Looking after your electric bike is essential but not complicated. A well maintained electric bike is reliable and will perform at its best. It also helps with its resale value when it comes to upgrading. So, in this post, we will give you lots of tips on how to maintain an electric bike. By following these tips, your bike will run smoothly and is less likely to see you stranded.
Look After Your Chain
The chain on an electric bike takes a lot of strain, thanks to the extra torque from the motor. Therefore, it is crucial to keep it in the best condition possible.
When it comes to looking after your electric bike’s chain, it is a great idea to keep it clean. A clean chain runs smoothly and slows down the wear and tear of your drivetrain. To clean the chain, you can use a quality drivetrain degreaser. Once you have a clean chain, you should apply electric bike specific chain lube. An electric bike specific chain lube uses technology taken from the stuff you would use on a motorbike. Therefore, it is more robust than standard lube to cope with the extra strain.
The best way to apply chain lube is to spin the pedals with the bike off the ground and slowly drip the lube onto it. You need each chain link to be coated with a drop of lube. Once each link has a drop of oil, wipe off the excess with a cloth.
Electric bike chains can experience double the amount of torque as chains on regular bikes. The extra torque can stretch your chain, which can cause issues, such as dropping your chain and wearing out your drivetrain. You can use a chain checker tool to see if it has stretched. If it has stretched, you can replace it. Replacing a chain regularly is much cheaper than replacing a cassette or sprockets.
Wash Your Electric Bike…With Care
Electric bike manufacturers do their best to protect the bike’s electrical components from water. It would be best if you did the same, so you need to take care when washing your electric bike.
It is worth considering how often you jet wash your electric bike and how you do it. When you jet wash an electric bike, try to avoid squirting pressurised water into the electrical components. You should also take care when spraying around bearings so you don’t wash away the grease.
You can wash your bike with a bucket of soapy water without any problems. But avoid any aggressive degreasers on the frame etc. These harsh cleaning products can damage seals and plastics.
If your electric bike is a bit grubby but not too bad, you don’t need to use a jet wash. You can buy waterless cleaning sprays, which are ideal for light cleaning between more thorough bike washes. All you need to do is spray it onto your bike and wipe it off with a microfibre cloth. Doing this will leave your bike nice and shiny.
But when you are using these cleaning products, you need to take care of not getting them on your disc brakes. You may want to cover up your discs to be on the safe side. If your discs become contaminated with the product, your braking will be compromised.
In addition to all this, motor and battery manufacturers recommend that you remove the battery for washing. Also, if you can remove the display, do so. If you cannot remove the display, it is good to cover it with a cloth to protect it.
Get Your Electric Bike Serviced Properly
Electric bikes are just as robust as regular bikes. Maintaining an electric bike isn’t much different either. However, there are a few things you need to be aware of.
Many electric bike manufacturers recommend that you get your electric bike serviced at least once per year. By this, we mean taking your bike to a specialist with the necessary diagnostic tools. They will plug into your bike, update software and be able to spot any issues that are not obvious.
Consider Where You Store Your Electric Bike
Storing your electric bike in a warm, dry place will allow it to dry out properly after you have cleaned it. But it will also keep your battery in good condition. Try not to leave your battery in cold places, as it can affect its lifespan and range. Therefore, if you keep your electric bike in a shed or garage, bring the battery inside your house.
Some people use their electric bikes for commuting. If you leave your electric bike outside your workplace, your battery could be in direct sunlight for extended periods. A battery that gets cooked in the sun regularly can also get damaged. Therefore, it is worth bringing your battery inside with you.
Leave Some Charge In The Battery
When storing your battery for long periods of time without riding, you should not leave it empty. Charge the battery between 30 to 60% to keep its cells balances, extending their life.
Charge The Battery Correctly
If you ride your electric bike regularly, you will want to recharge your battery after every ride, so you are ready to go. There is also less chance of you forgetting to plug it in.
Battery manufacturers recommend that you charge your battery indoors where it is warm. Putting a warm battery into your bike, especially on cold days, will extend your range.
When you remove your battery, you should check the lead that connects it to the bike. Make sure that there is no grit or dirt in the connector.
Take Note Of Your Tyre Pressures And Tread
If you run your tyre pressures too low, your range will be shortened. The extra friction increases the tyre’s rolling resistance making your bike less efficient. Also, super-soft tyres can make the handling unsettled.
Tyres with too much pressure will roll much easier, increasing your range. However, if you ride off-road, you may not have sufficient grip when climbing or on loose surfaces.
Tyres with plenty of tread left on them make climbing hills easier while giving you efficient braking. This is more important for riding off-road, as electric bikes suitable for road riding have smooth tyres anyway.
Check Your Nuts And Bolts
Checking that your nuts and bolts are tight is essential and very easy to do. All you need is a set of Allen keys to make sure everything is as it should be.
The most common bolt that comes loose is the one that holds the derailleur. Vibrations shake it loose, causing problems with gear shifting, as it brings everything out of line. While you are checking the derailleur bolt, it is worth ensuring the crankset bolts are tight too.
If your electric bike has rear suspension, nip up the suspension linkage bolts. But be careful not to do them up too tightly, as this can cause more problems.
Checking your bolts takes a maximum of 10 minutes to do and is very easy. Try to check them every other ride, or at least once per week. Correctly tightened bolts will prevent things from wearing out and keep your bike reliable.
Look After Your Gears
When you are riding your electric bike, there is nothing more frustrating than gears that don’t shift properly. Gears that shift crisply and cleanly are essential while making your ride more enjoyable.
It is imperative to keep on top of gear maintenance on an electric bike. The motor relies on the gears working smoothly for it to function correctly. So, learn how to index your gears to ensure your electric bike runs properly.
How To Maintain An Electric Bike’s Brakes
Most electric bikes these days come with mechanical or hydraulic disc brakes. Hydraulic disc brakes require a little more work to maintain. If they feel spongey, you may need to bleed them or replace the hydraulic fluid. You can do this yourself with a brake bleed kit, but take it to a bike shop if you don’t feel confident. A bike mechanic will be able to fix hydraulic brakes quickly and cheaply.
Mechanical brakes are much easier to maintain. Often, braking issues are caused by incorrect tension on the cables. Cables can stretch over time, so tightening them up should solve your braking problems.
However, both hydraulic and mechanical disc brakes use brake pads. The more you use your brakes, the quicker the pads will wear out. It is easy to see if your brake pads need changing. You may hear loud screeching noises or simply feel metal-on-metal through the brake levers.
But you need to identify when your brake pads are worn out before it gets to this point. Therefore, check how much braking material you have left on your brake pads regularly. You can usually do this without removing them and just look at how much material is on either side of the disc.
Changing brake pads is one of the most straightforward electric bike maintenance jobs. All you need to do is remove the wheel and unscrew the retaining pin that holds the pads into the calliper before replacing them. But, if you have hydraulic disc brakes, you will need to push the pistons back. Sometimes, pushing the pistons back can be awkward, depending on the model of the brake calliper.
Final Thoughts On Electric Bike Maintenance
If you are familiar with bike ownership, not much of this will be new to you. But, keeping on top of electric bike maintenance will keep you safe and your bike running as it should do. If you are looking for a new electric bike, check out our online store.