Electric Bike Maintenance 101
Ebike maintenance is a wide-ranging topic, so here I’ll try to explain the basics.
Inspecting your ebike:
The best defense against loose components is a routine inspection before every ride. Such as cranks, pedals, axle nuts, stem screws, and such. This will help you catch potential problems before they develop into safety hazards. Most pre-ride inspection adjustments can be made with a simple bike multitool.
The ABC: Air, Brakes, Chain
The most vital 3 things you have to check before every tide
- Air: Having properly inflated tires helps prevent flats. Check the sidewall of your tire for the recommended tire pressure. While you’re checking the air, we do recommend you check the axles, axle nuts to make sure they’re properly tightened as well. Then, before you ride, make sure you have your patch kit and pump with you, you never know what you’re going to face. It isn’t fun pushing a 60lb bike for miles…
- Brakes: Squeeze your front and rear brake levers to make sure that the brakes engage properly and smoothly.
Ebikes run faster than normal bicycles, so you’ll need to change your brake pads more often than a regular bicycle. It is also important to keep both the pads and the rotor surface clean from dirt and oil. Dirty pads wear out themselves and the rotor substantially faster.
- Chain: Check your chain and your gears. Keeping your chain lubricated and everything clean will ensure your bike shifts easier and the drivetrain lasts longer.
Securing Bike Bolts:
Like regular bicycles, ebikes are also held together by dozens of nuts and bolts. Maintaining these at the recommended tightness is important because loose or improperly tightened bike parts can lead to serious wear and tear, and even safety hazards.
Cleaning and Lubricating your ebike:
A regular schedule of maintenance depending on your riding type is important. If you spend a lot of time riding in wet, muddy conditions, or if you ride hard, hast and often, plan to clean your bike more frequently.
Keep the ebike parts properly cleaned and lubricated is crucial for good performance. Lubrication protects moving parts from excessive wear caused by friction, prevents them from rom “freezing up” and helps prevent rust and corrosion.
As a general rule of thumb, over-lubricating can lead to poor performance and damages as well (too much lube will attract dirt and other abrasive particles). As a general rule, excess lube should always be carefully wiped away before the bicycle is ridden.
Basic supplies needed:
- Clean rags: they come in handy for grease, oil, and wax-related tasks and for general cleaning and drying.
- Brushes: They come in handle for getting into hard-to-reach places to remove the grime. Old toothbrushes are great for this job.
- Degreaser: A bike-specific degreaser can come in handy to clean parts like your chain.
- Chain lubricant: Properly lubricating your chain helps extend the life of your drivetrain. Always apply bicycle-specific lube oil to a clean chain.
Cleaning the drivetrain:
- Chains: The chain is the most important part of your ebike. Clean and lube it frequently to slow the rate of chain wear. To clean the chains, simply use a rag and degreaser. For really dirty chains, you may want to use a chain cleaning device like the one in our accessories store on our website.
In general, lubricate your chain whenever it squeaks or appears “dry”. Lubing after wet rides will help keep your chain from rusting.
- Front chainrings and rear cassette: Scrub the surfaces with a brush and degreaser while turning the pedals. If there’s a lot of built-up grime, use rags to wipe away any remaining dirt and brush between the gears.
- Brake and derailleur levers: apply a drop or two of lube to the lever pivots and the barrel adjusters periodically to keep them functioning properly.
Please make sure the bike is turned off, better yet, take the battery out while performing anything related to your drivetrain. I have a story on this in my rookie days. My chain popped out when I went into a pothole, I turned the bike upside down to place the chain on the rear cog. But I completely forgot that the bike was on and the minus button on the screen was touching the floor. -If you press and hold the minus button, it activates the walking mode.- As I’m putting the chain back on the cog, the motor started running, the chain caught my 2 fingers and almost snapped them off. While it took me about 3 months to recover, I never fully regained the feeling on my fingertips. Long story short, don’t be me!
Always keep your battery pins and the pins on the battery rail dry and free from dirt. Failure to do so can lead to a short in your battery. Remember, the battery is the most expensive part of your ebike. If you’d like to learn more about the storage of an ebike battery, you can check out this article.
Not leaving the bike under direct sunlight is always a good way to keep your electronic parts safe.
This should go without saying, but it wouldn’t hurt to repeat it: do not submerge your ebike in water and/or do not power wash your ebike.
Disclaimer: By no means we’re saying that you should perform the maintenance yourself, we do recommend bikes to be serviced by professional mechanics if you’re not familiar with the parts of an electric bike.