Electricity and water don’t always mix, but you should still keep your electric bike clean. Our guide shows how to clean an e-bike correctly without damaging it.
Why you should clean your e-bike correctly
Once a week or once a year? The right time to clean your e-bike — also known as a pedelec or simply electric bicycle — is not to wait until you can barely see the color of the paint and accumulate a lot of dirt on the bottom bracket.
The more you travel with your e-bike, the more often you should clean it. Also, the way you drive mainly determines when and how often you should use the cleaning supplies. If you do a lot of mountain bike tours or if you are often out and about in nature, you should clean your e-bike more often than if you only occasionally cover short distances on the cycle path in the city by e-bike.
The reason: With every ride dirt is whirled up, which can attach to the e-bike – sometimes even in the smallest cracks. Without cleaning and care it comes to corrosion, individual components can wear out. Especially tours in winter, on the sea and in the outdoors can add to your e-bike: road salt, sea salt and stubborn dirt even slow down the drive over time . But if you don’t clean an e-bike correctly, you can damage the electric system.
Clean E-Bike: Quick and (not) dirty
You love your e-bike, but you can not really get up to a regular, extensive basic cleaning? Then make it a bit easier for yourself: In many cases, it suffices, for example, after a tour through snow, road salt and mud, to spray the e-bike thoroughly with water and let it dry well. If you always remove heavy soiling in a timely manner, you will have much less work on the “bulk cleanup”.
The dos and don’ts to clean an e-bike correctly
E-bicycle cleaning is the same as normal bike cleaning, right? Not quite! When cleaning an e-bike, you should pay attention to a few things.
- Remove battery: Before you start cleaning, you should remove the battery of your e-bike. Otherwise moisture could penetrate into the interior, which attacks the technology. Therefore clean the e-bike battery separately.
- Remove display: If possible, remove the display from the handlebar. If it is not mounted by click or slide mechanism, but is fixed, you should protect it during cleaning, for example, with a disposable plastic shower cap.
- Removing the wheels: If you remove the wheels of your e-bike and also clean them separately, this has two advantages: Firstly, it’s easier to get to the drive area, whose cleaning is particularly important. On the other hand, you do not run the risk of accidentally distributing oil and grease from chain and gear on the brake flank and brake disc. Because that would affect the braking performance.
- Not with the high-pressure cleaner: Even if it seems practical – never clean your e-bike with a high-pressure cleaner. Water could penetrate into the engine cover and hubs, attacking them and loosening connectors.
Clean the frame of your e-bike properly
Your e-bike is ready for cleaning, what’s next? First, you should take a suitable detergent for frame, handlebars, wheels and pedals to hand. An E-Bike cleaner must not be too aggressive or degreasing. You can just take warm water with a little detergent. With a special bicycle cleaner, however, you will be more resistant to stubborn dirt. At the same time, these cleaners do not attack seals and plastic parts. Many bicycle cleaners are packaged in a spray bottle . If you use warm water with detergent, it is best to pour it into a spray bottle. This is the easiest way to distribute the mixture later on the bike. Also, have a sponge, rag, and a brush ready. An old, hard toothbrush is also suitable.
Electricity and water? Do not worry!
When cleaning your e-bike, two things come together: electricity and water – that sounds like a delicate combination. What to do if water runs into the battery holder and could also reach the contact point? No panic. The so-called battery recordings are designed so that water can run off and the coated contacts can dry. If you keep the battery holder and the connector area always clean, nothing can happen.
Cleaning the frame:
- If possible, first spray the entire e-bike with a garden hose to remove coarse dirt.
- Apply the bicycle cleaner generously with the spray bottle.
- Let the cleaner act and then rinse it with plenty of water – the dirt is also washed away.
- In hard-to-reach places, use a sponge or brush to rinse and then rinse again with clean water.
Clean the drive and chain of the e-bike
Special attention should be paid when cleaning the drive of your e-bike. Chain, chainring and cassette are exposed to high loads and require special care. Because: With heavy pollution and too little lubrication you can switch worse and the components wear out faster. You can even hear the resulting friction.
That is why it is important to regularly clean the chain and drive of the e-bike and to maintain it with bicycle oil. For this you can fall back on professional chain cleaners. These should remove dirt and not the lubricating oil and be applied in a targeted manner. With a rag and chain oil, you can also tackle the dirt just as well. The best way to reach chain oil in a dropper bottle – the best way to dose and apply the oil, so that the brake discs get nothing and the ring gear does not stick.
Do you have everything together, you can start with the cleaning of chain and drive :
- Remove coarse dirt from the cassette and chainring with a brush. If necessary, you can with a rag and some bike oil to solve the dirt between the pinions.
- Use a special chain cleaner to rid the chain of dirt. Pay attention to the instructions of the manufacturer. Alternatively, put some chain oil on an old rag, grab it around the chain, and gently pull it through your hand by pressing the pedals with the other hand.
- If the chain, cassette and chainring are clean, treat them with an extra dose of care in the form of chain oil. Carefully apply it with the dropper bottle. The rule of thumb is one drop of chain oil per chain link.
- Remove excess oil with a cloth from the chain. So can not fix new dirt so easily.
Tip : The chain should be lubricated regularly if you are traveling a lot with your e-bike. This also applies to many short distances.
Note: If the greasy substances of chain and cassette get to the brake system, this reduces the braking performance. During cleaning, be careful not to touch the brake calipers and discs with a brush and a cloth.
The final touch: to prevent dirt
Surprised how well your e-bike looks and how well it works again? In order to stay that way for a long time, now you go one last step: With a bicycle polish or a hard wax you keep water and dirt away from the frame for longer. If you use a spray: Do not simply spray the polish on your bike, but first apply it to a rag and then apply it to the cleaned painted parts of the bike.
Clean the e-bike with a drive
The more you devote to taking care of your e-bike, the less problems you will have. Remove the e-bike battery and display before cleaning and use appropriate cleansers. Do not reach for the high-pressure cleaner, but place on sponge, cloth and brush. Clean the frame and drive separately and make sure that no lubricant gets into the brake system.
Gerhardt Richter is a writer and a trainer at trade technical colleges, specializing in carpentry, plumbing, mechanics and construction.