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Should You Use a Specific Chain Lube on Your E-bike

Posted by Yina Liu on
Should You Use a Specific Chain Lube on Your E-bike

Did you recently acquire an electric bike (e-bike), or are you planning on purchasing one? You may know that it uses the same drivetrain components, such as the chain, freewheel, and chainrings, as a traditional bike.

Although the basic components are similar, does this mean you can use the same kind of chain lube with an e-bike? In this article, we will run through the different conditions and variables you may want to consider when making this decision.

Key Differences or Traditional Bikes and E-bikes

While they may share some parts, you should consider the following differences between traditional bikes and e-bikes:

  • E-bikes exert 3-times more force on the chain compared to that of a traditional bike.
  • Electric mountain bikes or eMTBs use e-bike components that are more robust because they are exposed to higher amounts of torque and typically go through rougher terrain and conditions.
  • You cover a higher mileage with e-bikes and variable climatic conditions.
  • The cadence (rpm) on an e-bike is higher, which exposes the components to more wear. 

Do E-bikes Require a Special Chain Lube?

The choice of lubrication while cycling is determined by the climate and riding conditions you subject the e-bike or traditional bicycle to. It may also depend on which parts to which you are applying the lube.

These bikes have nearly identical cogs, chainrings, and chains that can make do with regular chain lubricant. However, it’s advisable to use a special e-bike chain lubricant when they are subjected to increased torque, higher mileage, faster cadence, and longer ride durations.

Riding Conditions

Keeping your e-bike adequately lubricated is essential in a maintenance routine. You may want to use specific types of lubes for different riding conditions.

  • Dry lubes are great for dry and sunny weather when riding
  • Wet lube or all-season lubes are suitable for all conditions, especially for river crossings or humid weather
  • All-condition lubes are simpler as you don’t have to regularly clean and re-lube your chain to adjust to weather conditions

Keeping It Clean

Keeping your e-bike clean and adequately lubricated can extend its life and maintain its performance. This factor is especially important in e-bikes as their parts may be more sensitive to climatic conditions.

Riding while your chain is dirty is not only inefficient but also strains your motor into working harder and wasting your battery.

What about Spray Lubes?

We do not recommend the use of spray lubes for e-bikes. E-bikes have brake rotors that are sensitive. Having a little lube on these rotors may disable your hydraulic or mechanical disk brakes.

This may be more dangerous on e-bikes as they go faster and are heavier than standard bikes. They need more stopping power compared to the brakes of traditional bikes.

Watch Out of Special Chain Lubes

A lot of e-bike specific chain lubes on the market do not provide any additional benefits. They are usually just thicker chain lube marketed as “special” e-bike chain lube.

Even with the additional torque and increased cadence in an e-bike motor, these “special” lubricants are unnecessary. The average mid-drive electric bicycle systems only add 250 to 350 watts to the drivetrain system.

Conclusion

Whether or not you need to use e-bike specific chain lubes would depend on the climate and running conditions you are subjecting your bikes to. An electric bicycle may run on systems that have increased torque, mileage, and cadence, which may require additional care.

Are you looking for a reliable electric bike guide? We at Espin bikes can offer you not only the perfect e-bikes for your next trail-riding adventure but also the resources you need to care for your e-bike. Head on to our website to learn more!

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