Ebike Repair Shops - How Hard is Ebike Maintenance?
Maintaining an electric bike isn't quite as hairy as it sounds. Whether you're a die-hard gearhead, or if you just like monkeying around in your garage, there are still some basic tasks required to properly preserve and protect your ebike. You already know that ebikes are heavier and are ridden longer than traditional bikes, so they understandably need a little extra TLC. Keeping an eye on things like the tire pressure, brake pads, chain, and drivetrain, in addition to all the other things that powers your ride is essential to making sure your ebike is running smoothly. Most importantly, knowing your ebike is put together properly and working at its best, it's a good idea to have a professional bike mechanic take a look, prior to your very first ride. So before you decide if you're ready to embark on that ebike lifestyle, let's consider some of the most common ebike service jobs as well as tips to help you decide whether it's best to do it yourself or take it to a specialist.
Inspect the Wheels and Tires.
The best place to start is where the rubber literally meets the road. As a part of regular ebike maintenance, scan the wheels and tires for wear and tear. Look inside the wheels for signs of any worn or broken spokes. Confirm that the tires are properly inflated and have plenty of tread. If you notice any damage, such as tears, gouges or other major deterioration, it's best to replace them to avoid potential safety issues out on the road. While regular upkeep and check-ups on the wheels and tires can prevent more serious issues, prolong their life, and save you money in the long run, an ebike shop will be able to identify worn or flawed components and recommend replacements or repairs before they cause serious issues.
Truing a wheel, a process of adjusting the roundness and straightness of the wheel, making sure it's running true, and that it spins smoothly, is a task that requires specialized tools and knowledge. A seasoned ebike mechanic will be able to do this quickly and efficiently. Defective spokes can also cause a wheel to become out of true, and a competent mechanic will be able to replace them and get your wheel running like new again. Changing a flat tire on a rear hub wheel can be a tricky task and requires specialized tools, again, a professional will be able to do it quickly and correctly, ensuring that your ebike is ready for your next ride.
Check Your Chain Tension, Lubrication, and Alignment.
Making sure your chain is tensioned correctly, lubricated properly, and aligned properly will help ensure your ebike is running efficiently and safely. Firstly, the chain must be tight enough that the wheel spins freely but not so loose that it slips with pedalling. Secondly, make sure to lubricate your chain with a high-quality bike oil or grease after every ride - this will reduce wear on the drivetrain as well as decrease noise when riding. Finally, make sure to analyze the alignment of the chain by spinning it around each sprocket and look for any kinks or misalignments. Taking care of these steps can maximize your ebike’s performance and extend its life.
Regulating an ebike's drivetrain can be a bit more complicated than other parts of the bike, especially for newbies. While some ebikers may feel comfortable performing these tasks themselves, it's often a better idea to have them done by a qualified ebike shop. One of the main reasons for this is the weight of the ebike. Ebikes are heavier than traditional bikes and can be difficult to maneuver when working on the drivetrain. Additionally, proper tools and supplies are needed to ensure the job is done correctly. A bike stand and specialized tools such as a chain whip and chain checker are often required. However, if you have the proper tools, knowledge and experience, you can perform chain tension, lubrication, and alignment yourself. The deciding factor should be based on your comfort level and the specific needs of your ebike.
Always Double-Check Your Brakes.
Brakes are the most critical safety feature of an ebike, so it’s essential to reexamine them on a regular basis. When it comes to sustaining your ebike's brakes, whether they're mechanical or hydraulic, it's necessary to pay attention to the wear and tear on the brake pads, rotors, and levers. Regularly scrutinizing for worn pads and making sure the brakes are properly adjusted can help prevent bigger problems down the road. In general, it's a good idea to have a qualified ebike mechanic take a look at your brakes every 6 months or so, or whenever you notice any issues like squealing, fading, or poor stopping power. However, if you're comfortable working on your bike and have the right tools and supplies, you can also perform basic brake service like pad replacement and adjustment yourself.
When it comes to more advanced tasks such as bleeding brakes or truing rotors, it's best to take your ebike to a knowledgeable ebike shop. Bleeding brakes is a process of removing air bubbles from the brake system and ensuring that the brake fluid is flowing properly. Truing rotors involves making sure that the rotor is straight and true and not warped, which can cause uneven braking. These tasks require specialized tools and knowledge, and it's best to leave them to the pros to ensure that they are done correctly.
Monitor Your Battery, Cables and Sensors.
Charge your battery regularly according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Lithium batteries should be charged to between 80% and 90% and then stored in a cool, dry place when not in use. Avoid full discharges if possible as this can put stress on the battery over time. Make sure you use the right charger for your battery — if you aren’t sure, take it into a shop for assistance.
Electronics, cables and sensors play a crucial role on your electric bike. Over time, with exposure to the elements, it’s possible for connections to corrode or for wires to become worn or frayed. You should regularly evaluate these components to make sure they are still in good working order and replace them if necessary — if you aren’t sure about how to do this yourself, take your ebike into a shop for assistance.
Recognize the Symptoms of Electronic Component System Failures Early
Timing is key when it comes to taking care of the electronic parts on our ebikes. These parts are the most expensive to replace and can cause serious issues if not well-monitored on a regular basis. It's crucial to reexamine the battery, motor, controller, throttle, display screen, and connections at least once a month, or before a long ride. This will ensure that any issues are identified and addressed in a timely manner.
When examining the battery, you should watch for signs of a decrease in power or range, and compare the voltage using a multimeter. Listen for the motor emanating strange noises or if the power output is not the same as before. The controller should not be overheating or producing strange smells. The throttle, whether it's a thumb or twist, should be responsive and the power output should be consistent. And the display screen should be examined for cracks or scratches, or if it's not displaying the correct information. It's also indispensable to probe all the connections, making sure they are tight and secure, and show no signs of corrosion.
How Often Should You Tune Up Your Electric Bike?
Here's a breakdown of the recommended timing for maintaining different components of an electric bike:
It's unavoidable to note that the usage and conditions in which your ebike is ridden can affect these recommendations. If you use your ebike frequently, in wet or dirty conditions or for off-road, you might want to tune-up your bike more frequently. On the other hand, if you use your ebike sparingly or mainly in good weather conditions, you might be able to extend the time between tasks. Consult your owner's manual for specific guidance and recommended maintenance schedule for your ebike model.
Clean Your Ebike After Every Ride, Perform Regular Deep Cleans & Inspections
As ebikers, we all love the joy of exploring new terrains with our ebikes, whether its riding on asphalt, crushed limestone, gravel, off-road trails, beaches, or wherever we like. But with all that fun, it's inherent not to forget about taking care of our favorite electric vehicles. Regular cleaning after every ride and doing deep cleaning occasionally is crucial to ensure our ebikes last for many adventures to come. Riding on different terrains can cause different types of wear and tear to our ebikes, for example, riding on gravel can cause more wear to the tires and suspension, while riding on asphalt can cause more wear to the brake pads. Dirt, grime, and salt that accumulate over time can cause harm to the components, making them less efficient and causing them to wear out faster, as well as rust and corrosion on the metal surfaces.
To clean an ebike regularly, you'll want to wipe down the frame, wheels, and components with a damp cloth. You can also use a bike-specific cleaning solution to help remove dirt and grime. Pay special attention to the chain, gears, and other moving parts as they can become clogged with dirt, which can cause them to wear out faster. When performing a deep clean, you'll want to do a more thorough cleaning of the frame, wheels, and all the components. This can include removing the wheels and cleaning the rims and tires, cleaning the drivetrain, and wiping down the frame. It's also a great opportunity to survey the bike for any signs of wear and tear, and address any issues before they become bigger problems.
By taking a few minutes to clean and care for your ebike after every ride and performing deep cleaning occasionally, you can prevent issues and keep your ebike running smoothly. If tackling that periodic deep-clean seems like a daunting task, a trip to your local ebike shop may a better option for your peace of mind.
Pay Attention While You Ride
Paying attention to your ebike while you ride is crucial in order to stay ahead of any potential issues. This means being mindful of any unusual noises, smells, or vibrations that your ebike may be producing. For example, if you start to hear a grinding noise coming from the bottom bracket, it could be a sign that the bearings need to be replaced. Similarly, if you notice that your ebike is producing a burning smell, it may be a sign of an issue with the motor or controller. By catching these issues early, you can prevent more serious problems from developing and potentially save yourself a lot of money in repairs. Additionally, if you are planning on taking your ebike on a long trip, it's always a good idea to do a thorough observation of all the components before you head out to ensure everything is in good working order.
Build a Relationship with Your Local Bike Shop
If you haven't already located one in your area, seeking out a reputable local ebike repair shop is going to be pivotal to getting your electric bike up and running when you need it most. Since they are on the front lines of this burgeoning industry, many good shops possess relationships with various ebike brands, and are authorized to perform services on their specific models. Since it’s indispensable to always take your ebike to an authorized repair shop for proper maintenance and repairs, do your research early - read their reviews and talk to existing customers. Regular tune-ups performed at the right time, are vital to keeping your ebike in good working order, so don't hesitate to visit an authorized ebike repair shop when needed.
Ebike-escapes is an Authorized Assembly and Service Center for Rad Power Bikes, Aventon, Lectric, Priority and many of the other top 30 ebike brands. Visit our electric bicycle shop in Darmstadt, Indiana and we'll take care of your ride!