The Reality of Owning and Maintaining a Pedelec

FatBob

Pedelecer
Apr 15, 2020
50
7
Greater Manchester
Like any other machine pedelecs are not immune to issues/malfunctioning, but no doubt with a bit love and care they will do their job 9 times out 10 without issue.

If you had to list 5-10 'challenges' of owning and maintaining a pedelec, in order of frequency or severity, what would they be? So...what is the reality of owning and maintaining a pedelec?
 

Bikes4two

Pedelecer
Feb 21, 2020
99
56
I'm new to the pedelec scene but at a guess I'd imagine top of the list would be battery pack replacement (not very often but a good chunk of money when needed). Then any motor issues depending on brand/type followed by water ingress issues to the various external parts, eg PAS, display, controllers.

After that, the same as non pedelecs - brakes, tyres, chains and so on.
 

Bikes4two

Pedelecer
Feb 21, 2020
99
56
As this thread grows, it would be useful if members also included what their bike/system was, especially when their system had been trouble free (then we'll know what to buy/avoid).
 

Andy-Mat

Esteemed Pedelecer
Oct 26, 2018
1,626
361
74
I seem to get through brake pads relatively often, but they are really cheap on ebay and I buy up to 8 pairs at a time, replacement is a work of minutes, mostly the front disk.
I have a spare disk that I bought, but up to now not needed.
Please note that both my disks are reversed to what is "current" opinion, as that way they run quieter, and still are flat! Much to the chagrin of the non believers here.....
Chain needs regular oil, I myself use a regular car full synthetic oil, which is relatively cheap in comparison to some of the expensive "Witches Brews" sold for the same purpose.
I had a throttle problem from very heavy rain, that needed a lot of work to repair, but it was not as bad as I first thought. Today I would fix the same problem in hours, not days! But only the once, and I carry plastic bags to cover the throttle if it rains - and I continue riding in ANY rain today!
When delivered, my battery would not charge, and the supplier kindly lent me a "Zer0 Volt Charger", which immediately recovered the battery. Careful attention with regards to charging since then has prevented any further problems.
The headset upper bearing when delivered, had been built with a 2nd lower bearing at the top (1 mm thinner), causing "rough" movement, that eventually the supplier sent me a complete new set which fixed the problems immediately.
Thats about it.
My bike is a Stark, with the 250 Watt motor, and all extras except the GPS tracker, as I already had one!
I do ALL my own work, I save a huge amount of money, as the supplier being in Sweden, means that guarantee work is simply not in for anyone who has two left hands.....
I hope this helps.
Andy
PS. I maintain that a good DIYer, with a reasonable toolbox, that includes a soldering iron and a multi-meter, should be able to fix just everything on an e-bike (or a normal bike!)...or replace a part when needed.
 
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vfr400

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 12, 2011
6,944
2,674
Basildon
For me, it's pump up the tyres once a year and drizzle some gear oil on the chain every 6 months. I replaced the battery after 5 years. It still had plenty of life in it, but I bought the replacement in anticipation two years previously, and I was worried that it would deteriorate before ever using it. Apart from that, in 6 years I've had to replace one chainwheel, a gear cable and two pairs of brake pads, all of which were well used when I built the bike out of second hand parts apart from the electrics.

Oh yes, I forgot that I once had to pull a three inch nail out of the tyre one that was burried two inches into the tyre. The puncture guard had deflected it along the tyre, so it hadn't gone into the inner tube.
 
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Nealh

Esteemed Pedelecer
Aug 7, 2014
11,976
4,645
57
West Sx RH
My main two kit bikes all use the excellent KT electronics and are pretty much trouble free now for six years, hubs are bullet proof Bafang Cst on my town bike and AKM 128c on my tourer bike. Six years on the pair of 29E celled Dolphins still going well 42 miles last time out with 2.5v to LVC still available.
Main issue as always is the odd puncture as I prefer the better grip from CX tyres on my touring 700c rather then Schwalbe's and the odd mechanical issue.
 
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Martin3520

Just Joined
Jun 28, 2020
4
2
So far on my carrera vengeance I have had to have a replacement charger and rear wheel rebuilt due to broken spokes (six months old and about 1000 miles). I always seem to be adjusting the cable disc brakes but I think this may be due to my weight (118kg) and the hills I ride down.
 
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vfr400

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 12, 2011
6,944
2,674
Basildon
So far on my carrera vengeance I have had to have a replacement charger and rear wheel rebuilt due to broken spokes (six months old and about 1000 miles). I always seem to be adjusting the cable disc brakes but I think this may be due to my weight (118kg) and the hills I ride down.
Change your brakes to hydraulics. They're virtually maintenance free and they work 100 times better.
 

danfoto

Esteemed Pedelecer
Dec 2, 2010
315
20
My 2011-year Kalkhoff Agattu has needed a pair of sprockets, one chain and 13 pairs of brake blocks from new. It's still on the original battery, albeit giving reduced range now, but everything still works and it's never once let me down on the road. Only replacing it now because now's a good time for me to do so, rather than wait until something expensive packs up ...
 
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Nealh

Esteemed Pedelecer
Aug 7, 2014
11,976
4,645
57
West Sx RH
Please don't mount your brake discs the wrong way round. They are designed like that for a reason
:rolleyes:
Waiting with baited breath for you know who to reply :rolleyes:.
 
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Scorpio

Pedelecer
Apr 13, 2020
82
31
Portugal Algarve (temporary)
Brake pads need changing every 2 months (stopping 150kg bike/rider/luggage from 45kmh takes some effort)
Planning ahead to get a battery fully charged just before I need it (6 hours to charge the 36v 13ah battery using standard charger)
A multimeter & fair understanding of electronics is needed for even basic trouble shooting (testing MOSFETs & hall sensors are not uncommon if the bike stops working)
Lots of rear wheel punctures (soft grippy tyres + most of the weight is over the rear wheel. New tyres are on order)

Bike is a mid-range 26" MTB with Yose 36v rear wheel kit.
 
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FatBob

Pedelecer
Apr 15, 2020
50
7
Greater Manchester
Brake pads need changing every 2 months (stopping 150kg bike/rider/luggage from 45kmh takes some effort)
Planning ahead to get a battery fully charged just before I need it (6 hours to charge the 36v 13ah battery using standard charger)
A multimeter & fair understanding of electronics is needed for even basic trouble shooting (testing MOSFETs & hall sensors are not uncommon if the bike stops working)
Lots of rear wheel punctures (soft grippy tyres + most of the weight is over the rear wheel. New tyres are on order)

Bike is a mid-range 26" MTB with Yose 36v rear wheel kit.
:(:(:(
 

budsy

Pedelecer
May 16, 2020
135
24
And its all these troubles has me thinking at times why bother with getting an ebike ?

this when no troubles ive had in around 20 yrs of owning a non e bike

in which still gets me from A to B no probs .

Shall I go the e bike route now after reading all the above ? ? ?
 

trevor brooker

Pedelecer
Feb 11, 2018
203
96
58
maidstone
And its all these troubles has me thinking at times why bother with getting an ebike ?

this when no troubles ive had in around 20 yrs of owning a non e bike

in which still gets me from A to B no probs .

Shall I go the e bike route now after reading all the above ? ? ?
All of the above relate to bike maintenance, the e - part either works or not.
 

Gringo

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 18, 2013
1,162
714
Northampton
Cube with Bosch ALP motor, nearly 3000 Trouble free miles. It has been no more trouble than my two non E bikes
 

Nealh

Esteemed Pedelecer
Aug 7, 2014
11,976
4,645
57
West Sx RH
All you guys who talk about troubles is because you don't maintain or know your bike/s inside out, build your own fit the kits and learn from others what is reliable.
Mechanically they are no different to any other bike, buy some tools do your own maintenance and then things that go wrong can be fixed in no time.
Keep on top of minor niggles and the bigger things tend not to happen.
 

Nealh

Esteemed Pedelecer
Aug 7, 2014
11,976
4,645
57
West Sx RH
My Bafang Cst has been faultless now over 7k miles on it, the only real thing to go wrong is controller failure. In 6 years I have had one KT with thermal cutting gout remedied by introducing better cooling and one Lishui fail on me and that was an integrated/battery model.
The mid drives I have found to be unreliable and poor so for now they are no longer on the radar for me.