Like regular bicycles, electric bikes also need to be maintained to ensure they run smoothly. With a mix of mechanical and electric parts, maintaining an e-bike may sound like a complex task.
However, it is not such a hassle if you know the right way to do it. Here’s how to take care of an electric bike.
How to Take Care of an E-Bike
You can take care of an electric bike through the following steps.
- Wash It Regularly: Dirt, dust, grease, and other unwanted substances accumulate on different parts of an electric bike with each ride. They need to be washed regularly for optimal performance.
- Maintain the Components: The wear and tear of an e-bike’s different components can be controlled to make them last longer. The components that need your attention are the brakes, batteries, tires, and drivetrains.
- Schedule for Service: There are some aspects of maintenance that only expert technicians can handle. Hence, you need to get your e-bike checked and serviced by a professional.
Now, let’s look at each factor of maintenance in detail.
1. Washing It Regularly
Like every vehicle, e-bikes also get dirty every time you take them out on the road. Hence, you need to clean them to avoid the accumulation of dirt.
But how often should you clean your e-bike? Well, there is no fixed rule for that. It mostly depends on how much you use it, the type of terrain you ride on, and the weather conditions where you live.
Just remember that the dirt might become ingrained if you let it sit for too long. Wash it after every ride (or as often as possible) if you are a regular user or ride in areas that can cause corrosion, like in the sand or near the beach.
Electric components, like displays or remote keys, can get damaged upon contact with water. Although e-bikes don’t fail completely if splashed with a little water, the amount of water they can resist varies from model to model.
Hence, it’s best to protect the components from water – as much as possible.
Remove the batteries, display, and other electric parts that are easily detachable. Cover the permanently mounted components with a cloth or a poly-film.
Do not use a jet wash or a high-powered hose to wash your e-bike. Water applied at high pressure can completely remove lubrication from different parts and accumulate in the e-bike’s inner components, causing corrosion.
Instead, you can use a normal garden hose, a wet rag, a gentle brush, or a soft sponge to clean the excess dirt.
Cleaning stubborn dirt and grime will also require a gentle soap, detergent, or any other cleaning solution.
Some e-bike owners also prefer to use dedicated bike shampoos and care products that don’t damage the plastic and seals.
Just remember that your cleaning solution should not be strongly degreasing, and it should not touch the brakes.
The next step is to clean the drivetrain. Because it’s oily, the chain picks up more dirt than other parts. You will need a degreaser to remove the dirt and grime from such lubricated parts.
Now that your e-bike is clean, you have to dry it off completely. Get rid of the excess water by bouncing it off on tires. Then wipe all the parts dry with a soft towel, especially the bolts and the drivetrain.
You can also keep it under the sun to let the water evaporate. Once the bike is dry, lubricate the components again and wipe off any excess lubrication.
Some people also use a shining solution to maintain the paintwork and keep their e-bike looking brand new.
But applying such products requires caution because they can cause the brakes to malfunction.
So, make sure you keep such products away from the brakes.
Remember to check your e-bike every time you wash it. See if the batteries, drivetrain, and display are working properly.
2. Maintaining the Components
The main components of an e-bike that require regular care and maintenance are the batteries, brakes, tires, and drivetrain. Let’s see what you can do to keep them in optimal condition.
How to Take Care of E-Bike Batteries
Batteries are the power source of electric bikes. They determine the range of your e-bike, i.e. how far it can go.
There are three common kinds of e-bike batteries available: lead-acid, nickel, and lithium-ion batteries.
Most e-bikes today are powered through lithium-ion batteries. They can last around three to five years, depending on their type and quality, the level of your usage, and how well you maintain them.
The better you maintain them, the longer they last. But how do you keep your e-bike battery in top-notch condition?
The tips mentioned below will help you make the most of your battery.
Tips to Charge Effectively
Batteries do not charge quickly if they are cold. Therefore, you should never charge the battery below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bring the battery up to room temperature before connecting it to a charger.
Charge the battery in a dry place and avoid flammable materials, humidity, or heat sources. Moreover, you should only use the charger provided by the manufacturer.
Other chargers may also work with your e-bike, but they don’t perform the same way and may damage your battery in the long run.
Never let your e-bike battery drain completely; charge your battery after every long ride. Make sure your battery and charger are not covered during the charging process.
You should also not leave your battery discharged for long periods. It’s recommended to charge your e-bike at least once a month, even if the bike stays unused for a long time.
Your battery should at least be 30 to 60 percent charged before leaving it unattended for long. Avoid storing your battery in extreme hot or cold conditions.
The recommended storage temperature is between 59 °F (15 °C) and 77 °F (25 °C). Keep it in a cool, dry location when storing it for a long time.
Here is a chart sourced from Battery University that shows the estimated recoverable battery when stored at different temperatures for a year.
It proves how storing a battery in high temperatures accelerates capacity loss.
|Temperature (Degree Celsius)||40% Charge||100% Charge|
|60||75%||60% (after three months)|
Tips for Battery-Efficient Rides
Remember to check a few things before every ride. Check if the battery is locked and loaded firmly; it should not move without the key.
Plus, see if it has enough charge for your planned trip. Finally, make sure all the mechanical parts of the e-bike are working properly.
It is possible to increase the range of an e-bike battery through efficient riding habits. Firstly, many e-bikes provide the option of riding in eco-mode.
Eco-mode allows the motor to provide you with the lowest level of assistance, which means a lower burden on your battery.
Note the wind resistance when riding an e-bike. When the wind resistance is high, riding at high speeds requires more energy output from the battery.
Hence, you should go slower in these conditions to increase your range.
Another way to ride efficiently is to maintain a higher cadence, which means putting more effort into pedaling. A battery-efficient cadence is around 50 revolutions per minute.
You can also reduce the amount you stop or brake to protect the battery from wear and tear.
Take extra care when attaching and detaching the battery from an e-bike. It is heavy and expensive; you might end up with a damaged battery if you don’t follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer in the e-bike manual.
How to Take Care of Your E-Bike’s Tires
E-bikes generally have a solid and heavy frame to support the weight of the electric components, mainly the battery and motor.
Hence, make sure your e-bike has a sturdy set of tires underneath that can handle all this weight.
Maintaining tire pressure is vital to prevent your e-bike from being damaged. Underinflated tires don’t work or support your bike efficiently, making your rides dangerous.
It’s important to keep the tires inflated at all times. Tires face a lot of wear and tear from road friction. Hence, they need to be replaced every one or two years on average.
You can buy replacement tires from renowned brands with qualities like firm sidewalls, puncture resistance, and good traction.
How to Take Care of the Drivetrain
The drivetrain of an e-bike consists of numerous metallic components; pedals, cranks, chain, cassette, chainrings, and derailleur.
They grind against each other, creating loads of friction. Friction can cause the metal to become abrasive and wear out over time.
Unusual sounds from your bike are an indication that your drivetrain needs service. Lubricating the drivetrain regularly will make it last longer.
The most vulnerable part of your drivetrain is the chain because the main movement occurs there. This is why it needs the most attention when it comes to maintenance.
Make sure it stays clean by wiping the dirt and grime off with a rag.
You don’t need to lubricate every part of the drivetrain separately; this can lead to excess grease around the brake discs or cassettes.
Just lubricate the center of the chain, and it will spread the grease to other parts as it cycles through.
How to Take Care of the Brakes
Maintenance of the brakes varies according to their types. They are a bit trickier than other components, so it’s best to let the professionals handle your brake maintenance.
Most e-bikes have mechanical or hydraulic disc brakes. Both types of brakes can malfunction if they come in contact with oil. You can clean them using a cloth soaked in isopropyl alcohol.
If you have mechanical brakes, you will need to replace the cable inside them. In hydraulic brakes, you have to change the fluid from time to time.
Hydraulic brakes should be replaced every 6 months, while mechanical cables should be replaced every 6-12 months.
You should only attempt to service your brakes if you know how to handle them and your brake levers are responsive.
3. Scheduling a Professional E-Bike Service
Electric bikes are a complex combination of electrical and mechanical systems.
If you cannot handle the care and maintenance required, have it regularly serviced by professionals. They will inspect every component, and repair or replace it as needed.
Even if you know all about e-bikes and feel confident enough to handle everything alone, do not dive deep into some technical aspects of e-bike maintenance, especially the motors.
You will end up with a voided warranty and possibly an issue with your e-bike.
An ideal interval to get your e-bike serviced is around six months to one year, depending upon the frequency and intensity of your use.
You can trust your instincts and book an appointment whenever you feel your bike needs service. But who should you trust with your e-bike?
Your first priority should be going straight to the manufacturer. Their service technicians know the brand’s products.
They are trained to diagnose the problem areas within your e-bike. Plus, they can also update your bike’s software to ensure that everything runs smoothly.
Choose a service provider for your e-bike very carefully because not every shop provides a high-quality service.
You should go to a shop that specializes in e-bike service, has positive reviews from its customers, and provides reasonable warranties for their work.
E-bikes are no less than a blessing when it comes to pollution-free traveling. However, they contain many mechanical and electric parts that need regular care and maintenance.
Washing your e-bike regularly helps you get rid of all the dirt and grime they pick up from the road. However, only cleaning them is not enough to keep them performing at their best.
You also need to take care of all the components individually, like the brakes, tires, drivetrain, and batteries.
You should book a service appointment for the technical parts of your e-bike that should not be handled by anyone but professionals. They know how to inspect every nook and cranny of your e-bike and diagnose all possible maintenance issues.
You may like the following electric bike articles:
- How to remove speed limiter on an electric bike
- Can I Ride My Electric Bike in the Rain?
- 500-Watt Electric Bike or 750-Watt Electric Bike?
- Can an Electric Bike Run Without Pedaling?
- How Fast is a 2000-watt Electric Bike?
- Do You Need Insurance For An Electric Bike?
My name is Matthew, staying in Seattle, Washington. Electric bikes caught my attention for the last few years and my love for electric bikes is everlasting. I spend many of my weekends traveling to various places all over various cities with my e-bike. Here I am sharing my expertise, experience, and invaluable information about electric bikes. Check out more.