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The City Electric Bike: 6 Simple Rules
The electric bike is easy to use and requires little maintenance. Nevertheless, there are some rules to follow.
Electric bike maintenance
If you have recently bought an e-bike, you should learn how to take care of it. As you know, e-bikes are a big investment, and proper care and maintenance are key to keeping them running for a long time.
Whether you are new to cycling or you have chosen an e-bike because you have a lot of experience with pedal-only bikes, it’s important to know that e-bikes are different. They are still bikes and have many of the same parts and repairs, but some specific differences require different care. Here is what you need to know about e-bike maintenance, in a nutshell:
1. Protect electric bike from moisture
Any electric vehicle can survive a ride in the rain because the electronics are protected by special rubber bands. But you should not storm rivers with an electric bike: If the whole bike sinks, water can penetrate the seals and get inside.
The display (on our bikes it’s at the top of the steering wheel) is also protected by a seal, but over time the rubber band can dry out, and condensation can build up inside. This causes the screen to fog up.
Moisture can oxidize the electronics. Forums recommend removing the ECU and coating the circuit board with a thin layer of transparent varnish for electronics – it is waterproof and conducts heat. If suddenly something oxidized and the signal begins to disappear, it is enough to remove the white coating with a cloth with alcohol.
2. Change the battery
It depends on the model, but usually, the battery lasts for three years. Then the capacity begins to fall, and the driving time on a single charge decreases. The battery can be changed completely in the assembly or only the elements, which will come out much cheaper.
3. Follow safety precautions
E-bikes are quite heavy, with an average model weighing over 60 pounds. To make them lighter, the axle seats on many models are made of aluminum alloys. Over time, the axle loosens, goes from a round cross-section to an oval one, and starts to play and rumble. The problem can be fixed – there are many videos on YouTube showing how to do it. But to avoid the problem in principle, try to ride carefully – on the most level road and without subjecting the transport shocks for city bikes.
Impact is also important to avoid for two other reasons. Inside the motorcycle, neodymium magnets are glued in a circle. They look strong, but this is a very fragile material: a strong impact can cause the magnets to break or splinter. Shocks are also dangerous for the battery: there is a risk of explosion due to mechanical damage.
4. Charge your battery properly
Lithium-ion batteries do not like to be fully discharged and charged. When the charge level drops to a critical level (1-5%), chemical reactions begin that reduce the battery’s capacity. Modern devices stop supplying power when they reach a charge level of 100% and go into standby mode, where they continue to slowly deplete their charge. When the capacity drops to 99%, the electronics wake up again and allow the battery to charge again until it reaches 100%. This is also not the best way to affect the longevity of the battery.
Ideally, if you keep the charge between 20% and 80%, the battery will last longer (e.g. 2.5 years instead of 2 years). The battery will also deteriorate if it is charged in sub-zero temperatures. So when you come in from the cold, let the battery warm up first. Also, to extend the life, it is better to use the supplied power supply, because the controller has some special features.
5. Lubricate parts
On an electric bike, you need to lubricate the same parts as on a regular bike: at least once a season, the chain, and, if necessary, the brake and shift cables.
6. Wash if needed
To keep the electric bike looking like new, wipe it with a damp cloth when it gets dusty – you can use any non-aggressive cleaner. Turn off the power before cleaning. It really only gets dirty when you ride in the rain or through puddles. But electric bike manufacturers advise against riding in such weather. Try to avoid riding in the rain: Wet roads increase the risk of falls.