, and this is a linkage device that checks the electrical internals of each component that’s on the bike. So the motor, the display and so on, and that’s something that’s very difficult to do at home.
You might occasionally see error codes on your e-bike’s display, which an expert at a bike shop or service center can interpret into a solution. So to give you an example, we’ll have an E010 error code, which will appear on the display in combination with an E013, says Thrasher.
What the first error code means is a general system error code. The second error code is a torque sensor error code. So from a bike shop’s point of view, you look at both of those and you go ‘I’m pretty sure I know where that problem is.’
And they also need to look at well, has that been caused through a mechanical issue, and they’re much better equipped to do that. They look at your bike as a whole and then offer you a solution, whereas when you’re at home, you can really only make the problem worse.
Are there any other things you shouldn’t do?
Definitely don’t disassemble the battery or the drive unit because you’ll give yourself a big shock, Thrasher says. The other thing is don’t poke things into the terminals of the battery, because that could also give you a huge shock.
Poking and prodding is a bad idea, but you should make sure that the male terminals on the battery are nice and clean. Those are fine once you’ve got the battery out and off the bike it’s not going to hurt you, so you can clean the other parts.
Thrasher gives the example of one of Shimano’s sponsored riders who was having an error code in his bike. It turned out the problem was down to the dust he’d been riding in; once he cleaned out the dusk, the error code went away.
Don’t spray any lubricant into the wire ports – that’s really a no-no – and treat the cables with care, Thrasher adds. If at any point you don’t think it’s going in, don’t use more force because that generally ends up with something breaking. Don’t force them into the components, and if you can, do use the wire tool that I spoke about.
Don’t try to get into the motor or the battery, but you should ensure that the bolts that are mounted to the frame are tight, and there’s generally only six bolts that do that, and there’ll generally be a torque setting from the manufacturer. That’s really good because that can lead to creaks coming from the bike, but they’re quite easy to solve. Do make sure those bolts are tight.
If you’re cleaning the e-bike, don’t point a high-pressure hose directly at the electrical components – they don’t really like that – but do keep it clean. We say use a clean cloth and then a clean T-shirt afterwards just to dry it down.
Chain and sprocket
Generally, you can maintain your bike chain at home by making sure its clean after using your ebike and keeping it lubricated with special gels and oils. If you have a belt-drive electric bike (an alternative transmission system found on many newer ebikes), this would not be necessary. First, we do not recommend using just the standard WD40 alone, because it is a penetrant, not a lubricant, and will dry out the chain. Instead, you should clean your chain with standard WD40, but you should also use a product like Tri-Flow, or the WD40 chain lubricant afterward, to make sure the chain is properly lubed too, not only cleaned.
How can I know when it’s done properly?
A properly lubed chain should not be dry when you touch it, but instead, it should be a little greasy. however, make sure not to over-lubricate it to the point where it is dripping lube. A properly lubricated chain will prevent rust and assist the movement of metal-on-metal parts. If the derailleur is making noises, then the cable used to shift gears may require an adjustment, which, depending on the type of setup you have, may either be made at the derailleur or at the gear shifter at the handlebar mount. if you’re not familiar with it, we recommend going to your local bike shop, they’ll be able to help!
Tires and inner tubes
All bicycle tires can lose pressure within a few days or a week, especially in areas where the temperature changes on a daily basis. Make sure you keep the tire pressure maintained as indicated on the sidewalls of the tires and in the user manual. Low tire pressure can affect range, ride performance, and handling, among other factors. you’ll truly feel the difference when you have the right amount of pressure in the tires.
In time with normal wear, the wheels can lose the straight alignment and become a little less straight and the fixing of this issue is called wheel trueing. Without proper equipment and knowledge, it would be a good idea to visit a professional bike shop and ask for their assistance, if you feel like you might have this problem. That isn’t the only reason for you to schedule an annual appointment, though. as said before, if you want your e-bike to last a long time, take care of it.
Taking care of your brakes is quite easy. make sure that the pads and calipers stay fresh and haven’t worn out because of riding. The replacements can be found at any bike shop and changed easily. Another common thing, especially with e-bikes is that the brake discs start to squeak. To fix this issue, we recommend first checking if the pads are properly aligned with the rotor, and not brushing up against it when the wheel rotates; if they are not, make the necessary adjustments by loosening the caliper tightening bolt, grasping the brake (which has the effect of centering the brake pads around the rotor) then re-tightening the caliper bolt.
Battery and motor diagnostics are two things you want to make sure you have done every year. These are arguably the most important parts of your e-bike, as they are electric. if you miss an issue and something bad happens, it could be costly to replace these parts. We truly recommend checking these 2 things every year and it might be a good idea to have the business also take a look at the other components mentioned earlier for you during that same visit to save some time.
The average lifespan of an electric bike (with regular maintenance and care) is said to be more than 10 years. Unless you are neglecting it in the rain and not taking care of it regularly, it should last you upwards of 10 years. With proper care and mindfulness of your eBike, you can expect it to last well beyond 10 years.Keep in mind that as long as the replacement parts are still available and you care for the bike regularly, it can last for a long time.Cleaning your ebike regularly after a ride, keeping the parts lubricated, and storing it in good conditions are the 3 most important things for your electric bike to last for a long time.
Please let us know if you have any questions or if there’s anything we can help you with by contacting us!
Happy riding!Urban E-Bikes Team
How Often Should I Service My E-Bike
E-bikes are similar to cars. After a certain amount of miles, you need to do some servicing to ensure everything is running smoothly.
There’s a good rule of thumb you should follow regarding e-bike maintenance. You should service your e-bike at least once every six months. Or, to be more precise, after every 1000 miles of riding.
With that said, this is just a general rule of thumb. Your maintenance intervals may vary depending on how much and hard you ride your e-bike.
But before I get into detail about servicing routines, let’s see what a basic bike shop service appointment entails.
A basic service appointment at an e-bike shop usually involves an inspection and tune-up of derailleurs, chains, hubs, wheels, rims, tires, and brakes. Keep in mind that if any of the parts are worn out and need replacing, the shop will charge you extra for the service.
In most cases, a basic service appointment is pretty affordable, and if you haven’t had one. I recommend you schedule one. The mechanics there will give you advice on how to keep your bike in top shape best.
Now that the general info is out of the way. let’s get more specific. Here’s how often you should service your bike based on how often you ride it.
Intense Daily Riding
If you’re using your e-bike for everything from going to work to running errands with heavy pedal assist, you should often service your bike.
Even a budget e-bike can handle quite a lot of riding. However, the parts will eventually wear down. And in case of intense daily use, they’ll wear down pretty quickly.
This is why I recommend you thoroughly inspect your bike every 100 miles, a basic service after 300 miles, and a full overhaul after 1000 miles.
You don’t need to adhere to this rule completely. At the very least, you should service your bike at least once every six months.
If you’re using your e-bike for running errands after work with some cargo, moderate pedal assist, with intense weekend rides splashed around. your e-bike is still enduring quite a bit of wear and tear.
While you won’t have to service your e-bike as often as an intense rider. you will still have to do it fairly often.
I recommend you inspect the e-bike every 150 miles, service it every 300 miles and do a full overhaul after 1200 miles.
If you’re using your e-bike for short riders every couple of days, your e-bike isn’t enduring much wear and tear. This means you won’t have to service it as often.
For semi-regular riders, I recommend an e-bike inspection every 200 miles, a service every 300 miles, and a full overhaul after 1500 miles.
If you’re not a daily user, I recommend you just take your e-bike to a shop once a year so they can tune up everything. It will save you a lot of time, but it’s pretty inexpensive.
How To Properly Maintain Your E-Bike
Now that you know how often you should service your bike. It’s time to learn how you can do it properly.
Sure, you can just take your e-bike to a shop and have them do it, but you can easily do the service work yourself. E-bikes are pretty simple to maintain, and you don’t need any special tools. In most cases, everything you need is a set of screwdrivers and a bike wrench.
Let’s start with the most simple task, washing the bike, and move on to more complex stuff from there.
How To Properly Wash Your E-Bike
If you want your e-bike to operate at peak efficiency, you need to keep it clean at all times.
Unfortunately, most e-bike newbies think that washing an e-bike might damage the electrical components. However, this can’t be further from the truth. If that were the case, then you couldn’t ride an e-bike when it’s raining outside.
E-bike motors and batteries are completely sealed. this means no water will get into them. With that said, I don’t recommend you clean your e-bike with a powerful pressure washer since it could force the water through the seals.
To clean an e-bike, all you need is a bucket or a garden hose and some soap. If you want to get rid of dirt and grime more quickly, you can use a bike-specific cleaning product.
Before you start cleaning the e-bike, make sure all connections are sealed. Leave the battery on the bike, but turn off the system. And, of course, unplug the charger if you don’t want to cause a short.
Next, check the charging port for any dirt or grime and brush it out with a dry cloth or brush. Close the port after you’re done and move on to washing.
To wash the bike, simply hose it down with water and use a mildly-soapy sponge or cloth to get rid of any dirt and grime from joints and holes.
Next, hose the bike again to get rid of any soap and wipe it down with a dry cloth.
Once every couple of months, give the battery contacts a clean. To do this, remove the battery and brush down the contacts.
Lastly, if your ebike has a speed sensor magnet on the wheel, you should clean it with a soft cloth. This will ensure it reads your speed correctly.
How To Properly Maintain Your E-Bike’s Tires
The tires are an essential part of your e-bike. They have to work twice as hard as tires on a regular bike because they’re carrying a motor, battery, and a beefy frame. This is why it’s essential you take care of them properly.
The first step in tire maintenance is ensuring they’re properly inflated. If you’re a daily rider, I recommend you check the tire pressure level before each ride. Underinflated tires don’t roll pretty well, which will reduce your range.
You should also know how to fix a flat. If you have a bike with a mid-drive motor, fixing a flat is the same as on a regular bike. But, if you have a rear-hub motor, you will have to disconnect and reconnect the motor from the rest of the bike. If you’re uncomfortable doing this, you can always take your e-bike to the service shop and have their mechanics do it for you.
I also recommend you get tires that are specially made for e-bikes. E-bike tires have durable sidewalls, provide excellent traction, and are usually puncture-resistant.
How To Properly Maintain Your E-Bike’s Chain
Just like the tires, the chain on your e-bike endures twice as much wear and tear as a chain on a regular bike. Thankfully, the chain on an e-bike is much more durable than regular chains.
Still, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to keep a close eye on your e-bike’s chain. This is why you should regularly clean and lubricate the chain.
An overly greasy chain will collect quite a lot of dirt and grime, but there’s a trick to it. All you need to lube up is the inside of the chain. So lube up the part of the chain that’s in contact with the gears. Once you’re done, use a dry cloth to collect any excess lubricant, and you’re done!
You should also inspect your chain every once in a while for wear and tear. If a link is starting to give way, you should immediately replace it. The best way to do this is with a chain wear indicator tool.
How To Properly Maintain Your E-Bike’s Brakes
E-bikes are pretty fast and just as heavy. This is why they need quite a lot of stopping power. over, they play a crucial role in your safety. Being able to stop in time might even save your life.
Before each ride, check and adjust your brakes. Look for issues like loose components or rotor/pad wear. I recommend you also give your brakes a stop test.
If the bike isn’t stopping as quickly as it should, you will have to tighten the brakes. You can always send your bike to a shop so they can do that for you if you feel uncomfortable doing it yourself.
I also recommend you regularly replace the brake pads and rotors. Most rotor brakes have wear indicators that will show you when it’s time to have them replaced.
Pay Attention While You Ride
Now that you’re familiar with the ins and outs of proper e-bike maintenance, here is some parting advice.
I highly recommend you pay attention to how your bike performs during each ride.
When riding, keep an ear out for any strange sounds, such as rattling or squealing.
A properly maintained e-bike shouldn’t produce much noise. Some noise from the motor is pretty normal; other sounds should raise concern.
Listen for clunky gear changes, skipping or slipping gears, or grinding noise. If your e-bike produces strange sounds, that means something is wrong with it.
Pay close attention to the thru-axles. Make sure they’re tightly fastened. If you don’t, the wheel will develop a wobble that will affect your brake rotors and pads.