How do you care for an e-bike properly? Electric bikes are different to normal bikes, so our guide explains the things you have to do to make sure yours has a long life.
The display of the e-bike again displays an error message? Only rarely is the robust and long-lasting motor defective. Who knows what to look for saves unnecessary repair costs.
With a few simple steps and spare parts, the old wire donkey from the cellar can be brought back to life. In the case of electric bicycles, which are often referred to as pedelecs or e-bikes, this can look completely different after a few years. What if the battery is over and no longer available? How maintenance intensive is an e-wheel? So… how do you really care for an e-bike properly?
Poor care takes revenge faster
The basic care and repairs are like normal bicycles. “Just as often the chain is oiled, watch out for the brakes and the air pressure,” says David Koßmann from Giant. He advises a little more mindfulness. Due to the stronger driving force, parts such as chain or sprocket could wear out faster if they are unkempt.
Insufficient care takes revenge on electric bicycles earlier. Depending on the design, type or engine, they are heavier than normal wheels. “On average, you can expect between plus eight and twelve kilos,” says Koßmann. This is especially noticeable by the tires,which leave rubber a little faster. This also comes from the fact that they have to endure a higher tempo more often.
Key factors to care for an e-bike properly
The correct air pressure and its meticulous control are therefore all the more important. Many tyres are designed ex works for the higher loads and mounted on the wheel as original equipment. These pneumatics are often marketed as “e-bike-ready”. Those who need replacements should pay attention.
Annual checks in the workshop
Tamara Winograd from the e-wheel component manufacturer Bosch advises removing coarse dirt between the chainring and the bearing. “Ideally, you clean your pedelec after every e-bike tour so that the dirt doesn’t get stuck. So as often as possible and necessary.” The high-pressure cleaner is taboo.
In general, cyclists should bring their vehicle to the workshop once a year for check-up. However, this rule applies to electric bicycles as a lower limit. If you commute all year round, you’d better get a look-out twice – preferably in spring and autumn, Koßmann advises.
Sensitive sensors as a source of error
You want to cycle, but the engine no longer supports you – what now? In most cases, the engine itself does not break. “They are built quite robustly and designed for long operating times,” says Koßmann. And if the display shows an error code?
Then often only one component is adjusted or twisted, such as a sensor on the rear wheel that measures the speed. Therefore, you can first go to troubleshoot yourself and ask the Internet if an error code is unknown.
“In principle, electric motors are relatively low-maintenance and wear-free,” says David Eisenberger of ZIV. Common simple faults could usually be corrected by the specialist dealer. They receive training for the appropriate systems.
In the event of major defects, the engine must be sent in. According to its own information, for example, the manufacturer Bosch exchanges the affected unit within the warranty. Except for improper use caused the defect.
Repairs to the drive are taboo
With cheap e-bikes, it makes little sense to replace a defective engine outside of warranty cases, as David Eisenberger says. Including installation, this could cost between $800 and $1,000, depending on the model.
The experts advise against self-directed repairs. “The drive unit and the other components must not be opened under any circumstances,” warns Tamara Winograd. “When the components are opened, any warranty and warranty claim shall cease.”
Old hub motors can overheat
For older electric wheels, and especially for hub motors, the system can overheat – especially when driving uphill for a longer period of time, if you kick easily and let the engine do the work.
“Then sometimes the heat dissipation is not sufficient and the engine switches off,” explains Koßmann. He does not want to completely rule out this problem even with modern pedelecs. This particularly affects heavy cargo bikes. Overall, it is important to pay attention to the approved total weight.
How long an engine lasts cannot be said in general terms. This always depends on the individual reality of use. “E-bikes have only been a big issue for five to seven years. There are only relatively narrow findings for this,” says Koßmann.
Service life depends on spare parts replenishment
“Of the maintenance costs, an e-bike is certainly higher than a normal bike,” explains Eisenberger. “The spare parts issue should be addressed to customers in terms of battery and engine right at the time of purchase.”
To be on the safer side, Koßmann advises pedelecs that drive with engines from major manufacturers such as Bosch, Brose, Panasonic or Yamaha. “With an e-bike from the Internet with a China engine for $1,000, I don’t know for sure whether I will get spare parts or a suitable battery in four or even ten years.”