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Electric bike maintenance guide

Like a traditional bike, electric bikes need proper maintenance to ensure safety when riding and a long-lasting e-bike.

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Person repairing a bicycle in a shop.
Photo courtesy of Canva.

Before diving into maintenance and how to take care of your electric bike, your e-bike must be off before you check the different components.

If your e-bike is on, it can lead to an injury and accidents. So, power down your bike before working on it.

What to check before every ride

Before each ride with your electric bike, a few safety checks will ensure you have a smooth ride.

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Since e-bikes have an electrical aspect, check the battery and cables. For the battery, make sure you have enough power depending on how much you typically use and check the cables for damage.

Aside from the electrical aspect, check the tire pressure because a deflated tire equals a more challenging ride. Plus, it’ll drain your battery much quicker.

You must also check the brakes to ensure they’re in good condition and for loose bolts. The last thing you’d want is to be unable to stop.

If everything looks good, you’re ready to get out and ride.

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Cleaning the frame and battery

Keeping your e-bike clean is beneficial for more than looks.

A clean e-bike protects the frame and components from damage, which leads to a longer lifespan. It can also make your e-bike more efficient and give you a better ride.

E-bikes are water-resistant. The motor, battery, and cables are covered to protect it from water and damage.

However, it doesn’t mean an e-bike can be submerged in water or sprayed with a pressure washer. There’s a possibility that water can find its way through a crack.

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The best way to clean your e-bike is to be gentle. After each ride, wipe it down with a soft rag or microfiber cloth.

Aside from wiping it down, you can give it a deeper clean. Make sure your e-bike is off.

Then, grab a bucket and use a gentle cleanser like dish soap or a bike-specific cleaner.

When you’re cleaning it, make sure you avoid harsh chemicals that can damage your e-bikes frame. If you have tough dirt or grime, use a soft brush to clean it off.

When you’re cleaning your e-bike, be careful around the brakes. Avoid the disc brakes because oils from your hands and ingredients in the cleaning product can damage them.

After you’re finished washing it, wipe it down with a dry cloth.

Maximize battery life

Understanding the battery is a crucial part of e-bike ownership. Since it plays a major role in your experience, maximizing its lifespan and efficiency is the goal.

Most e-bikes have a lithium-ion battery. While they’re lighter, charge faster, and last longer than a traditional battery, they degrade over time.

Check the specific battery that you have. However, most e-bike batteries can last between 500 to 1,000 charge cycles. One cycle is when the battery goes from zero to 100%.

To extend the life of your battery, charge it to top it off whenever you can. Also, use the lowest level of assistance possible. Higher levels drain the battery much faster.

Another important aspect is where you store the battery. Keep it indoors. It must be in a dry and climate-controlled environment. The best temperature for storage is between 50 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Maintaining the brakes

E-bikes are heavier and ride faster than most traditional bikes. As a result, the brakes often get used more and wear down more quickly because of how much stopping power is needed.

Most e-bikes have disc brakes with calipers mounted on the fork and frame around the rear wheel. Since the brakes are so important, ensure that they’re clean and properly adjusted.

When you squeeze the brake levels, the pads will squeeze the discs, also called brake rotors. The friction will slow the bike down.

Before each ride, make sure the pads touch the discs when you squeeze the levers.

Checking the brake pads for wear is essential. You’ll notice that it gets thinner over time. Eventually, you’ll need to replace them.

Aside from checking the pads, take a look at the discs. If the discs are dirty, use rubbing alcohol or a soft cloth to wipe them clean. Also, make sure the bolts are tight.

Taking care of the tires

Properly inflated tires that can handle the weight of an e-bike is are essential. Your bike’s tire pressure depends on the terrain that you plan to ride it on.

If you’re riding on the road, make sure your tire pressure is between 90 and 120 PSI. For mountain biking, keep them between 25 to 35 PSI. If you plan to ride on different types of terrain, 50 to 70 PSI is perfect.

Aside from tire pressure, make sure your e-bike has good traction and is resistant to getting punctured.

Before you get on your bike, make sure the tires are free of glass and debris. Things can get stuck in the tire, which can lead to a flat.

Kenda and Schwalbe are two brands that are known to make excellent e-bike tires. They’re reputable and worth the investment.

Belt and chain drive care

An e-bike will either have a belt or chain drive system. Typically, the drivetrain for an e-bike is stronger and more durable than a traditional bike due to the faster riding speeds and weight.

However, proper maintenance is required. If your bike has a belt drive system, you must keep an eye out for wear. Your e-bike manufacturer has information about when to replace it.

E-bikes with a chain drive require a little more regular care. If your e-bike makes noise while pedaling, it may need to be lubricated. You’ll also want to lubricate it whenever you clean off dirt and debris from the chain.

The best way to apply it is to allow your bike to stand on the kickstand. Then, pour a few drops over the top of the chain while you turn the pedals backward. Once finished, wipe off the excess grease.

Check your chains for wear. They’ll become longer over time. Some tools indicate the chain wear, or you can have your bike mechanic look at them. When they’re worn out, you’ll need to replace the chain.

Finding a good shop and maintenance schedule

If you ride your e-bike often, get a tune-up every six months. Typically, a tune-up consists of checking the brakes, chain, derailleurs, wheels, hubs, spokes, and tires.

Aside from the tune-up, be sure to find a shop with experience and a good reputation for servicing e-bikes.

The best way to know is to call the bike shop and ask. Tell them about the brand and type of e-bike you have. You can also reach out to e-bike groups for recommendations.

Once you’ve found a shop for service, take a look at your owner’s manual to understand the servicing schedule for your e-bike.

While the general rule is every six months, the owner’s manual may be more specific and list the number of miles ridden.

Bottom line

With regular care before and after each ride and a good maintenance schedule, your e-bike will last longer and remain in good condition. The proper care will ensure that your e-bike is reliable and performs well.

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Featured image courtesy of Canva.

About the author: David Em is the founder and editor-in-chief of Hello E-Bikes, the destination for electric bike reviews, comparisons, gear, and tips.

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