What electric bikes should and should not do
Today we talk about the things you should and shouldn't do once you own an e-bike, giving you some tips and advice to keep your e-bike in "good condition" and in perfect working order. This will mean less hassle and more performance, so take your time and keep reading.
There are certain things that are fundamental to maintaining e-bike function and rider safety, and we'll see all of these actions step by step, from routine checks to longer term maintenance.
We start by mentioning four routine checks like tire inflation, battery charging, lubrication and regular maintenance that explain how to keep your e-bike healthy. Then we talk about what you should never do, such as pressure washing, storing outdoors or riding under heavy rain.
So let's start our list of suggestions by talking about some good habits any e-bike owner should do.
What you must do: Daily inspections
We start with a checklist that any rider can do after and before each ride. These are very simple to do and require no special abilities or tools.
Battery Check and Charging: How to do it
We know that electric bikes are powered by electric motors, which get their electricity from rechargeable batteries. No one wants to "run out of gas" on the street, so we must check the battery's charge status before riding.
Depending on the need and the remaining charge, it is a good idea to charge the battery before the next ride. For example, if the battery is almost empty and you need to ride a long distance, it needs to be fully charged, which may take 5-6 hours. Therefore, you won't have enough time before the ride and you have to prepare well in advance.
If possible, it is best to supervise battery charging during the day: charge in a safe, dry and warm place, away from humidity and high heat, and avoid exposing the battery to bright light.
Use only the original battery charger or a compatible model with the same specifications.
If you must store the battery for a long time, it is best to charge it at 80% instead of 100% if you do not plan to ride it for more than 1 month.
Tire Pressure Check
Tire pressure is very important because it affects the function, performance and safety of your ride. We recommend that you check your tire pressure at least once a week to make sure it is not too low.
Inner tubes naturally lose some air pressure, so they need to be re-inflated to get back to the right pressure. If the pressure is too low, you run the risk of letting the inner tube pinch or cut, as well as increasing the chances of getting some sharp debris puncturing the tire. At the same moment, very low pressure helps to consume the tire quickly, making it prone to wear.
On the other hand, higher pressures help roll faster on the asphalt, giving your bike more speed and performance. But be careful! You don't need to exceed the maximum pressure value.
On the shoulder (side) of the tire, you can find the minimum and maximum BAR/PSI values in which you can choose to inflate. Lower pressures work better off-road on soft terrain like sand or snow, and high pressures work better for fast rolling on flat surfaces.
Drivetrain lubrication and cleaning
The drivetrain of an e-bike is the same as a standard bike, but the components are subjected to more mechanical stress due to the extra torque, speed and power. This means that we must maintain the drivetrain more often than on a standard bicycle.
The chain must be "clean" and well lubricated to ensure long-lasting performance. Otherwise, it can rust, fail or brake suddenly, leaving you unable to walk down the street.
Cleaning the chain requires an old cloth and some patience. Prop up the bike and an old but clean cloth together. Place the cloth in the middle of your left hand and gently and carefully around the chain. Slowly rotate the pedals backwards with your right hand: this way, the chain will be cleaned through the cloth.
Once the chain looks relatively clean, it's time to add some fresh lube. Note that you don't need to lubricate all of the drive train, only the center link of the chain. So, put the lube in your left hand and lube the center part of each link. You can quickly move the pedal backwards, just like we did when we cleaned the chain.
After a period of time or depending on the intensity of use, you must do longer term maintenance: high intensity use means that inspections must be done more frequently.
You can schedule an inspection once a month, or even more often if you use your e-bike every day.
You need to check the brakes and brake pads for wear and tear to see if they need to be adjusted or replaced. You also need to check every bolt lock, as vibrations can cause the bolts to unlock. Check the surface of the tires, looking for large cuts or badly worn rubber.
Finally, take some time to check that all parts are properly tightened and in perfect working condition. If you find something suspicious or something you can't fix, take your bike to your favorite workshop and have it professionally inspected.
Things you shouldn't do to your ebike
As we already know, electric parts are afraid of water, humidity and extreme conditions, so we must avoid storing our bikes outside in such conditions.
Modern e-bikes are waterproof, but that means they can only withstand light rain: manufacturers recommend not riding in heavy rain or downpours. You shouldn't use a high-pressure meter to clean your e-bike; those are made for car washing and not for home use.
If your bike is dirty and you have to wash it, first turn off the motor and the display.
Of course, it is best to wash your bike by hand, otherwise use soft water. Make sure to remove all the water after washing to avoid short circuits and oxidation. You can buy some special sprayers which are used to remove water from electrical components.
So, to quickly summarize, never.
-Store your e-bike outside in the natural environment (snow, rain, hot sun).
-Do pressure washing
-Ride when it's raining hard
Now you're ready to take care of your e-bike, ride safely and have fun!