Electric bike maintenance: how to look after your ebike
Explains how to clean an electric bicycle, how to update the motor firmware, and other basic knowledge of electric bicycle maintenance
Electric bicycles, like any bicycle, require regular maintenance. Cleaning and maintaining your electric bike will make it run smoothly, efficiently and safely, all of which help to extend the life of the battery and motor.
This guide explains how to take care of your electric bike, including tips on cleaning the bike, applying lubricant, regularly checking components, software and application updates, and maintaining the battery.
How often should you maintain your electric bicycle?
In many senses, the maintenance of electric bicycles is no different from the maintenance of traditional bicycles. However, certain components, especially the transmission system (cranks, chains, and sprockets), can withstand greater forces and increase wear.
Therefore, if you want to make the most of your bicycle, it is important to clean your electric bicycle regularly and maintain good maintenance.
First of all, a clean bicycle is a happy bicycle. Dirt and mud will increase the wear of parts. When mixed with water and grease, a paste will form. The best case is to reduce the efficiency of the bicycle, and the worst case is to quickly wear the wearing parts.
The smoother your electric bike runs, the higher the efficiency and the longer the service life of key components.
Keep the drivetrain clean and running well: If your gears rub and bounce around, battery life and power output are irrelevant. Riding a bike with a clean, efficient drive system and properly adjusted gears will ultimately bring a more enjoyable experience, and in the long run, it will help you get the most from your bike.
If your drive system looks very dirty (usually black rubbish piled up on the chain, especially on electric mountain bikes with mud stuck to the guide wheel of the rear derailleur), you can quickly clean it with a rag or use a degreaser Deep cleansing agent. We have separate guides on how to clean the bicycle and how to clean the bicycle chain.
Electric bicycle chains often require more frequent lubrication than non-assisted bicycle chains. Regular application of high-quality lubricant to the chain will ensure the efficient operation of the transmission. It is a good idea to do this after every ride, and of course after washing and drying the bike.
Otherwise, please read our guide to learn how to choose and apply the best chain lubricant for your bike.
Applying lubricant on an electric bicycle is sometimes not as simple as it seems. Most electric bicycles cannot back pedals, so try to put the bicycle on a workbench (or ask a friend to lift the rear wheel off the ground) so that you can turn the pedals to allow the lubricant to drip evenly onto the chain.
If your bike has a “walking” mode, you can enable it so that the crank (and rear wheel) spins slowly to easily lubricate the chain.
You should also check the tire pressure of your electric bicycle regularly. Under-inflated tires are not only potentially dangerous, but also waste electricity and reduce efficiency, which means that you will get less revenue from battery charging. Similarly, running tires under excessive pressure can affect comfort and grip, especially when riding off-road.
First, inflate the tire to within the recommended pressure range indicated on the tire sidewall, but try to find the ideal pressure that suits you, balancing weight, comfort, grip, and rolling resistance. Want to know more? We have road bike tire pressure and mountain bike tire pressure guidelines.
Many electric bicycles now use components developed specifically to assist riding. This means that due to the increased power output, speed and overall weight of the bicycle, the components are stronger and can withstand the additional forces generated by the electric bicycle.
Electric bicycle transmission systems tend to be more powerful and have a different gear range from non-assisted bicycles. The dedicated wheels and tires are also stronger, the front forks are stronger, the brakes are stronger, and so on.
Nevertheless, despite the additional reinforcement, you still have high requirements for the electric bike, whether it is pedaling, braking, turning, climbing or downhill, so it is best to pay close attention to whether the components and frame have loose bolts or parts damage.
Regularly inspect your bicycle safely, make sure all bolts and axles are tightened according to the manufacturer’s recommended torque settings, check the tires for anything that might cause punctures, and test for any loose spokes.
Also pay attention to excessive wear. If one component wears out, such as a chain, it may have a chain reaction on other components—for example, causing premature wear on the sprockets and flywheels. We have a guide to chain wear, so you can spot any problems before they become problems.
How to clean an electric bike
We have already introduced the importance of keeping the bike clean to improve its efficiency and longevity, but let’s take a closer look at how to clean an electric bike.
The battery and motor are sealed devices, so no water should be allowed in, but you should avoid using powerful jet cleaning to clean any bicycle (electric or non-electric) because the power of water may force it through the bicycle’s numerous seals.
Clean your electric bicycle with a bucket or low-pressure hose, brush and (optional) bicycle-specific cleaning products to quickly remove dirt and grime.
Make sure that all connections remain sealed by leaving the battery in its case, but turn off the electric bike system (and make sure it is not charging) before cleaning.
The charging port will accumulate dirt, so check the inside and brush off any dirt with a dry cloth or brush. Keep the port closed when washing the bike.
After washing the bike, wipe it dry with a clean cloth, making sure to avoid disc brakes (you don’t want them to be accidentally contaminated by any oil or other cleaning products used elsewhere on the bike).
You may clean the battery contacts from time to time. You can use a soft dry brush, cloth, and (optional) switch lubricant to accomplish this.
If your bike is equipped with an extended battery (the optional second battery can be connected for longer riding), you should always disconnect it before cleaning and clean the connection with a soft dry brush.
There may be speed sensor magnets on the wheels of your electric bicycle. Clean it with a soft cloth to avoid any problems.
Waterproof and repair
As long as you are careful, it is unlikely that the motor will be damaged when cleaning the electric bicycle. Instant media
As mentioned above, the battery and motor of an electric bicycle are well sealed to prevent water damage. This does not mean that it is absolutely impossible to enter the water, but as long as you have a certain amount of common sense and caution, you don’t need to worry.
Things to avoid when using an electric bicycle include spray cleaning and full immersion of the bicycle. There is no lake to jump so, sorry!
The motor itself is in a factory sealed unit, you should not try to disassemble it for maintenance or try to solve the problem.
If there seems to be a problem with the motor or system, please visit the store where you bought the bicycle or take the bicycle to a reputable dealer.
Battery charging and storage
It may seem impossible to maintain a sealed battery, but there are many ways to keep your e-bike battery in its best condition.
Over time, all lithium-ion batteries will gradually age and lose capacity. This may only amount to about 5% of the annual maximum charge, but it is expected. Taking good care of the battery, storing the battery correctly and keeping it charged will help ensure a long life.
If you disconnect the battery frequently, please take this opportunity to clean it with a damp cloth and brush off any dirt on the connection with a dry brush.
Occasionally, clean the battery contacts and lightly grease them. Never use high-pressure jet cleaning or high-pressure hoses to clean the battery.
Charging and storing e-bike batteries
Charge the battery at room temperature in a dry place. In order to prolong the service life of the battery, please avoid allowing the battery to be fully charged or discharged for a long time.
When the bicycle is not used for a long time, you can disconnect the battery. It will gradually lose power, so still recharge it from time to time.
As we have already said, avoid storing bicycles for free for long periods of time—according to e-bike system manufacturer Bosch, maintaining 30% to 60% power is ideal for long-term storage.
Extreme heat and cold are the natural enemies of electric bicycle batteries. Store your electric bicycle battery in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight.
In winter, especially when the temperature is below 0°C, please charge and store the battery at room temperature, and reinsert the battery into the bicycle immediately before riding.
Use the correct charger
Although some battery chargers seem to be compatible with multiple bicycles, you should only use chargers that are specific to you. Batteries are not always charged in the same way, so using an incorrect charger may damage your e-bike battery.
Software and application updates
Most electric bicycle system manufacturers release software and application updates; some occasionally, some often.
In addition to recording cycling statistics and other useful information, some proprietary e-bike apps or built-in displays also allow you to customize the bike’s performance.
This may mean adjusting power settings (for example, the maximum assist setting provides less power and therefore uses less battery) or acceleration characteristics.
Decreasing the output setting to gradually discharge the battery can extend the life of the battery, although you have to work harder to climb the mountain!
You can also get system health or maintenance updates from the ebike app or the built-in display, which may show you information such as service intervals.
You can check if there are any firmware updates available through the connected app or visit the manufacturer’s website. Some brands recommend that you visit an authorized dealer for any updates.
Depending on the motor brand and system your bike is running, these firmware updates may help increase torque, extend battery life, or provide other useful upgrades, so it’s worth checking whether your electric bike has any available updates.
Finally, sometimes the electric bicycle will display an error code, preventing the motor from starting. The causes of these errors vary, but they can usually be easily resolved by the dealer.
RELATED STORY:How to charge an electric bike to extend battery life?
Basic knowledge of electric bicycle maintenance
Like any bicycle, taking good care of your electric bicycle will help you get the most out of the machine and possibly extend the life of key components.
By maintaining some basic maintenance, your electric bike will make you smile from ear to ear. So, to summarize, here is a review of the basic knowledge of electric bicycle maintenance:
Keep the bike clean, the power transmission system is well lubricated, and the tires are properly inflated
Regularly check loose bolts, spokes and damaged parts
Keep the battery partially charged and store it in a cool and dry place
Avoid storing batteries with low-power batteries
Only use the correct charger to charge the battery
Regularly check for software updates
If something goes wrong, please visit your dealer. Do not try to disassemble or repair the motor or battery by yourself
RELATED STORY:Main points of daily maintenance of electric bicycles
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