An electric bike is an investment, so you might as well make it profitable. How? By using it as intelligently as possible but also keeping it for a long time. Here are our tips and tricks for properly maintaining your electric bike.
The basics: cleaning your electric bike
It goes without saying but it goes better by saying it: a well-maintained bike is first and foremost a clean bike. You may have the best electric bike, equipped with electronics, an e-bike fears dirt but also water infiltration (no, an electric bike isn’t waterproof!). In other words, we don’t let the dirt accumulate, but we don’t clean just anyhow. So how to proceed?
- Of course, dwell on the frame. On one hand, because the result is quickly visible (and flatters the eye!) on the other hand, because polishing it naturally encourages you to rub the ancillary elements.
- Among them, the brakes. The grease and dust that stagnates there will break down and then, at best, reduce the bite of the braking. At worst, accentuate their deterioration (wear, rust, etc.)
- Last sensitive element: the battery. It’s thanks to her that we can swallow the miles, so we pamper her! Be careful not to let the water flow inside, which could damage the components.
To avoid this, I give you three tips, or rather, three miracle recipes that you won’t find anywhere else:
1. No Kärcher! A good high pressure cleaning releases steam and dirt but deteriorate the bearings, the connectors or the seals.
2. Soap, water and a long-haired brush. Yes, it’s a bit of a grandmother’s recipe, but why make it complicated when efficiency rhymes with simplicity?
3. Do not neglect the drying step. A soft cloth is enough, or even a small towel, which you can possibly keep on you when you ride.
Rigorous mechanical maintenance and monitoring
An electric bike, in particular because it is heavier than a classic model, requires more regular and more thorough maintenance. Chain and pads in particular wear out faster than on a bike without a motor. One element that wears out can bring with it premature deterioration of another component.
That’s not all ! A well-oiled mechanism contributes to improving autonomy. Logic: a deflated tire or a chain that rubs will “strain” the battery more. Morality? Keep an eye out and watch out for your trusty mechanical steed!
Here is a short three-step checklist.
1. We control
- The brakes: efficiency, pad wear, condition of the sheaths
- The tires: wear, presence of foreign bodies, pressure (indicated on the sidewall)
- The transmission: chain, chainring and sprockets, gear shifting
2. We lubricate
- The chain
- The derailleur
- The brakes
- Sheaths (brake and chain)
3. We tighten
- The handlebars
- The wheels
A service before winter will ensure that you ride safely, despite difficult weather conditions. If you haven’t ridden, an overhaul in the spring is essential to get back on the road in complete peace of mind.
You can entrust this task to an authorized technician. They will be able to carry out a detailed diagnosis, update the electronic system, carry out a diagnosis in the event of an error code appearing on the screen, all while following the manufacturer’s recommendations.
The electric bike battery: care and maintenance
The state of this little box depends on the duration of your walks… as well as the emotions that will remain. In general, running out of fuel doesn’t provide great memories. Unless of course if you are in the car with your date and you manage to make this moment nice. But the blow of the breakdown has aged, it doesn’t work that much anymore and, above all, proves to be uncomfortable with a bicycle. Morality: a battery needs maintenance (Check out our best e-bike batteries article!)
How to take (good) care of your battery?
Store it well :
- At room temperature
- Half charged: a state of charge between 40% and 60% is recommended
- On a dry surface (ban wet grass or earth, even for a stop of a few minutes)
- Ideally, in a bag
Likewise, recharge its battery requires some care:
- Let it cool before placing it on the charger (or conversely, let it come to room temperature on cold days)
- Carry out at least 2 full charges/discharges per year
- Don’t leave it plugged in all the time
- Use original charger
Finally, give preference to precautionary principle. If the battery has received a shock or been dropped. If it seems deformed, if you detect signs of weakness or if it seems to heat up in an unusual way: consult a specialist. You have the right to be a little hypochondriac with your VAE.
How to get the most out of your e-bike once on it
A smooth ride
Your riding style has a huge impact on the lifespan of your bike and your battery. Keep this point in mind when pulling on the mechanics during somewhat sporty sessions. For example, avoid starting on the large chainring because the chain and sprockets will not appreciate it. The engine doesn’t like high power starts either. Go gradually!
To increase your autonomy, you can apply a few principles of eco-driving:
- Turn off assistance when not needed
- Reduce speed
- Take advantage of the descents to gain momentum, or favor flat routes
- Above all : to anticipate ! When approaching a pedestrian crossing, a bend, or more simply on wet pavement, it is better to stay alert and “let yourself slide.” Without accelerating and with your hand on the brake, so as not to be surprised by danger or loss of grip. Your safety is at stake, but also the economy of your battery.
Maintenance of an electric bike
Getting to know your bike
The more you use your electric bike, the more you will know its strengths, weaknesses and quirks. To know how to best use it, listen to it and observe it! A recurring journey (home – work for example) is ideal to “feel” your electric bike well.
When do you need assistance to get to your destination with the most battery? Do you feel more efficient with a high pedaling frequency, or does the bike prefer not to be too abrupt? In short, when and how to pedal to get the best out of it? These kinds of experiences and day-to-day comparisons will allow you to better exploit the power of your machine, while precisely managing its autonomy.
Provide “recharging plans”
Riding an electric bike should remain a pleasure. So avoid the stress of the breakdown! Keep an extra charger at your place of work, or even another one that you will carry with you. Recharge as soon as possible.
A little tip: locate the recharging points near your usual routes. Some cities provide charging stations. Some stations are beginning to develop, although they are mainly found in holiday or cycle tourism areas.
Protect against theft
As Lao Tseu said: “If you want to enjoy your e-bike for a long time, avoid having it stolen.” Unless it was a distant cousin of Master Yoda who said that, I don’t know. Either way, we’re not the only ones who love e-bikes, thieves love them too. And a stolen bike is hard to pronounce, but also to swallow. Yet there are at least 400,000 per year, according to the Federative Institute for Research on Economies and Industrial Societies in a 2003 study.
For once, there is a miracle solution: to avoid having your bike dragged, leave it in the garage. I don’t think you’re overly convinced. Ok, if you intend to flout the most basic precautionary rules, let’s see together what we can do to avoid the kidnapping of your bike:
- Always attach your e-bike.
It is a reflex to adopt. A few seconds is enough to buy your bread, it’s also enough for a smart guy to get on your bike and steal it.
- Secure it properly.
It is attached to a fixed base (a pole or a lamppost) and passed through the frame and through a wheel.
- Choose a quality lock.
It is better to opt for a U-lock, which is safer. Rely on the many tests before setting your sights on a model. Do not hesitate to pay the price: a lock is profitable from the first break-in prevented. Read our best electric bike locks article.
- Mark your bike.
The marking is a tattoo for your bike. A unique, visible number, which proves to be a deterrent for a thief. It allows to go back to its owner if the bike is found. To date, the Bicycode system is the only device recognized by the State.
- Subscribe to an insurance.
For a few tens of dollars per year, this can give you some peace of mind. Go through the exclusions and small lines, as with any insurance policy.
- Make a duplicate of the lock keys.
Or even two: one key at home, another at work, it’s double security!
If, despite everything, your bike has been stolen, file a complaint ! Without complaint, no chance of recovering it. According to the association Vélo Perdu, there are 100,000 bicycles found in France each year, but whose owner is not identified. The game is therefore worth the effort, especially since it is possible to pre-fill your complaint online. A copy of the invoice will be necessary, remember to keep it.
I’m sure you too have your own tips for maximizing the fun and life of their machine. So, don’t hesitate to share them!