Find out how to maintain your electric bike.
A concern many have when buying an e-bike is how much additional maintenance will there be and the costs associated with that maintenance. Let’s start by saying the best thing you can do to prevent costly repairs is to undertake a few basic steps as preventative measures that will extend the life of components and ensure a smooth ride.
There are a number of factors influencing wear on a bike including the type of bike, areas its ridden, rider type and weather conditions. The are many different types of e-bikes but the main categories are:
• Hybrid or Trekking
For the purpose of this blog, we will focus on standard hybrid/road/folding e-bikes – the type that undertake the usual journeys of commuting and weekend road cycles on. By following some advice, you can make sure to keep you bike ticking over sweetly.
Cleaning your e-bike
It might sound basic but keep your bike clean! First and foremost, try to stay away from pressure washers; we can all get a little over enthusiastic with a power washer but the last thing you want is trigger happiness blasting water in and around your electrical components. Either remove the battery or cover it up with a cloth or some film, if your display unit can be clipped off then do so too. Use a garden hose to rinse the bike down making sure the nozzle is set to a spray setting as opposed to fully open. Use a bike shampoo if possible as they are designed not to damage plastics however washing up liquid can also be used. Gently agitate the shampoo around the bike and components with a brush or sponge and when complete, rinse again with the hose.
Following the clean it’s advisable to check your chain for lubrication. If you are using your bike for commuting to and from work and maybe some social cycling throughout the week the likelihood, is you are predominately on roads. As Ireland’s weather is, let’s say characterful, it’s best to use an all-weather lubrication which is designed for wet and dry use that can adapt to changing weather conditions.
Issues to watch out for
If your ebike has a cadence sensor then cleaning is important. A cadence sensor can be seen in the picture below, it’s located behind your chain wheel and is a small disc that passes a mounted sensor. This sensor detects when you are pedalling and sends power to the motor to help you along – if dirt gets between the disc and the sensor it will interfere with the message and you won’t be going anywhere fast! It’s a common issue that people find if the bike isn’t kept clean or if you have been through a muddy patch.
Check the type pressures! Tyres are such an important part of your bike. No matter how good your group set is, how expensive your hubs cost, if your tyres pressures and condition aren’t right then everything else falls out of sync. The required pressure your tyres should be at will almost always be written on the side of the tyre. Our Electric Avenue C1 for example has a 700c tyre with a range between 55 & 85psi, the difference is to account for rider weight and load carried. Get yourself a track pump with a psi gauge so you can set the tyre pressure just right. If they are too low then you’ll drastically reduce the range your bike will cover on a charge and you can run this risk of a ‘pinch flat’ (puncture).
Troubleshooting the battery. If your ebike won’t start or it continues to cut out then the likely issue can be traced back to the battery. As the battery is one of the key components on your ebike this is the best place to start your investigation, for tips on how to extend your battery life check out our previous blog. Fist thing to do is check the voltage, if the light on the battery don’t light up when you press the button, then it’s likely not holding a charge or hasn’t been charged. If you attach a multimeter to the positive and negative prongs on the battery, this reading will provide you with a voltage reading. If the bike has been lying up for over 6 months without being charged and is only achieving a short distance before it depletes then there is a good chance you need a replacement.
When to contact a bike mechanic
All the points we covered above are best practices that you can do to keep your bike in good shape. Certain issues and premature component wear can be avoided by following a few steps and will keep your bike in good working order. You will however need to take your bike for regular servicing at your local bike shop to ensure consumable parts are replaced, everything is torqued/greased/lubricated/trued and adjusted so that your bike runs smoothly and most importantly is safe to ride. If you are ever unsure about anything it’s better to be safe than sorry and contact a professional.