The following guide of ‘insider’ top tips has been written by the Electric Transport Shop.
If you are considering purchasing an electric bike (e-bike) or want to know how to maintain the one you own, then this article is for you. It gives you ‘insider top tips’ on how to look after your e-bike, maintaining high performance, at little cost, for years to come.
How do electric bikes differ from traditional cycles?
Those who own an e-bike cycle more often. Electric bikes are fun, easy to use, cost effective transport with health benefits, they don’t gather dust at the back of a shed. Those who have them love them. They are used to: explore, to meet friends, to carry children or to keep up with the grandchildren, to get to work on time and do shopping in a hurry. With the electric bike, the car gets left at home and peddle power keeps you and your environment fit and healthy, while putting extra money in your pocket.
How do electric bikes differ from traditional cycles in terms of maintenance?
E-bikes are, first and foremost, bikes. You find all the same components of the common bicycle including breaks, gears, pedals and more. There are a few specific electric bike components:
- Control Electronics (controller)
- Rider Interface
- Wire Harness
There are no regulated MOT requirements for e-bikes, it’s a bike after all. Nonetheless, the extra use (over traditional cycles) means that a bit of love and care is required. Like all good things, regular maintenance is key for the long-term enjoyment of the product and to ensure your safety. Electric bike specific components will not be familiar to most local bike shops but don’t despair! Well-made and well-matched e-bike components require little maintenance if used within their capabilities. However being a bit technically savvy will give you peace of mind about how to maintain and/or repair your electric bike. So, here we go!
Maintenance on the normal cycle components
Electric bikes, like bikes, need regular servicing to maintain high performance and to ensure rider safety. So like the common bicycle, it is wise to get a professional service every 6-12 months. Sometimes local bike shops are worried about maintaining e-bikes because of the e-components with which they will not be familiar.
You can purchase an electric bike that most local bike shops are happy to help you maintain. Here are a few top tips to guide you and your local repair shop:
- Modularity – if a bike shop (or you) can easily disconnect and isolate each e-component from the system, most bike shops will see that the risk of inadvertent damage is low and they will happily proceed as required.
- Motor Connector – Start with the motor – the power cable exiting the motor should have an inline connector usually within 300mm of the motor. This will allow the motor to be disconnected and the motor wheel to be dismounted for whatever work is required just like a common bicycle wheel.
- Handlebar Connectors – the e-components on the handlebar such as e-brakes, display, switches etc.. Well specified e-bikes will have suitable connectors for convenient maintenance and fast diagnosis and repairs. If the handlebar e-components or the motor do not have suitable connectors then it is fair to question the amount of thought that has been put into your post sale enjoyment of the product.
- Standard Components – e-components aside, hopefully your electric bike will have recognisable EU & UK standard cycle components. With an increasing number of futuristic e-bike designs coming to the market, non standard components may make maintenance more complicated.
Maintenance on the e-components
Here’s the great news, e-components should generally need little maintenance. There are many e-systems out there and more are coming onto the market, so maintenance requirements do vary. For example, many motors need internal greasing and re-cogging at some point. If you select a motor that uses a friction drive motor it may need to have its rollers and springs replaced every 2-3,000 miles. Others will go for 10,000 miles or more, with no maintenance.
Lithium batteries are generally maintenance-free but do prefer to be used and if stored will require a periodic charge.
With so many e-systems to choose from, you can reduce maintenance by getting the right electric bike to fit your needs.
Please note there is very little self repair that can be done on a mid/centre/crank drive motor system. This is because the systems are highly integrated, gasket sealed and require special tools and training. This should be considered if you will not be near support.
Lithium batteries: Most couriers and Royal Mail will not allow you to ship lithium batteries so it is important to have local support should you need it for your battery.
The above is a summary and hopefully contains some useful information. There are also additional tips for electric bike roadside fault checks as a separate short article. If you have any other questions please feel free to contact me on: Support@ElectricBikeSales.co.uk