As summer drags on and gradually nears its end, most of us have been riding our e-bikes hard over the last few months. Your loyal machine has been by your side or under it through the hardest roads, the softest dirt and mud, and likely more than one puddle.
Before hitting the trail again for a few end-of-summer rides, why not take a moment to give your machine some TLC. This will not only ensure it is ready to push its hardest for any last summer hurrahs but also protected while you may not be riding it so much until next season.
Step One: Get it Clean and Dirt Free
Puddles, dirt, and road grime are bound to stick to your e-bike and accumulate. This can hold in moisture and encourage corrosion. So, do your loyal riding companion a favor and take out a bucket of soapy water and a sponge to get that crud off.
After giving it a thorough sudsing, rinse it all off and towel dry it. It is best to avoid using a hose when possible to avoid getting water into the bearings, but if you do, just try to keep the pressure low. When you’re done, make sure everything is clean and dry
Step Two: Check the Brakes
Your bike's brakes can take quite a toll bringing you to a stop time after time, and this is also why it is so important to keep them in tip-top shape. So, if your e-bike uses classic rim brakes, take some time to clean and shine the rim, lube up the forks, and make sure that the pad still has some meat to it.
However, nowadays, most e-bikes use disc brakes, and whether they are hydraulic or cable-driven, it is important to check them for wear. These brakes clean themselves off better than rim brakes, so this isn’t as much of a worry. However, just like rim brakes, the brake pads will wear with time, so look inside the caliper to make sure they still have a bit of pad left to work through. If you are confident in your ability to reinstall it safely, you can even take the caliper off to look inside and check.
If the pads are good and thick, you can go on. Otherwise, they will need to be replaced either by you or a bike shop. Once you are done with the pads, just make sure that the brake fluid levels are good for hydraulic disc brakes or that the cable moves easily on cable-driven brakes.
Step Three: Apply Some Lubricant
A clean and lubricated chain is your best friend on a ride. If your becomes clogged with dirt and rusts, it not only takes more energy to pedal, but it can also lead to a sudden end to any ride if the chain breaks. So, cleaning and lubricating your bike chain and while you are at it, the whole drivetrain is important.
First of all, prop up the bike so that you can turn the crank freely. Now just backpedal your bike while applying lubricant to every link of the chain. Wait a few minutes to allow the lubricant to work its way into the chain, and then wrap a rag around the chain and give it a good thorough cleaning removing any excess lubricant.
Now take a look at your drivetrain. Is there dirt and grime built up in the cassette? Use a firm brush and clean all that out; do the same for the pulleys on the rear derailleur and the chainring.
Lastly, if you have a foldable electric bike then you may have some extra areas to check and lubricate. Check out your foldable ebike manual for details on where you should pay extra attention.
Step Four: Check Your Tires
Your tires take the brunt of every bump, pothole, and rock, and they do it without complaint. Unfortunately, like every mechanical system, eventually, they can give out without proper maintenance. So, before your tires fail, leaving you stuck, it is important to make sure they are in good shape, especially for lightweight electric bikes.
Your tires are constantly losing air, and this is natural. Typically the loss is slow and small enough to cause no harm. But, after enough rides, they can lose enough air for you to start to take notice and, without care, make riding much more difficult.
Check your tire pressure and ensure it is within a good range for your bike. This varies depending on the model, use, and rider preference. For a good start, check the maximum psi for your tires on the sidewall.
For reference, the typical range for a road bike is within 80 to 130 psi, mountain bikes, 23 to 35 psi, and hybrid around 40 to 70 psi. It is a good idea to use a pump with a pressure gauge on it. That way, you can set it precisely to the range you choose. With enough time, you can experiment a little and pick the pressure you like best.
Step Five: Take Care of Your Battery
It is easy to overlook your ebike battery; after all, what can you do with it other than recharge it. Well, it is true that there really isn’t much you can directly do to clean or repair it, but what you can and should do is take care of it properly.
Your e-bike battery is designed to function best in a not too hot and not too cold environment, so if you aren’t feeling comfortable in the heat, neither is your battery. Try to store it in a comfortable location when not in use.
Also, if your bike will be going in storage after the summer, make sure that you charge the battery at least every two months. This will protect it from damage when it runs low. These are the most important battery tips you should remember, but there are a lot more here if you would like to protect this costly and precious part of your e-bike.
Summer is one of the best times to take your e-bike out for a ride. The effortless speed can keep you cool while you enjoy the great weather and outdoors with friends and family. This also means that your e-bike is putting in a lot more work, so make sure to take the time to keep your ride in shape by following these tips. That way, your e-bike will be there for you season after season. Good maintenance and cleaning can keep even the most affordable ebikes in tip-top shape.